Foreword Review — Winter 2014
Ninety-somethings team up in a mystery-solving club, the fully developed characters illuminating the process of aging and the abilities seniors still maintain.
Eileen Haavik McIntire, author of the mystery The 90s Club and the Whispering Statue, is adept at playing the “what if?” game: what if Nancy Drew were a ninety-year-old retired detective living in an upscale retirement home, a woman who spends her days solving mysteries with a few of her elderly pals? The chief detective and leader of the 90s Club is Nancy Dickinson. Living in a retirement home in West Virginia, Nancy is called to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, to solve a mystery involving an old friend. The resultant book, much like the original penned in the 1930s, is a fun read offering young and old a few hours of pleasant and not unchallenging enjoyment. This is the second in the 90s Club mystery series.
The pace of the story is remarkably up-tempo, especially for folks in their 90s. That is one of the serious points McIntire makes in the course of this story: old people are capable of much more than they are given credit for. There is, however, an undeniable darkness to this tale. Nancy is given to frank musings about her age, recurring depression, and lack of romantic interest, all of which reveal much about the process of aging and the human condition.
McIntire places a short paragraph at the end of each chapter that reads like a brief advertisement that might appear in a weekly shopper or on the bulletin board at the retirement home, mostly offering services or goods aimed directly at the elderly. There are ads for computer services and a hair salon, along with advice not to give out credit card information to strangers. At first seeming out of place, they quickly become part of the atmosphere of the story.
Nancy and her friends, primarily Louise and George, are fully realized, captivating characters. Louise is the political activist, and it is through Louise that the author affects her social commentary. Heading off to catch a bus in Fort Lauderdale, Louise comments on public transportation: “A lot of people our age don’t drive and have to use it, you know. It’s how I measure whether a town is civilized.”
The 90s Club and the Whispering Statue is a comfortable mix of nostalgia and contemporary social commentary, wrapped up in an engaging mystery novel.