The Hidden Staircase by Carolyn Keene

Nancy’s friend, Helen, and Helen’s Great-Aunt Rosemary ask Nancy to solve a mystery at her great-grandmother’s home, Twin Elms, a stately Colonial mansion in nearby Cliffwood. And Nancy is determined to check it out until she hears that her father is being threatened by crooked lawyer Nathan Gomber, who feels Carson, as attorney for the railroad, cheated property owners near a new railroad bridge. Carson Drew, Nancy’s father, tells her not to worry and Nancy and Helen go to stay at Twin Elms while Carson goes to Chicago to find Willie Wharton, who is holding up the proceedings by hiding.

On the girls’ first day, a chandelier sways by itself. Miss Flora is missing items, music comes out of nowhere, and a gorilla is seen peering in a window. After Nancy confers with the local chief of police, an officer named Patrick is assigned to patrol the grounds while Nathan Gomber repeatedly harasses Miss Flora and Rosemary to sell their property to him. When Nancy’s father fails to arrive on schedule, Nancy becomes worried, later finding out that her father was kidnapped. As she rushes to find him she also finds a connection between her father and the ghost of Twin Elms.

Once again, the title gave it away but I thought The Hidden Staircase was much better than The Secret of the Old Clock. Even though this one moves a lot slower and most of the drama occurs in the last three chapters, there is an actual mystery here that has much higher stakes. After all, Nancy’s father is kidnapped. And unlike the first book in the series, The Hidden Staircase‘s descriptions are a lot better while still maintaining it’s simple nature.

Book Mentioned:

  • Keene, Carolyn. The Hidden Staircase (Nancy Drew #2). New York, NY: Grosset & Dunlap, 1995. Originally published 1930. Print. 182 pgs. ISBN: 9780448095028. Source: Gift.
Book Cover © Grosset & Dunlap. Retrieved: September 7, 2008.
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