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Portable Magic

Reading, for me, is entertainment and an escape from the real world. But it can also inform and stretch the boundaries of the life I live.

Currently reading

A Wizard of Earthsea (The Earthsea Cycle, #1)
Ursula K. Le Guin
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Chandler Baker
Progress: 54 %
Invisible Man
Ralph Ellison
Progress: 28 %
The Mystery at Lilac Inn
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100 Hair-Raising Little Horror Stories
Gary Raisor, Richard Chizmar, Al Sarrantonio, Avram Davidson
Progress: 70/512 pages
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Charles M. Schulz
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The Bungalow Mystery
Carolyn Keene
Progress: 192/192 pages
The Bungalow Mystery #3
Carolyn Keene
Progress: 192/192 pages
The Mystery at Lilac Inn
Russell H. Tandy, Mildred Benson, Carolyn Keene

The Secret of the Old Clock – ND1.3

The Secret of the Old Clock - Russell H. Tandy, Sara Paretsky, Carolyn Keene The Secret of the Old Clock - Carolyn Keene

Continued: Reading the 1930 & 1959 versions of The Secret of The Old Clock simultaneously, comparing differences in the story and characters, and pondering dated plot points. Spoilers: full plot description below!


1930 (Ch9) Nancy finds another Crowley cousin, little old lady Abigail Rowen, lying on her couch and moaning about how she has nobody and can’t afford doctors or food or bandages. Dr. Nancy tells her that her hip can’t be broken if she can walk (?!?) and essentially tells her to get over herself. Declining to use the measly $5 Abigail has stashed in her cookie jar, Nancy goes out to buy food & supplies and provides a meal & first aid before relentlessly grilling her about Josiah Crowley. Abigail is clearly lower class per her terrible diction and passively morose attitude.


1930 Ch9 dated plot points: Nancy finds Abigails’s house by just driving along the street and asking the neighbors, who apparently not only know everybody in the neighborhood, they also feel completely comfortable telling random strangers who lives in which house. Plus, no google to find addresses and street maps. All medical care is an out of pocket cost, even emergency services and for seniors – no there’s no insurance or Medicare. No adult protective services, meals on wheels, or social security, either. Nancy spends *almost $10* on groceries, which would be $141 in current dollars.


1959 (Ch7) Daddy Drew teases, praises, and warns Nancy, but is encouraging after Nancy demonstrates the “courage of your convictions” and he promises protection if she has “serious trouble”. Lots of blushing & embarrassment (?!?) from the Turner sisters when they reveal that they turned down the Mathews bros’ marriage proposals when Judy fell into their care. So, unlike their 1930’s selves, their tragedy is not just old maidishness, but that they sacrificed true love to care for their little niece. Which doesn’t make sense. Couldn’t they have done so just as easily as married ladies? And what, the Mathews brothers just dumped them afterwards? There was no romantic connection between the two pairs in the original version. Out at the Mathews brothers’ farm, heroic Nancy rescues a puppy and is attacked by the mother dog – cliffhanger!


1959 Ch7 dated plot points – Why the embarrassment about the marriage proposals? Nancy finds the Mathews farm by driving along the street and looking at names on mailboxes - I vaguely recall a time when names were on mailboxes, but that was long ago.  Most people would consider that a security and privacy risk these days. The Turners are hoping to get $ for a “very special education” for Judy – that is education for her dancing, not to educate her mind. Again the emphasis on feminine accomplishments as a hopeful future for a girl.


...To be continued. 


Index of posts for The Secret of the Old Clock: