The Secret of the Old Clock comparisons

I will be comparing two editions of the first volume in the Nancy Drew Mysteries series. One will be the 1930 edition, and the other one will be an edition copyrighted 1987 which contains text that had been revised in 1959. Fans of Nancy Drew know that the first 34 Nancy Drew books were eventually re-written, her character changed somewhat and various stereotypes removed. The number of chapters was also cut from 25 to 20, and the total page number also decreased.

Basic Comparisons

The 1930 edition has 25 chapters and consists of 210 pages. There is an illustration on the interior cover and the first actual page, and an illustration on the page which is opposite the title page.

The 1987 (which uses the 1959 revised text) book only has 20 chapters and 180 pages, and also has no interior illustration on the inside cover or first page. There is an illustration opposite the title page, and one illustration in chapter 1. There are also illustrations in chapters 6, 14 and 18.

1930 and 1987 editions.

Inside illustration, 1930 edition.

First interior illustration, 1930 then 1987

Differences between the texts.

1. Nancy is 16 years old in the 1930 text, but 18 years old in the 1959 text.

2. Mr. Drew is "A noted criminal and mystery case lawyer" in the old text, but he's sort of downgraded to a well-known layer in the revised text.

3. Nancy was taught to think for herself, and to think logically. There's nothing in the revised text about that.

4. The maid in the old text is Hannah Gruen, but in the revised text she's just Hannah.

5. Nancy's mother died when she was 10 in the old text. The revised text doesn't have a specific age, although some other volumes say her mother died when she was three.

6. Nancy's friend is Helen Corning in the old text, but the revised text leaves her out.

7. Her car changes from a blue roadster to a blue convertible in the texts.

8. The caretaker for the college is a black on the original text, and is a white man in the revised text. (He's white in an illustration in the new text.)

9. There is some gunplay in the original text, shots being fired between the crooks and the police.

10. There is stereotyped black language in the original text, but it's gone from the revised text (thankfully).

Synopsis of both texts. SPOILERS.

Chapter 1

1930 edition 1987 edition
Nancy is introduced. She is... 16 years old 18 years old
Carson Drew is introduced. He is... a noted criminal and mystery case lawyer, known far and wide for his work as a former district attorney. A well-known lawyer.
Chapter starts with... Nancy complaining about the Tophams and how they mistreated Josiah. Much shorter.
Chapter moves on to... Discussion of the possibility of a second will. Shorter.
Drew taught Nancy to... Think for herself and to think logically. No such reference.
Also covers: --- Little girl (Judy) almost run down by a van. Nancy meets the girl's aunts (Edna, Mary) and finds out they could use money from the will. Nancy plans to chase the van.

The whole thing about Judy, the two aunts, the burglary and the van are not in the 1930 edition at all.

Chapter 2

1930 edition 1987 edition
We meet the maid who is Hannah. Hannah Gruen.
Nancy's mother died when? When Nancy was about 10. Many years ago.
Nancy's friend is... Helen Corning. No reference to her.
Nancy drives a... Blue roadster Blue convertible
In the past... Nancy had trouble with the Tropham sisters, and Helen helped her out. --
Nancy next goes... Shopping, encountering the sisters who are ultra-mean to an employee. Talks to the state police about the van and the burglary.
Nancy describes the sisters as... Stupid as well as arrogant --

In the 1987 edition there is a discussion about Josiah that was covered in chapter 1 in the 1930 edition.

The 1987 edition also seems to firmly establish the Drews as fairly well off financially. It's not quite as bluntly done in the 1930 edition.

Chapter 3

1930 edition 1987 edition
Chapter starts with... Her father asks her to deliver some legal documents to a judge. Driving back she gets caught in a rainstorm. Nancy thinking about the Topham sisters and what they had done to her and how she was saved by 'loyal friends.'
Then... She takes refuge in a barn and meets a girl. The scene of shopping at the store and the nasty sisters is covered.
Nancy and her father meet... -- Mr. Rolsted, who starts to talk about something confidential.

Chapter 4

1930 edition 1987 edition
Nancy meets... Allie Horner introduces herself. She also meets Grace Horner. The girls have a farm. Josiah was an uncle to them. They had hoped to be mentioned in the will. Rolsted, who continues his talk about a possible second will.
Then... -- Nancy drives home, gets caught in a rainstorm, heads towards a barn and hears a scream.

Chapter 5

1930 edition 1987 edition
Nancy... Leaves the farm and goes to visit her father at work. She tells him about the Horner girls. They talk to Mr. Drew later. Scares a woman in the barn. Allison and Grace are the sisters. She hears their story and how they had hoped to get money from the will.

Chapter 6

1930 edition 1987 edition
Nancy... Hasn't figured out what to do, so she goes shopping. The Topham sisters are there and one knocks a bottle of perfume to the floor where it breaks. They deny doing that. Nancy describes what really happened. They threaten Nancy. Later she hears them talking about the will while sitting on a bench. She visits her father at his office. She explains about the Hoover girls. Nancy talks to a music teacher about one of the girls. Later the girls meet with her father. She has Allison sing for the voice teacher. Later Nancy listens to the sisters talk.

Chapter 7

1930 edition 1987 edition
Nancy makes progress. The girls know Nancy is trying to find the will. Nancy realizes other relatives might be mentioned in a second will. Scares a woman in the barn. Allison and Grace are the sisters. She hears their story and how they had hoped to get money from the will.
Then.. -- She visits Judy and the aunts. She gets a lead on another person that could be affected by a second will. She meets a dog that gets mad at her.

Chapter 8

1930 edition 1987 edition
Nancy... Visits the Horner girls. She finds out about more potential people involved with the will. She talks to William Matthews. She meets Matilda and Edna and gets another lead. She talks to Fred Matthews after the dog calms down. She next talks to Abby Rowen. She says Josiah did make another will.

Chapter 9

1930 edition 1987 edition
Nancy... Talks to Abigail Rowen. She says there is another will. Finds out about a missing notebook that may reveal where the will is. The Tophams have the clock. She meets Helen Corning. She finds out the clock is at a place at Moon Lake.

Chapter 10

1930 edition 1987 edition
Nancy... Finds out there is a tie between the clock and the missing notebook. She meets Helen, gets the tickets, and plans to go to the Topham's. Nancy talks to her father about what she's found out. She visits the Hoover girls. She gets to a camp and locates the Topham house.

Chapter 11

1930 edition 1987 edition
Nancy... She visits the Topham's and finds out the clock is at Moon Lake. Meets Helen Corning. At the lake her boat trip to the Topham's goes wrong. Later she gets to the Topham's place at the lake and finds guys moving things out. She can't find the clock but recognizes the thieves from the van incident.

Chapter 12

1930 edition 1987 edition
Nancy... Visits the Horners. Locates the Topham's cottage at the lake. Hides in a closet. Gets caught and thrown back in the closet. Worries about starving.

Chapter 13

1930 edition 1987 edition
Nancy... Has boat trouble. Calls the boat a 'hateful thing.' Escapes from the closet. Meets the caretaker, who is white. Heads off to talk to the police.

Chapter 14

1930 edition 1987 edition
Nancy... Gets to the Topham's cottage. Caretaker is a black named Jeff Tucker. Explores the cottage. Chases after the thieves. Talks to the police. Finds the thieves at an inn.

Chapter 15

1930 edition 1987 edition
Nancy... Hides in a closet, gets caught, thrown back into the closet with one of the thieves saying she could starve for all he cared. Sneaks into the inn, takes van keys, explores van and finds the clock. Later examines clock and finds a notebook inside.

Chapter 16

1930 edition 1987 edition
Nancy... Nancy tries to escape from the closet and the caretaker arrives. Nancy runs into the police and they capture the thieves and Nancy identifies them. She's concerned about having the clock and not telling the police about it right away.

The type of language the caretaker uses is stereotyped black. 'Say, robber boy, is you imitatin' a lady's voice to th 'o' me off the scent? If you is, it won't do any good 'cause I's a natural-born, two-legged blood houn.'

Chapter 17

1930 edition 1987 edition
Nancy... Tucker explains to Nancy about the men tricking him. The chapter is filled with stereotyped black language. They talk about the clock. Nancy gives the clock to the police. She goes home and talks to Hannah. She examines the notebook and finds out where the will has been hidden. She talks to her father and finds out the Topham's are having severe money troubles.

Chapter 18

1930 edition 1987 edition
Nancy... Nancy goes to the police. Tucker is with her and there's more of the stereotyped language. She goes after the van and finds the inn. Nancy and her father go to the bank to see if the will is still there. The will is there and it mentions the Hoover girls. Her father plans to call a meeting of all the relatives.

Chapter 19

1930 edition 1987 edition
Nancy... She finds the van and the clock. The meeting is held with the Tophams, Grace and Allison, Judy and the two aunts. The will is read and the Tophams get really angry and upset.

Chapter 20

1930 edition 1987 edition
Nancy... The thieves leave, she examines the clock and finds the notebook. The Tophams say they will fight the will. The lose. The rest of the chapter is Nancy visiting the people she met before who needed the money from the will.

Chapter 21

The last five chapters are only in the 1930 edition, and not the 1987 one, so I'll just list what happens in each chapter.

She meets the police and tells them where the robbers are headed. They catch up to the crooks and shots are fired. Nancy identifies the crooks.

Chapter 22

She examines the notebook and finds the location of the last will. She talks to her father and he tells her about the Topham's financial problems.

Chapter 23

Nancy and her father go to the bank and find the will. In language atypical for later editions, her father tells Nancy that 'you may be present when the coup de grace is administered to the Tophams!'

Chapter 24

The Horner girls are there, as are the two aunts and the Matthew brothers. The Tophams arrive. The will is read and they get nothing.The clock, which Nancy had kept, is given to the Alice and Grace.

Chapter 25

A few months later. The Trophams are having severe financial trouble. Nancy visits the Horner girls. They give her the clock.

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