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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 a phantom horse and maliciously damaged by an unknown enemy. Local people believe that the ghostly animal is carrying out the curse of Dirk Valentine, the romantic outlaw who was k 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 a phantom horse and maliciously damaged 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. Suspecting that a treasure hidden by Valentine may be at the root of the Shadow Ranch mystery, Nancy undertakes a challenging search, aided by her friends Bess Marvin and George Fayne. The first vital clue is found in an antique watch and sparks a series of clever deductions and dangerous developments. While seeking further clues, the girls' investigation in a ghost town ends in a near disaster when Nancy 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.


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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 a phantom horse and maliciously damaged by an unknown enemy. Local people believe that the ghostly animal is carrying out the curse of Dirk Valentine, the romantic outlaw who was k 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 a phantom horse and maliciously damaged 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. Suspecting that a treasure hidden by Valentine may be at the root of the Shadow Ranch mystery, Nancy undertakes a challenging search, aided by her friends Bess Marvin and George Fayne. The first vital clue is found in an antique watch and sparks a series of clever deductions and dangerous developments. While seeking further clues, the girls' investigation in a ghost town ends in a near disaster when Nancy 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.

30 review for The Secret of Shadow Ranch

  1. 5 out of 5

    Julie

    Ah. . . the 1930s. . . it was a sweeter, gentler time. . . a time with neither Coronavirus nor market looting. Yes, there was something called The Great Depression and you may have heard the rumors that there was some nasty racism, too, but none of these ugly matters plague our young heroine, Nancy, in this, or in any other, of her adventures. For “titian-haired Nancy was a trim figure in her olive-green knit with matching shoes” and, even when she and her young female friends are threatened at t Ah. . . the 1930s. . . it was a sweeter, gentler time. . . a time with neither Coronavirus nor market looting. Yes, there was something called The Great Depression and you may have heard the rumors that there was some nasty racism, too, but none of these ugly matters plague our young heroine, Nancy, in this, or in any other, of her adventures. For “titian-haired Nancy was a trim figure in her olive-green knit with matching shoes” and, even when she and her young female friends are threatened at the Phoenix airport and stranded alongside the road in the hot, Arizona desert, help is never far away for a stunning young detective at whom “admiring glances were [always] cast.” Life is good for a white, affluent female on vacation in 1930s Arizona with tanned farmhands standing by, helping her mount her steed for a vigorous ride or pulling up hard on the rope to give her release. But Nancy's not alone. Yes, it's true; her dearest companion, Helen Corning, has disappeared, poof, with no further explanation (so cold, Nancy!), but Bess and George, Nancy's future companions in most or all of the remaining stories, make their debut here, in book 5. Ned, Nancy's future “preferred date,” makes his first “appearance” in this one, too. As the hunky farmhand, Dave, asks Nancy out to a barbecue, George jokes, “What'll poor Ned do?” A saucy Nancy replies, “We'll be home by the time he gets back from Europe.” (You go, girl!) When I declared to my daughter that there seemed to be actual flirting going on here, in book #5, she rolled her eyes and said, “That's because you flirt with everyone, Mom.” Well, I'm not sure about that, but when the hunky Tex is asked to make a chocolate walnut cake with the three super attractive amateur sleuths in the kitchen, the reader is told: Tex grinned as he picked up a nutcracker. “Boys, we hired out to punch cows and here we are, peelin' nuts!” Now, am I reading too much into that?? The Secret of Shadow Ranch is different in several ways, especially when compared to the first four books in the series. So much so, I wonder if this was the first instance of a change of author, since “Carolyn Keene” was the pen name that many different authors used to write for the same series. And, as far as multiculturalism goes, there is almost a little, in this one. There's a character in this story, Mary Deer, who is referred to as “The Indian girl.” Even though Mary Deer is an adult shopkeeper in town, and apparently is grown up enough to pay taxes on her store's revenue, she is known as “the Indian girl.” This gave me another opportunity to stare down my 11-year-old and say, for the 400th time, “You do know that a woman is not a girl and a girl is not a woman, right?” And, when “the girls” go to Phoenix for a day of shopping, they “[stroll] down the street to a Spanish restaurant. Here they ate a delicious lunch of tacos and spicy chili.” I do believe the author meant “Mexican” and I wonder if any of the servers at the restaurant were brown? They weren't mentioned, but I could almost picture them there. Perhaps the ghost writer for Carolyn Keene was actually P.L. Travers, who, around the same time (1934) wrote the most racially disturbing children's novel of all time (Mary Poppins)? All in all, despite my wisecracks about the obsessive focus here on people's appearances and the lack of characters of color, the writing in this series is so solid, it's hard to scrutinize, and the stories continue to be page-turners. Nancy, despite her white-entitled lifestyle, remains a source of girl power, and I wonder if it's a coincidence (or intentional), that the writer included a scene with Nancy chasing bad guys while broncobusters, in the background, perform rodeo acts on wild horses that will essentially render the male riders eunuchs? You decide!

  2. 5 out of 5

    Sheri

    As I began to read, I sensed something different in this fifth volume in the Nancy Drew mysteries. In fact, there are several differences. First, the book starts with Nancy in Phoenix. In the previous books, Nancy is at home in River Heights, or at least not too far away, and the mystery comes to her. She is sought out for her sleuthing skills and to solve the mystery. In The Secret of Shadow Ranch, she goes to Arizona to meet up with friends and discovers the mystery at hand. That brings us to As I began to read, I sensed something different in this fifth volume in the Nancy Drew mysteries. In fact, there are several differences. First, the book starts with Nancy in Phoenix. In the previous books, Nancy is at home in River Heights, or at least not too far away, and the mystery comes to her. She is sought out for her sleuthing skills and to solve the mystery. In The Secret of Shadow Ranch, she goes to Arizona to meet up with friends and discovers the mystery at hand. That brings us to the introduction of her two best friends, George and Bess. This is the first book in the series where they are mentioned and become supporting characters. I must also note the brief mention of Ned Nickerson, who in later books is Nancy's boyfriend. Also, Nancy is much more of an independent detective in this volume. Her father, Carson Drew, and her housekeeper, Hannah Gruen, are not there to offer guidance and support. Sure, she has her friends close at hand, but there is a feeling of more independence and tightened focus on Nancy's sleuthing abilities. I found this complex mystery to be slightly more sinister than the previous ones Nancy has solved, but perhaps that is due to the nature of the ranch scene and the rugged characters. Young readers will learn new vocabulary relating to cowboys and rodeos. Overall, a solid mystery with several elements for the young reader to puzzle out.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Jeremy Preacher

    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 m 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.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Michael Finocchiaro

    In this 5th adventure of brilliant girl detective Nancy Drew, there are phantom horses, cute cowboys, rockslides and apple pies - all you'd expect from a good Nancy adventure. My daughter might already be outgrowing these stories - her rapidly maturing 8-year old mind is already deep into Harry Potter - but I still loved reading this little classic to her with wild horse rides, square dancing (is that even still a thing?), and hijinks galore. In this 5th adventure of brilliant girl detective Nancy Drew, there are phantom horses, cute cowboys, rockslides and apple pies - all you'd expect from a good Nancy adventure. My daughter might already be outgrowing these stories - her rapidly maturing 8-year old mind is already deep into Harry Potter - but I still loved reading this little classic to her with wild horse rides, square dancing (is that even still a thing?), and hijinks galore.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Charles van Buren

    Charles van Buren Read the original edition September 7, 2019 Format: Hardcover Review by Catherine, grade five. On Amazon it is really hard to tell which edition you are buying. I got the original. There were other editions in the 1960's that made Nancy more girly. I'm not a girly girl. Read the originals. One of my best friends lives on a horse ranch and riding school so I picked this book for AR at my school. It was a really good mystery and treasure hunt. Charles van Buren Read the original edition September 7, 2019 Format: Hardcover Review by Catherine, grade five. On Amazon it is really hard to tell which edition you are buying. I got the original. There were other editions in the 1960's that made Nancy more girly. I'm not a girly girl. Read the originals. One of my best friends lives on a horse ranch and riding school so I picked this book for AR at my school. It was a really good mystery and treasure hunt.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Mark Baker

    It’s summer, and Nancy has been invited to spend it with her best friends Bess Marvin and George Fayne on the ranch their uncle Ed and aunt Bet have just bought in Arizona. However, she has barely landed when she learns that things aren’t going well on the ranch. Someone is trying to drive the new owners off the land with acts of sabotage, most of which are foreshadowed by a phantom horse. There is a legend that an old outlaw cursed the ranch, but Nancy thinks the culprits are more modern and ve It’s summer, and Nancy has been invited to spend it with her best friends Bess Marvin and George Fayne on the ranch their uncle Ed and aunt Bet have just bought in Arizona. However, she has barely landed when she learns that things aren’t going well on the ranch. Someone is trying to drive the new owners off the land with acts of sabotage, most of which are foreshadowed by a phantom horse. There is a legend that an old outlaw cursed the ranch, but Nancy thinks the culprits are more modern and very real. Can she figure out what is going on and why? This may be the fifth book in the series, but this is the first time we are seeing Bess and George, Nancy’s usual sleuthing companions. They jump right in here for another action-packed story. The general plot outline is fairly obvious early on, including a massive coincidence in the story, but that didn’t keep me from turning pages as quickly as I could. As an adult I find the characters thinner than I remember, but we still like them enough to care about the outcome. Since the book was last updated in the 1950’s, some of the language is a little dated (it even stopped me a little), but I doubt it will slow down today’s kids as they race to see how Nancy will piece together this fun mystery. Read my full review at Carstairs Considers.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Jaksen

    Well, of the four I've recently read, The Secret of the Old Clock (#1), The Bungalow Mystery (#3), The Mystery of Lilac Inn (#4) and this one, The Secret of Shadow Ranch (#5), this is by far the best. (I can't find my TWO copies of The Hidden Staircase (#2), so haven't re-read and reviewed it yet.) This mystery, considering it's the world of Nancy Drew, is well-written, and contains clues, evidence, and a storyline that seems more natural than the others and less 'forced.' Nancy does move from on Well, of the four I've recently read, The Secret of the Old Clock (#1), The Bungalow Mystery (#3), The Mystery of Lilac Inn (#4) and this one, The Secret of Shadow Ranch (#5), this is by far the best. (I can't find my TWO copies of The Hidden Staircase (#2), so haven't re-read and reviewed it yet.) This mystery, considering it's the world of Nancy Drew, is well-written, and contains clues, evidence, and a storyline that seems more natural than the others and less 'forced.' Nancy does move from one dangerous situation to the next, but there are interludes where she drinks tea, sings cowboy songs, bakes a cake, goes for a horseback ride and does 'in between stuff' which writers often stick in a book to give the reader a breather between dangerous, exciting, life-threatening stuff. The story here involves a 'treasure' which a cowboy hid many years earlier for his lady love. Unfortunately the cowboy dies; the lady love leaves and marries another and here we are about seventy-eighty years later trying to find said treasure. Nancy has been told this story, and as a background story it's presented in very detailed form. This shows that someone put a lot of thought into it. I tend to think whoever this 'Carolyn Keene' was, he or she had a background in writing and possibly was an already-published writer under another name. Just a theory... Anyhow there is no father, prominent lawyer Carson Drew about to drag things down and express his constant concern for his daughter who is always running around, getting tied up, mixing with the wrong crowd, and so on. In this story, Nancy is visiting the aunt and uncle of her two friends, Bess and George, on a ranch outside of Phoenix. (And real places! Not too many unnecessary characters either to keep track of! Less emphasis on hair color, too. :D ) At any rate, the aunt and uncle are having troubles a'plenty: electric lines being cut, fences taken down, their expensive palominos running wild across the prairie, and worst of all, a phantom horse which appears out of nowhere and scares the locals' pants off. (Especially the kindly cook who threatens to leave if that durn phantom horse keeps coming by!) There are hidden passageways, a ghost town, a cabin in the mountains, a raging river to ford, cliff dwellings, a barbecue AND a rodeo, and a sing-a-long AND a square dance. In stereotypical western terms, this book has it all! (I forgot to mention a subplot involving a bank robbery and a missing father who's an artist, and the fact that one part of this book is a little politically incorrect. At a barbecue the girls 'dress up' as 'squaws,' though there is nothing derogatory in the passage, except that word and the fact they're 'dressing up.' Need to mention that.) One important fact, this is the first mention of long-time friends of Nancy: Bess (always called plump though she looks pretty skinny to me in the drawings of her) and George (a tomboy, if you can't figure it out from the name.) Ned is also mentioned as a friend of Nancy's - a serious friend, get it? - but he makes no appearance. In fact there's this cowboy who's got his eye on Nancy but being a PG sort of book they don't even so much as hold hands though I KNOW the cowboy would like to take Nancy off into the mountains for a little 'clue gathering.' (Nancy is forever hunting around for clues, for those who aren't in the know.) At any rate, the story seems more mature than the first four I read, and I think it reflects the fact that it was written by someone else. Carolyn Keene wasn't a real person, but over time, was several different writers, and at times two or more writers working together, so... This is the best of the bunch so far.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Carrie

    I would love to see another edition of this book. In the order of the series, this is number five, but Ned Nickerson, Nancy's longtime and long suffering boyfriend gets several mentions. Too bad he doesn't make his first appearance until book seven! I have the "purple" editions, the double editions that were published two books to each volume as a collectible set. The books have, over the years, gone through a lot of edits to "update" them. I'd love to know if this quirk is particular to a certa I would love to see another edition of this book. In the order of the series, this is number five, but Ned Nickerson, Nancy's longtime and long suffering boyfriend gets several mentions. Too bad he doesn't make his first appearance until book seven! I have the "purple" editions, the double editions that were published two books to each volume as a collectible set. The books have, over the years, gone through a lot of edits to "update" them. I'd love to know if this quirk is particular to a certain edition (ie, the editors knew Ned was Nancy's boyfriend, so they inserted mentions of him, when chronologically they hadn't met).

  9. 4 out of 5

    One Code 431

    Considering it's a small book i did take my time reading this book and everytime i return to this book its almost felt like returning to a friend and i loved every second of it.!! The characters were so fun and lovey especially the girls were so fun and didn't shy away from the dangers it truly truly fun and a lovely read. Dave is my crush i Loved him . and i would have loved to see Nancy and Dave having a conversation sad that didn't happen !!!! "!! Her friend smiled. “Work on the sweater I’m kni Considering it's a small book i did take my time reading this book and everytime i return to this book its almost felt like returning to a friend and i loved every second of it.!! The characters were so fun and lovey especially the girls were so fun and didn't shy away from the dangers it truly truly fun and a lovely read. Dave is my crush i Loved him . and i would have loved to see Nancy and Dave having a conversation sad that didn't happen !!!! "!! Her friend smiled. “Work on the sweater I’m knitting for Dad.” She did not know then that soon she would become involved in The Secret of Red Gate Farm. But George knew that Nancy and mystery were never far apart. She gave a sigh of mock sadness. “I hope your dad doesn’t need that sweater very soon!” !!

  10. 5 out of 5

    Moonkiszt

    Purty good!

  11. 4 out of 5

    Abigail

    Nancy Drew and her friends George Fayne and Bess Marvin head to Arizona in this fifth installment of the classic mystery series for young readers. As George and Bess' aunt, Mrs. Rawley, works to get Shadow Ranch into better condition in order to sell it, the girls have a series of exciting adventures in the mountains, confronting wild lynx and cougars, and fording raging rivers. Nancy also finds herself getting involved in a local mystery, as she investigates the nasty Martha Frank and her abusi Nancy Drew and her friends George Fayne and Bess Marvin head to Arizona in this fifth installment of the classic mystery series for young readers. As George and Bess' aunt, Mrs. Rawley, works to get Shadow Ranch into better condition in order to sell it, the girls have a series of exciting adventures in the mountains, confronting wild lynx and cougars, and fording raging rivers. Nancy also finds herself getting involved in a local mystery, as she investigates the nasty Martha Frank and her abusive relationship to her ward, the young Lucy Shaw. In true Nancy Drew style, involving lots of coincidence and serendipity, the resolution of this puzzle also solves another mystery, healing an old wound in the family life of Alice Regor, George and Bess' cousin, who accompanied the girls to Arizona... The Secret at Shadow Ranch is notable in the Nancy Drew Mystery Stories series, in that it introduces George and Bess, who become Nancy's best friends throughout the rest of the series, replacing the earlier Helen Corning, who seems to just disappear. I read the Applewood Books facsimile reproduction of the original 1931 edition, rather than the revised and condensed edition put out in the 1950s (the one with the yellow cover and spine), and it featured an introduction from Mildred Wirt Benson, the author who wrote the first twenty-three books in the series, under the pseudonym 'Carolyn Keene.' It's interesting to note that she considered this one of her favorites, of the Nancy Drew books she wrote. Given the western setting, and the date of publication, I was expecting some outdated depictions of Native Americans and/or Latinos, but surprisingly, there was none of that here. Ironically, given the fact that the rewrites done in the late 1950s and early 60s were intended to scrub some of the overt racism of the original books, they apparently added in some patronizing content in that regard. I usually find that these earlier, original editions of Nancy Drew have more outdated, and quite uncomfortable social content, but also better writing and more interesting historical details. Reading them is a trade-off. Here however, you apparently have the best of both worlds! Recommended to fans of Nancy Drew, who enjoyed previous installments of the series.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Jessica Schwartz

    A patron let me borrow a copy of the book in its original 1931 form, and it was such a fun throwback. I particularly liked how when Nancy and Co. couldn't get a man to accompany them on their hike into the mountains, their aunt thought they should at least take a revolver to keep them safe. And spoiler alert...Nancy ends up shooting an animal that is now on the endangered species list because she is one badass beeyotch. A patron let me borrow a copy of the book in its original 1931 form, and it was such a fun throwback. I particularly liked how when Nancy and Co. couldn't get a man to accompany them on their hike into the mountains, their aunt thought they should at least take a revolver to keep them safe. And spoiler alert...Nancy ends up shooting an animal that is now on the endangered species list because she is one badass beeyotch.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Kristen

    This was pretty lame. It could barely hold my attention.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Kristina

    I’m pleased to report that Nancy Drew, my second nostalgia read of the month, has held up well over the years. The Secret of Shadow Ranch (Nancy Drew #5) by Carolyn Keene is not a bad little mystery. There’s not a lot of character development, but at least everyone has a distinct personality and the book is fast-paced and enjoyable. The plot isn’t all that believable, but that’s okay. Super sleuth, titian-haired Nancy Drew and her friends Bess and George head to Shadow Ranch near Phoenix, AZ for I’m pleased to report that Nancy Drew, my second nostalgia read of the month, has held up well over the years. The Secret of Shadow Ranch (Nancy Drew #5) by Carolyn Keene is not a bad little mystery. There’s not a lot of character development, but at least everyone has a distinct personality and the book is fast-paced and enjoyable. The plot isn’t all that believable, but that’s okay. Super sleuth, titian-haired Nancy Drew and her friends Bess and George head to Shadow Ranch near Phoenix, AZ for a fun vacation. However, they learn that the ranch is being plagued by visits from a mysterious phantom horse and vandalized property. Either the ranch is being haunted by the ghost horse of a killed outlaw or someone is attempting to force the owners from the ranch—the location of the killed outlaw’s mythical treasure. Despite being warned away, Nancy Drew is determined to solve the ghost horse mystery, and the possibly related mystery of a kidnapped bank manager. The story is a fast read that kept my attention even when it became obvious who the bad guys were (not exactly rocket science). The plot is rather silly though because it’s not believable that (view spoiler)[the Chicago gang who robbed the bank would kidnap the bank manager and hold him captive for six months. That requires feeding the guy, housing him somewhere secure, plus they moved him from Chicago to the Shadow Ranch because (as the newly rescued bank manager says) they’re Westerners who wanted to lay low there until the police forgot about them. That makes no sense. They supposedly kidnapped him because he saw their faces—um, yeah, they’d just kill him. So while they were holding him captive, these same criminals were also doing the phantom horse nonsense because they wanted the Dirk Valentine mythic treasure as well. Considering they just robbed a bank, you’d think they would split the loot and keep quiet, not kidnap bank managers (thus assuring the police would still be looking for them) and get involved in more shenanigans. (hide spoiler)] Nancy, the 18-year-old with (constantly described) “titian hair,” is apparently the only person smart enough to solve these mysteries. Of course, she’s a girl, so when the men praise her for her logical thinking it’s always with a faint air of surprise—as in, she has ovaries AND a working brain! Golly gee! The illustrations in the book show the fairly typical 1950s/60s type people—all white, the men square-jawed and the women with short, attractively styled hair. The women wear slacks more often than usual because they are, after all, on a dude ranch and riding horses. The dialogue is hilarious. The gang’s stolen money is constantly described as “the loot” and the sheriff says stuff like this: “I can see you’re a capable gal, Miss Drew, but you got to be extra careful from now on, ’cause those thievin’ hombres’ll want to keep all o’ you tenderfeet quiet” and “I’ll nab the varmints.” There are twenty chapters in this book and every chapter, with one exception, ends with dramatic punctuation like this: “Nancy flew from the saddle and hit the ground so hard she blacked out!” (105). Even the bad guys get overly dramatic lines: “You played your last trick on me, Nancy Drew!” I expect to hear the dramatic music: duh duh DUH! Even Mrs. Thurmond, the cook, gets some drama. When she’s had enough of the phantom horse, she puts on a special hat that apparently means “I’m getting the hell out” and everyone is sad. Not that they will miss her, per se. They just don’t want to do the cooking. All in all, Nancy Drew and the Secret of Shadow Ranch is enjoyable still. I don’t think I want to read the whole series again, but I’m glad that this particular childhood favorite has (for the most part) stood the test of time.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Bronwyn

    This is one of the Nancy drew mysteries and as always is in an interesting location when Nancy is on vacation and comes across a theft she gets to solve, it is a good book for young adults

  16. 5 out of 5

    Tarissa

    A fun mystery that takes Nancy Drew to a ranch with a phantom horse mystery. Although I have to admit that my favorite character is Chief the dog (who politely asked Nancy if he could ride on a horse with her, to get across the river... too cute!).

  17. 4 out of 5

    Orinoco Womble (tidy bag and all)

    First published 1931, but my copy must have come in for one of those 1960s rewrites, because man it was bland. No real thirties feel, except maybe the whole dude-ranch thing (which was also a trope in the Henry Reed novels written in the late fifties, so you can't go by that either.) Not sure why I found this one so dull except that even for a ND it seemed awfully superficial. I was surprised when told that Bess and George were invited to the ranch, and Nancy "easily convinced" them to invite he First published 1931, but my copy must have come in for one of those 1960s rewrites, because man it was bland. No real thirties feel, except maybe the whole dude-ranch thing (which was also a trope in the Henry Reed novels written in the late fifties, so you can't go by that either.) Not sure why I found this one so dull except that even for a ND it seemed awfully superficial. I was surprised when told that Bess and George were invited to the ranch, and Nancy "easily convinced" them to invite her too. In other words, she invited herself--horned in on someone else's vacation!! The adults act like kids, turning to "the young sleuth" every five minutes for advice and help--they have been totally at the mercy of the unknown manipulators of events till she showed up! I must have missed an installment somewhere, as Nancy now has Bess and George in tow everywhere and mention is made of her soppy ol' boyfriend. I preferred the previous originals, where Nancy travelled around without an entourage. The actual sleuthing is mostly packed into the last quarter or so of the book, and the scene with the bad guys was laughably bad.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Maria

    Saddle up and join Nancy (along with the first appearance of her best chums, cousins Bess Marvin and George Fayne) as she travels to Phoenix for her next mystery. There's a scene where they all dress up in Indian squaw costumes for a dance in this definitely now historical (but still charming) story. Saddle up and join Nancy (along with the first appearance of her best chums, cousins Bess Marvin and George Fayne) as she travels to Phoenix for her next mystery. There's a scene where they all dress up in Indian squaw costumes for a dance in this definitely now historical (but still charming) story.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Out of the Bex

    Sadly I didn’t read Nancy Drew as a child, but I’m making up for it now. I have become absolutely obsessed with the series! This one and book #1 are my favorites so far!

  20. 5 out of 5

    Wenqian-1e3

    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 huanted by a phantom horse and maliciously damaged by an unknown enermy . Local people believe that the ghostly animal is carrying out the curse of Dir-k Valentine , the romantic outlaw who was killed many years ago at Shadow Ranch , where hee had gone to fulfill a promise to his sweetheart . Suspecting that a 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 huanted by a phantom horse and maliciously damaged by an unknown enermy . Local people believe that the ghostly animal is carrying out the curse of Dir-k Valentine , the romantic outlaw who was killed many years ago at Shadow Ranch , where hee had gone to fulfill a promise to his sweetheart . Suspecting that a treasure hidden by Valentine may be at the root of the Shado Ranch mystery , Nancy undertakes a challenging search , aided by her friends Bess Marvin and George Fayne . The first vital clue is found in an antique watch and sparks a series of clever deductions and dangerous developements . While seeking further clues , the girls' investigation in a ghost town ends in near disaster when Nancy is trapped inside a building that is toppled by a rockslide-a rockslide which is deliberately caused . But the pretty titan-haired detective remains undaunted in her determination to solve the mystery . For those who enjoy a suspenful thriller , Nancy Drew's first Western adventure makes truly fascinating readingThe Secret of Shadow Ranch

  21. 5 out of 5

    Kavita

    This is the first Nancy Drew book featuring Bess and George. I had been waiting to meet them, and finally I did! Sadly, this book is not a very interesting one. Nancy goes to spend a holiday with Bess and George at their aunt and uncle Rawling's ranch. Alice, a cousins of Bess and George (but not the Rawling's child) is also there because her father has disappeared. There is a phantom horse that gallops around the place at night and a treasure buried years ago by an outlaw. It all appears to be f This is the first Nancy Drew book featuring Bess and George. I had been waiting to meet them, and finally I did! Sadly, this book is not a very interesting one. Nancy goes to spend a holiday with Bess and George at their aunt and uncle Rawling's ranch. Alice, a cousins of Bess and George (but not the Rawling's child) is also there because her father has disappeared. There is a phantom horse that gallops around the place at night and a treasure buried years ago by an outlaw. It all appears to be fun and games but I really could not get into the story. The version I read is the rewritten version of the 1950s. I am not sure why the Stratemeyer Syndicate felt the need to rewrite the original books, which seem to be much more interesting with original plots. I was mostly bored and some of the characters annoyed me. Bess and George were mostly colourless, though I suppose that can be excused since this was their first appearance. But it did make the story very lacklustre. I can think of any number of Nancy Drews I would rather read than The Secret of Shadow Ranch. Might actually be the worst of the lot!

  22. 4 out of 5

    Whitney

    1931 version Nancy and her gal pals learn to ride horses and on the following days get lost on the dangerous trails five million times. They do not know the 6 "C"s of survival. (Combustion tool, Container, Cordage, Cover, Cutting tool, and Compass) (And yes, the compass had been invented 2000 years ago, so they had No excuse not to have one.) Also, they meet a super nice little girl who for some reason is being forced to live with a mean ol' hag. (ooooh, mysterious.) 1957 version Nancy and her gal p 1931 version Nancy and her gal pals learn to ride horses and on the following days get lost on the dangerous trails five million times. They do not know the 6 "C"s of survival. (Combustion tool, Container, Cordage, Cover, Cutting tool, and Compass) (And yes, the compass had been invented 2000 years ago, so they had No excuse not to have one.) Also, they meet a super nice little girl who for some reason is being forced to live with a mean ol' hag. (ooooh, mysterious.) 1957 version Nancy and her gal pals meet cute cowboys and go to a dance. The menu includes "tacos"—italicized in the book because they are exotic delicacies, and an "ice-cold watermelon" that they won as a prize for dancing the best. The mystery is a glowing horse.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Anna

    Wow, I somehow never read this Nancy Drew canon entry in my youth, but I loved the HerInteractive computer game based on it and this book definitely did justice to my high expectations. Wild West roping, riding, treasure, danger, a great background history love story, and phantoms! I'm barely started in my series read project so I feel it's entirely too soon to name a favorite, but I bet this will be a serious contender. 13-year-old me would have been crazy about this. Wow, I somehow never read this Nancy Drew canon entry in my youth, but I loved the HerInteractive computer game based on it and this book definitely did justice to my high expectations. Wild West roping, riding, treasure, danger, a great background history love story, and phantoms! I'm barely started in my series read project so I feel it's entirely too soon to name a favorite, but I bet this will be a serious contender. 13-year-old me would have been crazy about this.

  24. 5 out of 5

    John Yelverton

    Nancy Drew leaves the big city, but uncovers a mystery in the Arizona wilderness. Another great addition to this book series.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Jerry

    A Quickie Review Good for what it is...but not as good as the other entries in this series, in my opinion. Score: 3/5

  26. 4 out of 5

    Tisha (IG: Bluestocking629)

    Whoo hoo! Nan solved yet another mystery (no need for "spoiler alert" we all know she solves every mystery!). And get this, there was another trap door/secret entrance. Again no need for "spoiler alert" as I suspect there will be more super secret passageways in the next 50+ books as well. Oh and in addition to solving the mystery Nan had time to brush her titian hair until it gleamed. How does she do it!?!? I solve no mysteries yet my hair does not gleam. What gives? Will I ever tire of Nan? Not l Whoo hoo! Nan solved yet another mystery (no need for "spoiler alert" we all know she solves every mystery!). And get this, there was another trap door/secret entrance. Again no need for "spoiler alert" as I suspect there will be more super secret passageways in the next 50+ books as well. Oh and in addition to solving the mystery Nan had time to brush her titian hair until it gleamed. How does she do it!?!? I solve no mysteries yet my hair does not gleam. What gives? Will I ever tire of Nan? Not likely! It's been a great thrill reading Nan again after all these years. Bring on book number 6!

  27. 4 out of 5

    Jamie

    3.5 stars Bit of an old-style western feel to this one. Took me a bit to get into as well. It just didn't grab me very well. I felt that Nancy was sometimes too suspicious in some ways but missed other clues. Alice annoyed me a bit as well so that didn't help. Luckily the story does bit up and was actually a bit more involved than past books which was nice. 3.5 stars Bit of an old-style western feel to this one. Took me a bit to get into as well. It just didn't grab me very well. I felt that Nancy was sometimes too suspicious in some ways but missed other clues. Alice annoyed me a bit as well so that didn't help. Luckily the story does bit up and was actually a bit more involved than past books which was nice.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Debalina

    It's always nice to read the old childhood favourite mystery sleuth who I love and whose criminals are really nice guys, quite stupid, quarrelsome and afraid to kill. Such innocent and sweet criminals they had in those days! :P Happy reading! :) It's always nice to read the old childhood favourite mystery sleuth who I love and whose criminals are really nice guys, quite stupid, quarrelsome and afraid to kill. Such innocent and sweet criminals they had in those days! :P Happy reading! :)

  29. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca Reynolds

    3.5 stars. Yay to finally seeing Bess and George! This is also the first Nancy Drew mystery that I vividly remember playing the computer game for, so I really enjoyed that sense of nostalgia. In terms of story, this was okay. The resolution wrapped up pretty quickly. Also “Eating is really a very fattening hobby, dear cousin” did not have to come at my neck like that, haha.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Katja

    4.5 stars & 5/10 hearts. This story reminded me a little of a Trixie Belden book, as well as a couple other mystery stories I've read. Parts of the mystery were easy to figure out, which was fun, but other parts were a surprise, which was also really enjoyable! I liked the characters, though I was puzzled that Helen disappeared so suddenly and George & Bess arrived out of nowhere. It was a fun, interesting mystery, and well-done overall. 4.5 stars & 5/10 hearts. This story reminded me a little of a Trixie Belden book, as well as a couple other mystery stories I've read. Parts of the mystery were easy to figure out, which was fun, but other parts were a surprise, which was also really enjoyable! I liked the characters, though I was puzzled that Helen disappeared so suddenly and George & Bess arrived out of nowhere. It was a fun, interesting mystery, and well-done overall.

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