Monday, July 31, 2017

The Nancy Drew Files #78: Update on Crime (1992)

Carson has a friend, Otto, who is the station manager for a local news station. Since Nancy is bored – Ned is in the middle of preparing for finals – he suggests that she take a job at the station and investigate who keeps threatening Hal Taylor, one of the two anchors. She'll go undercover as a new intern. Before the job even starts though, someone arranges for Hal to view a threatening video right in the middle of the telecast.

It doesn't take too long for Nancy to realize that lots of people dislike him. There's Carl, a temp crew worker who keeps sneaking around, Bill, a sound engineer who is just a little too friendly, and Gary, who wanted Hal's job but was passed over for the anchor position. There's also Marilyn, his co-anchor. They dated for quite awhile, at least long enough to get engaged, before he broke up with her and now keeps running around town with a young waitress who works with Bess. To complicate things even more, he takes Nancy out on “business dinner” to the fanciest restaurant in town and is visibly disappointed when he finds out she has a boyfriend.

While checking on how someone could slip the tape in his feed, she finds a novelty pin that advertises KSM Express, a shipping company in town. She and Bess check it out and meet the owner, Kurt. He seems charmed by them until he learns where Nancy work. See, there's this guy Steve, who is a politician, and Hal is working on proving that he accepted bribes from shipping and trucking companies to keep a new law from going through that would require companies give drivers more breaks to keep them safe.

Nancy and Bess check out a few other things and accidentally come across a truck accident, with one truck hitting another. Since Nancy is the only one on the scene, Otto sends a crew to her and asks her to go on camera live. Gary shows up just after she does an amazing job and bitches not only about how much he hates Hal, but about Nancy trying to steal his job and how he will never, ever let that happen.

Ned comes back because, even in the middle of finals, he just can't stay away from his lady. He helps her investigate the shipping company, but they don't find much. Someone sets fire to Hal's dressing room and nearly burns the building down. The same person then breaks into his house and rifles through his things but doesn't take anything. Hal thinks they want his notes on the story, which he hid in a secret safe.

Bess calls with some big news that she claims will end the mystery and tells Nancy to come to the restaurant where she works. She really just wants her to meet Rita, another waitress and the current paramour of Hal. Rita tells Nancy that Marilyn is so crazy about Hal that she kept calling and threatening her and then calling, breathing, and hanging up. Marilyn even confronted the couple when they were out on a date. That's why is makes absolutely no sense that Hal has Rita meet him for lunch at the freaking station. Marilyn throws such a fit that Rita basically runs away. When Hal goes to comfort her, Rita says that it's clear he's still in love with his ex and that she's breaking up with him.

While on her way home from a date with Ned, a truck starts following Nancy down a huge hill and begins ramming her from behind. Just as she's about to careen off the road, she dips into a turn off before the other truck can stop. By the time she gathers her nerves and gets back on the road though, the truck is gone. After calling Ned, he offers to meet her there with Bess and help.

Nancy and Ned sneak inside docking area by hiding inside an open truck. They find the truck that almost killed her, Ned pretends to be a driver, and they drive away to escape. Since Nancy still won't admit defeat, she goes back to the compound and finds proof that Kurt, the owner, is the son of Bill, the engineer from the station. The two men show up with Hal tied up in a van and pull a gun on her. Some random security guard out doing his rounds stumbles across them and distracts Bill to the point where Nancy can karate kick the gun out of his hands. The guard then helps them keep the men in place until the cops arrive.

Kurt really did bribe the politician to help his business, and he thought Hal was getting too close to the truth. When their threats didn't work, they decided to kill him. Bill wanted to help his son but also wanted to help Marilyn. He's been secretly in love with her for years and wanted her all to himself.

Brenda, a reporter from the newspaper, spotted Nancy early on and figured she was working on case. She spent most of the book following her around in secret until she figured out the story involved the politician. Nancy agreed that she would get first crack at the story in the end. When the end comes, Brenda shows up and is completely charmed by Hal, to the point where Ned points out that her story will make Hal the hero and ignore everything Nancy did. Hal and Marilyn also get back together.

*When Nancy goes on camera with no notice, Bess is luckily there with a fully stocked makeup kit and even a miniature bottle of hair spray. Love that girl!

*Hal's “secret safe” is actually one that looks like a box of scouring pads, which he hides underneath his kitchen sink. Sneaky, sneaky.

*Marilyn makes a comment about how Hal likes his women young and pretty, just like Nancy and apparently Rita. It is kind of creepy that a guy old enough to anchor a news station would go for a waitress who is barely out of high school. I'm also not a fan of her taking him back in the end either.

*Nancy comes close to letting Hal charm her while at their “business dinner” before an image of Ned floats through her head...

*So, Hannah and Carson deliberately leave the house so Nancy and Ned can have some alone time since he's been away at college for so long. They throw a bunch of blankets and pillows on the floor and cuddle up in front of a roaring fireplace while they roast marshmallows together. They kiss a few times and then Ned goes home. Yes, because that's exactly how that would work in real life.