I don’t recall how old I was exactly when I read my first Nancy Drew book. I do remember that I was young, because there were several words that I didn’t know the meaning to. For example, who at eight years old knew the meaning of quandary? Like what? I’d sit next to Mom while I read so she could be my human dictionary.
The first book I read, which was actually the second book in the series, was The Hidden Staircase. Reading about the way Nancy used her wits and detective skills to solve the mystery of a “haunted” mansion was exciting! It made me want to solve mysteries of my own. But due to the lack of suspicious activity around our neighborhood (which, in hindsight, is a good thing) I settled for reading about them instead. Plus, it’s been proven to be less dangerous to read about crooks than meet up with them in real life. Ever since I found that book tucked away in a box (along with my mom’s complete Trixie Belden series) I have loved Nancy Drew.
The next obvious step, after reading about Nancy, would be to watch a show, right? Mom introduced me to the 1978 Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew Mysteries that she used to watch. I’ve watched every episode (at least those available on Netflix at the time) multiple times over. I was thrilled when I recognized a couple of the episode plots as plots in a ND book. When the 2007 Nancy Drew movie starring Emma Roberts came out? Mom and I saw it. Twice.
Then I thought, I love Nancy Drew and I love books–I’m always looking to expand my library. Why not collect the entire series??? So that’s what I set out to do. It became my mission to find the yellow hardcover Nancy Drew books in either version, matte or glossy. No garage, library, or used book sale was safe as I searched high and low for all sixty-four books.
At times it was frustrating. Once I got past book 56 they became harder for me to find. Some days it felt like I’d never get them all! I didn’t want to pay twenty dollars (or more) for one book….
Family, friends, wonderful people who follow my blog that I haven’t even met–I am pleased to announce that after years and years of casually searching and three months of aggressive eBay searching, I have done it. Last month book 58, The Flying Saucer Mystery, arrived in my mailbox in all its glossy hardcover, new book glory. It was a very happy day as I slid it in between books 57 and 59 and was able to bask in the fact that
MY COLLECTION WAS COMPLETE!
As you can see, I have several matte books sandwiched between the glossy. A couple library books, and I’m debating whether or not to try and remove those stickers. (Probably won’t because it would be a horrifying experience, trying to remove them without damaging the cover) But the books–the stories–they are all there, and it makes me so excited to see the bright yellow when I look at my bookcase.
Quick Fun Fact:
A lot of people say that the original Nancy Drew collection spans only from books 1-56–not 1-64. Why? Upon Googling, I found this interesting tidbit: Originally Nancy Drew mysteries were published by the Grosset & Dunlap company. For a reason that presently eludes me, books 57 onward were published by Simon & Schuster. Because they switched publishers, a lot of folks regard books 57-64 as an entirely different series. I, however, don’t really care about who published it as long as it’s hardcover and yellow. Regardless, it’s interesting!
Something I Find Kinda Cool:
As years progress and a book gets older, publishers will update the covers of books and release them again. The same is true for Nancy Drew. In 1930 when the books were first released, they had a blue cover with the title in orange font. It was later changed to add a silhouette of Nancy Drew holding a magnifying glass. In 1962, they were yellow matte with a full-color picture on the front and in ’86 the glossy version was released. For example:
I also found two sites here and here that show all the different covers on the series. If you’re like me, maybe you’ll find it neat on how they change the pictures. These pictures look similar for the most part, but some of them are pretty different!
One More Thing I Find Interesting:
Did you know that the first 34 Nancy Drew’s were revised? Because they were! Beginning in 1959, they began to revise the books to update the way they talked and to eliminate racial stereotypes. If you want to see the differences between the original synopsis’ and the revised version (also kinda cool) you can check out this link! So the Nancy Drew books your great-grandma read back in 1935 don’t necessarily have the same text….
You know, one thing that I find as particularly impressive is that when a crook jumps into a vehicle and burns rubber down the road, Nancy Drew instantly memorizes the license plate. But I’m pretty jealous that she can dash after criminals in pumps! Just sayin’. 😉 Haha, I will say though that a few incidents are a little far-fetched. I particularly remember one book when Nancy, George and Bess were investigating a room belonging to a potential criminal. It was filled with picture and portrait frames, some filled with pictures and some empty. They heard the crook approaching and..wait for it…they decided to hide by posing as pictures behind the empty frames! Man oh man, that made me pause for a second…then laugh! But hey, this is Nancy Drew we’re talking about. Crooks stand no chance against the pretty and quick-witted girl detective!
As I said above, I used to want to solve mysteries, just like Nancy Drew. Even though mysteries were scarce, I had a clue book at one point and made the paper clip, string and pencil gadget that she had in the movie. That way, if I were ever balancing precariously ten feet above my needed object, I could send my paper clip attached to the string and pencil down to hook it like I was fishing.
Another great girl detective is Trixie Belden. And as much as I enjoy a good Nancy Drew…I might even like Trixie Belden…just a little bit better. 😀 Okay, okay, let me explain myself here. I’ve been saying how much I love Nancy Drew–so how can I say that I like Trixie even better???? I wasn’t lying when I said that I love ND. The reason I enjoy Trixie so much though, is that she seemed more real. She argued with her brothers and friends at times, rode her bike places (as opposed to a blue convertible), and she made mistakes. It’s easier for me to relate to her than Nancy, who sometimes seems a little too perfect.
Both are marvelous mystery books and I’m sure people have their own reasons for loving (or not loving) them. And now that I’ve told you all about what I think, I’d hate for this to be a one-sided conversation. While the post was more about Nancy Drew than Trixie Belden, if you’d rather talk Trix, I’m all ears!
Does anyone have any cool fun facts about either girl detective? Do you collect? Favorite book? For Nancy Drew mysteries, loved The Mystery of the Brass Bound Trunk and The Password to Larkspur Lane (which I always read, and still think of, as Lakespur). My favorite Trixie book…I think it’s the first one, The Secret of the Mansion.