Tuesday, August 7, 2018

The Haunted Showboat: Review

The Haunted Showboat (1957) by Carolyn Keene [Harriet Adams] finds Nancy invited to New Orleans at Mardi Gras time. Bess & George's uncle had planned to move and restore the River Princess, an old river showboat that's been abandoned in the swamp. He wants the boat in good order in time for a gala celebration--a costume ball to celebrate the engagement of his daughter Donna Mae to Oxford graduate Alex Upgrove. There are just a few problems....the boat is rumored to be haunted; no one is willing to move the boat; and every time any repairs at all are done onboard they are immediately destroyed. The uncle specifically requests Nancy to come to the rescue (I'm guessing Bess & George have been bragging to their family about all of Nancy's detecting skills--'cause how would he know otherwise? )

So, the girls get all set to head south in Nancy's blue convertible when it gets stolen! But, no worries, Carson Drew comes to the rescue with a brand new yellow convertible (because he was planning to get her a new one for her birthday anyway). There's a bomb scare and acid on car bits and a game of hide-and-seek with the culprit all along the way--but they arrive safely in New Orleans and Nancy is ready to get busy solving the mystery. Except Donna Mae seems determined to prevent any detective work--which makes absolutely no sense when you consider the party planned for the boat is supposed to be for her. Of course, she seems to be very jealous of Nancy and afraid that our detective will run off with her boyfriend. It doesn't help that Alex seems way more interested in what Nancy's doing than in his fiancĂ©e. Fortunately, Nancy doesn't let a little interference stand in her way and soon she's taking night-time boat trips to the swamp and learning about pirate treasure. Ned Nickerson and his pals Burt & Dave show up in time to help Nancy tackle the bad guys. 

I'm not entirely sure why this one wasn't a bigger favorite of mine when I was younger. There's a lot to appeal to the young reader--a car race of sorts as Nancy, Bess & George try to out-distance their pursuer on the way to New Orleans; a spooky old showboat with a ghost in the middle of the swamp; and a hidden treasure! What's not to love about that? And yet--for some reason, this was a "one and done" book for me. I initially read it because it was part of my mom's six-book collection, but as far as I can remember I never picked it up again. Until I found this Cameo Edition to add to my own collection and decided that I needed to give the book another try. It definitely has a stronger mystery element than many of the stories and makes for quite an exciting adventure. ★★★★

[Finished 8/2/18]
*Nancy and her friends are invited for the Mardi Gras (in addition to solving a mystery), so this counts for "During a Recognized Holiday" on the Golden Notebook Checklist.

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