Mystery Train Super Mystery
I am so happy to report that I have found another Super Mystery that deserves the title. Mystery Train was published in 1990 and starts with Nancy Drew, Bess and the Hardy Boys all teaming together aboard a mystery themed train from Chicago to San Francisco. They are there to solve a 15 year old mystery of a stolen diamond. The folks organizing the event have invited mystery authors and professional and amateur detectives on board in a competition to solve the mystery. The prize is $20,000 dollars from the auction house that was robbed 15 years ago. Two young actors are also along the way to provide entertainment.
Of course, Bess and Joe immediately have crushes on the two young actors. Joe really makes a connection with Kate. Kate is on her way to the west coast to audition for a famous producer. When Kate goes missing, Joe is a suspect, but this is totally a red herring as we all know. I was suspicious that the whole Kate missing story line would end up being part of the actors script for the train trip. If you have ever been to these mystery dinners, you NEVER trust the actors!
I was so happy that romance definitely took a back seat in this story. Frank and Nancy are keen to solve the mystery while Bess and Joe fiddle around, but that is expected. Nancy and Joe are the ones who save Frank from a close call. The girls and the boys equally fight the bad guys.
Only in one instance was I disappointed in Nancy Drew. She is on a silver mine train tour and it has been sabotaged and is out of control. In her attempts to help, she is trying to join the guide in the lead car. The guide tells her twice to keep back, but Nancy comes on...and the guide, only because she was getting up to stop Nancy, hits her head on a beam and is knocked out. Now Nancy, alone has to stop the runaway mine train. She is heralded as a hero by the other passengers. If I was the guide, I would have been very angry. The guide was only knocked out because of Nancy's interference.
This book is also stellar because of the contributions by Bess. Bess rises to the occasion several times. She is on spot with her research into the original crime. "Good old Bess, she does know her stuff, doesn't she." And she is instrumental in the silver mine train situation by calming the passengers and overcoming her fears to help others.
There are the usual common tropes, such as runaway trains, people climbing onto the roof of the train in a chase, and running to catch the train as it is leaving the station. But I can over look all those silly things because in this super mystery, Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys are seen as equals.