Solving Mysteries with Nancy Drew

by Derwood Hunsdale-Talbot on October 2, 2008

Just in the last year a kid’s movie was made featuring the teen mystery solver. Hot off the heels of Veronica Mars’ success it would seem that Simon & Schuster are looking to revive interest in this independent young lady.

As well they should, the Nancy Drew series started in 1930 and continues on today in different forms. While previously the last films starring the character Nancy Drew were made in the 1930’s the 2007 version looks to update the character in line with the book series “Nancy Drew Girl Detective.” But for us, it’s about the books.

The history of the series is pretty long and extensive. Nancy has undergone many changes in her 78 years, from the age she was when her mother died, the car she drove, her clothes and hairstyles, but the basic premise is always the same. A inquisitive person, driven, almost fearless, but also has some less than legal methods to solving her mysteries. Be it breaking and entering, speeding, trespassing or just being plain nosy. Maybe this is why so many love the teen vigilante.

In addition to the Nancy character, her friends, Bess and George, boyfriend Ned and family, attorney father Carson and housekeeper Hannah, remain consistent but updating their looks and stories as well and all either involved in the mystery solving or constantly concerned for Nancy’s well being.

All the books show the author’s name of Carolyn Keene, but no such person existed, it was a pen name created by publisher Grosset & Dunlap from 1930-1979 for the original 56 books, who were actually written by an assortment of people. There were various legal disputes and transfer of ownership of the series to Simon & Schuster, but it’s those original 56 books that I found the best.

Each story you knew was going to have edges of danger and intrigue. Each chapter was written so that ended in a cliffhanger and you just had to go on to the next page and find out what happened. So many nights did I end up reading far past what I meant to, paying for it the next morning in yawns.

There was just something about holding those slim hardbacks as well that gave it an older, more polished feel to the story you were about to enjoy and the cover illustrations were always a favorite of mine.

Nancy Drew’s character has spawned many spin offs, updates, super stories and even some cross over novels with The Hardy Boys, but I will also treasure the original 56 novels, not just for the vibe that I got from them, but the inspiring stories of a young lady who could do it all. Smart, fearless, logical and pretty, made Nancy a character that girls could look up to.

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: