Password to Larkspur Lane, By Carolyn Keene, Danica Reese, Narrator

Password to Larkspur Lane

Nancy Drew Mystery Book 10

By Carolyn Keene

Narrator: Danica Reese
Audio book
Phoenix Audio Books
Length: 3 hrs and 39 mins

Narrator Review of Danica Reese

image of people holding hands to ears narratorreviews.blogspot.com
Ear Busting Narrator

Narrator Rating 0/10

Not easy doing an Audio Book Review for Danica Reese. Cannot even imagine why Phoenix Books, hired her, unless it was because she is just slightly less awful than Jessie Birschbach. Ms. Reese reads like she's going comatose, it's flat and monotone. Conversations are stilted and unnatural sounding.

The men are shockingly bad and can chill the ears. Hannah, the loving and sweet housekeeper and stand in Mom, sounds harsh, even a little dimwitted. Mr. Drew is beyond awful, from the tone of voice, the inflection and even too not maintaining a masculine voice.

Reese did do a decent pigeon coo and she does a decent evil persons voice.
Everything is read pretty much in a drone and what isn't, is so godawful that it's difficult to follow the story. Everything about the dialogue is off, there's no appropriate intonation, no lilt. Save your credits or money and get it from a library if you absolutely must listen to The Password to Larkspur Lane. 

Audio Book Review for Password to Larkspur Lane

A Nancy Drew Mystery by Carolyn Keene.

An Injured Carrier Pigeon falls into Nancy Drew's Garden.

Carrier or Homing pigeon eyeing Nancy Drew's garden narratorreviews.org
Pigeon eyeing Nancy's garden

Nancy and Hannah are cutting flowers when a plane passes over and a pigeon falls from it. The poor thing falls right into Nancy's garden. It's wing is injured and Nancy retrieves the number off the birds leg band, 2-21-12-12 and wires the association the number. There's also a message that makes no sense to Nancy.

Many seemingly unrelated things keep attracting Nancy's attention with the words larkspur and bluebells. Nancy Takes her flower arrangement to the garden show to enter in the contest but leaves early to hurry home to see if the National association of Carrier Pigeons wired back the name of the pigeons owner.

Nancy Takes a short cut home and passes a sedan parked on the side of the road. In her rear view mirror she notices the license plate is 2-21-1, the same numbers as the pigeons leg band. She can't help but wonder if there's a connection.

Things get even stranger when Dr. Spire passes her from the opposite direction, she slows down and pulls over when she sees him stop at the dark car on the side of the road. and to her surprise, he is pulled into the car.

A mysterious phone call
Hannah slips on the cellar steps and strains her back and Nancy drives her to Dr. Spires office. Dr. Spires is not back yet, and Mrs. Spires asks Nancy to answer the phone while she starts dinner. The phone rings and a muffled voice tells her to write down a message for Dr. Spires. "If you say bluebells, you will get in trouble, for they are no longer used here."  Nancy is mystified as she ponders the words.

Dr. Spires needs Nancy and Carson Drews' help.
Dr. Spires asks Nancy and her father to help him as he's concerned about the woman he was taken to tend to. He was told not to speak to her and she frantically tried to show her fear and stress via her eyes. She slips Dr. Spires a bracelet with a small coat of arms.

Nancy has enough clues to take aggressive steps to finding the old woman. She takes the bracelet to the jewelers to see if he has any way to research the coat of arms. He does know someone who is knowledgeable about such things and tells Nancy to give him a week or so.

Nancy Drew girl detective runs into her old friend Helen Corning, who invites her to solve yet another mystery. Helen's mystery has links to the mystery that Nancy is working on. It's a race to the finish line for the young detective if she has any hopes of rescuing the old woman.

This 1932 original movie differs in many details from this version of the Password to Larkspur Lane. I found this movie to be charming and well worth watching. "Bonita Granville plays the cute and inquisitive teen turned amateur sleuth"

Other Nancy Drew Books I've reviewed.


The Secret of Red Gate Farm. Carolyn Keene, Narrator: Laura Linney

The Secret of Red Gate Farm
Carolyn Keene
Narrator: Laura Linney
Listening LibraryAudio Book

2 hrs. 58 mins.

The Secret of Red Gate Farm, image, narratorreviews.org
The Secret of Red Gate Farm
Carolyn Keene

Narrator Review: Laura Linney

Laura Linney, Narrator, Nancy Drew. narratorreviews.org
Laura Linney Narrator

I enjoyed listening to Laura Linney narrate The Secret of Red Gate Farm. Ms. Linney's lovely voice brings the entire book to thrilling life, creating a robust and intense visualization throughout. Ms. Linney is very sensitive to developing the personalities of each individual. Where other narrators fail Ms. Linney excels in every category.

Audio Book Review: The Secret of Red Gate Farm, Nancy Drew

Nancy and her bff's Bess and George had a day of shopping and Bess bought a bottle of Blue Jade Perfume. At twenty dollars an ounce it was very expensive. Twenty dollars in 1931 is according to the Department of Labor Statistics is now equal to about three hundred and five dollars. So that bottle of Blue Jade bought today would cost around $300.

This bottle of Blue Jade is the central figure which the story revolves around. First the girls chide Bess for spending so much on it, a sudden jolt of the train causes the bottle to drop to the floor but not before splashing half of it on Nancy. Nancy has a sinister looking man mistakes her identity because she smells strongly of Blue Jade. Lastly they all wonder why the salesgirl did not want to sell it to them at all and priced it high to discourage them.

On the train ride home they meet Joan and become friends with her. Joan is going to town to answer an ad for office help. Her grandmother is facing foreclosure and Joan thinks if she finds a job it will help them pay the back payments and save the farm. Nancy and her friends try to help her and end up spending some time at the farm, and solve the mystery of the Black Snake Cult that rents a back portion of Red Gate.

This is no less an intriguing story than all of Nancy Drew books. With such skillful writing that is tight and not a wasted word anywhere it is amazing that it's only two hours and fifty-eight minutes long. Listening or reading Nancy Drew should not be dismissed as old fashioned, or dated. The stories are good to excellent, and they give a peek into another era. Whether you're a history buff or a mystery buff or both, Nancy will keep you bewitched.

Other Nancy Drew Books:


The Sign of The Twisted Candle, Carolyn Keene, Narrator, Danica Reese

The Sign of The Twisted Candle
Nancy Drew, Book 9
By Carolyn Keene
Narrated By Danica Reese

Length: 3 hrs and 35 mins
Phoenix Books
The Sign of the Twisted Candle, book image Nancy Drew, narratorreviews.org
The Sign of the Twisted Candle
By Carolyn Keene
Nancy Drew Book 9.

Narrator Review: Danica ReeseAudiobook

Listening to Danica Reese is not quite as hard on the ears as was the equally terrible narration by Jessie Birschbach, reading Nancy's Mysterious Letter, Book # 8. There are a few parts that Reese did reasonably well, predominately in the first half of the book. Her voice is not bad and could be rather nice but she consistently over enunciates words, making it sound artificial and choppy. Most of the male characters are very bad as is Joan the sixteen year old adopted girl.

I confess there are so few well done parts that I recommend getting it from the library and not spending money or Audible Credits on it. Danica Reese's exaggerated acting out of the characters is terrible. This recording is from Phoenix Books which as I stated in my review of Book 8. has no Carolyn Keene books listed. I find no information for Danica Reese, no photos, nada.

Audio Book Review: Nancy Drew, The Sign of the Twisted Candle

Nancy Drew and her best friends Bess Marvin and George Fayne, venture off to The Twisted Candle to see if there is any truth in the gossip that Asa Sidney is practically a prisoner in a tower room of his mansion. Beth and George are related to the wealthy and very old Asa. It happens that it's his one hundredth birthday when they reach the mansion.

While the girls are combing their hair in the ladies room they hear a confrontation between Carol Wipple the sixteen year old waitress at the Inn and  Frank Jemitt. Carol wants to take a nice tray of food to Asa and Jemitt forbids her to do it. Nancy seizes this opportunity to gain access to Asa and judge what is going on.

We know Nancy loves a mystery and this one turns out to be a huge one. With old Asa turning one hundred, relatives are converging on him to make sure he remembers them in his will. So we have the nasty relatives, the really mean Jemitts and an old rift between families that sends Nancy's friendship with Bess and George into oblivion. With just Carol to help her find all the hidden treasures that Asa hid around the mansion and time is running out for them.

Asa outwits them all by having Nancy's father the well known attorney, draw up a new will for him and making him executor of his estate. The will is solid but everyone left short changed in it are out to break it. I loved it when Mr. Drew kicks the Jemitt's out of the mansion. Even Ned, Nancy's illusive boyfriend has a small part in the story. As always with Nancy Drew, it's an excellent story that moves fast and is tightly written.

Other Nancy Drew Books:

The Secret of the Old Clock

The Hidden Staircase

The Bungalow Mystery

The Mystery at Lilac Inn 

The Secret at Shadow Ranch 


Nancy's Mysterious Letter Book 8, Carolyn Keene, Narrator: Jessie Birschbach

Nancy's Mysterious Letter Book 8,
Carolyn Keene
Narrator: Jessie Birschbach
Audio Book 3 hours 17 mins

Phoenix Books, Inc.

Nancy's Mysterious Letter BK. 8 Carolyn Keene, photo narratorreviews.org
Nancy's Mysterious Letter
Carolyn Keene

Narrator Review: Jessie Birschbach

Sadly, this has to be one of the worst narrations I've ever heard. The only thing I can say good is that Jessie Birschbach has a pleasant enough voice when not trying to do characterizations.

It seems that Ms. Birschbach has no idea where Nancy Drew lives or even in what country. There's so much inconsistency between tempo, accents, and pronunciations, I could fill a book with them.

The greatest misdemeanor is the southern accent she gives Hannah the Drew's housekeeper. Hannah Gruen is not Mammy from Gone with the Wind.

She does a good rendition of Mrs. Skeets although it borders a bit too much into sounding British. The one person Nancy Smith Drew, that is British has such a scant British accent it's barely noticeable. Joey Skeets the old sailor is pretty well done. Nonetheless it is not enough to redeem Birschbach's terrible narration.

The Jeweler, is downright awful, it's hard to find words to describe a man that sounds like he has a mouthful of mush. Even George and Bess, her best friends sound like someone is choking them.

I feel like Phoenix Books Inc just pulled anyone one off the street to narrate for them. Giving no thought to skill or talent or even quality. I can't even link the book to Phoenix Books as they don't have a single Carolyn Keene audio book listed. I got my copy from the library but Audible has it available with the same atrocious narrator. Save your money or Audible credits and if you must listen anyway get it from the library.

If you have noticed there is no link or photo for Jessie Birschbach,  it's because there are none. The only person with that name has no connection with acting, narrating, or voice over work.

Audio Book Review: Nancy's Mysterious Letter, By Carolyn Keene

Nancy Drew offers Ira Nixon her mail carrier to stop in and have a hot cocoa to warm himself up. Nancy always so thoughtful and kind has this particular kindness backfire when someone one steals Ira's mailbag. He does remember that there was a letter for her from England but he can't remember the senders name. Nancy and her best friends George and Bess rush outside too try and catch the thief.

Nancy does get a couple good clues from a neighbor boy that saw the thief. The clues are few but they are important. Ira recognizes the man's description as his half brother Edgar Nixon. But he can't believe that Edgar stole his mailbag.

Ira later remembers part of the senders name on her letter and it's enough for Carson Drew, Nancy's lawyer father too call another law firm in London to ask them if they knew of them. They do know who it is and Carson Drew finds out they are looking for a Nancy Smith Drew, who is in the United States, they want to inform her about an inheritance coming to her. Ah, poor Nancy, no inheritance for her.

By putting all the clues she has together, Nancy has to locate Edgar Nixon and find Nancy Smith Drew. Edgar Nixon wants to find Nancy Smith Drew with the intent to marry her and get hold of her inheritance. Nancy has to find them before Nancy Smith Drew marries him. Edgar wants to whisk Nancy Smith Drew off to London and marry her before Nancy catches up to them to prevent it.

 Other Nancy Drew Books:

The Secret of the Old Clock
Nancy Drew Mystery Series, Book 1
by Carolyn Keene

The Hidden Staircase
Nancy Drew Mystery Series, Book 2
by Carolyn Keene

Nancy Drew Mystery Series, Book 3
by Carolyn Keene

Nancy Drew Mystery Series, Book 4
by Carolyn G. Keene

Nancy Drew Mystery Series, Book 5
by Carolyn Keene

The Secret of Shadow Ranch Nancy Drew Book 5. Carolyn Keene Narrator: Laura Linney

The Secret of Shadow Ranch
Nancy Drew Book 5.
Carolyn Keene
Narrator: Laura Linney

Audio Book 3 hrs 5 mins
Penguin Random House Audio
audio book cover image of The Secret of Shadow Ranch By Carolyn Keene
The Secret of Shadow Ranch By Carolyn Keene

Narrator Review of Laura Linney

Once again Laura Linney excels in bringing Nancy Drew to life. I felt she expressed more emotion in reading the Secret of Shadow Ranch. The pace is excellent without the speed reading we heard in the Mystery at Lilac Inn. There's more cadence and modulation in the tones. I believe this is the very best narration so far. I just admire the way Ms. Linney puts so much development into each character and with the addition of the bits of background music are icing on the cake.

photo image of Laura Linney Narrator for Nancy Drew narratorreviews.org
Narrator Laura Linney

Audiobook Review: The Secret of Shadow Ranch by Carolyn Keene

Nancy Drew is invited to spend the summer with her best friends Bess and George at Shadow Ranch in Arizona. Bess and George are downcast because their Uncle Ed, feels to many strange things are happening on the ranch and it might be dangerous for the girls to be there. He wants them to leave the next day. Mysterious and strange happenings are exactly what Nancy Drew thrives on. The girls tried to persuade Uncle Ed that Nancy was a fantastic detective and no doubt could solve the mystery.

After Nancy is picked up at the airport the girls stop to have a bite to eat, when a man sits at a table near them and seems to be eavesdropping and watching them. Nancy notices his unwarranted interest in them. They see him again at their "Ranch Wagon". (Apparently a "Ranch Wagon" is what we now call a Station Wagon.) Nancy's reputation for solving things has preceded her to Shadow Ranch, as the man left a note on their "Ranch Wagon" warning her to stay away from Shadow Ranch.

As Nancy finds out more and more about Shadow Ranch's history she is convinced that all that is going on has to be related to the hidden treasure that a notorious outlaw, Dirk Valentine, hid somewhere on the ranch. He was in love with Frances Humber, daughter of the local Sheriff, and owner of Shadow Ranch. One night when we was going to visit her,the sheriff shot and killed him.

His dying words were to put a curse on Humber property "vowing his horse would haunt Shadow Ranch". George told Nancy about seeing the phantom horse the night before and how it did lead to misfortune the next day when Uncle Ed found his windmill knocked over. Nancy thought someone was trying to scare the Rawley's off their ranch.

We know only too well that the "girl detective" will put all the clues together and everything ends well. That's the charm of Nancy Drew books, there are secret passages, hidden treasures, scary tunnels, and mysteries to be solved. Even when Nancy goes to far and does some risky things, the kind you shout at them to "don't go down to the basement", Nancy, always has an out, or someone comes to her rescue, so all the while we are scared for her we know she will prevail and all her friends marvel at her ability to solve the crime or mystery.

Other Audio Books by Carolyn Keene

The Secret of the Old Clock
Nancy Drew Mystery Series, Book 1

Nancy Drew Mystery Series, Book 5


The Mystery at Lilac Inn, A Nancy Drew Mystery By Carolyn Keene Narrator: Laura Linney

The Mystery at Lilac Inn
Nancy Drew Mystery Stories 4
By Carolyn Keene
Narrator: Laura Linney
Audio Book Length: 3 hrs and 11 mins

Narrator Review: Laura Linney

As much as I enjoy and appreciate Laura Linney's, Nancy Drew narrations, it pains me to say that much of the Mystery of Lilac Inn, was read so fast my ears were spinning. Even with the speed reading, it's still better and more enjoyable than some others who narrate later Nancy Drew's. There were some chapters and sections Ms. Linney did read at a closer to normal pace. I certainly would not let this prevent me from purchasing the book. Aside from this Laura Linney is still a fine narrator with a lovely voice that suits Nancy Drew.

Laura Linney, Narrator of Nancy Drew, photo image. narratorreviews.org
Laura Linney

Audio Book Review: The Mystery of Lilac Inn a Nancy Drew Mystery by Carolyn Keene

I really love the supporting music that Listening Libraries has added to the Nancy Drew books that they produce. Sounds like old time radio. It leads to a lot of excitement and enriches the story.

Nancy and her friend Helen Corning are paddling their canoe up the river to the Lilac Inn, they're staying with Emily Willoughby and her Aunt Hazel, and are to be bridesmaids at Emily and Dick's wedding. Suddenly the girls are dumped out of their canoe and into the water but find nothing to explain their sudden drenching. Sopping wet and bedraggled they rescue the canoe and continue their journey as best they can. 

Emily tells them about the strange things that have been happening at Lilac Inn. Mysterious goings on is all that's needed to get Nancy's interest. Emily and Dick are expanding the Inn and plan to run it full time, but Emily feels like someone is trying to "jinx them" and just is at a loss to know who would be behind it.

We have suspects like Maud Potter, hired by her aunt as a recreation coordinator for the summer but says mean and hurtful things to everyone. There's John McBride who's staying at the Inn to help out while Dick his best friend is in New York on business, and then there's the help, waitresses, cooks, gardeners. Nancy takes a hard look at all of them.

While Nancy is using all her detective skills on Lilac Inn she gets a call from a frantic Hannah telling her someone broke into the house. Nancy rushes home and finds her room has been ransacked when there's yet another call this time from Burk's Department Store telling her about an error made on her earlier purchase. She finds that her charge card is missing, and hurries down to Burk's to sort things out with them.

So now Nancy is a victim of identity theft, to an extreme degree that the person looks like Nancy, sounds like Nancy and signs her name the same as Nancy. Even dresses like Nancy. Nancy knows the woman stole the dress out of her closet along with a photo of her. This is scary stuff, because people are telling her they talked to her in places she's not been.

Meantime, Aunt Hazel has taken a pouch of diamonds 'worth a fortune' out of the bank vault to give Emily on her twenty first birthday. They plan a special private birthday party for her and of course once she has the diamonds laid out too admire the lights go off. When they go on again the diamonds are gone. Now Nancy has to find the diamond thief (we get a secret passage) she has to find her impostor and solve the mystery of who is doing malicious deeds at The Lilac Inn. 

10. The Password to Larkspur Lane 


The Clue in the Diary, A Carolyn Keene Nancy Drew Book 7. Narrator: Laura Linney

The Clue in the Diary
Nancy Drew Book 7
Carolyn Keene
Narrator: Laura Linney

Penguin Random House Audio

Narrator Audio Book Review:
Laura Linney

Laura Linney with her sweet and silken voice generates energy and gives credibility to Nancy Drew and her best friends George and Bess. There's always a good balance between Nancy's thoughts and her dialog with the other characters in the books. With the addition of old time radio music inserts through out the story, Laura Linney matches it's intent with perfection.  Laura Linney has a long list of awards and acting credits all which contribute to her skillful narrations. You can find Laura Linney on facebook under Laura Linney - The Actress.   

photo image Laura Linney Narrator for Nancy Drew
Narrator Laura Linney

Audio Book Review: Nancy Drew, The Clue in the Diary 

By Carolyn Keene

There are no images for Carolyn Keene because Ghost writers have always written the books for the Stratemeyer Syndicate. There are many websites detailing the changes over the years. When I was very young and first found out that there was no Carolyn Keene, I felt the same as when I learned there was no Santa Claus or Easter Bunny. Like those icons of childhood I soon got over it.

While Nancy Drew and her friends George and Bess are admiring a pretty house, it suddenly blows up before their startled eyes. They rush too the now blazing building in case anyone needs help, but they can't do much, the fire is too hot and the smoke is terrible. Nancy with smoke blinded eyes finds herself at the back of the house where she gets a brief glimpse of a shadowy figure running from the fire

She sees a small diary on the path and slips it in her pocket, wondering if it belonged to the man she just saw. Later when Nancy gets home and examines the little diary, it's all written in Swedish. A frustrated "girl detective" ponders whom she can find that can interpret it.

Nancy and her friends learn that Felix Raybolt and his wife own the house that exploded and neither of the Raybolt's are liked. Raybolt has a reputation of promising aspiring inventors that he will file their patents for them when he actually files them in his name and steals their inventions. There are many that have reason to harm Foxy Felix. Everyone, including the authorities suspect that it was revenge, or maybe Felix did it himself to collect the insurance.

Nancy is on the fast track to find the the author of the little diary but is she going to find an innocent man or a man who in anger blew up the Raybolt's house. Nancy as we expect will ingeniously and in her remarkable ways put together all the clues and solve the mystery of the Clue in the Diary, leaving the readers as anxious as Nancy for a new mystery to solve.

Other Nancy Drew Books:

The Secret of the Old Clock
Book 1, Nancy Drew series
Carolyn Keene

The Secret of the Old Clock 
Book 1 Nancy Drew Series
Carolyn Keene

The Secret of the Hidden Staircase
Book 2. Nancy Drew Series
Carolyn Keene

The Bungalow Mystery
Book 3. Nancy Drew, 
Carolyn Keene

The Mystery at Lilac Inn 
Book 4 Nancy Drew Series
Carolyn Keene

The Secret of Shadow Ranch 
Book 5 Nancy Drew Series
Carolyn Keene

Nancy's Mysterious Letter
Book 8  Nancy Drew Series
Carolyn Keene

Book 9 Nancy Drew Series
Carolyn Keene


The Bungalow Mystery, Book 3. A Nancy Drew Mystery by Carolyn Keene, Narrator Laura Linney

The Bungalow Mystery
Nancy Drew, Book 3
By Carolyn Keene
Narrated By Laura Linney
Listening Library
Audio Book: 2 hrs and 59 mins

Narrator Review: Laura Linney

There is something appealing about Laura Linney's performance of Nancy Drew and her companions. Every person is well presented and her youthful voice suits Nancy perfectly. It is fantastic to listen to a perfectly flawless narration. I can listen over and over to any of the Carolyn Keene, Nancy Drew stories that Laura Linney narrates.

Laura Linney Narrator

Audio Book Review: The Bungalow Mystery by Carolyn Keene

In The Bungalow Mystery  Nancy Drew and her friend Helen Corning, are racing along in a motor boat to return to the Pinecrest motel they are staying at. A fierce storm develops and suddenly the weather is no longer balmy. Strong winds turn gail force and lighting and thunder surround them. Nancy bravely fights to keep the boat headed towards shore when a huge wave overwhelms them and both girls are thrown out of the boat into the water and the boat sinks.

Nancy looks for her friend and calls out her name but she doesn't see her. When suddenly a hand appears out of the water and Nancy swims towards it to rescue Helen. Their cries for help are feeble against the howling winds and turbulent waters. Yet, someone does hear them, a sixteen year old girl manages to row out to them and with tremendous effort they get into the small boat. Once safely ashore the girl takes them to a nearby bungalow that she'd seen earlier before the storm hit.

Once in the bungalow and wrapped in warm blankets their young rescuer Laura tells them she is waiting for her guardians to come get her. That her mother had died a month before and her father had died a few years ago when his boat capsized and there was no one to rescue him. This compelled her to try and help the young detective and her friend.

Laura is worried about her guardians as Marion and Jacob Aborn, seemed unfriendly and Marion was downright mean to her. Once the storm passes they all are able to find their way back to their lodgings and vow to keep in touch with Laura. After all she did save their lives and they feel a genuine gratitude to her.

It is not long before Laura arrives at Nancy's house to seek safety and shelter from the Aborn's who are trying to get her mothers jewelry collection away from her and even locked her in her room. Of course Nancy tells her she must stay with her and she will do all she can to protect her. Nancy is happy to have a new mystery to solve and soon she is in deep and her own life is threatened. Clever Nancy 'girl detective' prevails no matter how scary or threatening a situation is.

Other Nancy Drew's narrated by Laura Linney

Book 1. The Secret of the Old Clock
Book 2. The Hidden Staircase


Nancy Drew, The Hidden Staircase, Carolyn Keene, Narrated by Laura Linney

The Hidden Staircase
Nancy Drew Book 2.
Carolyn Keene
Narrator: Laura Linney
Listening Library
Audio book   3 hrs 13 mins

A standing applause for our narrator Laura Linney for performing another Nancy Drew mystery with her wonderful way of making it such an exciting listen. Beyond the fabulous way she brings out every nuance of emotion she has a lovely feminine voice that is such a pleasure to listen too. It is also fun to read along with her while she narrates.
Narrator Review: Laura Linney

Laura Linney narrator, actress, award winner. photo image. narratorreviews
Narrator Laura Linney

Audio Book Review: Carolyn Keene's Nancy Drew, book 2 The Hidden Staircase

Nothing like a good haunted house mystery and Nancy Drew does not disappoint with The Hidden Staircase. Her friend Helen calls and ask her to help her Aunt Rosemary. Who lives with her mother flora, at Twin Elms, their family home. According to Helen strange things have been happening at Twin Elms. They are sure the house is haunted.

When a burly impolite man, Nathan Gomber, comes to the Drew's door and tells Nancy that he is warning her that Carson Drew, Nancy's father was in great danger. Apparently a case Mr. Drew was working on with the railroad has some unhappy people that feel cheated on the amount of money they got when they sold their property to the railroad and are threatening bodily harm to Mr. Drew. What's Nancy to do? Stay by her father's side or go to Twin Elms and solve the mystery there.

Nancy goes to Twin Elms and looks over the house and can't discover a way in. She is sure it is a person getting in an not a ghost. She and Helen have examined every inch of the huge brick mansion and did not find a single way anyone could get in or out without being seen. She decides that there has to be a secret passage somewhere in the old house and she sets out with Helen to find it.

Things escalate rapidly when Mr. Drew does not show up at Twin Elms as he promised Nancy he would do when he returned from Chicago. Nancy is scared that he's been kidnapped, that all Nathan Gomer had said was true. What is she to do, she knows she must find her father and now she's really scared. Nancy may be scared but she is resourceful.

After Nancy solves the case she is looking forward to a new adventure and mystery to solve. I confess I have to chuckle at the dialogue Nancy has with people and the ease with which they confess all to the "young sleuth".

Also Read By Laura Linney:

Other Nancy Drew Books

The Secret of the Old Clock

The Bungalow Mystery

The Mystery at Lilac Inn 

The Secret of Shadow Ranch 

The Clue in the Diary

Nancy's Mysterious Letter 

The Sign of the Twisted Candles


The Secret of the Old Clock, Carolyn Keene. Audiobook Narrator: Laura Linney

The Secret of the Old Clock
Book 1, Nancy Drew series
Carolyn Keene
Narrator: Laura Linney
Audio book: 3 hrs. 14 mins.
Listening Library

Laura Linney photo image from usatoday.com. narrator reviews.org

Narrator: Laura Linney

Narrator Review: Laura Linney

Laura Linney, does an excellent narration of the Nancy Drew books. Her rendition of older
people is excellent without out making them sound feeble. I like that Ms. Linney sounds youthful and can sound girlish, suiting Nancy Drew's young adult age. Her young children, are good and can be easily heard as a child. Her strength is in rendering the exact emotions and thoughts of the characters. I liked the special bit of emphasis she gives to words as when she says " They were arrogant and unreasonable" and " Ada and Isabel had been unpopular in high school. " Such delicious venom in the tone of voice, yet modified by Nancy's upbringing to not speak ill of people or to gossip. Ms. Linny makes the story flow naturally and soon you are pulled in and visualizing with ease.

Audio Book Review: The Secret of the Old Clock, By Carolyn Keene

What would a Nancy Drew book be without the fierce, violent storm, while driving, or a good blizzard? Yes, the books in many ways are dated, a young person may have to ask, what's a phone booth that you step into and close the door, or what's a drive in or a drive Inn. Maybe they have updated them and taken out what was relevant to past years. I suggest finding the original books and reading them, it could be an excellent history lesson.

Nancy Drew is no less popular today than she was in the 1930's. The stories though written by a formula, are fun, have mystery, are well written, and hold one's attention. Nancy Drew, is young, attractive, spunky, and fearless. Above all Nancy has scruples, and a good sense of fair play. She's been raised well, taught not to gossip, or spread rumors. Nancy over the years has acquired talents like playing tennis, scuba diving and even knows some Swedish. The first book The Secret of the Old Clock came out in 1930, Nancy is just as good today and held the test of time for eighty years.

I wasn't sure how I'd feel about Nancy Drew, with a cell phone, the internet and our twenty first century life style. Although I do prefer my adult mystery books and cozies to be up to date, but Nancy? Nancy Drew is an icon, a memory of delicious hours pouring over each book. I am happy to say I enjoy some of the new Nancy Drew Diaries, and will be listening or reading the other series. What fun to find Nancy Drew again. It doesn't matter to millions of people that the books are rated for 7 to 12 year old. Nancy is the reigning Queen of sleuths, the inspiration to many who started their own female super sleuth books, or careers in law enforcement. 

Nancy is heading home, after delivering some legal papers for her father when a little girl runs out in the road in front of a Moving Van. Nancy is relieved that she makes it across without getting hit but to her horror she looses her balance and falls over the bridge. Nancy stops and rescues the girl and carries her to the house across the street.

Two older women tell Nancy they are Judy's aunts and have been raising her since the parents died. Nancy stays long enough with them to find out that a relative, Josiah Crowley, use to visit and stay with them from time to time and often told them he would leave something for them in his will. Having recently died, Crowley left everything to the Topham family. Mary Turner believed there was a later will but has no idea where it is.

After Nancy leaves them, the idea of another will weighs heavily on her mind and when she gets home she talks to her father about the Turner's and if there is anything they can do to find out if there is a will hidden somewhere. With some help from her father, Nancy begins her quest to unravel the mystery of the will, that she is sure is hidden somewhere. Always up for a mystery, Nancy 'girl sleuth' gets into some intense and dangerous positions. We know the ever brave and resourceful girl detective will prevail.


Dirty Little Murder By Traci Tyne Hilton Narrated by: Rebecca Roberts

Dirty Little Murder
A Plain Jane Mysteries, Book 2
Cozy Christian Collection
By Traci Tyne Hilton
Narrated by: Rebecca Roberts
Audiobook 6 hrs and 39 mins
Publisher: Proverbs 31 House LLC
Young Adult
Rebecca Roberts photo image narratorreviews.org
Rebecca Roberts Narrator

Narrator Review: Rebecca Roberts

You can just tell that Rebecca Roberts puts her whole heart into her reading. This does make a book a lot more interesting and makes me want to continue listening to the end. She has a lot of style and is extremely good at emotional expression. It goes without saying that her voice is lovely and easy on the ears. Overall, Rebecca Roberts is a stellar narrator and you will be pleased with all her amazing narrations.

Audiobook Review: Dirty Little Murder By Traci Tyne Hilton

Author Traci Tyne Hilton photo image narratorreviews.org
Traci Tyne Hilton

Jane is caught up in yet another murder, this time it is Douglas Swanson, face down in the hot tub. What a terrible shock for Jane. Douglas was a womanizer and she didn't like him but she certainly didn't wish him dead. While trying to dial 911 her cell slips from her fingers and lands in the hot tub on his body. 

After Jane Adler found her last client's dead, she needs another house cleaning job. she has to have housekeeping jobs in order to keep up with her living and school expenses. Isaac's mother recommends the Swanson's, their maid is on vacation, and Jane can fill in. What Jane doesn't expect is the amount of trouble they will cause her. 

Caramel Swanson thought her diamond ring went down a drain. Instead of calling a plumber she has Jane take a sink apart to look for it. When Jane doesn't find it she accuses her of stealing it. Certainly not a agreeable position for Jane. Caramel demands Jane return the next morning and look in all the other drains.

Jane asks her new trainee Holly, to go with her to the Swanson house the next morning. She doesn't want to deal with Caramel without some moral support. Unexpectedly Douglas Swanson happens to be home and shows himself to be a letch and makes passes at Jane and Holly.

I still am not sure how the missing ring situation was resolved but Caramel has a ring on her finger and implies it is the one lost and now found. Except, she tells Douglas that she bought a new one. There is a plumber there to look in the drains for whatever Caramel thinks fell down the drain.

In Good Clean Murder, Jane and Isaac seemed to be breaking up or at least cooling their relationship. Somehow, I didn't get it that they are a couple again and even talking marriage. Isaac, is bad news with the way he tries to lead Jane astray, not only with her aims to be a missionary but he compromises her as well. I've not forgotten that he let her take the fall for them getting caught kissing and she was the one expelled from school in book 1..

The basic story is good and moves at a steady pace. There's sufficient action to keep one interested. There are a couple other threads going through it, a hit and run, Jane's church meetings, for example. I just felt like some things were not resolved. Jane is still the same silly floormat, frets over foolish things and doesn't seem to really be in love with Isaac at all.


Good, Clean, Murder, Traci Tyne Hilton, Narrator Rebecca Roberts

A Plain Jane Mystery, Book 1
by Traci Tyne Hilton

Narrator Rebecca Roberts

Audiobook 6 hrs. 31 mins.

Publisher: Proverbs 31 House LLC

Rebecca Roberts Narrator, photo image narratorreviews.org
Narrator Rebecca Roberts

Rebecca Roberts, the woman with a million voices. Charming, innocent, tempting, or self righteous, even boyish for Jake, or cunning like fox. Rebecca Roberts does them all. Lovely voice, excellent management of emotional content. Expresses characters accurately and has a nice tonal quality. Pacing is outstanding as is her reading of the text. I enjoyed this book more because of her accomplished reading. Definitely a case of the narrator making an all right book much better than it is.

Audio Book Review: Good, Clean MurderBy Traci Tyne Hilton

 Author Traci Tyne Hilton photo image narratorreviews.org
Author Traci Tyne Hilton

Jane Adler has ambitions to do overseas missionary work and against her parents better judgment she opts to go to a small but reputable church school that nets her a two year certificate. She believes this will open the way to a long term position. Her parents will support her in a college that is mainstream but not in a small Bible college. Jane doesn't think she needs a lot of extra curricular courses that are not related to missionary work.

In order to pay her own tuition and living expenses she lives off campus in a one bedroom apartment with another girl, and cleans houses during the day and attends night classes. When Jane arrives at her first job of the day at the Crawford's she notices right away that things are not right. No coffee made, newspaper still outside, no note with special instructions and no money. It's laundry day and when she goes to strip the bed, Bob Crawford is still in it. 

When the first shock passes and he's not moving, she tries to find a pulse and there isn't one. She calls 911 then tries to call Phoebe the Crawfords daughter. Phoebe brushes her off and tells her to call when she knows what hospital he's taken too. She tries to call Pamela, Bob's wife but it goes to voicemail.

It's been a hectic day and not going well at all for Jane. The EMS team finds Pamela Crawford dead on the bathroom floor. Her employers both dead. How much can a girl take.

After the police finish taking her report and tell her she can go home, Jane goes to her pathetic little one room apartment that she shares with another girl. Just a futon to sleep on and a privacy screen between them. Sad, sad, sad. 

Unfortunately for Jane, Sam, has not been paying the rent and Jane only finds out when she goes home and finds her personal things are outside the door, with a note saying they are evicted. The key not working was a good tip off. It's late, it's chilly out and it's very dark and Jane has no place to go. Her backup credit card is in the apartment so she can't even rent a room.

Classified as a Christian mystery. It is that and I consider it Cozy Mystery. If you prefer no strong words, no sex and no violence you will enjoy this book. 


Bryant & May The Bleeding Heart, A Peculiar Crimes Unit Mystery By Christopher Fowler Narrated By Tim Goodman

Bryant and May, the Bleeding Heart:
Book 11, A Peculiar Crimes Unit Mystery
By Christopher Fowler
Narrated By Tim Goodman
Audio Book

11 hrs and 14 mins

CD audio book cover image  narratorreviews.org
Bryant & May and the Bleeding Heart

The elusive Tim Goodman, is certainly the best choice for Christopher Fowler's, Peculiar Crimes Unit Series. He does a top notch performance of cranky older men and I love his nasally high pitched voice for the head of the unit. His voice drips with annoyance and dislike for Bryant and May. Tim Goodman does a wonderful dramatization of each of the characters and merges the story text into a smooth flowing presentation that is superb.

Audio Book Review: Bryant & May The Bleeding Heart 

Christopher Fowler

Christopher Fowler, Peculiar Crimes Unit photo image narratorreviews.org
Christopher Fowler

Romain Curtis, talks his date Sharron into going in the graveyard for a little star gazing and whatever else he can persuade her to do. Reluctantly she goes with him and although he does know the constellations, a passion of his, another passion has him kissing her. Just when things look like they are heating up, they hear noises and see what looks like a dead person rising out of a grave.

They have to go past the zombie to reach the gate. This of course scares the bejeezus out of them and they have to run too make their escape. Once out of the graveyard they report it to the police. Goes without saying that the police think they are high on drugs and find a little pot on Romain. Saying that the zombie talked to him convinced the police that it was a drug induced fantasy and they arrest him for the pot they find on him.

No bodies have been buried for at least three hundred years in this small graveyard Yet, on further investigation, the police find a body that has not been dead very long, face down in the grave. The hunt is on now to identify this man and find the reason why he was buried there and why was someone trying to dig him up. All very strange indeed. Right up Bryant and Mays alley. Definitely one for the Peculiar Crimes Unit.

The Peculiar Crimes Unit was created towards the end of WW2, to keep the public safe and investigate anything that is a bit off. Bryant and May were the original detectives for the unit and both use unorthodox methods of unraveling a crime. No computers for them, just the good old fashioned ways of detecting and they get the job done efficiently. Over the years (you have to read all the books) one department or another is trying to get the unit shut down but it doesn't happen. Underpaid, underfunded, with a falling down building and a cat as a mascot, the unit goes on. 

Such a wonderful cozy mystery with lots of laughs and raised eyebrows on the logical or maybe it's illogical thinking processes of these two brilliant detectives. Each book in the series reveals a little more each time about the personal background of Bryant and May. Tim Goodman makes the series even more spectacular.


A Little Princes Frances Hodgson Burnett Narrated by: Jennifer M Dixon

A Little Princes Frances Hodgson Burnett Narrated by: Jennifer M DixonAudiobook Length: 7 hrs and 14 mins


Cover image, A Little Princes. narratorreviews.org
A Little Princess

Narrator Review: Jennifer M. Dixon

Imagine your dear mum reading to you, while you snuggle down deep under your duvet and become enraptured with the classic story of A Little Princess. A memory that will stay with you for a lifetime.

Jennifer M. Dixon photo image narratorrevews.org
Narrator Jennifer M. Dixon
Ms. Dixon does and exceptionally nice job of moving between characters and the imitations of a wide range of young girls voices as they chatter, manipulate and torment and tease one another. The stern an dragon like headmistress Miss Minchin is very convincing under the tongue of Jennifer M. Dixon. A true pleasure to listen to and to hug close to your heart for a very long time.

Audio Book Review of A Little Princess

A Little Princess by Frances H. Burnett is a classic children's book that was first published 1905 and has been a hit with generation after generation of children and adults alike. Sara Crewe is the epitome of a perfect child. Talented, clever, pretty, imaginative. Doubtless this and other Burnett books were my own favorites as a child and many, many years later they remain so. 

Author Frances H. Burnett photo image narratorreviews.org
Author Frances H. Burnett

Sara Crewe grew up in India, and was raised like a princess, doted on by her father Captain Crewe. Sara's mother died when she was born so she never really missed her and Captain Crewe indulged and loved Sara enough that he filled in the gap.  

Captain Crewe was very sad when it became time for Sara to enroll at Miss Minchin's, Select Seminary for Young Ladies. He and Sara knew one day she would have to leave India, as the popular opinion was that the climate was so severe it was unhealthy for children. 

The days before Crewe was to return to India he and Sara spend their last few days shopping, sight seeing and finding Emily. Emily is the special doll that suits Sara's requirements for a doll that looked like it was listening to you. When they find Emily, she's outfitted with a complete wardrobe as resplendent as Sara's own.

At Miss Minchin's Sara has a lovely suite that becomes the most desirable place for the other girls to visit. Sara is so good natured and kind that most the other girls like her. Her biggest enemy is Miss Minchin who has always disliked and envied Sara. 

When Captain Crewe is listed as killed in the war and his property and money are lost, Miss Minchin is almost gleeful that Sara is no longer rich she relegates her to the attic demanding she pay for her keep by doing whatever chores or errands asked of her by anyone.

A Little Princess, Cover photo narratorreviews.org
A Little Princess by Frances H. Burnett

When people move into the house directly across from Sara's attic window she soon is making friends with Ram Dass the India servant of a very sick man. Ram Dass secretly observes Sara and learns of her friends that visit her in the cold attic, meagre of anything warm or comforting yet they visit and adore Sara. 

Ram Dass and his ailing charge contrive a way to bring some good things to Sara's attic, food, heat, warm clean bedding and much more. When the frisky little monkey that rides on the shoulder of Ram Dass finds his way to Sara's attic she lets him sleep on her bed till morning when she returns him and all is revealed about her neighbors and her own future is not the bleak, hungry one she had thought it would be.


The Egg and I, By Betty MacDonald Narrated By Heather Henderson

The Egg and I 

By Betty MacDonald

Narrated By Heather Henderson

Post Hypnotic Press Inc.
Audio Book Length: 9 hrs

 The Egg and I CD

image of Heather Henderson Narrator narratorreviews.org
Heather Henderson Narrator

What a magnificent performance Heather Anne Henderson does reading the Egg and I. Her voice and tone are so beautiful and mellow. She brings out the sweetness of Betty MacDonald and her family and their quirks as well. It is a pleasure listening to her give substance to each event and person. I felt she truly gave the self centered and inconsiderate Bob his full measure because Betty tries to tamper his meanness with humor. Without Betty he would not have been able to fulfill his own dream of raising chickens. Heather Anne Henderson manages to emphasize with her very skillful tones the underlying dissatisfaction that is soon brewing in Betty's heart.

Audio Book Review: The Egg and I by Betty MacDonald

Betty MacDonald photo from SEATTLE TIMES ARCHIVE, 1951
Betty MacDonald Author

The Egg and I is a charming and hilarious story, told by Betty MacDonald, about her life as a bride, is whisked away to the outer limits of Washington to the Olympic Peninsula to start her new life as a chicken Farmer with Bob, a man that has his heart set on raising chickens for a living. Bob an Insurance man did not want to spend his life in an office but dreamed of raising chickens and owning his own place.

Although Betty was raised by what are now seen as old fashioned and restrictive codes of ethics, she gamely sets forth with her new husband to the wilds of the Olympic Peninsula, untamed, rustic, isolated and very primitive.

When Betty first lays eyes on her new abode she's downhearted at the frightful condition of the ramshackle and dilapidated house with it's broken windows, sagging porch and not a single amenity. No electricity, water, or bathroom and a very old wood burning stove, that will prove to become her nemesis. If nothing else Betty is always optimistic and tries to keep a positive attitude, so she focuses on the beauty of the mountains and the towering pine trees.

With a sigh, she examines the house to see what it is going to need to become habitable. To her dismay, her new husband is less interested in the run down shack they will have to live in and more interested in where he will put his chicken coops, pig pen, and other animal homes. After all the animal shelters are finished Betty thinks, now we can start on the house. Not yet, because Bob is moving on to the orchard. and putting in the vegetable garden.

Even though living without electricity, a decent stove, or indoor plumbing Betty manages to see humor in the people and things around her. In spite of the labor and hardships she tries to put Bob in a good light and find humor even in his callousness. Her fortitude and humor led to her success as an author and The Egg and I was made into a movie and the popular Ma and Pa Kettle movies were offshoots

Also narrated by Heather Henderson
 The Curve of Time Narrator Heather Henderson. narratorreviews.org
The Curve of Time
Narrator Heather Henderson