Book four in the Nancy Drew Diaries, “Once Upon a Thriller” continues the contemporary adventures of teen sleuth Nancy Drew. In this installment, Nancy, Bess, and George plan to spend a relaxing weekend at Moon Lake in the little town of Avondale. However, an incident at the local bookstore sets off a chain reaction of crimes that seem to mimic those written by mystery author Lacey O’Brien. As Nancy struggles to figure out the links and the perpetrator, someone seems to be trying to prevent her from solving the mystery.
As with the previous three books in this new series, I found this one to be mediocre. The spirit of the original Nancy Drew simply isn’t there, replaced by a critical and sometimes almost disrespectful girl who seems aloof and detached much of the time. Several events in the story did not make sense, such as the fact that early on Nancy’s cell phone almost certainly became waterlogged and yet she continues to use it as if nothing happened. The brief appearance of Ned Nickerson was enjoyable, although Nancy worked alone for most of this book. Overall, the mystery was lacking in ingenuity and execution, and the heroine was not much better. Perhaps, though, new readers will find her more entertaining if they are unfamiliar with the original.