Previously: Cops cease to exist in Nancy’s town, making it totally plausible that a principal would hire a girl detective to figure out who’s stealing shit at his high school. Things go all crazy quickly, when the thief is murdered and Nancy’s crush Bluberry Eyes turns out to be stealing US government secrets and selling them to Russia. I’m not even joking about that part. The guy who helps Blueberry sell government secrets is the murderer. Nancy saves the day and gets to kiss multiple guys in one book. Obviously, I’m pursuing the wrong career path.
Lorraine: I took the lessons I learned from book one of Nancy Drew to heart. I learned them all. I mean, not really all. I’ll probably always have a hard time accepting the idea that even if someone has just been murdered, there is totes time for a make-out sesh, but y’know. I learned other lessons.
Mainly, I’ve learned not to guess that any character we meet is the killer. If book #1 is any indication, all the people they take time and effort to introduce us to are NOT IT. I’m just going to guess that random, barely related to the story people are in fact the killer. One step closer to being the greatest detective of ever, everyone. I’m one. step. closer.
Sweeney: Applying this perspective to the other books we cover could make them vastly more entertaining. If every peripheral character is a potential murderer, I will have so much more fun with Kristy’s BSC books.
Lor: I don’t even think that’s too much of a stretch. I’m sure half the people in Sweet Valley and some of the parents in Stoneybrook and just about everyone in RL’s books ARE potential murderers.
I should probably mention that I’m not even sure that there is a killer in this book, but the last case was about stolen video equipment and it ended with murder and espionage. We’ll just assume “killer” for the book titled, “Deadly Intent,” kay?
Let’s talk about this book cover, shall we? First of all: is a new guy going to be standing behind Nancy in every single one of the covers? And more importantly, is that a metaphor for Nancy being kind-of-a-slut?
Also: LOL, her over sized sweater and light washed jeans. And his Miami Vice look… in front of the Twin Towers? Are those the Twin Towers?
Sweeney: Wait, this is set in New York? Really, books, there are no cops in New York City? We’re going to have a child solve our murders in New York City? OK. Cool.
Lor: I hear the cops in NY are like, super busy or something.
Plus, just look at her, yo. She’s about to punch AND karate chop you all at once… ooor, maybe she’s just going to rubber stamp her own hand?
Briefly: Nancy is “one of the top” young detectives in all of the country. I just want to know how many fetal-mystery solvers there are applying for the title of “top young detective.” Is there some kindergartner somewhere all, “Teacher, I figured out who ate the Play-doh!” who is close on the heels of Nancy?
Bess and George are girls, cousins, Nancy’s best friends and also named after cows. Bess is boy crazy and she’s dating this dude Alan. The narrator keeps telling us that Alan is her boyfriend, “for now,” and “this time,” which makes me think this narrator is a twat.
Sweeney: and that Bess obviously deserves a #hosuspension.
Lor: This all makes me think that Bess might be one of those girls who probably changes her Facebook relationship status all the time. You know. Like if this wasn’t written in the 80’s and Bess had a Facebook, and she weren’t stuck in a time with no internets and no social media and no cell phones and also no police officers, that’s who’d she be.
Anyways, George, Bess, Alan and Nan are super excited SQUEE, because they are going to see their favorite band, Bent Fender, which is a terrible name for a band. Right, well, Nancy’s dad has an old roommate who is the dad of the guy in the band and blah blah blah, lean, stretch, random connections, and fuck it, we need some way to make this all plausible.
At Radio City Music Hall, the kids are introduced to the band: Barton the lead guitar player, Roger the singer guy, plus Mark, Jim and Linda the other various instrument players in the band.
The kids are all star struck and the band people are all, “we’ve got the hottest young detective at our show tonight,” and somewhere in south Florida, a pantsless Lorraine yells, “OH BULLSHIT,” at fictional characters.
Sweeney: Obviously all famous musicians are eagerly hoping for the opportunity to meet famous child detectives.
Lor: The band leaves the kids to go get ready for the show, and some time later, every one is all in a tizzy. See, Barton, the lead guitarist has gone missing. Oh, haaii mystery, haaaii. There you is.
The gang goes to Barton’s dressing room and Nancy notices that things are all laid out, about to be used, proving to her that he didn’t actually plan on leaving. For example, Barton’s cowboy boots are still on the floor underneath his vanity.
“Barton had these on when we met him earlier. That means wherever he is… he’s barefoot.”
Wait. Wait just one minute. He left his shoes, so he’s barefoot?! Well flick me in the liver. That’s some amazing detective work, Nancy. No wonder you are top in all of the world.
Sweeney: Why does he only have one pair of shoes? Why is footwear somehow crucial to this case? Why does he wear cowboy boots? I have so many questions.
Lor: Shhhh. All that asking of valid questions will probably distract Nancy. She’s busy thinking about how if you have no shoes on, you are barefoot. It’s really heavy stuff.
So. Barton is missing. “Hey,” someone who doesn’t deserve to be named (Sweeney: killer, yo!) speaks up. “Why don’t we call the police? They have the resources and manpower to search for a person, not to mention, it is more likely that no one on the force still sleeps in footie pajamas.”
“LOL!” say the rest of them, and make up some poopie excuse about how Barton went missing once before, years ago, so if they called the cops they wouldn’t take them seriously. Riiiiiiight.
“Why don’t I just..”
“God, Nancy, will you? Can you please solve this mystery of a whole missing human?” Yes. Yes, she will.
In the meanwhile, it is determined that Alan happens to play guitar and sing and know all the Bent Fender songs, so he takes Barton’s place in the show. While the Bovine Besties watch the show, Nancy is looking around backstage for clues.
Sweeney: and of course all those paying fans won’t really notice or care that the lead guitarist is MIA and some random kid who has never rehearsed with the band has taken his place.
Lorraine: Sweeney, your rational thinking is getting kind of distracting. Gosh.
Sweeney: My bad. I keep forgetting that rational thinking doesn’t happen in any of these books. That might top the list of Ways These Books Traumatized Us: “Teaching us that the logical, rational conclusion is never the one you start with.”
Lorraine: Nan finds out that the guards let in two roadies who had passes, but didn’t actually work for the band. Also, they had big boxes with them. You know, big enough to stuff a person inside of. Whoops.
The guards give Nan descriptions of the two men. “Yeah, they were about yay high, and really kidnapper-y looking. Almost a little killer-y.” (Okay, maybe not quite the description they gave but kind of.)
Sweeney: In these recaps it might be a good idea for you to make sure you always let us know which characters look a little killer-y.
Lorraine: Nan goes back to the dressing room and this time finds a leather wallet with a dragon on one side and the letter L. As Nancy examines the wallet, someone comes up behind her and clunks her over the head. YES! I think that Nancy Drew might actually be the most boring books we cover, but guys, you are really missing out on having your main character clobbered at least once a book. It’s a small sort of satisfaction. That’s right, shadowy person sneaking up on Nancy, knock her in the head real good.
Sweeney: You have no idea how jealous I am right now. I mean, actually, maybe you do, since you were probably imagining that this was happening to Jessica Wakefield instead as you read it. But still…these books all need more blows to the head and youth mauling bears.
Lorraine: You have no idea how happy I am that youth mauling bears have caught on. I’m pretty sure I’ve earned a fat!Robin ton of brownie points with God for spreading Bible stories to the masses. Sort of.
Nancy comes to like an hour later, just in time for everyone to come back from the concert all, “man, that show we were playing while our friend has been possibly kidnapped was AWESOME.” Nancy fills them in: strange men, large boxes, found wallet, knocked over the head.
Everyone convinces Nan to take a break and go get her head looked after by Doogie Howser. JAYKAY, by a full sized, real doctor, because who would go to a kid, when an adult can do it? Ahem.
Nancy is fine, unfortunately.
The next day, in fact, Nan is up and ready to detect things. First, however, she has to get all worried because Bess is all, “ZOMG, Alan is gonna be the next big supa-star. He’s got a meeting with the record company today.” Nancy tries to warn her that while Alan is good, he is a little rough around the edges and the chances of him landing a record deal are slim. Because he’s young and young people can’t be awesome at things, CAN THEY NANCY, AHEM, AHEM. Way to double standard, bitch.
Sweeney: But Alan and Bess need to learn that the only kids who can do grown-up things are the main characters in a series. All other kids are incompetent idiots. As are the main characters in each series, but somehow everything magically works out for them in spite of this. It will not if you are a random supporting role in these books. Sorry.
Lorraine: Such racism. I mean, I know it has nothing to do with race but I don’t think there’s a word for discrimination against supporting characters.
Not that Bess listens, anyways. She’s just really happy that her flavor of the month might turn out to be “rich, music man” flavor and really? Who wouldn’t want that flavor, amIright? Also, I suddenly want a lot of ice cream.
Nancy goes with her Dad to Ann Nordquist’s office. Ann is the the band’s agent. She also just got back from a trip to China, which they mention casually.
Nancy is all, “I heard that you and missing!Barton have been fighting over royalties. That sounds super kidnapper-y if you ask me.” Ann is all, “woah, back up bitch. We’ve been discussing royalties, which are a messy business. He thought he wasn’t getting all his money but that isn’t the truth. UNLESS, something fishy is going on at the record label. Cough.”
Nan is all, “Tell me more girlfriend,” so Ann tells her that missing!Barton has run away from the band before when things got crazy. Nan is all, “shut up, girl. Total dramz.” Ann gives Nan a list of people who handle the band at the record label and off goes our girl wonder to detect some more stuff over there.
Fast forward to Nancy walking into an office with a woman with a “low-cut” sweater and harlot-red highlights in her hair. I am totes fighting back the urge to point and yell, “killer!” at this chick. I mean, God, cleavage and highlights? Such a killer.
Lor: Secretary Cleavage is all, “Oh, I’m sorry Harold Marshall has to wash his hair for forever and can’t see you.” Nancy is all, “well, that makes him seem like a killer,” and just barges into the guy’s office anyways.
“Who the fuck are you?” says Harold. “First that guy who thought just because he played with the band one time meant that I would give him a record contract and now this baby. Worst day ever.”
Nancy totally thinks, “TOLD YOU SO BESS,” in her head, but goes on to question Harold. His story is basically that missing!Barton is actually publicityseeking!Barton, who is only pretending to be missing before their new album is released to boost record sales. Nancy doesn’t buy it.
Sweeney: Neither do I, as that would be almost plausible. Or maybe that’s just my sense of the world after being raised on this shit and coming of age with reality television.
Lorraine: The book actually mentions the example of the Beatles and Abbey Road. The fact that there was a real life example made me immediately realize this was not the answer.
Later, over lunch, Bess and Alan come to tell them the good news that Secretary Cleavage called to say, “jaykay!” and that Harold actually wanted to sign Alan to a record deal. Nancy can’t even believe it and wants to know why Harold would change his mind and Bess says it probably had something to do with missing!Barton.
Yep. Alan totes saw missing!Barton wearing a purple bandana, drinking a beer and being not missing. Between the purple bandana and the cowboy boots, though, I think maybe Barton should stop going out in public. Ever.
Sweeney: Maybe these unsettling fashion choices are why he was fakemurdered.
Lorraine: Nancy is tres confused, which treats me to about, oh, a millionty pages of narrative questions. Well, if he isn’t missing anymore, is the mystery over? Then why do I have this feeling in the pit of my stomach? Is it this bacon cheeseburger? Did Barton ever find any shoes? Is he still barefoot? If no one kidnapped Barton, why did someone hit me over the head?
Sweeney: I’m pretty sure that hitting over the head incident was actually Lor. YOUR NAME STARTS WITH AN L.
Lorraine: Sweeney, as much as I would love to take credit for knocking Nan out, I would never be caught dead with a dragon wallet, okay?
Thankfully, before I decide to bang my head against every wall in my house, Ned Nickerson, Nancy’s on-again-off-again calls her. After recapping all the shit we already know because WE JUST READ IT, Ned decides to drive to NY and spend the rest of the weekend with the gang to help. Nancy is happy ’cause she likes to make-out a lot when she’s detecting. It helps her mental process.
Sweeney: I’m going to file this away as a grad school study tip.
Lorraine: The next call is from the security guard at Radio City. He’s calling to say that yesterday after Nan left, he found a purple bandana, the one missing!Barton wears as a good luck charm and he’s got it right now, making it impossible for Alan to have seen missing!Barton wearing it.
Nancy is all, “oh snap. Bess’ flavor of the month is totally the “lying bastard” flavor.” Oh, Bess. I’ve had that flavor and I’m just telling you, it ain’t worth the calories girlfriend.
Sweeney: But what if you’re like…really hungry? Or you have a lot of stuff to detect?
Lorraine: I mean, if you are that hungry, maybe dabble in “cute but not the brightest crayon in the box,” or even “tooly mcTool,” but “lying bastard” really just goes straight to your thighs. What were we even talking about?
Oh, George and Nan set off to try and track down Bess and her Liar, Liar and end up at the recording studio. They’ve just missed the pair, but Nancy sees someone else that catches her attention: Secretary Cleavage! And she’s sneaking around! They follow her and eventually figure out she was sneaking something back into the room where they keep the master copies of all the recordings.
I think. All this ancient technology is confusing, yo. Don’t they just keep the original recording files on computers? No? No? No?
Sweeney: Life was really hard back in the late 80’s and early 90’s. I don’t know how these people managed. So many of these stories would never happen now that we all have cell phones.
Lorraine: Nancy explains that if the originals got into the wrong hands, lots of money could be made off of pirated records. OH NO, NOT PIRACY. Who even does that? Who would even think of pirating music? WHO? DEFINITELY NOT ME. EVER.
Anypirates, missing!Bartons name is the last on on the log of people who came into the master’s room, which leads Nan to think that perhaps he realized someone was stealing masters. So he probably got kidnapped because he knew too much.
Sweeney: I refuse to believe that someone who wears cowboy boots and a purple bandana could be kidnapped for knowing too much. Not possible.
Lorraine: George and Nan head to the library to do more research on pirating because they can’t Google search from their phone and jeez, their lives make me sad. Apparently some countries don’t have copyright laws and illegal copies made in the US can be sold there, no problem. Especially in China. Y’know. China. Where Ann Nordquist was visiting. And where they like dragons, like the one that was on the wallet Nancy found in the dressing room before someone sucker punched her head.
Sweeney: I’m glad a love of dragons is part of the picture now. I’m thinking we should start looking for eight-year-old boys.
Lorraine: Nancy is all, “oh man. Ann sounds really fucking killer-y to me right now.” Amateur. Don’t fall for it Nancy. She’s not it.
That night, the gang + Ned all goes to a club. As soon as Alan and Bess walk in, Nancy attacks all, “HEY LIAR, I know you didn’t really see missing!Barton because he’s missing! WHY’D YOU LIE, LIAR? HUH?” Alan just says he totally didn’t lie, and Bess gets crazy. She’s really pissed that Nancy accused Alan of lying.
This reminds me of the girls in middle/high school, that used to say, “hold me back! hold me back!” before they would get into school yard fights. It also reminds me of a story Sweeney told us about some middle school kids she was teaching who kept saying, “you wanna go?!” as they circled each other pre-fight.
I still don’t know where they wanted to go, Sweeney. I still don’t know.
Sweeney: I have been trying to figure that out for weeks now.
Also, I am fond of “Hold my earrings” as a pre-fight request.
Lorraine: I’ve never been in a fight, but I wonder how “get me some chocolate!” would go off as a pre-fight request. Hmmm.
Anyhow, Nancy is sad that Bess is mad so she and Ned leave the club. Plus they have to talk about if Ned forgives Nancy for kissing up on Blueberry Eyes in the last book. As they walk, some guy comes up to Ned all, “hey! Remember me?” Oh, hey random dude. Kidnap anyone lately? Sorry, am I getting ahead of myself? It’s rough being the best girl detective of ever sometimes. Sorry guys.
His name is Dave and he used to go to school with Ned before he dropped out. It’s okay, though, Dave says because he’s making tons of money being all up in the music biz, evidenced by all the classy gold chains he’s wearing. As Dave walks away to climb in his limo, it hits Nancy why he seems familiar. He fits the exact description of the guy the security guard at Radio City saw! A man and kidnapper-y!
Nancy chases after him, but Ned yells out for her to watch out! Someone throws a knife at her.
Sweeney: YOUR MAIN CHARACTER GETS HIT IN THE HEAD AND SHE GETS KNIVES THROWN AT HER? WHY THE HELL DIDN’T I PICK THIS SERIES?
Lorraine: I’d be all, “neener, neener” about this but 1.) the knife misses and 2.) Nancy is a borgeasm to the max.
But! she does fall on her ass, so that’s cool too. The limo drives away, but Nancy does manage to see that the license plate has a dragon on it, like the one that the wallet had! She doesn’t manage to get any other information though, like, you know, a license plate number, but dammit! We have a dragon sighting.
The next day, Nancy calls Dave’s mommy to try and get information. MommyDave tells her that he works for some guy named Li. Another call to Ned’s college reveals Dave was kicked out of school for being a terrible student after he got fired from his record store job for pirating music.
Some contrivance later, Nancy happens to be watching a Bent Fender music video and she notices that the “extras” are all actually people she’s met, who are near to the band. Sisters, cousins, Secretary Cleavage and look! Even Gold Chain Dave is there! And what is this? In one shot, Cleavage and Gold Chain are making out. Oh, man. Suspects in cahoots.
Sweeney: You know Nancy’s jealous that someone other than her gets to make out.
Lorraine: Nancy goes to find Secretary Cleavage out in the club area, when she happens on her yelling at Alan. Alan is threatening to come clean to Bess and Nancy about lying about having seen missing!Barton. So Alan was lying at the request of Cleavage, in exchange for the record contract? I guess.
We don’t get too many details because it’s time to play the show. A few notes in, sparks start flying out of one of the speakers and the entire club goes completely dark.
When the lights finally come back on, Alan is standing on stage holding a piece of paper. Nancy confronts him about the lying and then asks where Bess is. He gets all twitchy all, “Bess who? What? Bess is uh… washing her hair… uh not feeling well… went back to the hotel… forever… I mean, Bess who?” So obviously Bess has been kidnapped and he’s holding a threatening note.
Nancy is all, “oh that Harold Marshall!” and Alan clarifies that he has nothing to do with it. Secretary Cleavage totally manipulates him and is the one in control. Alan only lied because he thought it really was a publicity stunt, and thought he was in on it. Obviously, he is dumb.
Anyhow, Alan figured out he was being dumb when he overheard a conversation Cleavage was having on the phone about a shipment going out that night at 10pm and “heading east.” She also said the shipment would have a body.
Sweeney: I’m stunned that someone in one of these books actually realized that they are dumb. I mean, I would never be so hopeful as to think that someone could be smart, but being aware of one’s own stupidity seems remarkably brilliant for these books.
Lorraine: I’m getting really sad now. Not because the books is almost over. Praise Jeezy for that. But because I’m pretty sure there won’t be a murder in this book. =[
Everyone in this book is an idiot, so they are looking at pet shops in the yellow pages, since Cleavage said the bodies where being shipped from a “duck house.” It takes a millionty years before someone is like… “hey, how about a restaurant!” And then Nancy is all, “oh yeah, remember that whole connection to China, with the dragons and shit?” Another millionty years later, Nancy wonders if maybe Gold Chain Dave’s boss Li could be Chinese. Hmmmm. What do you guys say? Could Li be Chinese? Li? Anyone think Li is Chinese?
They find a listing for “Li’s Duck House” in the phone book and rush over. If by rush you mean, “be so incredibly stupid that you waste valuable time while your loved ones may or may not be getting chopped up and served in fried rice.”
Nancy calls the police, finally, and tells them about Li. The police guy warns her that Li is into some heavy duty crime and instead of saying, “you stay home. We’ll go arrest him,” he says, “you be careful, kid.” Oh, hey, negligent law enforcement? There are some negligent parents in some Goosebumps books I want you to meet. Maybe y’all can have a dinner or something. I’m sure you have lots to talk about.
Sweeney: But that sounds like a lot of effort. That dinner would take up valuable not-doing-their-jobs time.
Lorraine: Nancy and the gang beat some people up, find and untie Bess and Barton. Bess asks where stupid head Alan is. “Waiting for the police who still haven’t showed up despite having super fast cars and stuff.”
“Wrong again, girlfriend,” says a voice. “I’ve got the police handcuffed to pipes downstairs because there are only 5 officers in all of New York and only 4 of them showed up, making it totally plausible for me, James Li, to have handcuffed them all downstairs.”
Nancy is all, “well, shit,” as she turns around and sees there is a gun being pointed at her face. Dave and Cleavage appear in time to re-tie everyone up. Li tells Dave to set the place on fire.
Before anyone dies though, Alan shows up to throw hot egg drop soup on people and save the day. I’m not even kidding. He throws soup on the bad guys and suddenly they are… not going to set every one on fire.
Sweeney: Seriously? Seriously seriously? It’s no wonder they have this girl getting hit in the head and assaulted with flying knives.
Lor: Alan unties everyone, AGAIN, and when more thugs come along, the gang beats them up. Someone finally unties the 4 cops who showed up, and I guess they eventually go arrest Li.
Every one is happy, no one is missing and no one died. Bess isn’t sure she’ll forgive Alan, which gives me hope that maybe we’ll have a new boy in the next book. These ho suspensions won’t give themselves out.
Nancy Drew: stupidly long drawn out books, two page resolutions, since the 1930’s.
Next time: Nancy and Ned go skiing together on a romantic getaway and if someone doesn’t fucking die in a book called “Murder on Ice,” I might resort to reading the Hardy Boys. Find out if I do in Nancy Drew Files #3 – Murder on Ice.