I find this story written the least well of the Nancy Drew I've read. Nonetheless, it keeps a place of honour as the introduction in 1930, to an everlasting character. Volume 1 is important because manuscript author, Mildred A. Wirt, sketched Nancy's personality and her relationships with family and strangers alike. She is a sharp investigator and morally decent, at age 18.
The title is a spoiler. If an event began with a clock and the journey was about deciphering its contents, the existing title would work. However no clock is mentioned throughout the majority of the pages. It is all about not knowing where important information is. We should be guessing for 180 pages, the location of Josiah Crowley's will. Instead: "The Secret Of The Old Clock" blares across the cover! Hmmm.... where could it be? We spend the book waiting for a clock to appear. Tracking an obvious object is not as enthralling as it being the actual mystery.
Josiah disliked the Topham family, who might inherit his fortune based on an earlier draft. He agreed to live with them in dwindling years, to be polite. However bringing your belongings to a place you dislike is beyond polite. Most of all, how could there have been any draft; not merely including the Tophams but bequeathing 100% to them? One completely omitting the destitute people he loved? He was a shrewd businessman and would ascertain their ulterior motives in asking him to move in.
Later, Nancy visited a lake to explore the Topham's cabin; oddly at her rival's recommendation that their caretaker show her around. Instead of telling Helen she had a mission, she wasted two days acquiescing to camp activities. Also noteworthy, thieves infiltrated two houses with people present. It would make better sense to case empty ones.show more
by C. Riedel