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.

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