I read these books because I want to like them. I actually hate being disappointed in a Super Mystery. Royal Revenge (1997) certainly had a lot of action. The Hardy Boys engage in a rooftop chase and Nancy Drew and the Hardys have an action packed fight out with the bad guys at the end of the book. Also, I have to say that Nancy Drew was portrayed in a positive light for most of the book. The book is set in River Heights and Chief McGinnis does make an appearance and of course he trusts Nancy's intuition and her detecting skills.
However, the author/ghost writer does use some really negative stereotypes to portray the villains. Spoiler alert, if someone has "twisted lips" they are a bad guy. The worst were the two henchmen of one of the villains, they were described as having "piggy eyes" and a "zit face". Making the villain of a preteen/young adult book all about his zits did not make me very happy. Much like the racial stereotypes of the 1930's books. I wonder if the bullying and stereotypes based on weight and appearance would be eradicated by revisions in the 21st century?
Brenda Carlton, Girl Reporter and nemesis of Nancy Drew makes an appearance in the book as well. The ghostwriter did use a lot of information from the Nancy Drew "Bible". George says that her name is short for Georgia. We learn the names of Bess' parents: Anna and Howard Marvin. We learn that Nancy's favorite detective outfit is jeans and a hand knit white Aran Island sweater.
Much of the mystery, that we have seen before in the super mystery books is that Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys have different ideas about who is guilty. In this book, the Hardy Boys see Bess' boyfriend as the prime suspect. Nancy Drew wants to trust Bess and believe that her boyfriend is innocent. So it puts the two detecting teams at odds. On the plus side, of course all of Nancy's theories prove to be true.
Target for Terror (1995) takes place in San Francisco and the author/ghost writer gives us lots of Bay Area flavor, from Fisherman's Wharf to Chinatown with cable cars and a misty fog and foghorns thrown in for mysterious atmosphere. An earthquake even hits the city at one crucial cliffhanger. Both Royal Revenge and Target for Terror concern fake countries....Royal Revenge has Panaslava in Eastern Europe and Target for Terror has Philonesia, a small island nation in the Indian Ocean.
Nancy and George are protecting Soong An, the niece of the president of Philonesia. Frank and Joe are in town to find out who is responsible for sabotage committed by an animal rights organization. Of course, both mysteries merge together by the end of the book. The reason I did not enjoy this book was that there was a lot of romance. And this time it is Frank who is losing his head over the exotic Soong An. "Nancy ... couldn't help wishing right then that Frank would pay more attention to her and less to Soong." UGH
There is a lot of action with Nancy and George fighting it out with the bad guys just as much as Frank and Joe. Frank even makes a comment about how he cannot keep up with George! Joe gets knocked unconscious. Nancy uses karate moves and George uses her kickboxing skills. A nod to 1990's technology. Nancy uses *69 on a phone to find out who is calling with threats to Soong An.
So this supermystery also gets an A+ for action and having the girls just as athletic as the boys. However, it gets minus points for too much romance and unsympathetic characters (Soong An is a spoiled brat) These super mysteries were not super, however, they were not the worst ones I have read either.
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