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Nancy, Bess and George explore a peculiar house with its fantastically crooked staircase. A bizarre serpent picture, an unpredictable robot, a broken bridge over flaming water and a hidden room with poisoned portraits are among the unusual discoveries found on this strange property. The missing owner, an elusive swindler, is wanted by the police. Nancy is determined to sol Nancy, Bess and George explore a peculiar house with its fantastically crooked staircase. A bizarre serpent picture, an unpredictable robot, a broken bridge over flaming water and a hidden room with poisoned portraits are among the unusual discoveries found on this strange property. The missing owner, an elusive swindler, is wanted by the police. Nancy is determined to solve the mystery of the weird house and discover its secrets. This book is the original text. A revised text does not exist.


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Nancy, Bess and George explore a peculiar house with its fantastically crooked staircase. A bizarre serpent picture, an unpredictable robot, a broken bridge over flaming water and a hidden room with poisoned portraits are among the unusual discoveries found on this strange property. The missing owner, an elusive swindler, is wanted by the police. Nancy is determined to sol Nancy, Bess and George explore a peculiar house with its fantastically crooked staircase. A bizarre serpent picture, an unpredictable robot, a broken bridge over flaming water and a hidden room with poisoned portraits are among the unusual discoveries found on this strange property. The missing owner, an elusive swindler, is wanted by the police. Nancy is determined to solve the mystery of the weird house and discover its secrets. This book is the original text. A revised text does not exist.

30 review for The Crooked Banister

  1. 4 out of 5

    Olivia

    Mrs. Melody and her husband have recently been swindled by Rawley Bannister. He sold them some land which they later found out belonged to a Navajo reservation. They've hired Carson Drew to help get their money back so Nancy, Mr. Drew, and Mrs. Melody travel to Mountianville, Rawley Banisters hometown, to try to track him down. There Nancy, along with Bess, George, Ned, Burt, and Dave, explore Rawley's sinisterly strange (and dangerous) house. - I was surprised how tame the illustration of Rawley Mrs. Melody and her husband have recently been swindled by Rawley Bannister. He sold them some land which they later found out belonged to a Navajo reservation. They've hired Carson Drew to help get their money back so Nancy, Mr. Drew, and Mrs. Melody travel to Mountianville, Rawley Banisters hometown, to try to track him down. There Nancy, along with Bess, George, Ned, Burt, and Dave, explore Rawley's sinisterly strange (and dangerous) house. - I was surprised how tame the illustration of Rawley Banisters house is. It's described as having slanted walls and grotesque geometric shaped bushes. It's almost as tho the illustrator didn't want to draw an ugly house. Although the picture does show slanted chimneys, a windowed turret, and protruding add-on's to the house, I still found it rather tame and not at all how I pictured it. - After the motel fire Nancy discovers a long match outside her motel room. Instead of calling the fire inspectors, who are currently in the motel room investigating, to come see it she quietly takes it to use as evidence later. I hate when the stories have Nancy working against the authorities, almost as tho she sees them as competition. - At one point Nancy gets a call from someone claiming to be Thomas Banister telling her to drop the case. Nancy quickly learns the caller was actually Rawley. Nancy is very unshook by the fact she just unknowingly spoke to the mysterious man she's searching for. Meanwhile I was tripping out about it! - After doing some sleuthing at Rawley's house the group is just about to leave when a man comes walking up. It's Thomas Banister whom Mrs. Carrier is surprised to see because he has previously said he'd never step foot in Rawley's house. To this Nancy replies with "Everyone is allowed to change their mind, don't you think?". That seemed quite a bit snarky to me. In fact if George had been the one to say it I would think it was intended to be snarky! You can read the rest of this review at VintageGirlsBooks.blogspot.com

  2. 4 out of 5

    John Yelverton

    One of the oddest Nancy Drew books that you will ever read, but it still maintains its standard of excellence.

  3. 5 out of 5

    LobsterQuadrille

    Certainly an odd mystery for Nancy Drew, but memorable and sometimes quite eerie.

  4. 5 out of 5

    thewestchestarian

    Potentially the worst of the series. Featuring a robot and portraits plastered with poison, #48 drifts incongruously into sci-fi and away from the classic Drew formula of wholesome plausible eeriness. What's with a house surrounded by a burning moat? Was Thomas Banister also the medieval king of River Heights? Any how do you cross it on branches and palm fronds? Can't imagine that would work well for portly Bess. And what's with calling an electrician to re-head the decapitated robot? Do electri Potentially the worst of the series. Featuring a robot and portraits plastered with poison, #48 drifts incongruously into sci-fi and away from the classic Drew formula of wholesome plausible eeriness. What's with a house surrounded by a burning moat? Was Thomas Banister also the medieval king of River Heights? Any how do you cross it on branches and palm fronds? Can't imagine that would work well for portly Bess. And what's with calling an electrician to re-head the decapitated robot? Do electricians get a lot of that kind of work? And why does the head come off so easily? And if you have a tape that tells the robot to go around knocking people out, does it know not to attack you? Or do you just turn it on and hope to outrun whomever your intended victim is? And why does Nancy buy the story of the final whereabouts of Thomas Banister which seem transparently fishy when she was so skeptical of Mead and his charity for the Native American children when that turned out to be a well-executed scam? And why did Banister leave all the money in the house if he was going on the lamb? And does anyone else feel like the cosmopolitan Carson Drew would be awkward and out-of-place on a horse in the Western U.S. desert? And how do we know that there weren't really only 2 Banister siblings and the other brother and Thomas are really just the same person with the sister in on the scam. Frankly, a jaded reading of the book suggests Bess wasn't the only one who got taken in this one. In short, skip to #49.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Jerry

    Exciting and fun, as usual.

  6. 4 out of 5

    LuAnn

    I always find this an enjoyable book to read, whether I am 15, 35 or...uh, er...whatever! The strange house, strange notes, strange robot, strange antagonist are fun. Nancy, her chums, their special friends, her father, their clients--the gang's all here!--sleuthing at the crooked house is satisfying. Carson and Nancy's quick flight to Arizona, horse ride across the desert and Nancy's feat of bravery there...well, you have to have a little travel thrown in these later books, and when you are as I always find this an enjoyable book to read, whether I am 15, 35 or...uh, er...whatever! The strange house, strange notes, strange robot, strange antagonist are fun. Nancy, her chums, their special friends, her father, their clients--the gang's all here!--sleuthing at the crooked house is satisfying. Carson and Nancy's quick flight to Arizona, horse ride across the desert and Nancy's feat of bravery there...well, you have to have a little travel thrown in these later books, and when you are as wealthy as the Drews and billing your clients, why not?! The cover is one of the oddest thing about the book!

  7. 5 out of 5

    Rachel Coyne

    This one felt more gutted than the others. Did the original 1920's version contain a robot? Interesting villain, but never fleshed out.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Esra

    Two stars for an abrupt, lackluster ending in which the antagonist was not captured.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Whitney

    This one's a real doozy. Most of the mystery is about a large house owned by an eccentric scammer. Nancy begins investigating the man, Mr. Bannister, because he has taken people's money for supposedly good causes, but instead he has kept the money and has hidden it somewhere inside his huge, modern, dangerous mansion-style house. His house has a moat surrounding it, and sometimes the liquid goes up into flames! And also sometimes the bridge folds itself up and passersby beware! This can be seen b This one's a real doozy. Most of the mystery is about a large house owned by an eccentric scammer. Nancy begins investigating the man, Mr. Bannister, because he has taken people's money for supposedly good causes, but instead he has kept the money and has hidden it somewhere inside his huge, modern, dangerous mansion-style house. His house has a moat surrounding it, and sometimes the liquid goes up into flames! And also sometimes the bridge folds itself up and passersby beware! This can be seen below of the picture of Nancy and Ned nearly falling to their doom. (Thus far in my Nancy reading, this is their most intimate moment I have ever seen depicted. *cue the sultry saxophone music*) Once Nancy and her pals gain entrance to the home, they spend a lot of time fumbling around with a robot, who operates via "tapes" that can be inserted inside it. More than half of the tapes trigger the robot to attempt to kill people. The remaining tapes provide clues to where the treasure is hidden inside the house. I'm trying to understand why this "crooked" man named Banister would install such an item in his home. If he comes through the door, himself, the robot will either kill him or give him useless information that he already knows. But nevermind. This is a Nancy book. (view spoiler)[And we readers learn at the end of the book that Mr. Bannister is already dead anyway. He died far away, in circumstances totally unrelated to his robot. (hide spoiler)] For the majority of this book, I would give the full star count. But I can't figure out why a side plot takes place—Nancy and her father visit an "Indian" reservation, and search out a boy named "Tom Sleepy Deer Smith." Supposedly the kid has received some money via mail, to support his school and future, but no, he has received no money and wasn't even aware that a fund had been started for him. It was another SCHEME devised by the (view spoiler)[DEAD (hide spoiler)] Mr. Bannister. But of course, Nancy solves all the mysteries and finds the hoard of money. Oh lawdy, and does she ever find the money. (view spoiler)[The paper money is hidden in PAINTINGS, beneath POISONED paint!!! Nancy and her friends risk death to get the stuff cleaned off! (hide spoiler)] So many ridiculous near-death challenges. It's a solid wild ride in Nancy's world

  10. 5 out of 5

    Suziey

    Mr. Drew is representing a client that was unwittingly sold land on Native American land. Mr. Rawley Banister, the swindler, has skipped town while out on bail due to another crime. It is up to Nancy and her friends to find him. This was a weird story. First of all, the word “weird” is used so many times. I get it. It was the 70’s. Let’s move on. Now, Nancy is supposed to find Mr. Banister, who so charmingly calls himself “The Crooked Banister”. Yet, she is focused more on investigating his house Mr. Drew is representing a client that was unwittingly sold land on Native American land. Mr. Rawley Banister, the swindler, has skipped town while out on bail due to another crime. It is up to Nancy and her friends to find him. This was a weird story. First of all, the word “weird” is used so many times. I get it. It was the 70’s. Let’s move on. Now, Nancy is supposed to find Mr. Banister, who so charmingly calls himself “The Crooked Banister”. Yet, she is focused more on investigating his house. Maybe I missed something? To be fair, Mr. Banister’s house seems to be as eccentric as the man himself. There is a robot that is programmed to do various things and sometimes he makes trouble for Nancy, Bess, and George. The decorations are strange, a moat surrounding the home catches fire, and one of the banisters is crooked. Is that a clue or just a nod to the man’s nickname? The boys, Ned, Burt, and Dave, pop in for a bit to help the girls. Nothing extremely dangerous happens though that requires the boy’s to do some rescuing. In this story, they’re merely helpful hands. It was nice. I will say, the conclusion did leave me scratching my head. It just wound up so quickly. At one point, Nancy realizes that Mr. Rawley was working with an accomplice in his schemes. And it is this accomplice that has been making trouble. They catch him fairly easily in the end. And Mr. Rawley’s whereabouts? Oh yeah, turns out he died elsewhere while using an assumed name! That tidbit of information was told in passing btw. Seems like a cop-out. An easy way to tie up all loose ends.  Anyway, I did enjoy this mystery. Sort of. It was really strange. Super farfetched even for a Nancy Drew story. The 70’s vibes are pretty apparent in the language though haha. And the introduction of a mechanical robot was… interesting. Even if the way it functioned was confusing to me. That stuff just went over my head.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Sahifa

    scanning the many volumes in the twelve-foot-wide bookcase, she commented, “Rawley must have been a great reader.” “He was,” his sister agreed. “But he leaned toward bizarre subjects.” Yes and I agree to that ! Maybe this book too was written in order to fullfill Rowley's Bizarre interests. The book-cover did give away a sort of warning to me but I thought the title to be promising and hence started reading the book. I was at a folly! This is definitely one of the failures of Nancy Drew Franchise. scanning the many volumes in the twelve-foot-wide bookcase, she commented, “Rawley must have been a great reader.” “He was,” his sister agreed. “But he leaned toward bizarre subjects.” Yes and I agree to that ! Maybe this book too was written in order to fullfill Rowley's Bizarre interests. The book-cover did give away a sort of warning to me but I thought the title to be promising and hence started reading the book. I was at a folly! This is definitely one of the failures of Nancy Drew Franchise. This is 48th edition in Nancy Drew series and my 44th and as I had previously mentioned the later editions tend to lack the charm of original Nancy Drew mysteries. However I didnt expect it to be this bad. After reading this book what I observed was that the authors of the Nancy Drew were stuck with a challenge to continue the Nancy Drew series with the same charm of the originals but to also think and add new plots in order to avoid repetitions and monotony. There confusion is plainly depicted in this book. The book is written in 1971 and I am reading it in 2018 so I must be bit lenient in scrutanizing the robotic stuff added to the book. Nevertheless, I am not just disapppointed but also appalled by the writers. There was no need at all to turn a cozy mystery into a science fiction just for the sake of making it look a bit innovative. I really have no idea that weather the readers of 1970's bought this crazy scientific stuff or not. In 2018, the entire idea of the robot running with a tape is really preposterous. This book really failed to stand the test of time.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Kerry

    This brings Nancy and friends into a more modern era with the mention of a computer and a starring role with a robot. But the dialogue was, in part, unpolished and poorly constructed. I realize I am an adult reading children’s books, and I’d not read this one before, but even a child wants the people to sound like they are really talking. Intuition pays off for Nancy once again, and despite nearly falling for traps, she is rescued and goes on to solve the mystery. Bess even managed to forget to This brings Nancy and friends into a more modern era with the mention of a computer and a starring role with a robot. But the dialogue was, in part, unpolished and poorly constructed. I realize I am an adult reading children’s books, and I’d not read this one before, but even a child wants the people to sound like they are really talking. Intuition pays off for Nancy once again, and despite nearly falling for traps, she is rescued and goes on to solve the mystery. Bess even managed to forget to be afraid when it came to saving Nancy!

  13. 5 out of 5

    Stacey

    A conman, an ugly house, a sinister robot named Robby and a moat the catches on fire! Who could resist?! Mr. Drew even joins in the fun and someone is poisoned! I liked this one. Nancy even flies to Arizona to an Indian reservation. Of course, it ties into the mystery and Carson Drew is very charming. Ha ha. Spoilers: The only thing I didn’t like was the offscreen death of Rawley. Dude leaves his house full of mine, but somehow grabs enough cash to buy a speedboat and then ur explodes?! I call f A conman, an ugly house, a sinister robot named Robby and a moat the catches on fire! Who could resist?! Mr. Drew even joins in the fun and someone is poisoned! I liked this one. Nancy even flies to Arizona to an Indian reservation. Of course, it ties into the mystery and Carson Drew is very charming. Ha ha. Spoilers: The only thing I didn’t like was the offscreen death of Rawley. Dude leaves his house full of mine, but somehow grabs enough cash to buy a speedboat and then ur explodes?! I call foul. I think he faked his death. It seemed a bit out of character

  14. 4 out of 5

    Danny Reid

    More of a list of bullet points of interesting things to put in a book than the successful cohesion of any ideas. It's pretty bad when a book has trapdoors, robots, fake walls, mysterious paintings, poisoned paint, flame-filled moats, runaway horses, and more, and none of it ties satisfyingly together at all.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Melissa Namba

    one of the less interesting books because you know who the crooks are immediately. not only that but the character development is lacking. plus people are either very good or very bad in this book. meh. but my niece will enjoy it.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Kevin

    This book gets 4 stars just because of its weirdness. I find I don't care as much for some of the Nancy Drew books published between 1957-1979 as much as I did when I was a kid first reading them. To be expected, I suppose.

  17. 4 out of 5

    IrishFan

    This was one of the stories I remember reading. Very odd, but another good one!

  18. 4 out of 5

    kenzie

    the coolest and most buckwild nancy drew mystery! i would’ve given it 5 stars alone for this awesome cover but the ending was super rushed and the whole indian subplot was... well...

  19. 5 out of 5

    C.E.

    Overall, I enjoyed reading this! It was quirky, unpredictable, and never dull.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Sara

    i mean, what can i say? a violent robot, a river mote surrounding the house that catches on fire periodically, and lowkey offensive representation of native americans? what a time.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Carleen

    Definitely a weird one, but in a good way. It kept me interested the whole way through.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Phe

    The Crooked Banister is a children's story by Carolyn Keene (pseudonym) and the 48th book in the Nancy Drew series. Nancy and her friends spend an exciting week exploring a mysterious zigzag house with its fantastically crooked staircase, its bizarre serpent picture, and an unpredictable robot that nearly causes the young detective to lose her life. But despite the threat of danger from the robot, Nancy is determined to solve the mystery of the weird house and to locate the missing own The Crooked Banister is a children's story by Carolyn Keene (pseudonym) and the 48th book in the Nancy Drew series. Nancy and her friends spend an exciting week exploring a mysterious zigzag house with its fantastically crooked staircase, its bizarre serpent picture, and an unpredictable robot that nearly causes the young detective to lose her life. But despite the threat of danger from the robot, Nancy is determined to solve the mystery of the weird house and to locate the missing owner, who is wanted by the police. I’ve always been a voracious reader. So, as a child, one of my favorite things about summer was the frequent trips to our local library, which was less than a mile from our house. Like most young girls of a certain age (ahem), my love for mysteries started with Nancy Drew—there simply was no mystery too baffling that she couldn’t solve. And as I would read her most current adventure, I would imagine myself following in her footsteps … taking charge and plunging ahead, getting into mischief, chasing down culprits and solving the mystery. Even though I haven’t re-read any of these books since I was a child, I still think that Nancy is a great character—her courage, confidence and fierce independence, makes her an iconic source of inspiration for young girls everywhere. A must-read children's book, The Crooked Banister is another wonderful Nancy Drew mystery.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Andrea

    So full disclosure: I only read this book because a nice lady on Esty makes awesome kindle covers made from old Nancy Drew hardcovers, and this was one that was available that looked good to me (see my profile picture for a look at it in action!) I figured I would read the actual book since I carry the cover around with me all the time :). I was a huge fan of the 80s/90s Nancy Drew Case Files back in the day, and had never read any of the originals, so this was my first foray into classic Nancy So full disclosure: I only read this book because a nice lady on Esty makes awesome kindle covers made from old Nancy Drew hardcovers, and this was one that was available that looked good to me (see my profile picture for a look at it in action!) I figured I would read the actual book since I carry the cover around with me all the time :). I was a huge fan of the 80s/90s Nancy Drew Case Files back in the day, and had never read any of the originals, so this was my first foray into classic Nancy Drew. Wow. This book...wow. I just. Wow. I have a feeling that this one was a weird Nancy Drew, since the main aggressor in this book was actually a robot, but still. The main jist: a guy named Rawley Banister (the 'Crooked Banister') is swindling people out of money, and Nancy Drew has to go into is weird house to find out where he is. The main things I loved about Nancy Drew were still there though, hilarious victims who give strangers money with little provocation and are outraged the stranger was crooked, Bess and George dropping everything in their own lives to help solve the mystery, Nancy spending half the story relaying what just happened to other characters and having them be shocked!, Nancy just kind of guessing everything and being completely right in the end. Throw in some weird 70s sexism and racism and you've got a book.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Tiny Pants

    I fully admit that I picked this Nancy Drew up based on the amazing cover -- pink, robots, more pink, I mean really, what else could I ask for? But beyond the cover The Crooked Banister -- a very late entry in the original Nancy Drew series -- is just okay. The plot moves at a bizarrely slow pace, and there are some major clues at the beginning that Nancy inexplicably (and infuriatingly) doesn't pick up on. Much of the book is taken up with hijinks at the crazy-looking house which gives the book I fully admit that I picked this Nancy Drew up based on the amazing cover -- pink, robots, more pink, I mean really, what else could I ask for? But beyond the cover The Crooked Banister -- a very late entry in the original Nancy Drew series -- is just okay. The plot moves at a bizarrely slow pace, and there are some major clues at the beginning that Nancy inexplicably (and infuriatingly) doesn't pick up on. Much of the book is taken up with hijinks at the crazy-looking house which gives the book its name, and so toward the end, it hits a somewhat frantic pace in order to get the mystery solved within the allotted pages. That said, there are a few elements that are so striking that I was amazed to find I remembered them from when I first read this book -- more than 20 years ago. Yikes, I'm old. No no, please take that to mean I was reading chapter books when I was very young (which is probably the more accurate interpretation anyway).

  25. 4 out of 5

    Tina Hayes

    I recently decided to reread a book from one of my favorite series from when I was a kid, and the rating is based on how much I enjoyed it when I was about 9 years old. The Native Americans on the reservations spoke like they were from another country, and this along with the other stereotypes lessened the quality of this reading. I do think this was originally written around the 1950s, when people were not as educated on cultural differences. Between the ages of eight and twelve, I read most of I recently decided to reread a book from one of my favorite series from when I was a kid, and the rating is based on how much I enjoyed it when I was about 9 years old. The Native Americans on the reservations spoke like they were from another country, and this along with the other stereotypes lessened the quality of this reading. I do think this was originally written around the 1950s, when people were not as educated on cultural differences. Between the ages of eight and twelve, I read most of the book from the Nancy Drew collection, and am still a mystery lover to this day. The series did a pretty good job of drawing in young readers, and that's a definite plus.

  26. 5 out of 5

    ♆ BookAddict ✒ La Crimson Femme

    I remember the first time I read Nancy Drew. It blew my mind that there were girls presented with a brain. Most of the stuff I'd read up to that time, was that girls were sugar and spice - fluffy. No brains. To also learn about George who is a tomboy was a nice validation. Carolyn Keene wrote just for me! That is how I felt. When I did more research, I was shocked to find out, Ms. Keene was actually a man ... writing under Frank Dixon. I also loved the Hardy Boys. No wonder I loved these series.

  27. 4 out of 5

    GSGS

    Criticising Nancy Drew is like criticising your own grandmother, seriously ;) I thought the Zigzag house was kinda cool, but it was confusing at times with the complex contraptions (that bookcase thing blew my mind - what the heck was going on there?). The ending was a tiny bit rushed and the mystery was solved by someone childishly sliding down a banister. Like, what? And Nancy gets credit for that? (Also, I thought when they were talking about Indian reservations, they meant INDIAN INDIAN rese Criticising Nancy Drew is like criticising your own grandmother, seriously ;) I thought the Zigzag house was kinda cool, but it was confusing at times with the complex contraptions (that bookcase thing blew my mind - what the heck was going on there?). The ending was a tiny bit rushed and the mystery was solved by someone childishly sliding down a banister. Like, what? And Nancy gets credit for that? (Also, I thought when they were talking about Indian reservations, they meant INDIAN INDIAN reservations, not American Indians, and it totally confused me. LOL.)

  28. 4 out of 5

    Margaret

    The book "The Crooked Banister" was definitely an intriguing mystery and a good read! Carolyn Keene has written many mysteries, and so far, out of all of them I have read, this is my favorite. This book is about a case that Nancy solves with her friends Beth and George in an odd house. Her journey involves a crooked banister, a robbery, some poison, snakes, portraits, and flaming bridges. I think that Carolyn Keene did a great job making this a very mysterious story, and is one of my favorite my The book "The Crooked Banister" was definitely an intriguing mystery and a good read! Carolyn Keene has written many mysteries, and so far, out of all of them I have read, this is my favorite. This book is about a case that Nancy solves with her friends Beth and George in an odd house. Her journey involves a crooked banister, a robbery, some poison, snakes, portraits, and flaming bridges. I think that Carolyn Keene did a great job making this a very mysterious story, and is one of my favorite mysteries.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Carol

    #48 out 56 Nancy Drew mysteries, this one comes quite close to the end of the series, with the relationships well developed, and the three boyfriends firmly ensconced in their roles. This is a pretty unbelievable tale and all the better for it. Loved the fakey pictures of Robby the Robot, and all the crazy drama of a burning moat and crooked banister. Can't get more contrived than this tale and that's why I read these books. They make me laugh and also give me insight into the time-period.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Melanie

    Nancy tracks down a swindler surnamed Banister. Pro tip: if the bad guy's robot breaks, don't fix it. (Actually if you want to solve the mystery, you must.) An electrician loses consciousness when the robot he just fixed chokes him. Nancy loses consciousness in the same manner. This is the only Nancy Drew book I've read so far where the primary crook dies instead of faces justice. Unfortunately it happens off-camera, as it were.

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