04 June 2011

Deadly Intent: Nancy Drew Files #2

Nancy Drew files #2

"Everybody was kung foo fighting.... Those cats were fast as lightning.  In fact, it was a little bit frightening."  ~Carl Douglas

This is the Deadly Intent kung foo remix: "Nancy was kung foo fighting...  Those books were fast as lightning.  Max Sheffield was a little bit frightening."  Seriously, look at her eyes.  Nancy's got major "don't come near me I will kill you with my fists" vibes going on.  And I have no idea why Max Sheffield is on the cover.  All the covers "feature" a dude who's presumably the main guy Nancy's involved with, he should be the lead singer of Bent Fender, Barton Novak.  But Max here, looks nothing like the description of our disappearing rock star, he looks more like an accountant than rock star.  Oooh, maybe he's Ned, since Ned gets to come to New York to hang out and try to make amends.  Oops, I'm giving away way too many details about the plot here, so we're going to go ahead and hash this one out.  New York, New York here we come.  (One last cover detail, notice the World Trade Center in the background.)
nancy drew files #2
As I'm sure you've figured out, the girls are going to NYC!!!!  Woo hoo!  They get to hang out with the rock band of the moment BENT FENDER!!  Wow.  I can't believe I ever criticized Rufus' band in Gossip Girl.  What a terrible name.  Somewhat surprisingly, our writers have really filled in the back story behind the girls being in NY.  Nancy & Co. are going to meet them, because Carson is the band's new lawyer.  He's an old friend of Bent Fender's drummer's dad, and he was brought in to look at their shady new recording contract.  The girls are hanging out backstage before a big charity concert, and and everbody's a little overwhelmed by how awesome the rock stars are.  (George really admires Linda, the female bassist.)  Barton Novak, the lead singer, wants to talk to Nancy ASAP after the show, but....  (I'll bet you didn't see this one coming...) HE DISAPPEARS!!! barefoot before the show.  Alan, Bess' boyfriend, fills in for Barton during the concert.  Meanwhile, Nancy goes sleuthing and figures out Barton was smuggled out of the show in a big brown box by some fraudulent groupies, one of whom had a giant serpent ring.  Then she finds a wallet with a dragon on it.  Since Nancy makes a lot of conclusions based on stereotypes, she of course knows that this means some sort of connection to CHINA, (obviously later she'll be proven right, but for some reason this really bothered me.)   After the show Bess and Alan are ready to sign a record deal because Alan did such a good job filling in for Barton, but wise old Nancy the downer tries to get Bess to be more realistic and in the process ticks her off.  Surprise, surprise, right? And thus we see a trend that started all the way back in The Sign of the Twisted Candles continue, in which Nancy's always right, her friends are always wrong and they hate her for it. 

So, where were we?  Oh right, to add to Nancy's problems, Carson Drew is now dating Ann Nordquist, Bent Fender's agent, who also happens to be a suspect (she's been to CHINA recently).  Ann tells Nan that things are cool with the record deal, but if you must, go see Harold Marshall at the record company.  Harold blows Nancy off, says the whole disappearance is for publicity, besides Barton's disappeared before, now stop asking questions, ps: Alan sucks.  Five minutes later, Alan has seen Barton and now he's got a record deal.  Bess:1 Nancy:0, unless you're counting suspicions 'cause then Nancy wins. Ha.

But then, Barton's super special bandanna which he would never leave voluntarily without is found at the venue.  Alan therefore is a liar!  Nancy goes to confront him at the recording studio, but instead she sees Vivian (Harold Marshall's nasty assistant) replacing a master copy of a record.  Yes, it's the eighties, so all the music's on records and Vivian is pirating them.  This is what Barton stumbled upon!! and why he's gone.  Copyright laws are bad in CHINA so of course the pirated records are going there, but who is taking them?  Ann?  Harold?  Nope try again, it's Ned's friend Dave, who has just gotten a lot of money and has the bad fortune to conveniently run into Ned and Nancy at a club in NY.  Ned's in NY now, btw.  Dave's a bad kid- seriously, Ned calls his mommy and she doesn't even know where he lives.  Everyone knows if your mommy doesn't know where you are, you're bad.  Dave leaves the club in a limo with a dragon on the side and then Ned and Nancy are attacked by goons in the limo.  (I think the writer was getting tired of making kinda complicated connections at this point, and instead just started going for the extremely obvious).

Bess is still sore at Nancy- Nancy also had time to call Alan a liar at the club.  Then, poor Bess gets kidnapped at the concert that night, showing that Nancy is right.  Nancy: 1, Bess: 0.  Finally Alan fesses up, Vivian's behind it all, Harold's her puppet, and they're shipping out a whole bunch of records to CHINA that very night, with a body.  Luckily Nancy figures out that Barton and Bess are being held at the Duck House, owned by James Li, Dave's gangster boss' restaurant.  (see? see?  Dragons=CHINA)  Using her kung foo girl skills, Nancy knocks out the guard and they get inside, but they're all captured and the cops get captured (I still don't really understand exactly what happened to the cops, but somehow they get captured too).  Things are looking grim until Alan saves the day and everybody in China Town throws a huge buffet.  (No joke about the buffet, that's in the book, 'cause ya know if you're a gangster you don't just limit yourself to record piracy- you make life miserable for everybody in the vicinity of your restaurant too.)

There you have it- Deadly Intent.  For such a thorough setup the ending was pretty bizarre. 

I don't know which book I'm going to go to next.  I don't have #3 so we might start skipping around a bit!  Stay tuned!

22 May 2011

Secrets Can Kill- Nancy Drew Files #1

 The Nancy Drew Files were meant to make Nancy Drew into a girl of the eighties, complete with big hair and terrible fashion choices.  The first Nancy Drew File, Secrets Can Kill, was published in 1986, and aimed at an older audience than the earlier books.  People die in these books (although never really important characters) and Nancy and Ned aren't the perfect couple they've always appeared to be.  I've always believed that the Nancy Drew Files started after she graduated from high school, since she's eighteen, even though Nancy never really went to school to begin with.  I read these books when I was a kid and to be perfectly honest, I cannot remember any specifics of the plots without reading the backs of the books or just rereading the books.  That's how good these books were.  So, let's get started with Secrets Can Kill.
Nancy Drew Files #1 Secrets Can Kill

Nancy Drew has to go undercover at a high school to help solve some thefts that have been happening at Bedford High.  For some reason (which I really don't understand, since she should have just graduated from high school herself) Nancy and Bess and George are super excited that she gets to go back to high school mainly because of the boys.  When I graduated high school I was ready to move on to college boys, but maybe I'm missing something.  Bess is currently looking for "a good diet and a great date."  (Don't forget she's the FAT one!)  And George plans on falling in love for real- no casual dating for her.  Nancy and Ned's relationship is also rehashed in the first few pages, (forgive me for the long quote, but this is hilarious)
             "Nancy and Ned had a very special relationship.  They'd known each other since they were kids, and when they'd first realized they loved each other, they'd thought it would last forever.  But neither one was ready yet for a "forever" commitment, so occasionally they drifted apart, dating other people.  Yet somehow, Nancy always found herself coming back to Ned.  They were so in tune with each other that no matter what they were doing--whether it was tracking down the clues to a mystery or planning a private party for two--it seemed that they could read each others thoughts."
I remember hating Ned in these books and their relationship only gets more irritating as the series progresses.  If they were on Facebook, their status would be "it's complicated."

Alright back to the mystery- Nancy hasn't even left the house yet to do any detecting and by the end of the first chapter, she's gotten her first threatening video tape.  But haters have never deterred Nancy before and the NDF are no different so the next morning she heads off to Bedford High.  Her student contact at the school is of course the hot guy who drives a Porsche, Daryl Gray.  Daryl's "dusky, blueberry eyes" are foreshadowing for all the problems he's going to create for Nancy and Ned.  After all who could resist any guy who wears a pink sweater in front of a burning car with such swagger?  Then Nancy meets her student suspects, Jake Webb- a video wiz who blackmails people, Walt Hogan- the football star who is acting suspicious, Carla Dalton- who doesn't like Nancy (if that's not proof she's up to no good, I don't know what is), Hal Morgan- the smart kid who cheats, and Connie- who shoplifts.  Come to find out, Carla hates Nancy because Nancy stole Daryl from her.  Not everybody's as cool with an open relationship as Ned.

While sleuthing, Nancy and Daryl are almost killed in a sabotaged car.  So they make out (everybody knows the rule- it's not cheating if you've just almost been killed).  Then Jake Webb is murdered.  Nancy figures out he's been blackmailing everyone and sending nasty videos.  And we get to meet Brenda Carlton, ace reporter, for the first time.  She's trying to scoop Nancy but they make a deal.  Later when watching Jake's incriminating tapes, Nancy finds out that Daryl is selling US secrets to the USSR!  Technically, I guess he's more of a mule who carries the secrets from Mitch Dillon (a worker at the defense plant) to the USSR diplomats.  Why they use a high schooler to do this, I have no idea and considering how it works out for them, I doubt they do either.  Nancy goes to the dance with Daryl (in all eighties teen books- SVH, ND, Canby Hall- there's always a convenient dance) and confronts him.  Daryl confesses but Ned has to save Nancy from him, and then in a weird team effort they convince him to help them trap Dillon.  It took me far too long to figure out who Dillon was during all of this.  At this point the book also started to drag...  they come up with a really hokey plan involving a park and bushes and recording equipment, which doesn't really seem like it would work but by the end they trap Dillon, even after Brenda Carlton ruins their first attempt, and Nancy saves the day. 

Secrets Can Kill establishes the template for all the other NDF books.  The rest of the books will play out more or less in this manner with different supporting characters.  Overall for the first book in the series, it wasn't that bad, but these books don't get better.  There's a reason why I don't remember any of the plots!  What's bad for the series, however, is good for this blog and a lot more fun to read about.  

Stay tuned for Nancy's next case: Deadly Intent- Case #2.
Nancy Drew File #2

Here comes the fault...

I've been talking and talking about changes on this blog and I know my follow through is... well, somewhat lacking.  This time it's for real.  I started Baby Cat and the Unfinished House over a year ago as a pseudo-food blog. Unfortunately, I'm terrible at keeping on topic, and so I added categories and construction, and tried to make my blog about everything.  I've realized that a better platform for my inconsistent topics is tumblr. So all the old posts and my new train of thought posts will be at this address: http://theunfinishedhouse.tumblr.com. Visit my tumblr. to see the results of my new nail polish obsession, what I happen to be cooking or sewing, how the apartment's progressing, and whatever else pleases me to post about.

Now for the really big news!!! As I might have mentioned earlier, I love mysteries. A lot. The ones I collect and love the most are vintage adolescent mystery series, such as Nancy Drew, Trixie Belden, the Hardy Boys, Judy Bolton, and many more. These books have influenced my life and this blog in many ways. I blame Nancy Drew's ability to do everything for why I have such a hard time only blogging about one thing, and why I couldn't specialize in grad school.  I want to share with you all how much I love these books, and also have fun with the books. I read the SVH books when I was little and I love reading blogs like Shannon's Sweet Valley Blog and the Dairy Burger.  The new Baby Cat and the Unfinished House was inspired by those blogs and the humorous ladies that write them.  Be expecting some tongue in cheek humor like that, starting with the infamous Nancy Drew Files!  I'm really excited about these changes, I think it's going to make the blog a lot better, so please stick around and keep reading!

Up next: The Nancy Drew Files #1 Secrets Can Kill
Nancy Drew Files #1 Secrets Can Kill

16 February 2011

Stay Tuned!

Big changes coming soon.