Monday, June 23, 2008

My Nancy Drew

They weren't particularly well-written. And the ones I first got hooked on -- from the library and from the 1930s -- were at least twenty years out of date when I began reading them. Cloche hats -- what were they? But, oh! that plucky girl detective with her conveniently permissive and well-to-do widower father (no mother, another plus for a girl who wants to pursue adventure); the kindly housekeeper, Hannah Gruen; her loyal (and easily-led) friends, Bess and George; her attractive but never demanding boyfriend, Ned Nickerson, and oh! oh! oh! that blue roadster!!!

When I attended my first Malice Domestic convention, I saw this book and, though it wasn't a title that had been a particular favorite (the bookseller didn't have The Clue in the Crumbling Wall or The Mystery of the Tolling Bell), I somehow felt that I had to have it, in a nod to my first encounter with mystery.

I wonder how many other female mystery readers and writers got their start with Nancy Drew? I would bet something like -- most. And Nancy's still going strong -- a bit on NPR this morning talked about how that blue roadster has morphed over the years into a convertible and now a hybrid. (I tried reading one of the seventies versions and it just wasn't the same. I guess that every generation has their own Nancy Drew.)

Here's a link to a site that explains just who this prolific and astonishingly long-lived Carolyn Keene is.

And here's Nancy, within arm's reach of my writing chair, just in case I need backup from a plucky girl detective.
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Susan M. Bell said...

Mine was The Bobbsey Twins. They re-released some of them a while back, and I had to grab a copy. I used to eat those books up...along with Judy Blume's books, but they weren't mystery of course. I think I remember reading some Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys of course. But the twins were my favorite.

Vicki Lane said...

Oh yes, I read all the Bobbsey Twins -- I remember one where they were making snow ice cream and it sounded so wonderful Of course, having lived in Florida all my life (at that time) just snow sounded wonderful.

Pat in east TN said...

Ooooh, those were the days!!! I was into them all ... the Bobbsey Twins, Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys, although I must admit the Hardy's was my favorite. I had so many of those books and it just kills me now that my mother must have scrapped them when I left home, especially with a 5 year old granddaughter who is already into reading. Whew, she eventually would have enjoyed them.

Vicki, since you've moved to the mountains I surely hope you've made snow cream. It's yummy!!!

Vicki Lane said...

I have, back when my boys were young and I had a milk cow and lots of cream! Magical!

Susan M. Bell said...

Bryer's Ice Cream bought the recipe for Snow Cream from a lady who works at the local Wal-Mart. I haven't tried their version of it, but even sticking to her recipe, I'm betting it's not as good as the "real" thing. Of course, I've never tried the real thing myself. Maybe we'll get some good snow this coming winter.

Sue P said...

The Ghost of Blackwood Hall scared me to death, but I still think The Hidden Staircase was the best. Whenever a friend of mine has a baby, (or now, at my age it's usually a grandchild) I always give the gift of the 1st 5 Nancy Drews for a girl, or the 1st 5 Hardy Boys for a boy. Does anyone remember The Dana Girls or Judy Bolton?

Sue P said...

The Ghost of Blackwood Hall scared the pants off me, but I still think that The Hidden Staircase was the best. Does anyone remeber The Dana Girls or Judy Bolton or Trixie Belden?

Vicki Lane said...

I don't really remember the plots of the various Nancy Drew's. I remember something about a factory that made buttons out of some kind of shells -- and it seems like there was another one with a lot about making perfume. And somewhere there was a fried shrimp dinner that I still remember. But plots? No memory.

I know I read the Dana Girls and Trixie Belden . . . and Cherry Ames as well. All from the school library. But the Nancy Drew books, I bought! Just wish I'd kept them.