Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Book Review: The Clue of the Whistling Bagpipes

The Clue of the Whistling Bagpipes (Nancy Drew, #41)
The Clue of the Whistling Bagpipes

Series: Nancy Drew Mystery Stories #41
Published: February 1, 1964
Warnings not to go to Scotland can't stop Nancy Drew from setting out on a thrill-packed mystery adventure.
Undaunted by the vicious threats, the attractive young detective - with her father and her two close friends - goes to visit her great-grandmother at an imposing estate in the Scottish Highlands, and to solve the mystery of a missing family heirloom.
And there is another mystery to be solved: the fate of flocks of stolen sheep.
Baffling clues challenge Nancy's powers of deduction: a note written in the ancient Gaelic language, a deserted houseboat on Loch Lomond, a sinister red-bearded stranger in Edinburgh, eerie whistling noises in the Highlands. Startling discoveries in an old castle and in the ruins of a prehistoric fortress, on a rugged mountain slope and in a secluded glen, lead Nancy closer to finding solutions to both mysteries.
Wearing a time-honored tartan, Nancy climbs the mountain of Ben Nevis in the dark of night and plays a tune of historic heroism on the bagpipes -all part of her daring plan to trap the sheep thieves and to recover the valuable heirloom.
The Mystery
Nancy sure has her fill of mysteries in this one! First she's called to Scotland to help find her great-grandmother's missing heirloom that she was supposed to inherit, then there's a sheep smuggling ring, and someone is forging checks in Nancy's name! And then there's the trouble of her new found fame after Bess enters a photo of her sleuthing into a contest.

My Thoughts
It's been a while since I've read one of the "classics" and with the recent release of The Silent Spy, I thought The Clue of the Whistling Bagpipes would be a good choice to fill some free time. Since it's been a couple of years between reading from this series, I had forgotten a few things. Like how each chapter ends with a cliffhanger. (I found some of the endings to be kind of amusing.) And how the culprits explained everything to Nancy at the end. However, since this book obviously comes later in the series, I don't think it was as mystery centered as some of the other books have been, especially the earlier books. I feel like they were trying to cram too much into one story.
And then there's the whole business with the sheep smuggling. (I can't help but giggle while writing that.) I know Scotland has a lot of sheep, but really? What was surprising about that part of the mystery was the grim turn it took towards the end.
I was also hoping to learn a bit more about Nancy's mom in this book, but alas, to no avail.

What We Learn
As always with Nancy Drew, there's always something to learn. To be honest, I think the book spent more time on Scottish history than on the mystery. We also learn some Gaelic, we learn about the different tartans of the Scottish clans, bagpipes, and some folk music. Ironically, we don't learn anything about sheep.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Game Review: The Silent Spy #29

The Silent Spy ~ Game #29
Defuse a Toxic Plot and Reveal the Truth Behind Kate Drew's Death!
Nearly a decade ago Agent Kate Drew left home to neutralize a biochemical weapon in Scotland. While her assignment was a success, Kate died in a car accident. Or so we were told. Now the echoes of a similar plot reverberate and it's up to you, as detective Nancy Drew, to thwart the sleeper cell and expose the truth about your mother's tragic demise.
First play through: October 16, 2013 ( I played for 7 hours straight)
Format: PC DVD-ROM
Bonus Edition
Game Rating: E 10+ for Mild Violence

First Impressions
Oh my, was I excited for The Silent Spy. When I saw the trailer at the end of GTH, I had an absolute spazz attack. Being a hardcore Nancy Drew fan, I was so excited to be learning more about Nancy's mom. She's only mentioned here and there in the books and the games, but we don't really know much about here. (Disclaimer: I have not read The Clue of the Whistling Bagpipes, the book which SPY is based on. Maybe we learn more about her in that book. I've been meaning to read it but things get in the way.) I was also very excited that it was taking place in Scotland. I could tell even from the teaser trailer that this was not going to be an ordinary mystery for Nancy.

Plot and Setting
As I stated above, I was so excited that it was taking place in Scotland. I absolutely love the UK. We get to see different parts for Scotland, which is always awesome, and I really felt like this was one of those games I wanted to live in.
As far as the plot goes, probably the closest game to this one would be VEN. Both have Nancy working undercover for a bigger organization, but the similarities stop there. SPY is so much bigger than VEN. I loved using all the spy gadgets and solving all the puzzles--it made me feel quite fancy! I went through a spy phase when I was young this maybe in a way this was me living out that dream.
But the one thing I absolutely loved about SPY were the flashbacks Nancy has. At certain points in the game we get to see bits of Nancy's childhood and her memories of her mom. Again, as a huge fan, I was spazzing.

Alec Fell: He's the first person we meet in the game. He's a bit questionable at first, but I liked him. He was helpful without giving too much away, but her definitely had his secrets.

Bridget Shaw: She started out being really annoying, but as I progressed through the game, she became my favorite character. However, I can't say anything more. That's classified.

Moira Chisholm: I kind of forgot she existed at some points. She was mainly there to fill in some blanks about Nancy's mom.

Ewan MacLeod: Another character I kind of forgot about. But as the game went on, he seemed to know a little too much about some things.

Kate Drew: There are not enough words to describe my elation for the fact that we get to meet her in this game.She's just awesome and I loved everything about her.

Other characters and phone friends: a Mysterious Caller, Ned Nickerson, and Carson Drew.

Game Play
SPY uses the latest interface (4th generation) for game play. I love the task bar in this interface since it gives me easy access to hints if I need them. I had no problems with lag or anything else until I got to the very end of the game. It kind of froze and wouldn't load properly, but I think that was my fault, not the game's.

Game Grade: A
SPY has definitely become one of my all time favorites. There were tons of puzzles and each was connected to the next in such an intricate line of secrets. I thought HeR did a wonderful job with the integration of Nancy's past and her mother into the other storyline about Revenant and Cathedral. The writing and character development was just so good and absolutely everyone has secrets and motives. I can usually figure out who the culprit is but I had a bit of a hard time with that. I did not know who to trust. This is definitely a must play for Nancy Drew fans.

Hints and Tips
As I always say, take notes! You'll really need it for this game. Also, make sure you look EVERYWHERE. I ran into a bit of trouble in my second play-through because I forgot to look in certain places for items that are important later on. And by doing that, I managed to get all but two awards.

Happy sleuthing!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

The Silent Spy is HERE!!

My copy of SPY just came in the mail mere minutes ago! 

I smoosh it on meh face.
I'm installing right now and trying to contain my excitement. What will wait for us to discover in Scotland?

Who else has gotten their copy?

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

SPY Box Art Revealed!

Yesterday Her Interactive revealed the SPY box art!

Official summary:
Defuse a Toxic Plot and Reveal the Truth Behind Kate Drew's Death!
Nearly a decade ago Agent Kate Drew left home to neutralize a biochemical weapon in Scotland. While her assignment was a success, Kate died in a car accident. Or so we were told. Now the echoes of a similar plot reverberate and it's up to you, as detective Nancy Drew, to thwart the sleeper cell and expose the truth about your mother's tragic demise.
What do you guys think? I love it. I'm am counting down the days until I get my copy.
Which reminds me: don't forget these important dates!

Only those who pre-order The Silent Spy through Her Interactive will receive the *Bonus Edition. The Bonus Edition includes such items as:
● Play classic mini-games on your cell phone!
● Find and collect exclusive in-game phone charms!
● Receive additional texts on your in-game cell phone!
● Find and listen to an exclusive audio clip in the cabin!
● Earn a unique in-game award!
*Physical Bonus Editions are limited and available ONLY while supplies last.
Happy Sleuthing! 

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

New look! Also, tumblr!

The blog has gotten a makeover! What do you think? I tried to go with classic Nancy for the theme. I think it looks a lot nicer!

Also, I've made a tumblr to go hand in hand with this blog. It doesn't have much as of right now, but I will start working on it!

Puzzle Solution

I didn't have time to personally solve this week's puzzle but I still have the solution for you guys!

{"Covert the keyboard characters ^, !), !#, @, !, !, !), $ into [their respective numbers on the keyboard]. Which is [6, 10, 13, 2, 1, 1, 10, 4]. Then go back to the blog posts on the given dates, and find the hidden [messages]. Next, count [that many letters in the secret m3essage to get your final letters].

The final word from searching the blog is this [REVENANT]."}

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Weekend Puzzle for 8/23

Forgive me for being a day late! I had job training all day yesterday.
Hint: Hiding in plain sight.
6 August = ^
9 August = !)
5 August = !#
13 August = @
13 August = !
7 August = !
19 August = !)
19 August = $
Previously posted on the Amateur Sleuth blog. 

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Puzzle Solution

I'm a little late posting. Sorry about that!
Anyway, the code is in signal flags!

They spell out NEXT WEEK.

Hmm... what could be happening then?

Friday, August 16, 2013

Weekend Puzzle for 8/16

I'm losing it over here waiting for the SPY cover art!!

Meanwhile, we have another weekend puzzle to solve!

Previously posted on the Amateur Sleuth blog.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Weekend Puzzle Solution

When I saw the flags, the first thing I thought of was DDI. So the flags must represent letters!
Getting the answer was very easy.

Answer: NOT WHO

What does this mean? It's regarding SPY so... hmm, speculations...

Friday, August 9, 2013

Weekend Puzzle 8/9

The weekend puzzles are back here on The Sleuth!

This week's puzzle is concerning SPY. Hmmm...

Re-posted from the Amateur Sleuth blog.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

The Silent Spy: Release dates!

*Squeals and runs in circles*
And it has begun! The waiting, the fangirling, the flailing about.
In preparation for SPY, I will be reading and reviewing The Clue of the Whistling Bagpipes. Sounds appropriate, right?
What will you guys be doing in preparation for SPY?

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

I'm Still Here!

Hello fellow sleuths! 

I apologize for the insane lack of posts. There are several reasons for that.
1. School. Things were really crazy in April and May, but I've graduated so no more school for me!
2. The Attic. I've been spending a lot of time getting my review blog back up and running so Nancy hasn't been getting a lot of attention from me lately.

That being said, expect to see many more posts here soon. I'm trying to come up with a post schedule. I post every single day on The Attic, but I was thinking maybe three days a week on here. I hopefully will be posting book reviews and of course game reviews. I'll be getting back into the weekend puzzles and reading more Nancy since I've worked out a reading schedule that will work on both fronts. 

So, in other news, game #29, The Silent Spy, will be coming out soon! In fact, over on the Amateur Sleuth blog, they said that something pertaining to SPY will be announced today. What will it be? 

Happy sleuthing!

Friday, May 17, 2013

Game Review: Ghost of Thornton Hall #28

Ghost of Thornton Hall ~ Game #28
Some Families Keep Deadly Secrets!Jessalyn Thornton's fateful sleepover at the abandoned Thornton estate was supposed to be a pre-wedding celebration, but the fun ended when she disappeared. While her family searches for clues, others refuse to speak about the estate's dark past. Did something supernatural happen to Jessalyn, or is someone in Thornton Hall holding something besides family secrets? 
First play through: May 8-10, 2013
Format: PC DVD-ROM
Bonus Edition
Game Rating: E--mild violence

First Impressions
I was so excited for this game, but a bit weary since I have been a bit disappointed with some of the newer "scary" games. Really, nothing could be scarier than CUR, right? ...I may stand corrected. I don't think I've been as jumpy while playing a game in a long while.

Plot and Setting
The main plot is a bit of a re-hash of what we got in HAU: An impending marriage and one half of the party goes missing. But, there is also the second story line involving Charlotte and her ghost. Thornton Hall itself is a whole other story onto itself and I thought the three were interwoven very nicely. That being said, without the ambiance we are given with the overgrown trees, fog, dilapidated buildings, and creepy tombstones, the stories would be lost completely. I really loved the old, southern feel the property exuded. It really made me feel that there were more people hanging around, who were not necessarily alive.


Clara Thornton: Not my favorite of the bunch. She stays locked up in the house, and all she does is tell Nancy that the house used to look nice, freaks out over Charlotte, and keeps secrets. Lots of them. She doesn't give you much to go on, which is probably why she's not high on my list of favorites.

Wade Thornton: Probably my favorite character of the game, because he is so straight forward, unlike Clara. He tells you what you need to know and nothing more, and is just entertaining to talk to. Plus he hangs out in the cemetery which is my favorite place in the game, and in real life. I know, I'm creepy.

Harper Thornton: A surprising favorite of mine. There is something very Helena Bonham Carter about her that I just love. The way she talks to Nancy and not quite answers all her questions makes you wonder whether she is crazy like everyone says, or if she's the sanest person at Thornton Hall.

Colton Birchfield: He's a tool and I don't like him. Plain and simple. I didn't talk to him much in the game just because he seemed shady and distant. Also, I don't like his hair.

Charlotte Thornton: I was amazed, and frightened, every time Charlotte showed up. The artwork that went into her appearances is just incredible. I had to play part of the game with headphones on because my speakers decided that they did not want to work, and it made her so much more creepy. There were several times when I almost jumped right out of my chair.

Other characters and phone friends: Jessalyn Thornton, Addison Hammond, Savannah Woodham, Bess and Ned

Game Play
GTH uses the newest interface (4th) which is not my favorite of the four, but it give easier access to the journal and task list, not to mention hints. I love the hints on the new interface since it gives people like me the answers after a while and I don't have to run around in circles. I had a bit of trouble with lag, especially in the cemetery. The fog made everything freeze for a second every time I tried to back away from the tombstones, but it was a minor detail I could look past.

Game grade: A-
I was really surprised at the level of scares in GTH. After SAW, I thought that HeR was starting to turn down the scares, but they proved me wrong. This game is definitely the scariest to date, not to mention an obvious effort the artists put into Charlotte. GTH will without a doubt be going up on my list of favorites.

Hints and Tips
As always, take notes! There were so many puzzles in this game that one really has to write information down for later. Also, for optimum creepiness, I suggest you turn off the lights and plug in the headphones for the full effect. Happy gaming!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

GTH: Trailer and Pre-orders!

Pre-order GTH and not only will you get the bonus edition...
●   Phone Charms: Collect and display all 7 on your
      in-game phone!
●   Mobile Mini Games: WAC's Matching, TOT's Land
      Rush, SAW's Renograms, ASH's Wire, CAP's Winch,
      DED's Aggregation!
●   Extra Outtakes: including hilarious game-creation
      process clips!
●   Charmed Metagame Award: ultimate award for finding
      all the phone charms!
●   Secret Egg Puzzle: use an Easter Egg to find the
      hidden phone charm!
●   Extra Audio Player Tracks: including exclusive audio of
      Jessalyn and her friend, Addison!

You will be entered to win Charlotte Thornton's mask! And there will be 100 winners, which is a pretty good chance there.

 I'm so excited!!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Look at This Piece of Beautiful

It's the GTH desktop icon! I seriously can't stop staring at this. Now it's time to change my twitter icon to this...

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

No More GFC

Because of this whole nonsense of Google shutting down Google Friend Connect and Google Reader, I am making the switch over to Bloglovin. I highly recommend this. I has pretty much the same layout as Google Read, but I think it's a lot better. I've already done a switch with The Attic, so please, if you are following The Sleuth or The Attic, please make the switch.

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Read my post on The Attic.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Ghost of Thornton Hall Masquerade Contest

You are formally invited to enter everythingnancydrew’s “Ghost of Thornton Hall Masquerade Contest.” As you may know, this game comes out in stores on May 14, 2013. There has been much speculation that there will be some sort of masquerade theme in the game.
To enter this contest, all you need to do is create an outfit that you think represents Ghost of Thornton Hall and a masquerade that would take place there. What would Nancy Drew wear to a masquerade at the hall? What would you wear? What do you think the occupants would have worn during the hall’s heyday? The possibilities are endless! There really are no guidelines, except that you must include a mask of some sort.
Entries are due Saturday, March 23, and the winners will be announced Saturday, March 24.
Please send all entries and any questions you may have to everythingnancydrew.
My entry for the masquerade contest:
I absolutely love the box art for Thornton Hall. I took cues from the artwork and created my own version of the outfit on the cover. I love the mask. The red matches the dress while the black lace adds a bit of mystery and gothic flair. That paired with the gloves, necklace, and shoes completes the outfit without adding too much to it. Personally, I love it. I could totally see myself wearing this at a ball then going out into the darkness to take a stroll through the cemetery.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Ghost of Thornton Hall Box Art Reveal!

Ghost of Thornton Hall
Look at the piece of awesome! I think this is probably the creepiest box art so far. Well done HeR!

Don't forget!
Pre-orders begin April 9th!
Official release date is May 14th!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

I'm Still Alive!

Sorry for the extended absence fellow sleuths! School and, well, life kind of snuck up on me. 
But never fear! It's a new year which means new things! What new things? Well, I don't know yet, but I will be brainstorming ideas for posts here on this blog! Possibly game and books reviews. I still have to write up a post for DED. AHHH I'm so behind on everything! 

I'm going to be super busy still so there won't be any posts until March. Until then, happy sleuthing!