Nancy Drew Clue of the Dancing Puppet Author:Carolyn Keene Plot summary - 1932 editionNancy and her friends Bess and George, on their way home from a carnival, discuss a financially struggling Swedish immigrant, Mrs. Swenson, and her daughter, whom the girls have just helped to enjoy the carnival attractions by being their hosts for the evening. — As they are driving, a luxurious roadside estate bursts i... more »nto flames. The girls park the car and make sure that no one is trapped inside. In doing so, Nancy sees someone fleeing the property, and discovers an anonymous Swedish diary on the ground. She picks up this clue, and as firefighters and gawkers arrive on the scene, she notices an attractive young man moving her car away from the flying embers. At first suspicious of Ned Nickerson, Nancy warms him when he helps her out of a jam. Ned proves to be a good friend, and is a perennial admirer of Nancy's from then on. Meanwhile, Mrs. Swenson's husband is missing, and she identifies his diary as the one picked up at the fire. To top it all off, the owner of the burned house, Felix Raybolt, is missing, and his wife claims Joe Swenson has murdered her husband. Raybolt, it turns out, swindles inventors like Swenson out of patents and copyrights on their inventions and used an invention to start the fire.
 1962 revisionThis version tells essentially the same story, eliminating some detail and subplots, downplaying Nancy's initial response to Ned, eliminating a country club dance not essential to the plot, and adding a new subplot involving mail fraud. Adult series collectors have critiqued the addition of a mail fraud subplot, taking place over only two chapters; its appearance does not advance the story and seems to serve as filler material for sections of descriptive but non-essential action deleted in the new edit. At the time of the 1962 revision, this plot device existed (and still exists) in both Nancy's Mysterious Letter, which is the next volume following, and serves as the one of two equally important mystery plots in the story, and The Hidden Window Mystery.) Nancy struggles to decipher the diary and find the two missing men, aided by her best friends, and a new friend, the attentive Ned Nickerson.« less