The Clue in the Crossword Cipher
Series: Nancy Drew #44
Published by Grosset & Dunlap on January 1st 1967
Genres: Children's, Mystery
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For cliffhanging suspense and thrilling action read THE NANCY DREW MYSTERY STORIES-the worlds most popular mystery series for young readers! Millions of fans have matched wits with Nancy Drew, helping her solve more than fifty baffling cases.
I adore Nancy Drew books in general, but The Clue in the Crossword Cipher is probably one of my favorites in the mystery series yet. I’ve probably mentioned that I love to learn as I read and with this book, set in South America, namely in Peru and Argentina, I was captivated.
In the story, Nancy and her closest chums, Bess and George, travel with another friend, Carla, to her home in Peru in an attempt to solve a mystery revolving around an ancient artifact, which has been in the possession of Carla’s family for centuries.
Now, me, being a person who rarely reads book synopses in full, as I feel synopses sometimes spoil the book, expected the mystery to involve a literal crossword puzzle, straight out of The New York Times or something. However, I was very wrong!
The crossword is actually a piece of a puzzle engraved on the ancient artifact owned by Carla’s family – which definitely came as a surprise! Full of suspense, snooping snoops, and true to its time, The Clue in the Crossword Cipher kept me entertained and on the proverbial edge of my seat – I did not solve the mystery prior to the book’s conclusion, which always makes me happy.
The story takes Nancy and her comrades from the ruins of Machu Picchu to the Nazca lines, which are archaeological sites of great interest to me. While I did have to suspend disbelief a bit while reading about Nancy and friends’ escapades at the sites, I still very much enjoyed the book and learned a bit about South American Indian culture along the way.
The only thing I could see being problematic regarding all Nancy Drew mysteries is the fact that, like I said, they are true to their time, as in they were written in the 1950s and 1960s – meaning that gender stereotypes and silliness are found in abundance.
For instance, there is a bit too much focus on the fact that Nancy is ‘attractive’ and Bess is ‘overweight.’ However, knowing the time in which these books were written, before women were seen in a more modern light, I can brush off these references.
Nancy Drew mysteries are always light, quick reads that are definitely go-to books when I’m in a reading slump. They were prominent staples in both my and my mother’s childhoods and reading them takes me back to being that young girl who had become intrigued by reading and especially mysteries.