The supernatural and mystery stories seem to go hand-in-hand, look no further than this year’s A Haunting in Venice.

 

I have to believe that part of this comes from pitting people such as Hercule Poirot or in the case of today’s entry, Nancy Drew up against things as ghosts and spirits presents an interesting challenge as detectives work with tangible evidence and go off what they can see but that cannot happen when working in a mystery that involves ghosts or the supernatural. This is not the first book to feature Nancy Drew in an anthology of ghost stories as there were previous books with the original Mystery Stories run that featured Nance in these types of stories. An example is seen below.

 

However, the book we are looking at today comes from the Girl Detective series which was the second Nancy Drew series and it replaced the original series and was eventually replaced by the Diaries series.

 

Cover

 

The cover is fine, I won’t ding the model portraying Nancy but the pose feels so generic and while the background does evoke spookiness that you’d expect from a book called Ghost Stories, it just doesn’t pop. It kind of reminds me of promotional images for the ghost-hunting shows that air on the Travel Channel all the time.

 

 

Yeah, like that. I do get the idea and it does work but there’s no intrigue or mystery to it. To compare it to another piece of Nancy Drew media, the CW show which also deals with the supernatural has a great intro that makes you interested in what is happening.

 

This intro is perfect, it’s mysterious and foreboding making you fear for Nancy and wonder what the next hour will entail.

 

Stories

 

I’ll briefly touch upon each of the stories while not going into too much detail and at the end, I’ll rank them in terms of least to most favorite.

 

 

Magna Mayhem

The first story involves Nancy, Bess, and George traveling to Tokyo as Carson Drew is involved in a legal between two manga artists titled Ghost Warriors based on the forty-seven Ronin.

 

The Ronin were a real group of samurai that is a part of Japanese history.  It is a significant event in their past. One of the most interesting things about this story is how the ghosts, is how the ghosts come to Nancy and another character serving as something of a guide to Nancy while solving the mystery.  This seems to tie back into the relationship that the Japanese have with the undead.  

In Japan, there is this idea that the dead and the living are not so separate. This is interlinked with Buddhist and Shinto beliefs about death and rebirth. As a living person, you continue to retain a relationship with that person whose gone.”

 

This is such a nice idea to bring into the story and I felt it was handled quite well, also it was funny seeing Nance getting sucked into a Magna as it just shows her nerdy side even if it does distract a bit from the mystery that Nancy is trying to solve but it is still a fun time.

 

 

 

America’s Got Terror

 

 

This story’s title is a play on the reality competition show, America’s Got Talent and that makes sense as this story takes place on the set of a horror reality show where the prize is the role in a horror movie.  This is reminiscent of the old VH1 show Scream Queens where the prize was just that.

 

 

Although I have to ding the producer as he doesn’t have them do any acting challenges but instead just seeing if they can last in a haunted house for five days.  The bad guy is easy to pick up on but I think that’s the point and the mystery is more about the why of everything happening in the house.  I will say that the ending of the story is perhaps my favorite in the anthology as it ups the ante and makes you fear for the characters’s safety before getting out.

 

 

Visitor From Beyond

 

A new girl has arrived in River Heights and it sets off Nancy’s mystery senses it has to do with a mysterious incident from the past.  This one is fun and it is cool to see Nance go all over River Heights working with Ned trying to solve this mystery from the past. It’s a fun time if the least spooky story in the book but it’s still good seeing Nance work trying to solve this decades-old mystery.

 

 

Carnival of Fear

 

Evil carnivals are such a staple of this time and this is an idea that haunt events like to play with.

 

 

 

And that is what the title made me think this would be at first but no, this one is quite tragic as it deals with a theme park opening years after a young girl had died on a roller coaster due to faulty maintenance on Halloween night.  This is the motive of the villain as well and you can’t help to feel bad for the main villain. As for the girl who died on the coaster, there is a belief that she haunts the grounds of the park where she died.  Bess’s younger brother (This book reveals Bess and George have younger siblings)  asks one of the carnival workers if she’d ever seen the ghost and he receives what he believes to be a condescending answer.  There are points where the trio, the siblings, and Nance’s rival (Yeah, this series decided Nancy needed a rival. Glad, the Diaries got rid of that) enter a funhouse and believe they hear the ghost.  This goes even further after said rival goes missing and we learn how what happened that tragic night played a part in what was happening.  This was a strong story to end on.

 

 

My Final Thoughts

 

This was a decent anthology of ghost stories starring Nancy that all made for a fun time.  As for ranking them,  I’d probably put Visitor from Beyond last,  Magna Terror in third,  America’s Got Terror second, and Carnival of Fear first as it is the strongest entry.  Join me next time as we close out this event to look at a book prequel to The CW Show…

 

Nancy Drew: The Curse

 

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