It’s Read a Book Day!

posted in: Holidays, Nancy Drews-day Tuesday | 0

Whispering Statue CoverWhy not celebrate “Read a Book Day” by reading a Nancy Drew Mystery Story? You could even choose one that prominently features books — such as The Whispering Statue.

Bookstores have played important roles in several Nancy Drew mysteries — as we discussed on Booklovers Day. (Which begs the question, how exactly is Read a Book Day different from Booklovers Day? It’s a real mystery, isn’t it?)

Anyway, in The Whispering Statue, Nancy takes a job at a bookstore. Or, more precisely, in an art store with a book department. And in true Nancy Drew fashion, she didn’t even have to apply for the job. She simply sold a book to a customer while she was browsing the shelves, and thereby got herself hired.

But I’m getting ahead of myself.

At the beginning of the book, while Mrs. Merriam is explaining how she believes Mr. Basswood, the art and rare books dealer, is swindling her, the phone rings. While the caller is threatening Nancy, two masked men simultaneously force themselves inside the Drew home — one at the front door and one at the back. After the chaos is over, Mrs. Merriam calms herself with a cup of hot tea and tells Nancy and her father that she’s very worried about their safety. Perhaps they should give up the case.

Everyone looked at her and smiled. Mr. Drew said, “We’re used to this sort of thing.”

However, he does think Nancy should wear a disguise and use an assumed name. But what should that name be?

The silence was broken by George.

With a broad grin she asked, “Let’s work on a new name for Nancy. Since it’s a mystery about books, how about Libby, for library — Booker?”

Good one, George! In the end, though, it was Hannah Gruen who proposed a name which appealed to Nancy.

Smiling, Nancy said, “From now on will everyone please address me as Miss Debbie Lynbrook.”

Sure, Nancy.

But back to the job “interview.” Nancy is browsing the rare books section of The Basswood Art and Bookshop when a customer mistakes her for a clerk.

“I can’t decide between this green leather volume and the red-and-gold one.”

Nancy wondered if the woman was buying the volume for the cover or the contents. She asked “Do you like poetry?”

The stout woman giggled. “Only if it’s about love.”

Nancy examined the two books. The red- and gold-covered volume was in Old English dialect. She was sure the woman would not be able to read it. The green volume, she discovered, did have some love poems.

“I think you’d like this one,” she said, handing it over.

A few moments later, Nancy sells a painting to another customer and talks Mr. Basswood into hiring her. She immediately gets to work.

As soon as she had dusted the paintings, Nancy went over to the bookshelves. Because of her special interest in the books, she had memorized the titles of all the volumes. In a few moments she realized that Mr. Basswood had taken one on modern painters and sculptors.

Ah-ha! A clue! But Nancy has no time to investigate it right then.

As she stood in the book section mulling over this, suddenly the whole building began to shake. Statuettes, paintings, and books flew through the air.

“It must be an earthquake!” Nancy thought, trying to keep her balance.

The next instant an enormous book was dislodged from an upper shelf and fell directly toward her head!

Oh no! The chapter can’t end this way! We have to know what happens!

Nancy saw the heavy volume falling and jumped aside. The big book crashed to the floor inches from her feet.


Turns out, it was not an earthquake. There was an underground gas-main break with a resultant explosion. Because, well, this is a Nancy Drew story and explosions abound.

I don’t want to spoil the rest of the mystery for you. You can read it yourself. But please be careful!

Nancy narrowly escaped a book injury that day, but she wasn’t so lucky in The Haunted Bridge. In that story, she was recovering from a sprained wrist, when she asked Bess about the book she was reading.

“It’s supposed to be a serious book and I can’t make head nor tail of it,” Bess complained. “Here, take a look at the crazy thing.”

She gave the book a careless toss, expecting that her chum would catch it. Nancy had been looking in another direction, and before she could make a move the heavy volume had struck her injured hand.


Don’t let this happen to you, folks. Enjoy Read a Book Day. But please, be safe.

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