Thursday, June 13, 2024

The Phantom of Pine Hill

 The Phantom of Pine Hill (1965) by Carolyn Keene

Nancy, Bess, and George head to Emerson University on the Ohio RIver to celebrate the school's June Week with their steady dates Ned, Dave, and Burt. But when they arrive at their motel, they find that there has been a mix-up--their reservations weren't recorded and there is "no room in the inn." Ned comes to the rescue and arranges for the girls to stay with an older gentleman and his housekeeper. There's even a bonus mystery thrown in to keep Nancy busy if the June Week activities don't fill up the hours. John Rorick aka "Uncle John" is a great friend of the university and its students and he is more than happy to give the girls a place to stay--especially if Nancy can help with his mystery.

For some time now, a phantom has been entering Uncle John's house and stealing things. All the doors and windows are locked and there seems to be no way for anyone of flesh and blood to have gotten in. Mrs. Holman, the housekeeper, is sure it is a phantom because only something that could walk through walls could get in. Not to mention the ghostly lights she's seen bobbing around up on Pine Hill. When Uncle John tells them a family story about lost treasure on a river boat--fabulous wedding gifts that sank in a nearby cove on the Lucy Belle, Nancy is sure the phantom must be after clues to the treasure. By the time she and her friends are through, they will discover how the phantom gets in, locate all of Uncle John's missing property...and find his family's missing treasures.

The Phantom of Pine Hill wasn't really one of my favorites when I read these as a young girl. And I'm not sure why. It has so many good things--a phantom, a lost treasure, a hidden passage, and even a boat race. As with most of Nancy's stories, it's not difficult to figure out who the bad guy/s are, but the solution to the entry into the library isn't quite so obvious--in part, because Nancy initial checks the area and can't find anything. Reading this now, I appreciate all the fun factors in the story a lot more and it was nice to see Burt and Dave get a little more action this time. Good story. ★★★★

First lines: Nancy Drew stared incredulously at the motel clerk. "But I made reservations!"

Last line: "All of us forget things now and then--even," he added, patting her hand, "the best of young lady detectives!"

Deaths = one drowned (there were others, but only one named)

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