The Whispering Statue is the fourteenth volume in the Nancy Drew Mystery Stories series. It was written by Mildred Wirt Benson, whom many readers and scholars consider the “truest” of the numerous Carolyn Keene ghostwriters, following an outline by Harriet Stratemeyer. The book was originally published by Grosset & Dunlap in 1937. An updated, revised, and largely different story was published under the same title in 1970.
Summaries (original edition)
Nancy, Bess, and George encounter a troublesome stray terrier on their way to the opening festivities of a new park and recreation complex in River Heights. The terrier grabs the handbag of one of the guest speakers and loses it in a nearby pond. Nancy helps groundskeepers retrieve the handbag and uses the notes found inside to prompt the nervous speaker during her address. She also finds a mysterious personal ad in the handbag. In a casual observation, the “clubwoman,” a Mrs. Owen, tells Nancy about a statue on a deserted seaside estate. The statue, known as “The Whispering Girl,” bears an uncanny resemblance to Nancy. As it turns out, Nancy is bound for that very area with her father and her friends Bess and George.
Reluctantly, Nancy decides to keep the terrier for a little while, dubbing him Togo (after a famous Alaskan husky, who in turn was named after a Japanese admiral). Togo follows her to the train station, and she has no choice but to bring him to Sea Cliff with her. On the train, the girls observe a strange elderly woman identified as a Miss Morse, and they suspect a man who has just approached the woman is trying to swindle her.
Once in Sea Cliff, the girls hunt for the statue that resembles Nancy – and for Miss Morse, who has excited Nancy’s curiosity and protectiveness. Further mysterious complications occur when Miss Morse acknowledges that she is being swindled but dismisses Nancy and when Nancy happens to overhear the crook from the train boasting about his conquest. There are several encounters with quirky but ultimately helpful older men. A seaplane accident leads Nancy to rescue a client of her father who is then linked both to Mrs. Owen and to the mysterious Miss Morse. In the long climactic sequence of the story, Nancy hides behind the statue and uses her voice to make the statue appear to speak to the con man from the train. She is also captured and tied up, and as she confronts one of the novel’s many miscreants, the cliffside mansion falls into the ocean, necessitating another dramatic rescue.
This edition of the novel is considered one of the most ragged, overpopulated, and coincidence-heavy of the series. It does, however, introduce the enduringly popular Togo, who becomes a mainstay in the series thereafter. The book is full of atypically harsh episodes, including a man who beats Togo cruelly, apparent elder and child abuse, and some saucy behavior by Nancy herself. It is perhaps the book most extensively overhauled for the reissue.
Nancy Drew #14 The Whispering Statue First Edition Book Identification Points
Only the first few printings of the first/second year are included. Printings codes are based on the Farrah Guide, 12th printing. Please refer to the guide for later printings.
Note: Glossy+: Glossy frontis + 3 glossy internals.
|Printing||Frontis||Copyright Page||Rear Book Ads|
|1937A-1||Glossy||Nancy Drew #1-14||Nancy Drew #1-13/Melody Lane #1-6/Judy Bolton #1-9|
|1938A-2||Glossy||Nancy Drew #1-14||Nancy Drew #1-13/Headline Books(6)/Melody Lane #1-6|
|1938B-3||Glossy||Nancy Drew #1-14||Nancy Drew #1-13/Headline Books(6)/Melody Lane #1-6|
|1938C-4||Glossy||Nancy Drew #1-14||Nancy Drew #1-13/Headline Books(6)|
Nancy Drew #14 The Whispering Statue First Edition Dust Jacket Identification Points
|Printing||Price||Front Flap||Rear Panel||Rear Flap||Format|
|1937A-1||5050||Nancy Drew #1-14||Judy Bolton #1-10||Dana Girls #1-6||3|
|1938A-2||5050||Nancy Drew #1-14||Judy Bolton #1-10||Dana Girls #1-6||4|
|1938A-3||5050||Nancy Drew #1-15||Judy Bolton #1-11||Headline Books(6)||4|
|1938A-4||5050||Nancy Drew #1-15||Judy Bolton #1-11||Headline Books(6)||4|
- Farah’s Guide to Nancy Drew, 12th printing