That's right, gang...it's time for a spinoff. You fell in love with hard-boiled Nancy Drew in River Heights: Criminal Suspicions. Now get ready to dig even deeper into the dark underbelly of this idyllic Midwestern town in River Heights: Gangland Style.
RIVER HEIGHTS: GANGLAND STYLE
Nancy Drew sits in a private helicopter, petting her dog, Togo. Evidently, when your dog wins first prize at a dog show, they take you home in a helicopter.
Nancy Drew: [peering out the window] Oh look, it's our house, Togo. Wait...what's that? Some kind of ruffian trying to break in? Chauffeur, fly closer please!
Pilot: Ma'am, I'm a certified pilot, not a chauffeur. Also, we can't just "fly closer" to a suburban neighborhood. That's how helicopters fly into houses. Also, why in the hell did I take this job escorting the dog show winner in a frikkin' helicopter?!
Nancy: [rolls eyes] Whatever. I'll take those binoculars. Wait--it is!! Someone is breaking into our house! And with such an interesting ladder...
Pilot: What could be interesting about a ladder?
Pilot: [clenches teeth] Yes, ma'am?
Nancy: My father is an important lawyer. I will now have to insist that you shut your pie-hole.
Pilot: Yes, ma'am.
Carson Drew: Nancy, I want you to meet Mr. Sakamaki. He has a mystery for us.
Mr. Sakamaki: Yes, it is most intriguing. I recently inherited my grandfather's estate in Hawaii but another family has come forward to claim the inheritance. They are loud, pasty, fat American types.
Carson: [nodding] That does sound like Americans...
Mr. Sakamaki: Well, it doesn't end there. Not only are these albino fatties trying to claim my estate, there's also been some mysterious damage done to our legendary golden pavilion.
Carson: Hey, Nancy! That's the title! It's titular!
Nancy: Hmmmm...I don't know. We sort of already have a fascinating mystery going. I call it "The Case of the Collapsible Ladder."
Mrs. Sakamaki: With this mystery, you get to go to Hawaii.
Chief McGuinness: So, it looks like the man who rented the collapsible ladder to break into your house fits the description of the leader in an international gang called the Double Scorps. We would have never figured that out if it wasn't for the strangely-apt description you and several townspeople gave of the man and his unusual tic. Who would have thought so many people would remember the way a man played around with his hands?
Nancy: [laughing] Well, it was quite unusual, Chief. These criminals, with their swarthy looks, weird birthmarks, signature tattoos, and idiosyncrasies. Frakkin' amateurs is what they are. Am I right?
Chief McGuinness: [chortling] Signature tattoos--that's my bread and butter right there.
Nancy: Isn't that the truth? Well, I'm off to learn some more about Hawaiian characters and legends.
Chief McGuinness: That's right! Nancy, what on earth are you still doing here? It's been seventy pages! Shouldn't you be already be in Hawaii by now?
Nancy: I just need to lock down a few details before I go, Chief. So far I'm not quite sure that the international gang will follow me to the islands yet.
Chief McGuinness: You know they always do.
Nancy: [shakes head] Frakkin' amateurs...
Bess Marvin: Oh, what a frightful journey! But here we are in beautiful Hawaii. Now it's time for some fun in the--
Nancy: Not so fast, Bess. We have a gang to catch. Someone's still hacking away at the beautiful golden pavilion on the Sakamaki estate. And I spotted a ghostly figure dancing there last night.
Ned: But not an actual ghost, right?
Nancy: [laughing] Of course not a ghost. It's never a ghost.
Nancy: Maybe if I take over the role of the ghostly dancer, we can draw out the gang and catch them in the act...
George: Wait, the gang? I thought we were looking for the chunky inheritance thieves Mr. Sakamaki told us about.
Nancy: George, what have we learned after all these [year]?
George: [sighs] Of course. They're all in it together. You know, even on a good day, these fools couldn't hit their ass with both hands.
George: Forget it, Ned. it's Chinatown.
Nancy: Well, we did it! We brought down the gang.
Ned: And found a treasure!
George: And I just kneed this guy in the balls.
Gang leader: OW!
Bess: And I just found this ham!
Nancy: [smiling] Looks like it's time to celebrate. OPPA GANGLAND STYLE!
Sinister music plays as we pan over River Heights. Nancy and her friends are stepping off a small airplane when Carson Drew approaches, hat in hand.
Carson: [tears in his eyes] Nancy...
Nancy: What is it, Dad?
Carson: It's the collapsible ladder company. With all the bad press, and the gang, I'm afraid [chokes out sob].
Nancy: No....no no! Don't tell me...
Carson: The patent didn't go through.
Alright, I potentially had a bit too much fun with that. But, for some odd reason, that ladder was really memorable.
This one was good, but I admit not as great as I remember. As mentioned earlier, a good 70-80 pages go by without Nancy and friends heading to Hawaii and I did get a bit antsy. Once our sleuths get to Hawaii, the story really does pick up but I'd say the story tops out at 3 1/2 out of 5 mags.