Friday, August 7, 2015

The Nancy Drew Files #53: Trail of Lies (1990)

Carson Drew is taking George and Nancy to visit his best friend and former classmate Henry Wilcox in Alaska. Bess would go too, but she's on vacation in Florida. Not long after arriving, they find the perfect gift to bring her: a tiny little puffin carved out of stone. John, Henry's driver/friend, picks them up at the airport and takes them back to the house where they meet Henry's son Steve. He instantly develops the hots for George but keeps making rude comments and acting hostile around Nancy. He then introduces them to his best friend Craig, who trains sled dogs. Craig tells them that Steve is planning on entering some big race and that this competitor named Lindsay wants to cream him. Before he can go any further, there's a knock at the door. It's the police looking for Henry.

Nancy gets her first clue that something is wrong when she sees John having a whispered conversation on the phone that he stops when he sees her. At dinner that night, Henry tells them that the police got a tip about carved elephant ivory on one of his boats. Apparently, they can sell carved walrus ivory, but someone used his boats to import real ivory and pass it off as Alaskan ivory. I'm pretty sure the real thing would be worth more on the black market but whatever.

Steven invites George to come with him to Northern Lights, the hippest club in the area, and Craig invites Nancy. Not long after they get there, the infamous Lindsay makes an appearance with her best friend Amanda. Amanda is super hostile, which Lindsay tells them is because Steve dated and dumped her pretty harshly. Amanda then announces that he will pay for what he did to her before storming off.

Since Henry gave Nancy permission to check out his shipment, she heads to the ship. The police tell her that someone imported a crate of carved ivory puffins inside a shipment of green beans. She then checks out another shipment the police already looks at and finds a bunch of carved bears hidden inside. Someone abruptly turns off the lights, knocks her down, and runs off. A guard finds her pretty quickly but swears there was no one else anywhere nearby.

Nancy and George then go out with the guys again to practice with the dogs. Steve continues acting really rude to Nancy while flirting with George. Craig offers to take Nancy back to the house and explains to her that he really wanted to give Steve and George some alone time. He also reveals that Amanda kind of hates dogs and that Lindsay is so protective of the sled dogs that she made everyone make a bunch of changes as to how they treated the animals.

George later gets Nancy alone and wants to talk about Steve and how he clearly dislikes her. Nancy tries to blow it off until they overhear Steve screaming to Craig about how he doesn't want Nancy there because she will ruin everything. He at least has the decency to look embarrassed when they catch him before saying good night and running away.

The next day, Nancy ramps up her investigation. She meets with Amanda, who is a bookkeeper at Henry's company, and goes over the records, which leads to her discovering that the carvings came from Seattle. She then runs into Lindsay and goes to lunch with her. They do a little shopping, and Nancy finds one of the carved bears in a store. After buying it, she takes it to a local shop, where the man reveals that he just saw Amanda that morning, and he tells her that it's a fake Alaskan stamp on the bottom and that it's clearly elephant ivory. When she tells the store where she bought it, the owner is all shocked and agrees to give her the name of her supplier.

Nancy and George go to the trials for the upcoming dog sled race. Steve once again acts hostile towards Nancy but helps them find a spot to watch the race. Everything goes fine until Lindsay gets out in front. She loses control of the her dogs, and they come running full speed right towards Nancy and George. Lindsay gets the dogs stopped but claims she heard someone crack a whip nearby and that the loud noise spooked the dogs.

Nancy begins suspecting John is behind everything when she sees him sneaking around. He acts really pissy and tells her that he just wants to see Steve win but denies doing anything. John also tells her that his kid brother had a gambling problem and stole money from his boss. No one in town would hire John because of what his brother did, so he moved to a new city. He's now worried that Henry will find out what happened and fire him too. Geez, it's now like he's his brother or anything.

Steve winds up winning the race, but George starts doubting him after finding a whip hidden in his sled. He denies using it and says that Nancy will probably accuse him of being the illegal importer too. When they get back to his house, his dad doesn't really seem to care that he won, and Steve claims that nothing matters until he wins the big race. Nancy then gets two more pieces of evidence. John tells her that he found a firecracker on the track, which explains the noise Lindsay heard, and the police captain found out that the person who sold some of the imported items traveled via dogsled.

The next day, Nancy has another run in with Steve while he's feeding his dogs. He tells her he hasn't seen George, but then he and Craig say she went to see Lindsay. Nancy heads over there and talks with Lindsay but George is nowhere to be seen. She does encounter Amanda and tells her that she thinks she's the importer and working with Steve. Amanda finally opens up about how she's been having money problems. She sold off everything of value she had and even took out some advances on her paycheck, but she obviously didn't break the law. She even sold her portion of her family's cabin to her brother Craig. After going back to the Wilcox house, Nancy sees something in a bag of dog food and realizes she knows who the importer is.

Nancy rushes inside and tells Steve that Craig did it and shows him the carved bear she found in the dog food. Craig is the one who always feeds the dogs and probably dropped it. They figure out that he took George to his family cabin with Steve's dogs, which he was supposedly taking out for a run. They borrow Lindsay's dogs and get there just in time to see George dead on the ground.

Okay, so she's actually just passed out. She opens her eyes just long enough to tell them to check the dog food before passing out again. Craig shows up with a gun and forces them into the cabin. When Steve fights back, he smacks him upside the head with the gun and lunges towards Nancy. Steve suddenly jumps up and knocks Craig out. He then tells Nancy to take one set of the dogs and get George back and he'll wait with Craig.

Instead, Craig overpowers him and comes after Nancy. They wind up on a section of the trail just large enough for one sled, but he keeps trying to pass her. A rabbit darts out of the woods, which scares him, and he loses control of the sled and crashes into a tree, causing a bunch of snow to fall on top of him. She gets back and finds everyone waiting anxiously for her.

In the end, the cops go out in the woods and find/arrest Craig. Steve finds his way back home, and he and his dad make up. He admits that he was jealous of Nancy because his dad kept telling him stories Carson told him. Amanda tells them about her money problems and how she had to sell her grandfather's ring. Nancy tells Henry how Amanda helped her put all the clues together and her family's cabin. Henry arranges for the buyer to sell the ring to him so Amanda can get it back. Steven then asks Nancy if she wants to race his dogs in the big race, and she laughingly tells him that she's had enough of dogs for a long time.


  1. Love the Nancy Drew recaps.

    1. Thanks! You have to love the clothes on the covers too :)