The Secret of Mirror Bay...
...is that Nancy has one million doppelgangers.
No, really. She must have one MILLION. Unless titian hair is so uncommon that anyone with similar hair color is automatically mistaken for her. Let me back up.
The original gangsta mystery is the ghostly happenings surrounding Aunt Eloise's vacation cabin where they are staying, the Mirror Bay Bide-a-Wee. Some say (the start to any verified story) that a woman has been seen gliding across the top of the water, and that a mad sorcerer roams the woods, bearing an unearthly glow. Ooooh, this has all the makings of another...
RIVER HEIGHTS: MYTHBUSTERS!!!
Nancy Drew: Have you ever had a pesky ghost haunt your bed & breakfast? A no-good spook send you other-worldly messages about giving away your fortune? How about a phantom just going to TOWN on your showboat? Well, we're Nancy Drew and co. and we're here to tell you--it's never a haunting! That's right, say it with me once more: IT'S NEVER A HAUNTING!
You've got it, folks. Our River Heights crew is back and they're here at Mirror bay to de-stress...and debunk!!!
George Fayne: Well, at first when we heard about the lady floating on the water, I was like "bitch, please." I mean it's never a ghost. Never!
Bess Marvin: Oh, sure, I believe. I mean, it's never turned out to be a ghost before but this time. [Takes deep, ominous breath] This time I think it could be for real. [Another pointed pause]. Yeah. For mega-realsies, guys.
Ned Nickerson: Well, at first when I saw that glowing sorcerer dude, I thought it has to be an alien. I mean, what other kind of creature would be glowing green and flitting around the woods? Mr. Burns? Bringing us love? I don't think so.
Nancy: There you have it, people. Our gang has a lot of conflicting theories. But, as per usual, I'm about to completely prove them all wrong. Because I'm Nancy Drew and, in addition to my flawless skills in almost any art, sport or contest, I also KNOW EVERYTHING.
CATCH THEM TONIGHT ON...RIVER HEIGHTS: MYTHBUSTERS!!!!
Okay, that's enough of that. But now that I think of it that would be a really good show. Nancy and the gang quickly set out to disprove the new local ghost theory, with Bess and George even trying their hand at it. George stands on Bess's shoulders and appears to glide over the top of the lake, causing Nancy to wonder if the ghost could really be a prank. Her musings are quickly interrupted, however, by George making snarky remarks about how she could never be the one holding Bess on her shoulders, as she'd have to be "Supergirl."
Well, I guess George gets one jab per book, right? I mean, after all this time, George must see that her cousin has feelings. Right? Whoa, spoke too soon. Within a few pages, Bess mentions that she's hungry and George tells her she sounds like a contestant in an "eating contest," and, a few pages after that, tells her that if she eats one more sweet roll she will in fact resemble a sweet roll. Okay, sorry George, but I call bitch. Sure, Bess likes to eat, but that doesn't mean she deserves this constant haranguing. At this point in the book, I'm starting to wish that my fake Lifetime movie Too Fat to Ride an Alpaca: The Mysterious Fat Shaming of Bess Marvin had ended with Bess strangling George with a licorice rope or something.
George's bullying aside, however, the girls soon find themselves ensconced in not one but three mysteries. The gliding female figure is soon debunked when they save a woman walking in stilts in the lake (Note: evidently she was doing this because she can't swim, but was stilt-walking in a lake without a life vest. Super smart.) but the woman soon gives them another mystery to solve: finding a child's royal coach that had been brought over by her ancestors from Czarist Russia, but had somehow ended up in the lake after a tragedy that ended in the child's death. This mystery ends up being kind of an add-on and red herring, but I'll come back to it later.
Onto the doppelganger! There is yet another double of Nancy running around stealing from people. So, in addition to the three mysteries, Nancy also has to deal with people accosting her on the street accusing her of selling them fake vacations or stealing their purse. She also keeps nearly getting arrested by the police, but gets out of it each time when the officer decides that she must be a different girl because the thiefelganger (yes, that's thief and doppelganger and get used to it--I love word portmanteau) has a hard face. You know, the criminals in these stories might want to work on their facial expressions. It's apparently really easy to tell a criminal from their swarthy appearance, flashing dark eyes and hard expressions. Fake Nancy also seems to catch on that she looks like our girl detective and that the gang is investigating something on the mountainside near the lake where the sorcerer has been spotted, so she goes out of her way to dress in similar clothes just to slow Nancy down. Great job, thiefelganger. Now, Nancy is totally onto the fact that there's something to investigate.
The gang checks out the mountainside and are immediately stopped by a glowing, furry green figure spouting nonsense. My first thought was that it was the Philadelphia fanatic, drunk again, but apparently it's one of the criminals. The green man, along with another man in a crazy mask, are clearly freaked out by Nancy's appearance in the area, because they try to kidnap Bess, rob their cabin, and play all sorts of tricks. I'm sure they meant to scare Nancy away, but they clearly haven't gotten the memo that this just makes things worse for them.
While they are knee-deep in the mysteries, Ned, Burt and Dave show up to help out. They've also brought along a professor, who seems to have eyes for Aunt Eloise. Oooh la la. I've never thought about it, but I have no idea why Aunt Eloise is single (unless she's secretly gay or something). She's nice, thin, beautiful and owns her own apartment in Upper Manhattan. I call bullshit that she wouldn't have been snapped up by now.
The professor, however, ends up being the key to the whole sorcerer-thiefelganger mystery. He recognizes the two men in the criminal pack as "renegade scientists" who stole the formula for a firefly-based cool light experiment from a nearby real scientist. Apparently, they have been conducting experiments in the caves on the mountainside (with thiefelganger Doria, the wife of one of the scientists, stealing money for the supplies) and were afraid of being found out by Nancy and her crew. In my opinion, they did everything short of waving their hands in the air and shouting "Hey! Don't investigate us! Something sinister is happening here but it's not us! It's something scaaaaarry! So stay away!" Morons.
Despite the top-tier idiocy of the villains this was a really enjoyable tale. The Czarist Russia royal coach discovery in the lake at the end felt a bit disconnected and tacked on because it had little to nothing to do with the main events, but I still loved the book as a whole.
4 1/2 out of 5 mags.
Fat Shamings: 3 (1 bazillion total)