Sunday, September 4, 2016

Book Review || The Hidden Staircase (Nancy Drew #2) by Carolyn Keene

Title: The Hidden Staircase (Nancy Drew #2)
Author: Carolyn Keene
Pages: 182
Synopsis from Goodreads:
Nancy resolves to help Helen Corning's relatives solve the mystery of the ghost haunting their old mansion. A mysterious man appears at the Drew home to warn Nancy that her father, Carson Drew is in danger. This warning prompts a search for the missing Willie Wharton, a land owner, who can prove he signed away his land to the railroad and save the railroad from a lawsuit. Meanwhile, the disappearance of Mr. Drew, thefts and mysterious goings on at Twin Elms, and the discovery of a hidden staircase lead Nancy to solve these baffling mysteries.
The story is based on the original title of the same name first published in 1930. The plot is vastly different in this extensively revised and shortened version.

My Thoughts:
My first run-in with Nancy Drew was when I was a small child and my sister used to play the computer games. I wasn't allowed to play because they were for "older people" but now I'm delving into the books, finally.

The book starts out with a phone call from Helen Corning, a friend of Nancy's. Her phone call is about a possible ghost at Twin Elms where her Aunt Rosemary lives. After Nancy agrees to go visit Twin Elms to find out what exactly is going on, the doorbell rings. In walks a man named Nathan Gomber who warns Nancy her dad is in danger due to people being angry over the fact that they sold their property and they think they didn't get paid well enough for it. Within the short time he is there, he grows increasingly agitated and starts coming off as incredibly rude, then Hannah Gruen, the housekeeper, promptly points towards the door and tells Mr. Gomber to have a good day.

After he leaves, Nancy is confronted with a dilemma. Should she stay home and close to her father like Mr. Gomber said to, or should she go through with the mystery at Twin Elms? Her answer comes to her shortly after Helen and her aunt show up. Music playing, but seeming to have no source, thumps and creaks during all hours of the night, as well as creepy shadows on the walls were too much of a mystery for Nancy to pass up. After speaking with her father about the case, and being assured by him that he is in fact not in danger, she was to be on her way to Twin Elms in no time. But first, they have a mishap at the construction site that puts her fears about her dad into overdrive!

During lunch, Nancy is startled by some music coming from the floor above them. The music was coming from Miss Flora's radio. It was obvious someone had snuck into the room and turned it on. This prompts some sleuthing for the "ghost" thief, which ends up turning up no clues. A bit later, a knock sounds on the door. Lo and behold, it's Nathan Gomber! He's the one who's been wanting to buy the family mansion, but for such a low price that they don't want to sell it at all. After his offer is refused, he finally leaves. 

The "ghost" makes a few more appearances, vexing Nancy despite her attempts at catching it. Nancy finally comes to the conclusion that there may be one or more hidden entrances into the home. They all begin searching for it, but find nothing.

Further on in the story, we find out that Nancy's father has been kidnapped on his way to meet her! She relays all that she has found out to the police, then returns back to the estate to do further sleuthing. She stumbles upon a mound she thinks is mysterious, and notices newspapers flying around. She gets excited because this means that there has to have been someone here. She then decided to go inside the cave, but it turns out to be less than impressive. After leaving, she runs into someone she knows to be one of her father's kidnappers! He got away before she had the chance to meet up with him, sadly.

Nancy finally finds a secret entrance through further sleuthing. What I love about these books is the fact that throughout the story-telling, there are facts about history inside the story as well. In this case, it was the fact that there were often secret passageways so masters would be able to listen in on their servants to see if they were spies or giving away information.

I can't say much else without giving the rest of the story away, but this was definitely a great second book to the series. I absolutely adore how short and simple the Nancy Drew stories are, and this one was most definitely not a letdown at all!


  1. I loved the Nancy Drew Mysteries growing up. I reread The Hidden Staircase a few years ago and enjoyed it just as much as I did at ten. Great review!

    1. Nancy Drew is definitely nostalgia material! I love it. Also a fast-paced read. :) Thanks so much!