Tuesday, May 28, 2024

The Mystery of the Ivory Charm

 The Mystery of the Ivory Charm (1936) by Carolyn Keene 
[revised text version]

Mr. Stanley Strong, owner of the Bengleton Wild Animal Show asks Carson Drew to investigate some trouble, perhaps illegal activities at his show. But Mr. Drew can't make the appointment and asks Nancy to go in his stead. Nancy, Bess, and George attend the show and meet a young Indian boy who works with the elephants. Rishi is an orphan and his guardian, the elephant trainer Rai, is a cruel man who may be behind the suspicious activities. Rishi stows away in Nancy's car and pleads for her help in getting away from the cruel trainer. As she dives deeper into the mystery, she discovers proof that the young boy may not be an orphan after all and that his father, possibly living in River Heights, may have been a very important man in India. 

This is a standard Nancy mystery--lots of bad guys, mysterious tunnels, a kidnapping or two, a weird lady who goes into trances at the drop of a hat, an ivory charm complete with luck and potions, and a missing treasure. There is a cave-in in the tunnels and Nancy & her father must escape. There is an attack on a professor who had agreed to tutor Rishi in English. The ivory charm is stolen and reclaimed. And...of course there is a happy ending for Rishi and his father and a jail cell waiting for the bad guys. 

Not one of my all time favorites when I read these while growing up. I did like the animal connection and the background from India. Even though we find out exactly what Rai has been up to, I found it odd that Mr. Strong called in the Drews. He doesn't really have any actual incidents of "suspicious activities" that he can tell Nancy about. All he can say is that Rai is "secretive" and thinks it's okay to disobey US laws--but he doesn't give any examples of what laws have been broken. There is an incident where Nancy tells Rai that he can't whip Rishi in America--but corporal punishment by parents (or guardians) was not illegal in the 1930s (when this was written). I didn't think about it this thoroughly when I was nine or ten, but reading it now I think it would have been nice if there were a better hook to get Nancy into the mystery. Still--a decent adventure and a fairly good story. ★★★

First line: Nancy sat in her father's law office, waiting for him to finish a long-distance call.

Last line: Everyone laughed and agreed the idea was a good one.

Deaths = one natural

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