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Nancy Drew #17

Posted: Monday, June 1, 2009
By: Ray Tate

Stefan Petrucha & Sarah Kinney
Sho Murase, Carlos Jose Guzman (c)
Papercutz
"Night of the Living Chatchke"

Carson Drew is helping a comely Turkish lady of standing close the deal on selling her mansion. Nancy is along for the ride, but the mystery starts before they even set foot on Turkish soil and involves one of the ugliest statues ever to appear in comic books.

Petrucha and Kinney are at their usual best in this Nancy Drew volume. They add a little romance to the mix of ratiocination and Nancy's plot-driving personality. Carson Drew clearly has eyes for Alda, and Nancy does not seem to mind at all. That's a nice change from the expected daughter-other woman catfight that writers frequently exploit. Nancy, though happy for her father, does not like to think of the particulars. Such a feeling lends more authenticity to the situation.

Once Alda buys the statue, which she simply adores, it comically haunts Nancy's dreams. The effect is somewhat reminiscent of Bugs Bunny invading Elmer Fudd's sleep in the WB classic cartoon "The Big Snooze." The onomatopoeia in Nancy's waking state directs the girl sleuth into thinking that there's something more to the statue than meets the eye. Soon the whole household hears the "popping" sounds, and Nancy's belief cannot be dismissed as mere girlish whimsy.

Sho Murase deserves applause for designing such an unlovely yet so simple construction. Her illustrations exhibiting Nancy's obvious distaste for the thing and her eventual bemusement over the secret behind the ugly enhance one's enjoyment of the detection. In addition, her choreography and Guzman's beautiful colors and 3-D modeling provide the story with scope and the feeling of a genuine ethnic setting.

I would have liked to see more of George and Bess, but they do pop in for an amusing scene in which Nancy calls the cousins for their advice only to receive their laughter. Such is the consummate skill of the talent that you can actually imagine their faces to accompany the pure dialogue, which is all that's seen on panel. Alone, Nancy must solve the mystery of the haunted statue. She does so with her typical gusto and style. She also uncovers a greater enigma that will lead into the next volume of Nancy Drew.



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