After the Sherlock Holmes series, this is like sherbet on the palate after a night of constant pipe smoking:

Our heroine:


She reminds me of someone, but I think that's the point; she reminds everyone of someone. She probably looked in the mirror and wondered who she reminded herself of. I know me, but from where?

Comic relief:

More chlorine in the gene pool, please. The kid on the left? The voice of "Pinocchio." Really. Bonus fact: son of a Texas newspaper editor. Born in ’27; still with us at press time. Mary Lee faded out of the biz after a few years.

Let's go right to the newsroom, where the plot is kicked off by a headline from the Exposition Beat:

The River Heights Tribune! I’m not sure how I’d rewrite this headline, but I would. It’s not clear who’s hurling the accusations. The police? Disgruntled relatives? The shrieking voice of the elderly woman, channeled by a medium? Or perhaps the paper itself, trying to create some controversy? Wouldn’t put it past them; newspapers in the 30s often had an ambiguous attitude towards literal truth, and weren’t above goosing a story to keep it on the front page.

It’s a real newsroom, alright - lots of typing, and lots of phones ringing, and most important: a cynical, gruff, curmudgeonly city editor. They didn’t make any other kind. At least there are sweet, spunky kids to remind them why they got in this racket in the first place.





Nancy steals an assignment from editor’s desk, and finds herself covering a trial. Just in case anyone had worried that this fascinating newspaper drama had turned into a courtroom drama, there’s this:


Wow! Whatta scoop!

At the end of the inquest, there’s a hot scoop and an extra edition: End User License Agreement held over for murder!



When they read EULA her rights, she said she understood them, even though she hadn’t paid attention to a word they said.


Nancy's Boy Friday is ably played by the preternaturally self-composed Frankie Thompson.



Odd: he turned up on a movie I was watching last night, something called “The Angels Wash Their Faces.” It has the Dead End Kids in it, plus Ronald Reagan. Reminded me how quickly I got sick of the Dead End Kids, although the era of tough orphans who say <em>ahh, g'wan</em> has a certain nostalgia appeal. For a while. There, the moment's passed. Anyway, this chap would gain early TV fame in 1950 as Tom Corbett, Space Cadet.. (Beat Jack Lemmon for the role, imdb says. Imagine Lemmon in that role, doing a count-down in a quavering, stammering voice before exploding out with ALL RIGHT TWO, ONE IF IT MAKES YOU HAPPY) He quit acting after that gig, and spent his life as mystery writer and bridge player; imdb says he was buried in his Tom Corbett costume. Died a few years ago at the age of 85.

Anyway: the intrepid kids go down to the jail and ask to see Eula; of course, they bring her right out. J-school students, TAKE NOTE: here’s how you win a source’s confidence.




At least Nancy has the right attitude for the profession:




I'm not saying she bends the rules, but here's Nancy Drew, Reporter after TWO DAYS on the job:



It's the Jayson Blair Wench Project! But it's all for the greater good of solving the mystery, and in the end she's rewarded with the accolades of the adults. Today she'd be fired on the spot and blacklisted from future employment - no japes, please, papers don't hire people who fabricate stories and lie to editors - but in those days the combination of journalism's Noble Purpose and its Questionable, Colorful Practioners made a happy ending plausible.

They made four of these. Cute as it is, one's enough.

One last anchronistic note: eyewear.



Those are some swell glasses. It would be really cool if the bridge was embedded under his skin, and he could flip them up without taking them off.