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When Bess Marvin purchased an expensive bottle of Oriental perfume, she never expected to stumble into a mystery. Now Bess, Nancy, George, and their new friend Jo are out to unravel the secrets of a mysterious conspiracy, a secretive cult, and a ring of counterfeiters in The Secret of Red Gate Farm.


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When Bess Marvin purchased an expensive bottle of Oriental perfume, she never expected to stumble into a mystery. Now Bess, Nancy, George, and their new friend Jo are out to unravel the secrets of a mysterious conspiracy, a secretive cult, and a ring of counterfeiters in The Secret of Red Gate Farm.

30 review for The Secret of Red Gate Farm

  1. 4 out of 5

    Sheri

    I don’t remember this one from my childhood, but I’m sure I must have read it. As an adult it is rather absurd, but as a kid looking for adventures, I’m sure it was exciting and suspenseful. As an adult it is always easy to pick out features of children’s mystery books that help give away the clues and allow the reader to potentially solve the mystery on their own. Here we can see how the author makes it easy to pick out the “bad guys.” They are always described using words with negative connotat I don’t remember this one from my childhood, but I’m sure I must have read it. As an adult it is rather absurd, but as a kid looking for adventures, I’m sure it was exciting and suspenseful. As an adult it is always easy to pick out features of children’s mystery books that help give away the clues and allow the reader to potentially solve the mystery on their own. Here we can see how the author makes it easy to pick out the “bad guys.” They are always described using words with negative connotations like rough, hard, penetrating eyes, or even outright hostile. The “good guys” are described using words with positive connotations such as sweet, personable, bright eyes, and warm. There is no wondering whether a character will be friend or foe, just see how they are described. As a kid I’m sure all those scary and mean bad guys were thrilling to read about. No doubt, I imagined myself as Nancy, brave and fearless, always just out of harm’s reach. Now if only it were so easy today to detect the “bad guys.” Criminals have gotten much more savvy in their duplicitous methods. Don’t think I’ll be fooled by a ghost costume and nonsensical waving of arms! Yesterday you could have gotten me, but today I’m wiser after reading this Nancy Drew case. A fast paced read, I was intrigued to see how all the various, albeit absurd, happenings would tie together in the end. Nancy was a childhood favorite and I just can’t bring myself to rate this less than 4 stars.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Jaksen

    I am reading this in order, minus Book #2 which I cannot find (in my house) though I own two copies of it! This book, #6, continues an ongoing theme in the early Nancy Drew books, that is someone needs money, desperately needs it, in order to keep their home, or ranch, or inn, or this case, their farm. The mortgage is overdue, or they're living in poverty and were promised money in an old man's will, or similar. I think these themes all come out of the 1930's, when the first ND books were written I am reading this in order, minus Book #2 which I cannot find (in my house) though I own two copies of it! This book, #6, continues an ongoing theme in the early Nancy Drew books, that is someone needs money, desperately needs it, in order to keep their home, or ranch, or inn, or this case, their farm. The mortgage is overdue, or they're living in poverty and were promised money in an old man's will, or similar. I think these themes all come out of the 1930's, when the first ND books were written. (Of course they could be set in various other times, say 2009 or so, but that's the theme, or trope which I keep seeing as I re-read these books.) In this story Nancy encounters a girl, Joanne, who lives with her grandmother on a lovely country farm. (Though at some point Gramma mentions how the land isn't fertile, so what the heck is a farm doing there? I digress.) Gramma takes in boarders to help pay the bills, and is also being harassed by a guy who wants to buy the farm. He's very nasty; he threatens Gramma a few times. (Why do they not report this guy to the authorities? They just DON'T.) In the meantime Nancy is baffled by a man who said some strange words to her while on a train, and while Nancy stunk up the joint with a very strong perfume. (She spilled it, okay?) The perfume was bought by Bess (Nancy's 'plump' friend) while on a shopping trip with Nancy and George, (Nancy's tomboy friend, get it?) The mystery continues with Nancy and her friends, and her new friend Joanne, constantly running into strange, nasty, coarse and vulgar people. (I think the first time Nancy encounters a strange, nasty, coarse or vulgar person she needs to go STRAIGHT to the police and not waste time about it.) Moving on... In order to help Joanne's grandmother, Nancy, Bess and George move onto the farm as boarders, hoping to help out Joanne (and Gramma) by doing chores AND paying rent. (Nancy is one heck of a nice girl, regardless of how mean I am to her in these reviews.) At the same time they encounter a strange cult who wear white sheets, wave their arms around and hang out in a cave. (This cult is paying rent to Gramma to use part of the farm property.) As usual Nancy is in dire straits several times, running into coarse people, going on an interview (with Joanne) in a shady part of town, spying on this weird cult to see what they're up to, though in this book she does NOT get run off the road. Nancy's father, prominent lawyer Carson Drew, is in the picture, sort of, and expressing his concern with Nancy's running around and living in odd places and finding a message written in code, but at the same time he admires his daughter's pluck and go-getted-ness, and who wouldn't? After getting involved with a counterfeiting gang, and having her police chief friend just 'look up' information when she needs it, Nancy solves a mystery involving the cult, the farm and the strange code, but she DOES NOT SAVE THE DAY. No sirree. When Nancy is at her lowest moment, near possible death though she doesn't say as much - (And she's tied up again but THIS TIME she can't wriggle out of her bonds so she must have forgotten the trick a detective showed her like four or five books back.) - she needs a MAN to save her, along with a bunch of other guys, federal agents or something. (I do hope my review isn't spoiler-rich, though it might be.) Yes, a MAN helps her, a youngish man who has his eye on Nancy. But we all know she loves Ned, who has yet to make his appearance in the series. Several guys have 'eyed' Nancy in the series so far and I am getting tied of her playing this waiting game. Is Ned that special? We'll wait and see. Three stars.

  3. 4 out of 5

    vic (indefinite hiatus)

    i swear i'm not reading these just to give scathing reviews although i might seem like it i swear on myself- but the premise of which this book revolves around is pretty simple, and overhyped. it's extremely common and not very amusing or exciting. basically, nancy has a hunch! nancy thinks something shady is happening! money is involved! nancy's wits save the day......again. not much to it, hm? not to mention, yet again, this thing all happens on one opinion. the person who was shady ( or persons, i swear i'm not reading these just to give scathing reviews although i might seem like it i swear on myself- but the premise of which this book revolves around is pretty simple, and overhyped. it's extremely common and not very amusing or exciting. basically, nancy has a hunch! nancy thinks something shady is happening! money is involved! nancy's wits save the day......again. not much to it, hm? not to mention, yet again, this thing all happens on one opinion. the person who was shady ( or persons, per se, were the bad people. no twists, no turns, no oh my god what the fuck i thought that was going to happen i will literally throw this book. more things like ohmygodthisissoboringletmefinish. that's what happened. i literally started and finished this within an hour this morning. while i was half asleep. and falling asleep even more. that's how predictable this is, too. i knOW that this is more middle school grade than higher level. but that's not an excuse. what about kids who read this thinking every crime is solved on a first guess? it's simple not realistic. this is also worse than the other book because nancy and co. have to be rescued by guys??? i am just.................... epoihne

  4. 5 out of 5

    Abigail

    Teenaged sleuth Nancy Drew returns in this sixth mystery novel devoted to her adventures, this time confronting a number of puzzling mysteries centered around the eponymous Red Gate Farm. When Nancy and her two good friends, Bess and George, go shopping in a nearby city, they are intrigued by a particular fragrance in an Oriental perfume shop, and insist on buying it, even when the saleslady is reluctant to sell it to them. On the train ride home, an accident with the perfume leaves the girls dr Teenaged sleuth Nancy Drew returns in this sixth mystery novel devoted to her adventures, this time confronting a number of puzzling mysteries centered around the eponymous Red Gate Farm. When Nancy and her two good friends, Bess and George, go shopping in a nearby city, they are intrigued by a particular fragrance in an Oriental perfume shop, and insist on buying it, even when the saleslady is reluctant to sell it to them. On the train ride home, an accident with the perfume leaves the girls drenched in the stuff, leading a complete stranger to approach Nancy and ask for word from "the chief." After this strange encounter, the girls have their hands full dealing with Millie Burd, a young farm girl come to the city to find work, in order to help her grandmother keep her farm. Hoping to help their new friend, who has had no luck in her job hunt, the girls arrange to spend some time at Red Gate Farm as paying boarders. Here they encounter the strange Black Snake Colony, a supposed nature cult renting part of the farm. The nighttime rituals of the group provide quite a spectacle, but are they simply nature lovers, or is something more sinister going on...? This being a Nancy Drew novel, the answer is clearly the latter, and our intrepid heroine loses no time in diving in, soon finding that her mysterious experiences with the Oriental perfume are related to The Secret of Red Gate Farm. I read the original 1931 version of the book, reprinted in facsimile by Applewood Books, and the cover artwork by Russell H. Tandy - long-time illustrator of the original series - had me doing a double-take. The white-sheet-clad figures on the front immediately made me think of the Ku Klux Klan, who would have been active at the time of publication, but as it turns out, they are members of the aforementioned nature cult, out and about enacting their sham rituals on the hillside, in order to convince the local country folk that they are eccentric cultists, rather than (view spoiler)[a ring of counterfeiters (hide spoiler)] . Leaving aside that issue, I found this an enjoyable addition to the series, although the developments were telegraphed ahead of time so thoroughly that little of it was a surprise. It was a surprise, on the other hand, to see that although one of the villains was a mixed-race Asian girl named Yvonne Wong, there was no overt racism directed at her. The narrative isn't complimentary, of course - Nancy thinks she is flashy and ill-bred, as her female adversaries inevitably are - but there is no commentary specifically related to her background. This was a pleasant anomaly, as I find that these original Nancy Drew titles have far more objectionable content that the revised versions from the 1950s and 60s - versions still available today. All in all, a fun little romp, recommended to fans of Nancy Drew.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Mark Baker

    Nancy and her friends Bess and George are returning from a shopping trip when they meet Joanne on the train. She is heading to try to find a job to help her grandmother save her farm. The four quickly become friends, and Nancy gets involved in helping her find a job. However, several strange things happen to them along the way. Can Nancy figure out what is going on now? When I pick up a Nancy Drew book, I expect coincidence to drive the plot a little. Here, there was so much of it early on that i Nancy and her friends Bess and George are returning from a shopping trip when they meet Joanne on the train. She is heading to try to find a job to help her grandmother save her farm. The four quickly become friends, and Nancy gets involved in helping her find a job. However, several strange things happen to them along the way. Can Nancy figure out what is going on now? When I pick up a Nancy Drew book, I expect coincidence to drive the plot a little. Here, there was so much of it early on that it was hard to overlook it. Fortunately, that lessened as the story moved forward. The story was still action packed and kept my attention. The characters are thin as always, but I still enjoyed spending some time with them again. Kids will probably more easily overlook both of these things. They might get confused by a few dated references, however, including using an old, now unacceptable, term for a minority. Still, I suspect they will enjoy this page turning story. Read my full review at Carstairs Considers.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Phair

    Our f2f group did a session where we all read one or more original editions of a Nancy Drew as well as the 1960s revised version. Some of us even read one or more of the most recent Nancy Drew series books. We then had a "compare and contrast" discussion that was lots of fun. Very interesting changes in style, characterizations & sociological aspects. I found the 1931 facsimile edition from Applewood to be much better than I expected having grown up reading the "modern" 1960s versions. The writ Our f2f group did a session where we all read one or more original editions of a Nancy Drew as well as the 1960s revised version. Some of us even read one or more of the most recent Nancy Drew series books. We then had a "compare and contrast" discussion that was lots of fun. Very interesting changes in style, characterizations & sociological aspects. I found the 1931 facsimile edition from Applewood to be much better than I expected having grown up reading the "modern" 1960s versions. The writing was much more 'adult' or should I say less dumbed down & juvenile. You could really feel the Depression era coming through in the values and sensibilities. There were also a few instances of 'politically incorrect' descriptions or comments that were accepted at the time of writing but jump out at us today.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Wendy

    I read Nancy Drew like crazy when I was a kid, and loved them. I could get through a book in a single afternoon, often between getting home from school and eating dinner. So it was with a sense of nostalgic excitement that I opened this book and re-read it, about 40 years after the first time. What a disappointment. They say you can't go home again, and that is true here. This is #6 in the series, so it was pretty old even when I read it the first time - first published 1931 - and the writing is I read Nancy Drew like crazy when I was a kid, and loved them. I could get through a book in a single afternoon, often between getting home from school and eating dinner. So it was with a sense of nostalgic excitement that I opened this book and re-read it, about 40 years after the first time. What a disappointment. They say you can't go home again, and that is true here. This is #6 in the series, so it was pretty old even when I read it the first time - first published 1931 - and the writing is pretty darn awful by modern standards. Or maybe just by my modern standards. There is a forest of adverbs, especially in the dialogue tags. Nancy's mystery-solving skills involve as much blind guessing as clever deductive or inductive reasoning - she's trying to break a coded message, and having realized that one number stands for the letter H, extrapolates that it might stand for "Hale", which is the name of the Mysterious Nefarious Group whose activities excite Nancy's notice in the first place, and then the letter M, why that could stand for "Maurice", and Maurice Hale is the group's leader! There is an incredibly improbable series of events that starts the mystery off, followed by coincidence after coincidence that introduces Nancy and her friends to another (mostly cardboard) person (Joanne) who, coincidentally, is unwittingly peripherally involved in the the Big Mystery. Another coincidence takes Nancy, Bess, and George to Joanne's titular farm, where they amuse themselves by performing domestic services and waiting for more coincidences to coincide so that they can walk into a trap, get captured, and be saved by a deus ex machina (mostly cardboard) male character, but still get all the credit for cracking the code and infiltrating the organization. I hope modern Nancys are better than this one. Because if they're not, I'm not sure I'd give them to any girls I know. The writing is pretty awful, the plotting is lazy and indifferent, the characters - even the primary cast! - are mostly cardboard, and the various anti-feminist messages are irritating to an adult, but potentially poisonous to girls. George often teases her cousin Bess about her plumpness; domestic industry and skill are praised and lauded (because you never know when you might need to make a not-really-a-KKK-robe-and-mask out of several yards of white muslin, using just scissors, needle and thread); and when it comes down to it, the teen sleuth and her friends get themselves into a bad situation and get rescued before they can even start thinking about extricating themselves from it. (Seriously, Chief McGinnis, rather than encouraging Nancy's help, maybe suggest to her that she stop getting herself into fixes that use up valuable police resources in rescuing her from her own poor decisions.) It's true that Nancy is also thoughtful, kind, and likes to help, but she's not as clever as the writers want us to think she is, and I felt horribly cheated that she and her friends all had to be rescued from the bad guys at the end of this story. Talk about disempowering the heroine, and thus the reader! I have a bunch more Nancys as ebooks. I might try another one some day, but I'm in no hurry.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Kavita

    During a shopping expedition, Nancy, Bess, and George find it curious that a saleswoman was so reluctant to sell them a perfume. They then meet Joanne, whose grandmother owns a farm but is off to find a job in the town so as to be able to make ends meet. The girls offer to help her, and soon find themselves embroiled in a fun mystery. In a bid to help Joanne, the three girls decide to go and stay in Red Gate Farm as boarders, paying rent and working in the farm as well! The land and caves nearby During a shopping expedition, Nancy, Bess, and George find it curious that a saleswoman was so reluctant to sell them a perfume. They then meet Joanne, whose grandmother owns a farm but is off to find a job in the town so as to be able to make ends meet. The girls offer to help her, and soon find themselves embroiled in a fun mystery. In a bid to help Joanne, the three girls decide to go and stay in Red Gate Farm as boarders, paying rent and working in the farm as well! The land and caves nearby are rented by a mysterious and secretive cult. The four girls decide to find out more. I have always enjoyed this book, mainly because of the caves and farm life and cult business. But on a more critical rereading, I find that the some of the threads are not tied up properly. One of the main questions left unanswered is why the Blue Jade perfume is so ubiquitously used by the female members of the cult. Also, really, this mystery is rather overblown to be believable. But nevertheless, I still enjoyed it a lot and The Secret of Red Gate Farm continues to hold its charm for me.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Katherine

    "'Miss Drew,' he said earnestly, 'I want to thank you for your work which has resulted in the solution of one of the most baffling cases of counterfeiting the United States Government has ever had. How did you do it?'" And that, my friends, is Nancy Drew in a nutshell. A mystery that's in fact quite easy to solve, and yet no one but Nancy Drew can. As to how she does it, IT'S BECAUSE SHE'S NANCY DREW. She may be a special snowflake, but she's MY special snowflake. "'Miss Drew,' he said earnestly, 'I want to thank you for your work which has resulted in the solution of one of the most baffling cases of counterfeiting the United States Government has ever had. How did you do it?'" And that, my friends, is Nancy Drew in a nutshell. A mystery that's in fact quite easy to solve, and yet no one but Nancy Drew can. As to how she does it, IT'S BECAUSE SHE'S NANCY DREW. She may be a special snowflake, but she's MY special snowflake.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Kristen

    I didn't like the fat shaming in this book but, hey, that's the 1930's for ya. Whatchu gonna do? I didn't like the fat shaming in this book but, hey, that's the 1930's for ya. Whatchu gonna do?

  11. 5 out of 5

    Laura (Book Scrounger)

    I don't think I'll bother to sort through or call to mind enough from my large Nancy Drew collection in order to give them all ratings on Goodreads, but, this one is special because it's the first one I ever read. My grandparents had taken me to a thrift store or flea market, and ended up buying it for me -- it had that wonderful "old book smell" to it since it was an older edition, and it also ended up involving a cult, which to me at the time was particularly creepy and mysterious. And so that I don't think I'll bother to sort through or call to mind enough from my large Nancy Drew collection in order to give them all ratings on Goodreads, but, this one is special because it's the first one I ever read. My grandparents had taken me to a thrift store or flea market, and ended up buying it for me -- it had that wonderful "old book smell" to it since it was an older edition, and it also ended up involving a cult, which to me at the time was particularly creepy and mysterious. And so that was my gateway drug, and over the next few years I collected a large percentage of the original 56, and a few of the newer ones, finding them at used book stores, yard sales, and occasionally new, as well as requesting them for Christmas and finding more at the library. Good memories. There is a part of me that wants to go back and re-read a few of them, but I'm afraid I'll just ruin them in my mind, since to me now they will probably seem cheesy and juvenile. Either way, I was a big fan of Nancy and Bess and George, and always enjoyed watching her gather clues and solve the mystery.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Tammy

    This was the first Nancy Drew book that I listened to and I loved it! The narrator, Lara Linney, does a wonderful job and she needs to read more than just the first 7 Nancy Drew books. I laughed out loud many times. The story was fun, but because of the audio I bumped it up to 4 stars.

  13. 4 out of 5

    tarawrawr

    Review originally posted on my blog http://hobbitsies.net/2012/11/sleuthi... Previously on Sleuthing Saturdays, I discovered The Secret of Shadow Ranch. It involved ghost ponies. And farms. And some really interesting culture, actually. So. This week, I learned several things while reading The Secret of Red Gate Farm. The first, and probably the most important thing, is that if you’re with Nancy Drew and you get bit by a snake – don’t panic! She can whip up a tourniquet at moment’s notice AND ster Review originally posted on my blog http://hobbitsies.net/2012/11/sleuthi... Previously on Sleuthing Saturdays, I discovered The Secret of Shadow Ranch. It involved ghost ponies. And farms. And some really interesting culture, actually. So. This week, I learned several things while reading The Secret of Red Gate Farm. The first, and probably the most important thing, is that if you’re with Nancy Drew and you get bit by a snake – don’t panic! She can whip up a tourniquet at moment’s notice AND sterilize your wound with a bottle of perfume they bought several days earlier in the book that they just happen to still be carrying around. I also realized that every single person Nancy Drew has helped so far (we are six books in) is in some sort of financial crisis. Whether it’s almost losing a house (I believe this has happened twice so far?) or a farm or your mother’s jewels, etc – Nancy Drew will be there to save the day just in time for you to tell that greedy buyer (who is usually the bad guy) to step off. Okay, but in all seriousness, I actually really liked The Secret of Red Gate Farm. I don’t read the synopsis of these books before I read them, so imagine my surprise to find out The Secret of Red Gate Farm involved mysterious CULTS. And counterfeit money! And cow milking! Guys, I love cults. I also loved Bess and George in The Secret of Red Gate Farm. They provide much needed personality to balance out Nancy Drew’s lack thereof so far, I think. Not that Nancy Drew will never have a personality, because I know she will as the series develops, but right now I just want to shove her in the mud. Anyway, The Secret of Red Gate Farm is on par with The Hidden Staircase. I loved the mysterious cult-ness of it all and the white figures dancing in the moonlight for no apparent reason. I thought the ghostwriter of this one also did an amazing job of tying all the bits in the beginning to the end, so that rocked. Next up on Sleuthing Saturdays, I’ll be hunting for The Clue in the Diary, so don’t miss it! I, for one, am dying to know whose diary it is – and I have heard that the (hopefully) dashing Ned Nickerson makes his first appearance!

  14. 4 out of 5

    Tarissa

    This is a fun mystery to read for sure -- one that even includes the Secret Service. That was really cool. So, it makes for a nice read...

  15. 4 out of 5

    John Yelverton

    Nancy Drew returns as she investigates the goings on of a secret society. Yet another home run for the book series.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Katja

    4.5 stars & 5/10 hearts. Well! That was intense, all right! THE most intense so far for sure. I enjoyed it though! Joanne and her grandmother were so sweet, and I liked Mrs. H. (Poor lady...) The story started off with a bang, which was enjoyable, and the mystery was really baffling!

  17. 5 out of 5

    Anna

    #6 in my Nancy Drew read project! "The Secret of Red Gate Farm" was a solid entry in this mystery series. I randomly got the "Just As You Remember Them" version when I put a hold on it at the library - I actually secretly prefer these 1930s editions when I can get them, because I like reading the old-timey language (and sometimes laughing at the old-timey language). The only downer with that is that they are almost always completely different from the story in the yellow hardback editions, and I #6 in my Nancy Drew read project! "The Secret of Red Gate Farm" was a solid entry in this mystery series. I randomly got the "Just As You Remember Them" version when I put a hold on it at the library - I actually secretly prefer these 1930s editions when I can get them, because I like reading the old-timey language (and sometimes laughing at the old-timey language). The only downer with that is that they are almost always completely different from the story in the yellow hardback editions, and I'm unwilling to read the same "book" twice for a different story, so this is the one I got! In this episode, Nancy and her friends help a girl named Millie and her grandmother out by boarding at Red Gate Farm for the summer to give the pair some extra money - they aren't doing well financially and will have to give up the farm if they can't make their mortgage payments. Millie's grandmother also leases part of her land to a so-called "Nature Cult" to hold secret meetings in exchange for rent. These "meetings" usually consist of the members running around making spooky sounds while wearing sheets, and then entering a cave to do who-knows-what. Nancy thinks it would be intriguing to infiltrate the cult and find out what they do; hence a mystery is born. The farm setting was nice and idyllic, full of farm things you'd expect like herding cows and milking and playing horseshoes along with the mystery. There's a lot more violence and danger in the "Just As You Remember Them" series as opposed to the more cleaned-up yellow hardbacks, so that may have made it more interesting than its counterpart. My main complaint with the story was the subtle and sometimes overt racism that comes along with reading a book from the 1930s - Nancy and her friends run into a shady perfume store girl who is definitely a shady trickster, but they almost seem to be more wary of her because she is Asian than because she is shady. The picture of the cult on the cover also looks suspiciously like the KKK... although very thankfully that's not what the cult is at all (I think I audibly sighed with relief at that point, because I wouldn't put it past the 1930s). The mystery also wasn't as interesting as some of the ones I've read thus far, such as the excellent "The Secret of the Old Clock" and "The Secret of Shadow Ranch" (5 stars) or "The Hidden Staircase" (4 stars) so I'm giving it 3 stars. I'm trying to be fairly judicious with my star ratings, as I think I have like 60 or so of these bad boys to read before I'm done with my project.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Whitney

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. It's a "cult" being a cover operation for a money printing scheme. Not-so-bright idea: Using a highly suspicious activity to cover up an illegal activity. Odd red herring: Strong "jade"-smelling "oriental" perfume. The crooks think that whenever a lady wears THAT particular perfume, she must automatically be friendly to their secret plot. Naturally, our protagonist Nancy accidentally gets a gob of that perfume dumped on her, and one of the crooks tries to slip her a code. She immediately calls her It's a "cult" being a cover operation for a money printing scheme. Not-so-bright idea: Using a highly suspicious activity to cover up an illegal activity. Odd red herring: Strong "jade"-smelling "oriental" perfume. The crooks think that whenever a lady wears THAT particular perfume, she must automatically be friendly to their secret plot. Naturally, our protagonist Nancy accidentally gets a gob of that perfume dumped on her, and one of the crooks tries to slip her a code. She immediately calls her friends on the police force and keeps them updated during her investigation. Her friends come along as sidekicks, but as usual, they aren't incredibly helpful. When the crooks are nabbed, they are told by the police: "This is the last time you try any funny business with Uncle Sam!"

  19. 4 out of 5

    Alex Grant

    This was the first Nancy drew book i read.It was so interesting I finished it in one or a few hours.It has mystery,perfume,"ghosts"and more.It all starts when Bess buys a bottle of oriental perfume sold by a hesitant woman.On the train ride to river heights,she accidentally spilled some on Nancy.Then a girl across their aisle faints.Nancy then gets a cup of water.on the way she encounters a man who smells the perfume then says "Any word from the chief?". That is the start of Nancy's adventures.H This was the first Nancy drew book i read.It was so interesting I finished it in one or a few hours.It has mystery,perfume,"ghosts"and more.It all starts when Bess buys a bottle of oriental perfume sold by a hesitant woman.On the train ride to river heights,she accidentally spilled some on Nancy.Then a girl across their aisle faints.Nancy then gets a cup of water.on the way she encounters a man who smells the perfume then says "Any word from the chief?". That is the start of Nancy's adventures.How Nancy solves the mystery of red gate farm makes an intriguing and exciting read.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Kaethe Douglas

    I've probably said this a zillion times already, but I love the absurdly complicated plots the bad guys think up. Like bad guys on Scooby Doo, they draw attention to themselves through some scheme that's supposed to scare people off. They communicate in needlessly complicated special ways, often in code. There's a baroque quality that I love, like the old-school murder mysteries that involve one bizarrely staged murder. It's that painstakingly crafted-by-hand complexity that still manages to fit I've probably said this a zillion times already, but I love the absurdly complicated plots the bad guys think up. Like bad guys on Scooby Doo, they draw attention to themselves through some scheme that's supposed to scare people off. They communicate in needlessly complicated special ways, often in code. There's a baroque quality that I love, like the old-school murder mysteries that involve one bizarrely staged murder. It's that painstakingly crafted-by-hand complexity that still manages to fit the broad outline. I love it like a good limerick.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Megan

    6/6 for Nancy getting tied up! While I appreciated that Nancy has not only George and Bess, but new one-off friend Joanne as a group of smart and determined young ladies, the ending of thus one was not very creative. A minor character comes to the rescue in a literarily boring way. I prefer the volumes in which Nancy has been able to largely save herself.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Moonkiszt

    Another win for Nancy! Finally we have George and Bess, and this one has a Cult in it!! A cult is defined in a ND mystery as people who dance around in the middle of the night dressed in white from head to toe, hoods - of course, and wave their arms in a frantic, crazy way. HA! Some things don't change (SEE Outlander opening, Seasons 1 and 2). Am having fun re-reading these! Another win for Nancy! Finally we have George and Bess, and this one has a Cult in it!! A cult is defined in a ND mystery as people who dance around in the middle of the night dressed in white from head to toe, hoods - of course, and wave their arms in a frantic, crazy way. HA! Some things don't change (SEE Outlander opening, Seasons 1 and 2). Am having fun re-reading these!

  23. 5 out of 5

    Joei

    Page turner! The beginning was already a mystery and as the story progressed, even more mysteries were added to the plot. I was more than halfway through and yet the mysteries keep piling on. It was nice how everything tied up together. Plus, I wasn't able to guess the ending! 5 stars Page turner! The beginning was already a mystery and as the story progressed, even more mysteries were added to the plot. I was more than halfway through and yet the mysteries keep piling on. It was nice how everything tied up together. Plus, I wasn't able to guess the ending! 5 stars

  24. 5 out of 5

    Kay

    Enjoyed this book as a kid and enjoyed it again as an adult. Always enjoyed the adventures Nancy went on and how she grew with the addition of each new character she met. Will be fun to keep reading these classics.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Amanda

    I enjoy Nancy Drew novels for a quick read. I enjoy reading how times have changed and how the way we speak is so different. This story moved pretty quickly and brought the several different incidents together nicely.

  26. 4 out of 5

    C-shaw

    An extra good Nancy Drew book. This time I counted all the instances where Ms. Keene referred to Nancy as "the young sleuth," and there were fewer than usual - only nine - plus one "young detective." Jolly good fun. An extra good Nancy Drew book. This time I counted all the instances where Ms. Keene referred to Nancy as "the young sleuth," and there were fewer than usual - only nine - plus one "young detective." Jolly good fun.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Melanie

    An interesting book. I enjoyed it more when I first read this book as a child, but it was still enjoyable this second time through.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Michelle

    Nancy, Bess, and George save the day again (well, mostly Nancy). This time, they help a virtual stranger save their farm. Do you know three more "do-gooder" girls out there? Because I don't. This time, Bess buys some perfume and it kicks off a mystery. Nancy is approached on the train based on the perfume scent, which really confused me because I would never be able to identify a perfume on someone. Oh, is that sparkling waters you are wearing? No, not me. But some random dude can? Please, Miss Nancy, Bess, and George save the day again (well, mostly Nancy). This time, they help a virtual stranger save their farm. Do you know three more "do-gooder" girls out there? Because I don't. This time, Bess buys some perfume and it kicks off a mystery. Nancy is approached on the train based on the perfume scent, which really confused me because I would never be able to identify a perfume on someone. Oh, is that sparkling waters you are wearing? No, not me. But some random dude can? Please, Miss Keene. You are better than this plot line. Anyway, they meet a girl who needs a ride, and a job, and Nancy is there to save the day. She really is the original Mary Sue. A guy stalks them, they go to the farm, they meet a cult (yes, a cult) and then they infiltrate it. Why would you expect anything else? Guys flirt with Nancy, as usual, and she saves the day. And they all lived happily ever after. 3 stars.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Linda B

    I found this at a book sale and as I have not read any Nancy Drew mysteries in decades, I wanted to see if they were as exciting as I found them as a pre-teen. Truthfully, I was disappointed. So many stereotyped characters fill the pages, Nancy can solve a crime on a "hunch" and everyone goes home happier or richer or a better person. I probably will not read another old Nancy Drew but it was very nostalgic and reminded me of my youth. I found this at a book sale and as I have not read any Nancy Drew mysteries in decades, I wanted to see if they were as exciting as I found them as a pre-teen. Truthfully, I was disappointed. So many stereotyped characters fill the pages, Nancy can solve a crime on a "hunch" and everyone goes home happier or richer or a better person. I probably will not read another old Nancy Drew but it was very nostalgic and reminded me of my youth.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Out of the Bex

    This one felt a bit different than the first five. More description, more good-natured snark between the main characters, and more plot pieces than usual. It was still enjoyable—I’ve yet to read a Nancy Drew that’s not!—but definitely not quite the same vibe as the others. On to book 7!

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