The Mystery at Lilac Inn (Nancy Drew, Book 4)

by Carolyn Keene

Hardcover, 1930



Local notes

Fic Kee



Grosset & Dunlap (1930), Edition: New edition, 192 pages


While trying to help a friend out of a difficulty, teenage detective Nancy Drew has a perilous experience in and around a deserted bungalow.


Original language


Original publication date

1961 (revised edition)

Physical description

192 p.; 5 inches


0448095041 / 9780448095042





User reviews

LibraryThing member TamiHindes
The fourth Nancy Drew book in the series and so far my favorite. Our heroine is stumbling into one mystery after another while trying to just enjoy a little vacation with her friends. Premise: Nancy and Helen visit their friend Emily who is getting married soon. Em and her fiance, Dick, have bought an old inn and are renovating it, but a series of unfortunate accidents could cause the opening to be delayed. Diamonds are stolen, the cabin Nancy is staying in is blown up, Helen is knocked is one tragic event after another - not to mention that there is someone impersonating Nancy back in River Heights. Nancy trails a maid, gets kidnapped and is nearly killed - although nothing happens to her more seriously than a bad scare. Bad guys were nicer back in the 30s and 40s I suppose. In the end Nancy solves the mystery that has little to do with the Inn and more to do with her and her father and an angry ex-con.
The story is a bit far-fetched, but it was written in a different time for a much different audience than today's young adults. No wonder I wanted to be Nancy when I was growing up - solve mysteries, out smart the bad guys, drive around in a cute little convertible all while looking good and telling eligible young men that I am just too busy solving mysteries to be bothered going out.
I've already purchased book #5 and will start it shortly. Long live the Nancy Drew books.
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LibraryThing member WillowOne
I bought this for my GodDaughter at a flea market and decided to read it again. I don't want to write much in this review because it could give things away.
Nancy is trying to solve the mysterious happenings at her friend's new Inn and trying to uncover who is impersonating her.
LibraryThing member Jen4k
Fans of this series will not be disappointed with this classic Nancy Drew book. The vocabulary may be a bit difficult for young readers, but the mystery behind the Lilac Inn and the stolen jewels will keep the pages turning for willing readers.
LibraryThing member regularguy5mb
On the same day I finish NaNoWriMo, I finish The Mystery at Lilac Inn. It's a sign... okay, it's probably not, but it's a nifty coincidence.

Anyway, this is the last of my mother's old Nancy Drew books that we found wasting away in one of my parents' storage buildings some years ago and Mom said I could keep. Actually, this is the second time I've read this one, but since I've been reading all the others lately, thought it would be a nice revisit.

And it was! What I love about Nancy Drew is that it holds the same draw as both the Hardy Boy mysteries and the great movie serials of the 30s and 40s. Nancy's stories are written just like the best pulp books, not lessening the danger in any way either because Nancy is a girl or because the books are aimed at a younger audience. It's nice to read something that doesn't talk down to its intended audience.

As Nancy's father says at the wrap up, "This certainly has been an involved and dangerous mystery." He certainly understates things well. What starts as a basic mystery at the inn her friend has just purchased turns into a multi-level threat involving a girl impersonating Nancy (going as far as stealing her charge card and buying expensive things in her name), something strange in the river (that sends Nancy and her friend Helen flying out of their canoe), as well as the potential "haunting" of the inn itself (not to mention a theft of some very valuable property). All these things, some seeming to have no connection to each other, make for one wild ride and Nancy and friends try to figure out "the mystery at Lilac Inn."
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LibraryThing member mg09
This book was about Nancy Drew in another adventure at her friend's new a Inn. Trouble comes when Nancy Drew's friend's diamond earings go missing before her wedding.Now Nancy Drew has to find who took the earings, and where the earings are. THIS LOOKS LIKE A JOB FOR NANCY DREW!
LibraryThing member LauGal
I never read Nancy Drew aas a child. This was a light and delightful read!
LibraryThing member Enyonam
Each of the first 34 Nancy Drew mysteries has two versions: an original, 25-chapter, pre-1959 version, and a revised, post-1959, 20-chapter version. Most of these revisions left the plot, characters, and most of the text largely intact (except for, you know, cutting out five chapters and 20 to 40 pages of material), but The Mystery at Lilac Inn is one of the eight stories that were almost completely re-written. This book is the original, 1930 text, and it shows.

Emily Crandall, an old friend of Nancy's, is a (relatively) poor orphan due to inherit the Crandall Jewels, valued at $40,000, at her next birthday. Splans to sell some of them and get married on the proceeds, since her fiancé won't earn the money to support a wife for a few years. Her plan falls through when her flighty guardian, Mrs Jane Willoughby, has her purse stolen while dining at the Lilac Inn—with the diamonds inside.

Aside from the jewel theft, much of the plot revolves around Nancy hiring a maid to replace Hannah Gruen, who will be away for months tending a sick family member. Nancy's attitude towards domestic help is one of the clearest signs that this book was written in 1930 and not three decades later. The class divide separating Nancy from the women she interviews is much greater than it would be in later years. When reading the revised books, it's easy to see Hannah as a replacement for Nancy's late mother; in the original versions, especially this ones, it becomes much more obvious that the Drews would have had a maid or housekeeper even if Mrs Drew were still alive. I haven't read much American fiction from this period, so I tend to associate domestic service much more with Britain than with the US. It was interesting to realize that pre-WWII British and American attitudes toward servants were much more similar than I'd ever considered.
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LibraryThing member justagirlwithabook
I absolutely loved Nancy Drew growing up. This was a series I latched on to for dear life and never let go. Anytime my mom and I would go to antique stores, we'd peruse the Nancy Drews and add them to the collection (oftentimes my mom had to make deals with me on how many I could buy). So, while I don't remember the exact details of each and every one, the entire series was amazing and really fed my love for reading (especially novels full of suspense and mystery). Thank you, Carolyn Keene, for giving us an intelligent female character to fall in love with in Nancy Drew!… (more)
LibraryThing member AbigailAdams26
It's hard to find good help in River Heights in this fourth mystery featuring that teenage girl sleuth, Nancy Drew. As she struggles to find out who stole her friend Emily Crandall's inheritance - $40,000 worth of jewels, carelessly left by Emily's guardian on a cafe table - Nancy must also find a new housekeeper, when faithful family servant Hannah Gruen must unexpectedly leave the Drew household to care for her injured sister.… (more)
LibraryThing member jguidry
This was an interesting story that brought back memories of reading Nancy Drew in elementary school. The nostalgia alone would have made it a five star read, but the story was a little convoluted. Too many plot twists were thrown in, and the essence of the mystery could get lost sometimes. Sometimes there are too many red herrings and the fish starts to smell. But, I don't think it completely stunk.… (more)
LibraryThing member DrFuriosa
A fun mystery compiled of several cases that merge into Nancy's impersonator. I really like how Nancy models career satisfaction for young girls amidst her friends' wedding plans. She enjoys dating and fun, but she loves being a detective.
LibraryThing member thelittlebookworm
Weird things are happening to Nancy Drew and once again a mystery is afoot. Nancy seems to have a doppelganger who is running up bills and causing trouble. And when she visits her friend's new inn, there are a lot of mysterious occurrences there as well. Nancy must solve the mystery of Lilac Inn and also find out why someone is impersonating her.

The Little Bookworm
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