Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Nancy Drew Files #13: Wings of Fear (1987)


Sorry for the extreme lack of posts lately! I promise that I'll be back to my usual crazy posting self as soon as possible! :)

Nancy is all chilling at home, maxing and relaxing, when she gets a phone call from her old friend Jennifer. Instead of asking pleasant questions like how are you and how have you been since I ran away from River Heights over a year ago, she immediately flips out about how her close friend Rod was murdered. See, Jennifer works for Victory Airlines and worked with Rod. He kept flashing around large bundles of cash and bragging about working with smugglers, so she's pretty convinced someone murdered him for talking. Sounds reasonable.

Since Nancy can't do anything on her own and George already has plans, Bess agrees to fly last minute with her to Seattle. Jennifer greets then and instantly makes them go and talk with Mr. Talbot, the owner of the airline. He's really no help, mainly because someone literally just threw a rock through his office window. A rock, by the way, with a written warning on it that Nancy should keep her mouth shut and go back to River Heights. You know that's not going to keep her away.

We get to meet Sean, Jennifer's boyfriend. He's totally cool with everything but does spend a good portion of his time trying to calm Jen down and convince her that nothing is wrong. He gives Nancy a tour of the airport, which makes his girlfriend pout for way too long about him “ignoring” her. He also arranges for both Nancy and Bess to join a new group of college students working for the airline.

After hearing that Rod mentioned something about a 747, Nancy convinces herself that it was a warning about the smugglers. Jennifer storms around a ton and moans about how they keep avoiding her and leaving her out of stuff. It doesn't help when Nancy takes off after a plan. The plane was from China and grounded because of mechanical failure. Before it takes off again, she rushes after it to look for evidence.

All that really happens though is that some dude locks her inside the cargo hold as the plane takes off. Sean saves her and tells her the engine failures stopped the plane yet again. They then go to a party and meet Jennifer's roommate Miranda. Miranda suddenly flips out upon learning of the investigation and practically throws a Chinese vase at Nancy. She says Rod gave it to her when they dated before and that she worries it was stolen.

Despite no one knowing whether this is part of a smuggling ring, Nancy sneaks into the baggage handling area of the airport to look for similar vases. She meets Grant Sweeney instead. As the head of the baggage department, he is less than friendly about some random girl sneaking around. Even though he's just doing his job, he goes to the top of her suspect list.

Jennifer, who still feels threatened by her old “best” friend, decides to do some investigation work of her own. She then surprises Nancy by announcing that she knows who the smugglers are. While working as a flight attendant, she saw some Chinese guys acting sneaky over a bag of diamonds. Mr. Talbot doesn't seem to really care, but when Nancy points out that there might be a logical explanation, Jennifer stops off in a fit.

No Nancy Drew book is complete without at least one guy falling in love with her. This time it's a baggage handler named Paul. He starts coming around all the time and asking her out. Even after she tells him she has a serious boyfriend back home, he won't stop. After talking with him and asking Sweeney some questions, she's still no closer to finding out the truth.

It doesn't help that Sweeney wants absolutely nothing to do with her. He almost attacks her with a heavy wrench but claims he thought she was a smuggler. Sean starts acting really cool towards her, and Paul turns on her too. He even stops her from chasing after Sweeney when she see's the older man doing something suspicious. Both guys tell her that Sweeney told them to avoid her because she was investigating a smuggling ring and wants to pin it on them.

While on the way from that meeting, she runs into a slightly older flight attendant named Linda. Everyone hates her because she's so rude just downright mean. Nancy follows Linda to a top secret meeting with Sweeney and overhears them talking about the smuggling ring and how Nancy is getting too close. Linda freaks out because she realized Bess is a plant and that they're going to find out the truth. Someone then grabs Nancy from behind and drags her off.

It's only Sean though. He sits down with Nancy, and they uncover some more facts. It turns out that 747 refers to the time of the flight and not the plane. Just as they decide to tell Jennifer what they found, she comes home, sees them together, and instantly decides that they're sneaking around behind her back. She storms off like a six year old, leaving Sean to chase after her, apologize for doing nothing wrong, and begging her to help them.

This leads to Nancy dressing up in Bess's clothes and changing her hair color temporarily to board a flight to LA with Linda as the head flight attendant. Linda randomly snaps at some guy on the flight and doesn't seem happy to see him. After they land, Bess introduces Nancy to Mark, a hunky pilot who took her out to dinner. They go over everything they know and somehow come up with the idea that the smugglers are operating in LA.

Nancy then randomly spots a 747 mark on a box in the airport, follows the person carrying the box, and opens it when the guy leaves to find a bunch of Chinese vases hidden inside. Oh you silly smugglers and you're easily identifiable marks! For reasons I don't understand, Nancy realizes that Talbot himself is behind the smuggling ring. She tracks down Blake Maxwell, a big wig in the airline, to ask for his help. They find out that Talbot took off running after Linda mentioned Bess to him. When Sean goes to get Maxwell, they learn that his office number is 747. Gasp, or something.

Since they were stupid enough to give them what little evidence they found and since this was before 9/11, they rush to stop the plane from taking off because he's on it. They actually get Nancy a ticket on the flight, where she tells Bess everything they found before confronting Linda. Linda confesses that she was involved but wanted out and that the man from the earlier flight was someone hired to cause “mechanical” troubles. She then tells Nancy that Maxwell set her up and got all the ladies on the same flight so he could get rid of the evidence just as the plane starts going down.

Turns out that they arranged for a bomb to go off in the cargo hold. Mark manages to bring the plane down safely, Linda helps everyone off the plane, and the cops arrest Maxwell. The cops tell them that Maxwell bugged Talbot's office to listen to his calls and that Linda threw the rock through the window because she wanted to protect Nancy. Paul pops up again to ask Nancy out, and she invites him to go out with the whole group for dinner because she fells bad for being mean to him. Bess then asks if they can rent a car to head home, but Nancy tells her no because she doesn't want to wait another minute longer to be back in Ned's arms. Aw.

*My old college roommate was in town a few weeks ago when I picked a few of these books up. We both agreed that this is one of the most 80s covers ever! Nancy does wear this exact outfit in the book though.

*Jennifer is really awful in this book. If I were Nancy, I would have just taken off after her second hissy fit and told her to solve the crime on her own.

*After a particularly rough fight, Jennifer and Miranda decide to unwind by baking a batch of coconut macaroon cookies. Yup, nothing says relaxing like making a batch of the world's hardest cookies...

*Bess mopes around because she and Nancy flip a coin to see who will sleep on the floor and who gets the couch, which she loses. Nancy then has to point out that Bess got the couch the night before and that she has some hotshot pilot chasing after her, so her life isn't too bad.

*I seriously think the ghostwriters deliberately created all guys, with the exceptions of Ned and Carson, to be awful just to make them look better. There are way too many books with a guy chasing after her who just won't leave her alone, even after finding out she has a boyfriend.

*Bess is apparently such a cow that when she lets Nancy borrow a skirt and sweater, Nancy “swims” in her clothes. I hate this crap.

*Just so you know, Maxwell is in this book so little until the end that he's not even one of the suspects in the beginning!

*Nice empowering message there at the end. If you're mean to a guy who won't stop hitting on you when you tell him not to, you should totally go out with him later to make up for it.