Troubled Waters (Nancy Drew Girl Detective #23)

In Troubled Waters, recent flooding of the river has devastated nearby Cedar Plains and left many homeless. Luckily Helping Homes has plans to convert the abandoned foundry to apartments, and Nancy, Bess, and George have volunteered to help. In fact, so has the University of Lowell basketball team, including local star forward J.C. Valdez. It seems not everyone is as excited about the project, though. A vandal seems intent on wreaking havoc at the site, as well as leaving threatening messages for J.C. Luckily Nancy is around to investigate!

This may be one of my favorites so far, at least for the second half of it–it was well plotted, with a good balance between issues in the present and past. At first I wasn’t sure how I felt about catastrophic floods as a premise; this was published a year and a half after Katrina, probably about how long it takes a book to go from concept to finished product. Why stage imaginary devastation when a timely plot could involve the girls actually going down to New Orleans to help? I realized afterwards, of course, that actually mentioning Katrina would date this book much faster than all the cell phones and computers; there’s a reason Carolyn Keene avoided the wars. And the flooding was tastefully handled by showing devastation but focusing on the positive relief efforts.

I’ve done Habitat for Humanity, so I liked seeing construction worked into the story—and knowing what they were talking about when hanging Sheetrock. In fact, a few of the last books have had a social bent—flood relief here, animal rights as a side note in Dressed to Steal, and a benefit for the animal shelter in Getting Burned. Harriet would certainly approve, but I’m not so sure about Millie.

I thought the red herrings were too obvious, though, and had my suspicions way before Nancy. The motives and evidence just didn’t line up the way they should. It’s gotten to the point where anyone she investigates early in the story must not have committed the crime. This is a far cry from the Nancy Drew Files, where all suspects were equally probable!

I wish more had been done with the historical aspect of the story, though of course the emphasis of the foundry was functional instead of secretive purposes. I loved the ending, and also the little teaser to the next mystery. It only works if it’s something known about in advance, but it’s a great nod to the classic style.

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Published in: on July 9, 2009 at 12:52 pm  Comments (1)  
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  1. […] ever catch up. They’re already up to 45. It’s also been quite a while since I read the last one. It doesn’t seem like it’s been two […]

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