Thursday, May 4, 2017

The Invisible Intruder: Review

The Invisible Intruder (Nancy Drew #46; 1969) was one of my favorite Nancy Drew books when I was a young reader. It ranks up there with The Clue of the Broken Locket, The Clue in the Crumbling Wall, The Hidden Staircase, and Mystery of the Glowing Eye in the top five. I first read it from the school library, but naturally I had to get a copy for my very own. When the Birth Year Reading Challenge was revived this year, I decided I needed to read my copy of the Nancy book that is as old as I am.

Nancy's friend Helen invites her, Ned Nickerson, Bess Marvin, George Fayne, Burt Eddleton, and Dave Evans to join her and her husband Jim as well as three other couples on a ghost-hunting trip. They've pinpointed five places with mysterious reputations: Pine Grove Camp with a haunted canoe that propels itself across Lake Sevanee; Madame Tarantella's prophecy hut which is plague by ghostly thunderstorms; the Red Barn Guesthouse with its phantom horse and unseated ghost rider; a mountaintop inn which was an old fort and has the ghosts of prisoners flitting about; and a private home with an invisible intruder. Most of the young people are prepared to play ghost-busters, but Rita Rodriguez is hoping for a real ghost or two. It isn't long before Nancy realizes that there are some common factors in all the "hauntings" and that some very real humans have ulterior motive for scaring the owners.

Intruder is interesting for a couple of reasons. First, it brings back Helen (Corning) Archer. Helen featured several of the early volumes (before the series was rewritten in 1959), but rarely had much of an active role in the investigations. This book gives her--and her husband and married friends--a somewhat larger part, though it is still Nancy and company who do most of the clue-finding. As Helen says when the group draws lots for sentry duty in their investigation of the phantom horse:

We didn't see a thing....I'd like to bet that if there is going to be any excitement it will come during the time Nancy Drew is here!

I did enjoy that she and Jim were able to assist Nancy and Ned in the grand finale--capturing the crooks and handing them over to the police.

The other interesting feature of this book is that Nancy and her friends set out to investigate five mysteries instead of just one. In the other books Nancy is interested in mysterious happenings at one location or surrounding one particular person. This time she and her friends move from place to place checking out incidents affecting a number of people. Of course, they find clues that indicate there may connections but this is the first mystery to cover so much ground.

I had just as much fun reading this now as I did when I was young. More of an adventure story than a mystery--it's pretty clear fairly early who is responsible for the hauntings, but it is interesting to watch Nancy and company figure out how each of the hauntings is really worked. ★★★★

This counts for the "Flashlight" category on the Silver Vintage Scavenger Hunt card.


Anonymous said...

Just talking to my friend on Sunday and sjhe was saying what a fan she was a girl - this sounds like a great one! By the way, is there a link pagfe for May reviews yet?

Bev Hankins said... But give me a minute and there will be.

Jean said...

I just re-read this fairly recently! I found it in a closet and just had to relive it. My own favorite Nancy Drews were the Clue in the Hollow Oak and the one about Nazca lines.

J.G. said...

One of the things I like best about the oldies is the vision of life they give, rather by accident. I think of Nancy and her "roadster"--and here, all those couples going off on a lark together, no doubt in dresses/pumps and suits/ties for the men. Ah, the (idealized) good clean fun of the good old days!