“Nancy Drew, an attractive girl of eighteen, was driving home along a country road in her new, dark-blue convertible. She had just delivered some legal papers for her father…An instant later she gasped in horror. From the lawn of a house just ahead of her a little girl about five years of age had darted into the roadway. A van, turning out of the driveway of the house, was barely fifty feet away from her” (Keene, 1987, p.1).
After rescuing little Judy when she wanders into the path of an oncoming car, eighteen year old Nancy Drew meets Edna and Mary Turner. The Turner sisters are Judy’s great-aunts and caretakers and are very poor. When Judy’s parents were killed in a boat explosion they left her with very little money. Josiah Crowley, a relative, had helped the Turners out financially, but he passed away recently. Mary tells Nancy that he had promised to remember them in his will….but hadn’t kept his promise. Or so it seems. Suspicious that Josiah’s wishes aren’t being carried out, Nancy begins searching for his will. The secret of it’s location remains hidden in Crowley’s missing antique clock.
The Nancy Drew mystery series was a big part of my childhood. Though my mom read to me as a child and I have always loved to read, it was with Nancy Drew that my obsession truly began. I would go to my local library and check out stacks of the mystery novels. The series is, I believe, a great tool to get tweens reading. The novels are well written, yet simple reading. And though they are easy to read, they don’t talk down to their readers, which I think is so important when trying to reach a tween audience. Also, the books employ an element of suspense, keeping readers interested. Now, I know that The Secret of the Old Clock isn’t great literature, but it is a great introduction into the world of reading!
Reading/interest level: ages 9 through 12
Similar titles: The Tower Treasure (The Hardy Boys, book 1) by Franklin W. Dixon