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Nancy Drew arrives in Phoenix, Arizona, eagerly looking forward to a fun-filled vacation at Shadow Ranch, but abruptly finds herself involved in a baffling mystery. The ranch is being haunted by an unknown enemy. Local people believe that the ghostly animal is carrying out the curse of Dirk Valentine, the romantic outlaw who was killed many years ago at Shadow Ranch, where he had gone to fulfill a promise to his sweetheart. Aided by her friends Bess Marvin and George Fayne, Nancy comes face-to-face with disaster when she is trapped inside a building that is toppled by a rockslide —a rockslide which is deliberately caused. But the pretty titian-haired detective remains undaunted in her determination to solve the mystery.
Published: Penguin Group on
ISBN: 9781440673689
List price: $6.99
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Availability for Nancy Drew 05: The Secret of Shadow Ranch by Carolyn Keene
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This continues my series of comparative reviews of the 1930s and 1950s editions of the Nancy Drew books.

Shadow Ranch was the mystery with the biggest divergence of story so far. I've been trying to read them more or less in parallel, but that was pretty much impossible here - they're basically two distinct stories with different plots entirely.

In the 1930s version, there are two main mysteries - what happened to Alice's father, and what's the deal with the little blonde girl who lives with the mysterious old women in the mountain shack. The majority of the book takes place on horseback in the mountains, where the girls have various adventures and Nancy shoots a lynx and a rattlesnake, leads them across raging floodwaters, and finds them shelter when they're lost overnight. Her clever deduction and a telegram back to her father for research solves one mystery, and the other gets wrapped up almost coincidentally.

In the 1950s version, a phantom horse is frightening the inhabitants of the ranch and Nancy learns about the legend of an outlaw's treasure hidden somewhere on the property. Alice's father is still missing, but it's on a much shorter timeframe (months instead of years) and a much less subtle solution. Nearly all of the sleuthing takes place in the farmhouse, with hidden clues and trapdoors and all, or in town. There are a couple of wilderness excursions, but not nearly as many, nor does Nancy do anything particularly butch - even the flood rescue is credited entirely to her "water horse." Obligatory shopping and cooking scenes are inserted, and much is made of the girls' clothes and hair at every occasion.

These are basically not the same book at all, despite the title in common, and the 1930s version is by far the more interesting one.more
Nancy Drew and her friends wanted to go to a ranch camp for the summer but the owner of the camp said that they might not be able to stay at the camp because of the mystery horse the horse is a shodow horse who belonged to a man the owned the ranch a long time ago and the man had burried tresure on the ranch somwhere and they were hoping nancey and her freinds would help solve the mystery and find the tresure.more
This is my fifth Nancy Drew Book in a month. Although I'm not sure who really wrote this book, it's obvious it's a different writer. Nancy's engaged friend Helen Corning is gone and the cousins George and Bess have replaced her. This book takes Nancy to Arizona far from River Heights and her family. Her father, Carson Drew and housekeeper Hannah Gruen are only mentioned in passing and play no part in this book. Also we hear for the first time of a boyfriend - Ned. Those who have read other Nancy Drew books know that George, Bess and their boyfriends along with Ned, become mainstays later. Nancy as usual, is just trying to have a nice vacation and knit a sweater for her father. She no sooner lands at the airport than I mystery lands in her bag - a rattlesnake rattle, then a mysterious man leave a message in the car she and her friends are driving. Something or someone is haunting Shadow Ranch. There is a second mystery - George and Bess's uncle is missing from the bank where he is president. The authorities think he might have been part of a robbery there, but his daughter and the cousins don't think so. Not only is Nancy a good sleuth, but in this book she's an excellent equestrian and a great baker. She meets a woman who runs a store in Tumbleweed and saves the store from robbery. Because of her heroism, the woman gives Nancy an old watch which just happens to have a clue to mystery. Rock slides, a phantom horse, an old west romance, and a ghost town all play a part in this mystery. Of course, in the end, Nancy solves the mystery of the ranch, finds the treasure, rescues the bank president and leads the sheriff to the bad guy. When the dust clears, everyone loves Nancy and she's a bit wistful because the case is done and she doesn't know when she'll find another one - but she can finish knitting her father's sweater. A bit on the hokey side for the 21st century - no cell phones, computer or other technology. The author describes the clothes, especially the "squaw" dresses the girls choose to wear to the BBQ. And I found it amusing that when the girls go to town to eat, they have tacos and the word is in italics. Obviously, this was a foreign food to most. I had to chuckle because where I live in Michigan, we have a Taco Bell and 5 authentic Mexican restaurants in town, plus the Eagles, the VFW, and the local bar all have taco day. But while the author emphasizes the word, she doesn't describe what they are. She does go into great detail about the cake that nice is baking. These are fun books to read - if for no other reason than to have a glimpse into what was important in a by-gone time.more
This book has several good things going for it. 1- The description of the scenery sounds wonderful. 2- She helps an abused child. 3- She gets a family back together. And 4- And they have to spend the night in a cave when they get lost.more
This is easily in my top ten favorite Nancy Drew list. I have the version of the story from the 1950s, which I'm told is different from the 1930s version in plot points, though it is the full 25 chapters.Since it's a Nancy Drew, it is of course subject to the laws of all Nancy Drew stories, so I don't suppose there's much purpose in commenting on them. In this book, she, Bess, and George go with a friend to a ranch in the mountains in the West where they do exciting things like ride horses on trails, get caught in thunderstorms, locked in shacks, and threatened by poisonous snakes.What I like about The Secret at Shadow Ranch is the interaction between Nancy, Bess, and George. I love the two friends and I'm always so pleased when they get plenty of screen time (so to speak), and even happier when they're allowed to have personalities. I mean, they're still subject to the Nancy Drew Universe Laws, where George is boyish and adventurous and Bess is plump and a bit silly, but they felt a bit less two-dimensional than usual here.Also, thinking back on it, I don't think the mystery was completely transparent the way it can be in the Stratemeyer Syndicate series. It wasn't crazy difficult to figure out before Nancy, but I also didn't know the end result as soon as the culprits were introduced, either.more
This one is one of my favorites, it's also a computer game.more
The first Nancy Drew book I ever read, and it got me very addicted. I orginally read it just because I like horses, but it proved to be so much better then I'd thought it would be.more
Enjoyable despite the contrived plot (if you see a secondary character in the first act, that person will be significant to the mystery). As long as I remember that the plot won't require cleverness to solve, then I'm not disappointed. Yay, for the girls' thirties hair! Also noticed that one of the changes with the fifties' edition was giving George the long-name Georgia. Here, she's originally named George (because her family was expecting a boy).more
Read all 8 reviews

Reviews

This continues my series of comparative reviews of the 1930s and 1950s editions of the Nancy Drew books.

Shadow Ranch was the mystery with the biggest divergence of story so far. I've been trying to read them more or less in parallel, but that was pretty much impossible here - they're basically two distinct stories with different plots entirely.

In the 1930s version, there are two main mysteries - what happened to Alice's father, and what's the deal with the little blonde girl who lives with the mysterious old women in the mountain shack. The majority of the book takes place on horseback in the mountains, where the girls have various adventures and Nancy shoots a lynx and a rattlesnake, leads them across raging floodwaters, and finds them shelter when they're lost overnight. Her clever deduction and a telegram back to her father for research solves one mystery, and the other gets wrapped up almost coincidentally.

In the 1950s version, a phantom horse is frightening the inhabitants of the ranch and Nancy learns about the legend of an outlaw's treasure hidden somewhere on the property. Alice's father is still missing, but it's on a much shorter timeframe (months instead of years) and a much less subtle solution. Nearly all of the sleuthing takes place in the farmhouse, with hidden clues and trapdoors and all, or in town. There are a couple of wilderness excursions, but not nearly as many, nor does Nancy do anything particularly butch - even the flood rescue is credited entirely to her "water horse." Obligatory shopping and cooking scenes are inserted, and much is made of the girls' clothes and hair at every occasion.

These are basically not the same book at all, despite the title in common, and the 1930s version is by far the more interesting one.more
Nancy Drew and her friends wanted to go to a ranch camp for the summer but the owner of the camp said that they might not be able to stay at the camp because of the mystery horse the horse is a shodow horse who belonged to a man the owned the ranch a long time ago and the man had burried tresure on the ranch somwhere and they were hoping nancey and her freinds would help solve the mystery and find the tresure.more
This is my fifth Nancy Drew Book in a month. Although I'm not sure who really wrote this book, it's obvious it's a different writer. Nancy's engaged friend Helen Corning is gone and the cousins George and Bess have replaced her. This book takes Nancy to Arizona far from River Heights and her family. Her father, Carson Drew and housekeeper Hannah Gruen are only mentioned in passing and play no part in this book. Also we hear for the first time of a boyfriend - Ned. Those who have read other Nancy Drew books know that George, Bess and their boyfriends along with Ned, become mainstays later. Nancy as usual, is just trying to have a nice vacation and knit a sweater for her father. She no sooner lands at the airport than I mystery lands in her bag - a rattlesnake rattle, then a mysterious man leave a message in the car she and her friends are driving. Something or someone is haunting Shadow Ranch. There is a second mystery - George and Bess's uncle is missing from the bank where he is president. The authorities think he might have been part of a robbery there, but his daughter and the cousins don't think so. Not only is Nancy a good sleuth, but in this book she's an excellent equestrian and a great baker. She meets a woman who runs a store in Tumbleweed and saves the store from robbery. Because of her heroism, the woman gives Nancy an old watch which just happens to have a clue to mystery. Rock slides, a phantom horse, an old west romance, and a ghost town all play a part in this mystery. Of course, in the end, Nancy solves the mystery of the ranch, finds the treasure, rescues the bank president and leads the sheriff to the bad guy. When the dust clears, everyone loves Nancy and she's a bit wistful because the case is done and she doesn't know when she'll find another one - but she can finish knitting her father's sweater. A bit on the hokey side for the 21st century - no cell phones, computer or other technology. The author describes the clothes, especially the "squaw" dresses the girls choose to wear to the BBQ. And I found it amusing that when the girls go to town to eat, they have tacos and the word is in italics. Obviously, this was a foreign food to most. I had to chuckle because where I live in Michigan, we have a Taco Bell and 5 authentic Mexican restaurants in town, plus the Eagles, the VFW, and the local bar all have taco day. But while the author emphasizes the word, she doesn't describe what they are. She does go into great detail about the cake that nice is baking. These are fun books to read - if for no other reason than to have a glimpse into what was important in a by-gone time.more
This book has several good things going for it. 1- The description of the scenery sounds wonderful. 2- She helps an abused child. 3- She gets a family back together. And 4- And they have to spend the night in a cave when they get lost.more
This is easily in my top ten favorite Nancy Drew list. I have the version of the story from the 1950s, which I'm told is different from the 1930s version in plot points, though it is the full 25 chapters.Since it's a Nancy Drew, it is of course subject to the laws of all Nancy Drew stories, so I don't suppose there's much purpose in commenting on them. In this book, she, Bess, and George go with a friend to a ranch in the mountains in the West where they do exciting things like ride horses on trails, get caught in thunderstorms, locked in shacks, and threatened by poisonous snakes.What I like about The Secret at Shadow Ranch is the interaction between Nancy, Bess, and George. I love the two friends and I'm always so pleased when they get plenty of screen time (so to speak), and even happier when they're allowed to have personalities. I mean, they're still subject to the Nancy Drew Universe Laws, where George is boyish and adventurous and Bess is plump and a bit silly, but they felt a bit less two-dimensional than usual here.Also, thinking back on it, I don't think the mystery was completely transparent the way it can be in the Stratemeyer Syndicate series. It wasn't crazy difficult to figure out before Nancy, but I also didn't know the end result as soon as the culprits were introduced, either.more
This one is one of my favorites, it's also a computer game.more
The first Nancy Drew book I ever read, and it got me very addicted. I orginally read it just because I like horses, but it proved to be so much better then I'd thought it would be.more
Enjoyable despite the contrived plot (if you see a secondary character in the first act, that person will be significant to the mystery). As long as I remember that the plot won't require cleverness to solve, then I'm not disappointed. Yay, for the girls' thirties hair! Also noticed that one of the changes with the fifties' edition was giving George the long-name Georgia. Here, she's originally named George (because her family was expecting a boy).more
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