Sunday, November 27, 2016

Beverly Gray's Mystery: Review

Beverly Gray's Mystery (1948) by Clair Blank features an intrepid girl detective in the mold of the original Nancy Drew. Unlike Nancy who seems to forever be in her mid- (earliest version of her stories) to late-teens, Beverly's story is a progressive one. Her fictional career begins in college, takes her through some adventures post-college, and then finds her taking on a job (as a reporter) and becoming a government agent at times. Having stumbled upon Beverly during one of our antique mall rambles, I've landed in the middle of her series at a time when she is already established as an investigative reporter.

In this adventure which occurs around the Christmas holidays, Beverly sets out to interview an Indian prince who is visiting the United States and who has given a valuable horse named Star of the East to his American friend, Mr. Mengle. She has her friend newspaper photographer Lenora Whitehill with her to take pictures of the horse and the two friends. But before Beverly can ask her first question, the prince's groom discovers that the Star of the East has disappeared. A weekend feature turns into an investigative piece as Beverly and Lenora look into the mystery of the missing horse. Things turn a bit ugly as Max Mengle is hit over the head and hospitalized, a young actress disappears (thought to be kidnapped), and Beverly finds herself nearly run over by a car and locked in an abandoned house. Did the horse-nappers attack Max? Was it the prince's groom? Or perhaps it was his younger brother--in an argument over his engagement to the actress? It all becomes clear to Beverly in the end--she finds the horse...and, incidentally, a valuable stolen jewel in the process. And the story wraps up with Christmas in Beverly's apartment with TWO Santa Clauses!

Beverly Gray is another heroine that I wish I had met when I was young. She's resourceful and independent and a good role model for young girls. From what I read of her online, she's a bit more realistic than Nancy Drew--going to work and living away from home in the big city. Of course, she still has way more adventures than most of us do in everyday life, but the stories wouldn't be nearly as exciting without them. 

Beverly uses her investigative skills to get to the bottom of this mystery--following clues, asking penetrating questions, and tracking down the missing people and the horse. It was fairly obvious to me what happened to the animal, but Blank did a good job spreading the suspicion around so it wasn't as clear who the culprit was. A fun read that would have been even better if I had read it when I was younger. ★★and 1/2.


Anonymous said...

I tend to like books like this myself, retro and a little Nancy Drew-ish.

fredamans said...

I loved Nancy Drew so I bet I would like this one.