Here is Chapter 23 of my parody story, Nancy Drew: Worst of Blackmoor Manor. Today, Nancy solves Mrs. Drake's plant puzzle.
Nancy only had one more pillar key to find! The book said that Penny hid it inside her machine. The book failed to mention where this machine was, though, which made the clue extremely unhelpful.
"What if they got rid of it, years ago? That would make the entire puzzle impossible to solve!" Nancy said.
After a lot of wandering around and wondering why she came to England but never went outside, Nancy found a creepy crank-operated machine in the corner of the Great Hall. The machine featured a mechanical woman who flipped cards. There was a label which said "Penny", so Nancy guessed this was the machine she needed.
Nancy tried to start it, but the mechanical woman started randomly wigging out. Nancy groaned, then went to Mrs. Drake.
"Hey, Ms. Old British Lady," Nancy said, "the mechanical card game in the Great Hall is broken."
"It's not broken. I removed its crank, as it was proving to be too much of a distraction for Jane," Mrs. Drake said. "How did you know I had it?"
"When I think of 'crank', I think of you," Nancy said. "Can you let me borrow it?"
"Tell you what. I have a series of seedlings that need to go into the box there. While you put them into place, I will go up to my room and retrieve the crank. That way, we will both be happy, if you get my meaning."
Nancy blanched. She disliked "put a bunch of items into a small spot" puzzles almost as much as doing other people's chores. Putting plants in a box seemed very much like doing Mrs. Drake's chores, now that Nancy thought about it, but before she could protest, Mrs. Drake left the room, saying "Remember, they must all fit into that box!"
Nancy tried her hand at the puzzle. She could get most of the seedlings into place, but the two final ones refused to fit. Nancy thought long and hard about what to do, then she grabbed the seedlings and threw them into the giant monster plant by the side of the table.
"Now there aren't any seedlings left over," Nancy said confidently. But just in case, she took the crank away from Mrs. Drake before the older woman got a chance to look at the plants.