Nancy is on a yet another adventure and this time its her former schoolmate, Junie Flockhart who has brought the mystery for her to solve in The Strange Message in the Parchment. :)
Junie's father, who also owns a parchment making factory and lives on Triple Creek Farm, has bought a parchment with four scenes painted on it. Junie tells her that soon after buying the parchment, her father got a mysterious call where "a man who didn't give his name said the picture had a message. Anyone who could figure it out would bring happiness and comfort to several people, and right an old wrong."
Now its up to Nancy Drew to solve the mystery of the painting and "right an old wrong", all the while deceiving danger and coming face-to-face with some very evil villains.
There is action, drama, danger and an intriguing mystery here and I just loved reading it. :)
This book is better in terms of plot planning, execution and keeping the suspense till the end as compared to the previous Nancy Drew book that I read The Secret of the Forgotten City.
I loved the character of Eezy who quotes the bible and plays the harp beautifully. His grandfather type character is soothing, real like and makes the reader fall in love with him.
I also loved the fact that Nancy's usual gang, Bess, George, Ned, Burt and Dave appear only later in the book and that meanwhile Junie plays the sidekick, which was refreshingly interesting.
I also got to learn much about the parchment making process from the book which I feel is good and an enhancement to my general knowledge. :)
Also a crisp writing style and simple dialogues make the book seem more approachable to the younger reading crowd.
The only points I felt somewhat unnecessary were: firstly, the scene in the beginning of the story where a thief steals Nancy's sheepskin jacket was unnecessary as it didn't bear any connection to the main plot or contribute to it except from showing that Nancy is very quick and that Togo is a great dog which we already know. Secondly, the part where everyone questions how the thief could have entered the house and suddenly, as if understanding what is being asked, Togo stands on its hind legs and shows everyone by opening the door. NOT NEEDED. Thirdly, the numerous quotes in the story where the author justifies sheep slaughter "They are killed so you and others will have lamb to eat, Bess." All this could have been said only once rather than bringing it up 2-3 times in the book.
All in all, I really enjoyed the book and recommend all to read it. I give The Strange Message in the Parchment a 4.0 out of 5. So go read and enjoy. :)