Ghost Stories (Nancy Drew: Girl Detective) by Carolyn Keene

Nancy Drew has seen her fair share of “ghosts” and the like, but did you know there are actually three books of Nancy Drew ghost stories? This week I’m going to focus on the most recent of the books, the Nancy Drew, Girl Detective Ghost Stories (AbeBooks) published in 2008. The book consists of four stories:

Manga Mayhem: Bess, George and Nancy go to Tokyo with her dad because he’s involved in a legal battle with two manga artists. When they get there, they discover all sorts of secrets by at least four people involved in the case. I thought this story was just okay, nothing great, and I found out that the Girl Detective series used the term “mystery-dar” a lot. Seriously. As in “mystery radar.” I thought that was a little goofy.

America’s Got Terror: Nancy, Bess and George spend a week in a haunted house for a reality show. Nancy knows that most of the stuff going on in the house is special effects, until she stumbles onto a few things that defy explanation. I know Nancy does all sorts of crazy stuff, but getting involved in a reality TV show, even if it was because Bess asked, seemed a bit far-fetched. She always wants to stay out of the limelight. The bad guy is evident almost right away, although it was interesting to see how he got caught.

Visitor From Beyond: When a new girl, Emily, arrives in River Heights with an air of mystery about her, Nancy is curious. Suspicious things start happening all over town, and it all has to do with an unsolved mystery from 1942. I found this mystery the best of the bunch. Nancy uses her sleuthing skills including poring over old newspaper articles, something a real detective would do. Too often Nancy’s clues are dropped in her lap. This time she has to do some real sleuthing.

Carnival of Fear: It’s time for the re-opening of Funland Park, a place that has been shuttered since Carson Drew was a boy. A girl died on one of the rides, and she’s said to haunt the park. Nancy and the gang discover there’s more to the story, and now their lives are in danger.

In this story, it is revealed that George and Bess have younger siblings, both aged 12, which blew me out of the water. I’ve never read the Girl, Detective series and didn’t know what changes the publishers made. So that was kind of shocking. The other things I noticed was how Bess was not just pretty, but given mechanical skills, and George is still athletic, and a tech gadget whiz. And Nancy now drives a hybrid. How do I know this? Except for the Manga story, it is mentioned. Nancy doesn’t get into her car, she gets into her hybrid, every time. Sort of like the continual use of the phrase “mystery-dar,” that got old quick for me.

Overall, not a bad group of ghost stories, because even though Nancy is scared at various points in the stories, her common sense takes over and she realizes there’s a perfectly rational explanation for the ghostly spirits. In Carnival of Fear, we even get a Scooby Doo ending of sorts, where the bad guys explain everything.

For more information about my favorite sleuth, check out Jenn Fisher’s Unofficial Nancy Drew website, which has a wealth of information.

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