Saturday, August 27, 2011

The Name on the Bracelet: Review

The Name on the Bracelet is a classic young adult mystery starring Judy Bolton. Written by Margaret Sutton in 1940, it is part of a mystery series very like Nancy Drew. Judy's dad is a doctor and Judy still has her mom and an older brother thrown in the mix. For those who thought Nancy a bit too privileged (rich dad who let her go on all sorts of trips to ski lodges and what-not; her own little roadster; etc), Judy is a bit more down-to-earth. She is employed as a secretary to a local lawyer and has thoughts of marriage and a family.

This particular mystery begins with a break-in at Judy's home. It looks like someone has been going through the doctor's office, but he doesn't see that anything is missing. Then Judy realizes that the burglar has stolen something....a piece of pie and some slices of ham. Did the intruder go to all that trouble for a bit of food? The next clue is a bankbook that must have slipped from a pocket when the intruder was bending over his midnight snack. The bankbook belongs to a man with an account in New York City. Judy is just contemplating a trip to New York (she has a vacation coming) when she receives a telegram announcing that one of her close friends (who just happens to live in NYC) has had a baby and would like her to visit. And in the midst of all this Judy becomes engaged to the lawyer she works for--accepting his grandmother's heirloom engagement ring.

Then Judy is off to the city. When she reaches the hospital where her friend, Irene, is preparing to go home with her newborn, she meets another young woman, Jane, who has shared the room. The two mothers have become fast friends. Events really pick the hustle to leave the hospital Judy's diamond falls out of its setting and disappears. Then Jane and one of the babies vanish. Later, Judy and Irene's husband discover that the common parents' fear of coming home with the wrong baby has happened.....somehow Jane managed to walk away with little Judy Irene. Judy is soon off on the trail--searching the big city for a missing mother and child as well as her diamond.

Of course, there are a lot of coincidences in this book. It all dove-tails together quite nicely for a neat and tidy ending. But that's one of the good things about these mysteries. Judy (or Nancy or the Dana Girls or....) always gets her man--or woman as the case may be. Good triumphs and the criminal is always caught. The clues all come together and it makes for a nice happy wrap-up. This was a comfy little read that was just the break I needed from reading Middlemarch. Not too taxing and just pleasant. I never came across the Judy Bolton mysteries when I was growing up. Otherwise, I'm quite sure I would have gobbled them up in the same way I did the Nancy Drew stories. It was nice to revisit my childhood with this one. Three stars

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