Nancy Drew Diaries #11: The Red Slippers – Book Review
This month’s Nancy Drew book is called “The
Red Slippers”. I have no idea why, because there are no slippers anywhere in this book.
But maybe Nancy SHOULD switch to red slippers. Those snowboots totally clash with her dress. *Theme* The book begins with Bess realizing she has
no defining personality traits, which is a problem, because having no personality is
Ned’s job. She decides that she needs a new hobby! I’m fine with Bess getting a hobby,
as long as she doesn’t do YouTube book reviews. That’s my thing. A girl shows up to talk to them. Based on
her hair, large calves and foot movement, Nancy deduces that she is a ballerina. Specifically,
she is Maggie Richards. She was in ballet class with Nancy and Bess when they were younger. Yeah, I remember that book. *read my review!* Maggie is in town as part of a ballet production.
Tomorrow, they perform in front of a big ballet critic, so it’s important that she does well.
I’m sure she has nothing to worry about and, oh my gosh, practice started an hour ago! Someone sabotaged Maggie’s phone to display
the wrong time. Nancy rushes Maggie to practice, and she meets all the suspects in this sabotage
mystery. 1. Fiona Scott, the surly understudy
2. Jamison the angry, insulting director 3. Sebastian the friendly pianist Nancy briefly focuses on Mike Carter, a CEO
Dad who doesn’t want his son to be a ballerino. But Colin cannot stop, because passion for
dancing is in his heart. So when the ballet posters are vandalized, Nancy decides to test
the dad’s reaction to it. He is so surprised that he must be innocent. Nancy looks into the store where the posters
were printed, but the man working there is a culprit from another mystery. He basically
hates Nancy and kicks her out. Now that I think about it, I’m surprised Nancy doesn’t
run into ex-culprits more often. I mean, she’s solved mysteries in River Heights for 85 years
now. Half the town should be in prison. Someone destroys Maggie’s dressing room, and
at dinner, someone puts a threat-warning under the bill. The waiter is just as mean as the
ex-culprit, and he refuses to help Nancy unless she gives him a big tip. Here’s tip: don’t
order your customers to leave you more money, you jerk. Thanks to the waiter’s lack of help,
Nancy isn’t able to catch the culprit. The next day’s rehearsal is closed to the
public, so George goes undercover as theater crew, Bess goes undercover as an usher, and
Nancy goes undercover as a ballerina. Because…being onstage in the middle of things is a great
way to keep a low profile? As usual, Nancy finds circumstantial evidence
which makes all the suspects look guilty. Since she’s running out of time, Nancy decides
to set a trap for the culprit. Maggie makes a big show of hiding her lucky shoes in a
specific spot. The first person who tries to take the shoes is the understudy! Aha!
Culprit time for–no, wait, she’s innocent, she was looking for something else. She DOES
confess to some of the minor sabotage incidents, so the trap wasn’t a total loss. A piece of scenery falls down and badly injures
Nancy’s leg. That’s the break in the case! Also, the break in Nancy’s leg. The scenery
was sabotaged three days ago, indicating that the culprit isn’t after Maggie in particular;
they’re trying to get the entire show shut down. Nancy tries to figure out who would have a
grudge against the mean, insulting director. The answer is EVERYONE. He verbally abuses
all of his students, because he figures that will make them better at ballet. Why, one
time, he gave Sebastian’s sister a mental breakdown, and…ah. Sebastian is the culprit, so our heroes break
into his dressing room. Nancy finds some orthochloro–ortho–uh, powder. She finds powder. If you heat up the powder, it turns into tear
gas, and he put it all over the hot stage lights. The lights get turned off before anything
bad happens, Sebastian is apprehended, and the mean director apologizes for insulting
everyone. We finish with Bess deciding her new hobby
is going to be tap dancing. She’s glad, because it’s important to know what you’re good at,
to help you decide what you want to be when you grow up. Um…isn’t Bess 18? She’s already
grown up. Maybe she should focus on something else, like getting a job in sales. The End Post-Book Followup If I had to guess, I’d say this book has the
same author as Book 5. There are the only books where Nancy goes into Sherlock Holmes
mode and spends several paragraphs, analyzing a piece of evidence to arrive at a conclusion.
That’s different from normal, and I like it. I like seeing Nancy use her brains to solve
a mystery. Not to say she’s stupid in other books, but
she’s not usually that proactive in getting things done. Usually, she just bounces around
from sabotage event to sabotage incident. Also like Book 5, this book has a reoccuring
theme, about self-fulfilment and doing the things you like, despite opposition. We see
this with Bess wanting a hobby, Maggie refusing to give in to the saboteur, the kid whose
dad doesn’t want him to dance, Nancy dealing with the director… Also–and this isn’t exactly a theme–the
book insists that there are no villains in the world. We just have good people, who make
bad decisions. The culprit, the mean dad and the director all get redeemed by the end of
the book, to emphasize that they’re not evil. No one’s evil! Except the poster store guy.
That guy was a jerk. I’m not sure if the author is trying to make
a statement about morality, or if that’s just the norm for the series: Nancy doesn’t run
into any culprits who are evil and want to kill her. Overall, a big improvement over the last book.
Hard NOT to improve over the last book, where the culprit’s motive was “they were copying
a comic book”. I give it
a 9 out of 10.