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If this book is to be believed, we have sunk further and faster in the last forty years than it would have been thought imaginable. In this 1971 edition of The Scarlet Slipper Mystery, Nancy does a slap down of an international espionage/counterrevolutionary/smuggling ring populated by very angry French people and peripherally involving some sad Centrovians. These international thieves, proto-revolutionaries have very high stakes. They are not the run of the mill two-bit gangsters and second-story men that populate most of Nancy’s waking life. We who aren’t brave would have fled from the scene, leaving the weeping Centrovians to their own devices. However, taking down a smuggling ring connected to a Communist government in a 1971 la-la landscape gets a coat thrown roughly over your head before your ankles are loosely tied. A contemporary writing of this would invariably include a small child being sexually abused in a dungeon and a pages-long description of the torture endured by our heroine. How blessed are the 70s! Finding a briefcase full of incriminating evidence in 1971 earns Nancy a stare that is “full of anger” instead of a shotgun blast to the face. In the 70s if the engine on your plane stopped working the pilot skillfully brought the plane to a smooth landing. Now, planes fall out of the sky in atrocious death-balls of hell-flame. How about this capper? Centrovia was a country overtaken by cruel Communists and forty years later Centrovia’s proud and long history has been subsumed into what appears to be a Portugese car inspection agency.

What the hell has happened? And more importantly, why didn’t Nancy put a stop to all of this?