CM . . . . Volume XVIII Number 11 . . . . November 11, 2011
The Secret of the Old Swing Bridge is a good old-fashioned adventure story in the tradition of Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys. The plot clips along, more clues are revealed in each chapter, or the hero, 12-year-old Angus Wolfe, happens upon them. Family friends have just the right documents -- letters, newspaper clippings, etc. -- to fill in necessary details; and people have extraordinarily good memories of where they put the things that aged relatives left behind when they died/moved/sold their houses. But it all works, and an ancient Nazi conspiracy to blow up the train on which President Roosevelt was travelling to Muskoka and have the explosion blamed on the Russians -- and why it didn't happen -- is neatly fitted into our twenty-first-century world of cell phones and the internet.
That part is all good fun. Unfortunately the telling of it bogs down a bit in unnecessary and banal descriptions and over-enthusiastic verbs. I well remember Nancy Drew's blond hair and blue eyes; they were mentioned several times in every one of Carolyn Keene's novels. Well, Angus's eyes are brown, as is his hair; his mother is blond; Hookah Hopkins beard is white, his hair grey, and he is seventy. And so it goes on. Wilson has been told that "he said" is boring; so his characters rarely "say" anything. They observe, they question, they shudder, they urge -- not always appropriately.
Mary Thomas, who resides in Winnipeg, MB, isn't exactly ashamed of enjoying Nancy Drew in her youth, but fears she has outgrown the genre.
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Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.