Book name: The Clue in the Ancient Disguise
Author: Carolyn Keene
Publisher: James Duncan Lawrence
Genre: Detective fiction, vintage children’s fiction
Publication Date: 1982
Star Rating: 5/5
Carolyn Keene’s Nancy Drew travels all over America to solve her mysteries, but The Clue in the Ancient Disguise has Nancy sleuthing at home in River Heights, New York.
Nancy is asked by her father to investigate a family matter for a young Frenchman, Pierre Michaud. Pierre has discovered a letter from Louise Duval, an American who lived locally, in his grandfather’s papers after his death.
It mentions a startling discovery that would be of great interest to the Michauds. However, Louise died before she could make the trip to France.
Almost as soon as Nancy takes on the commission, both she and Pierre are followed and they return to his workshop to find it on fire and his assistant trapped inside.
Pierre is an inventor working in computing, and someone is putting a great deal of effort into trying to destroy his business before he can sell his computing memory invention to a big company and make a fortune.
At the same time, Nancy is involved in helping the local museum get to the bottom of a number of strange break ins that have occurred recently.
She is fascinated to discover that the Duvals, who were wealthy, endowed the museum and that a portrait of one of Louise’s ancestors used to hang there.
But where is the picture and who has an interest in stealing it after all these years?
As with all good Nancy Drew mysteries, there is real danger in The Clue in the Ancient Disguise.
Nancy’s car has its power steering tampered with and she crashes off the road when she is being pursued by another vehicle.
She is perpetually followed by strange people and vehicles, including a red car reminiscent of the one that frightened Louise just before she died of a heart attack.
Pierre is subject to all manner of physical dangers, too, but none of this puts them off.
Our heroine is always fearless, and The Clue in the Ancient Disguise is no exception. Unlike other Nancy Drew mysteries, Ned and the boys are nowhere to be seen.
This gives us the chance to get to know Pierre really well and to find out more about his budding romance with New York heiress Lisa. There was a lovely romantic strand to this mystery.
I wouldn’t always want to have a romance centre stage in every book in the series, but it was wonderful to see love blossom at the worst of time for Pierre. We also got to see more of George and Bess with Nancy. You’ll never hear my complain when it’s just the three of them solving a mystery together without Ned and the boys being around.
I really enjoyed that The Clue in the Ancient Disguise saw Nancy at home with Hannah and her father, meeting people who live only a few minutes’ drive from her home and solving a problem just down the road from the Drew home.
Since the essence of this Nancy Drew mystery is all about family it was fitting that we saw Nancy’s family a little more here than we sometimes do in other books. Variety is one of the things I love most about Nancy Drew mysteries.
The Clue in the Ancient Disguise is proof positive that a centuries old mystery that everyone has forgotten even existed can still be solved and an old injustice righted.
I hope you enjoyed my review of The Clue in the Ancient Disguise by Carolyn Keene. Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.
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If you’ve enjoyed this review, you might be interested reading in my review of The Crooked Bannister by Carolyn Keene.
Or you might like to take a look at my review of Nancy Drew Guest Appearance by Carolyn Keene.
If you fancy something different, you might like to take a chance on my review of Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys.