2018 A to Z: C… All About Nancy Drew

2018 A to Z: C… All About Nancy Drew

C glassIn 2016 I learned of the first annual April A to Z… it immediately intrigued me and I began racking my brain for a theme. After much reading, and thinking… I finally came up with the theme of Southern Foods and Memories… it said to write what you know! When April of 2017 rolled around, I decided to share Conversations with Mama to the world… the best of my on-going blog post that has generated from nightly talks to my mother. It’s now 2018 and as Nancy Drew has been on my mind… since I began re-building my collection back… well, I hope you will join me in celebrating All about Nancy Drew during the April A to Z Blog Hop!


C is for… Chapters, Characters, Clues, Collecting, Clothing, and Conventions


The original Nancy Drew books beginning in 1930 were written with 25 chapters in volumes 1 through 34… no more, no less… with each book consisting of around 214 pages. But like all things, times change, and companies change in order to push forward… Grosset & Dunlap soon made that change. In 1959 they looked to revise, and in going forward, all books were written with only 20 chapters and 180 pages… that meant saving money! In letter “R” I will discuss the “revision” process… so stay tuned!

In reading Nancy Drew as a young girl, I never gave a hoot… or thought… as to how many chapters or pages were inside those covers. I just wanted to read the books! As I began collecting back my beloved Nancy Drew books recently, I slowly discovered that there is so much more to Nancy Drew than I ever knew… and the more I read, the more my mind spun at all the information on the pages. I’m sure there are several friends on my Facebook friend list that might roll their eyes… at yet another one of my Nancy Drew posts… but who cares… I’m having fun with Nancy again! My daughter recently looked at all my books and rolled her eyes… and said, “you’ve got quite a collection here.” But then said to her father, “what is she going to do with all those books.” Well, right now I’m enjoying myself, collecting and reading! I certainly hope, one day… a granddaughter or two will be fighting over who gets what… that will make me happy!

Personally, I prefer the 25 chapter books as I feel the storylines are written better, more detailed unlike the 20 chapter books; I actually enjoy reading both copies to compare the story plots. There are differences… sometimes it’s a plotline change, sometimes characters completely left out, while adding new characters in, and the southern African-American dialect of speaking was completely taken out. When I first read Nancy Drew, I only read the 20 chapter books… I never even knew there were any other ones, so I am now enjoying what I missed!


Nancy Drew:  A 16-year-old, Caucasian, blonde, sometimes titan-blonde, blue-eyed, high school graduate, living in the town of River Heights… somewhere in the United States; born in an affluent family, whose only occupation seemed to have been as an amateur detective, who never lacked in mysteries to solve! Nancy is an only child, with no siblings, and quite the center of the Drew household. Her many characteristics have been listed as self-reliant, keen thinking, and always having a soft spot for helping orphans, widows, and spinsters. I can relate to the “only child” part of her life… at times it’s good, and times not so good… sometimes it would be nice to have a sibling to help make decisions.

Nancy was written as a gutsy young girl in the original writings… afraid of no one or unable to tackle any job that came her way. Later in the revisions, Nancy was toned down somewhat, but still a strong girl.

Later in the revised books, she’s rewritten to be 18… her hair color changes through the books and often referred to as… blonde to reddish blonde, strawberry blonde, golden blonde, titian or even titian blonde. That wouldn’t be a problem in today’s world as teenagers often change their hair color, but in the time frame these books were written… that didn’t happen so much.

In all the books where Nancy was of work age, she never held a job, but always had money. Writing a check for whatever needed… was never a problem. It’s been said that they later changed her age to 18 during the revision due to driving law changes.

Today when I think back on the Nancy Drew books, I notice how her mom was seldom mentioned, and no sadness written on Nancy’s part. You would think that there would have been times when she mentioned her mom and sad how she wasn’t there for her to talk to. I would have liked to have read how her mom was remembered once in awhile, but in the books read so far… I’ve not seen it.

Carson Drew:  Carson is Nancy’s father, a widower, distinguished in looks, former district attorney, and now a private practice; it was written in Book 8 (pg. 15) that Carson was a criminal lawyer. As age never seemed to have been mentioned, I’d place him in his mid-forties possibly; he could even be older.  He now owns his own law practice and quite established. I found it mentioned that he drove a late model sedan… so even being as affluent as he is, he leads a modest life.

Book 8 (pg.62) also mentions that Carson Drew played left half-back for Hale… really… why couldn’t you just say Yale! Are there rules that stop you from using “real” names in fiction books? In the book… Carson was having quite a discussion with Ned while Nancy was waiting… they were discussing football plays, which had pretty much left her out of understanding whatever was said.

Nancy usually referred to her father as tall and handsome with a firm, kind expression, and a deep voice… and naturally a sterling reputation! You can feel the “love” Nancy and her father have for each other, as you read. They both, along with Hannah, are very protective of the family within the home. Throughout the books, you’ll see how they call and check in on each other, and the worry they have when someone is in harm’s way.

Kate Drew (Katherine Austin):  Kate, short for Katherine is Nancy’s mother, a name I’ve learned in my research… as I hadn’t any memory of her mother mentioned in the books I’d read as a young girl or remembered. The name is partly mentioned in the Nancy Drew game, The Silent Spy, the 29th game in the computer game series; it was released in 2013 and said to have been somewhat based on the book … The Clue of the Whistling Bagpipes (1964). As I’ve never been much into computer games, and I’m not starting now… I just about have enough time to read, as I’m always writing or knitting… although I am intrigued, so maybe I shouldn’t count out checking out a game or two in the future!

The game reveals that Kate Drew seems to be somewhat of a secret agent… guess the apple didn’t fall far from the tree! Kate traveled to Scotland, trying to foil the bad guys in stealing a biochemical weapon… sounding just like Nancy! Even though Kate was successful as a secret agent, it’s supposed she was murdered in a mysterious car accident there… from what I’ve read about this game. Nancy was just ten years old when her mother died, although they later changed that age to “three” in the revision books. In The Clue of the Dancing Puppet (Bk. 39), it’s mentioned that Nancy’s mother died from a sudden illness when she was just three years old.

Hmmm…. this would make an awesome book for us Nancy Drew obsessed grown-up fans… finally giving us the clues and what all “really” happened! Why should we be left in the dark… after all it’s been 88 years now! The truth needs to be told!

P.S. – Don’t we all really think of Mildred Wirt Benson as Nancy’s real mother? After all, she was the one who truly breathed life into her!

Aunt Eloise Drew: Sister to Carson Drew… and also listed as his youngest sister. Now that’s a teaser… there must be an older sister or why say the younger sister, if she’s his only sister? Her description in the books is usually as a tall, attractive woman living in New York… well that covers it! I’ve found Eloise mentioned several times as Nancy goes to New York City to visit or going there strictly to solve a mystery. In the Clue of the Old Album, Nancy calls her Aunt Lou… maybe just as her first introduction in the books, as she usually calls her Aunt Eloise.

In the Clue of the Leaning Chimney, Eloise contemplated on going to live with her brother after the death of Nancy’s mother Kate. But she was also pulled to the girls at the girl’s school where she teaches. She finally decided that as Hannah was there and handling things, she’d remain at the school… where she felt she was more needed.

Also in the Clue of the Leaning Chimney, she’s continued to be written as tall, attractive and middle age… aghast! It’s noted that Eloise dresses smartly and wears the newest of the seasons newest style suits! I can see where Nancy acquired her fashion sense from!

Lady Douglas: Nancy’s great-grandmother on her mother’s side; she resides in Scotland. Did Nancy ever visit her?

Hannah Gruen:  Hannah is the “motherly housekeeper“… the mother figure who worries over Nancy when she’s not home on time, the one who cooks all Nancy’s favorite foods like strawberry shortcake or blueberry muffins and always there to be Nancy’s confidant, such as in The Case of the Missing Diary!

Ned Nickerson:  Ned, age 19, first appeared in The Case of the Missing Diary… appearing at the fire, where he caught Nancy’s attention. While it was Nancy who found the dropped Diary, it was Ned who found the ring with the initial D… later bringing it to her. Bess and George often teased Nancy about him… telling Nancy that he was interested in her, but she brushed them off… although secretly, Nancy liked Ned coming around. Didn’t you think he had another motive when he wanted to bring the ring to her house… Hmmm!

Ned is about 6’2″… making him the tall, dark and handsome boyfriend. His dark hair is slightly curly, with whimsical eyes and a friendly personality. When she first met him, he was a sophomore at Emerson College, and wore a fraternity pin for his frat of Omega Chi Epsilon; Emerson’s school colors are orange and violet. Wikipedia describes him as having brown hair and brown eyes, but that strikes me odd as… Nancy noticed on the way to the Emerson game that both his parents have blue eyes. Wouldn’t a child have blue eyes if both parents had blue?

If Ned was a sophomore, it would make him almost two years older than Nancy, but if she was only 16, then he’d possibly be three or four years older. In college, Ned plays on 3 school varsity teams – basketball, baseball, and football; his football jersey is No. 32. He’s listed as a good student with outdoor interests of rowing, swimming and scuba diving. He seems to be perfect for Nancy… they are well matched!

Ned and Nancy are boyfriend and girlfriend… on and off-again – throughout the books. Ned goes on to attend Emerson College, while Nancy never goes to college; isn’t that odd with her father being a lawyer? You would think he would have strongly encouraged her to go to college! In later book series, Ned is often mentioned as being in Europe or away at college.

In the early “original texts,” the stories mention a Buck Rodman, best friend of Ned. In the revisions and after 1950, it is only Burt and Dave which is mentioned; they also attend Emerson with him and often even working the same summer jobs as Ned… like the summer counselor jobs they all worked in The Clue in The Crumbling Wall (Bk22).

When not in school, Ned lives with his parents James and Edith Nickerson in Mapleton, a town near River Heights.

In the movies, Ned’s name was changed to Ted Nickerson… not quite sure why they thought he needed to be known as Ted! Why change names when people knew him by Ned in the books!

Bess Marvin:  In The Secret of Shadow Ranch I found Bess’s real name of Elizabeth first mentioned. Bess is one of Nancy’s friends and is the more girly and giggly of the friends, and also the worrier of the three. Bess is the one Nancy goes shopping with, but she’s also the scaredy cat of the trio! She loves frilly dresses, and afraid of ghosts, even at just the mention of them… but she’s never afraid of cake! They made her another blonde haired pretty girl but then wrote her as slightly plump. Really… was it necessary to make her plump, but yet call her pretty… as if trying to make up for calling her plump! Bess is always the one enjoying an ice cream sundae, while Nancy and George only indulging in a soft drink. Honestly, I would never have paid attention to that when I read the books if it hadn’t been pointed out to me that she was “plump”! Who wouldn’t rather have an ice cream sundae? Geez…

Georgia “George” Fayne:  George, as she most often likes to be called, is also a friend of Nancy’s and cousin of Bess. She is slim and dark short-haired, sensible and level-headed, but sometimes the short-tempered one of the trio… besides Nancy! In The Mystery of the Tolling Bell (RT), George is listed as having freckles! (I’ve never read that before) Nothing is ever said as to who her parents are, but I might have missed it; I did find her mother’s name mentioned on a character sheet used for the writers.

It’s mentioned in a Wiki that her real name was Georgia, but no one calls her that except for her parents. In The Secret of Shadow Ranch (Bk 5), George says, “George is my name and it’s not short for Georgia. Everyone had given up hope for a boy in our family by the time I came, so I was named George, just plain George, for my grandfather.” Of the three, she’s more of the adventurous tomboy as she dresses boyish with the short boyish haircut… lean and athletic… brave and sporty, unlike Nancy and Bess who dress in more girly fashions. George also knows Judo… and it came in handy when the assailant pushed his way into the Drew home; George quickly tossed Hannah’s assailant on his back! She also doesn’t seem to mind in mentioning Bess’s weight, especially when she said… “Eating is really a very fattening hobby, dear cousin.” Maybe Bess should have backhanded her! Bess and George are very close cousins and best friends with Nancy Drew and seem to always come along to help her solve the mysteries.

George Fayne character list

Info on George courtesy of James D. Keeline: Above is a transcription of the Syndicate’s character sheet for George Fayne. (abt. 1974 or later) James acquired this from Lorraine Rogers, who transcribed it from microfilmed materials. The character sheet gives us a few more tidbits into George’s life and confirms her “real” name as Georgia.

Georgia name

In The Clue in The Old Stagecoach (1960) the Wiki mentions that her real name of Georgia appeared on the title page; this was altered after the first few printings. (My copy already has her name as George) Leave me a comment if your book shows Georgia! Photo courtesy of: JoAnn Olson (The Clue in The Old Stagecoach)

In The Mystery of Crocodile Island (RT), George said, “not Georgia“… but Bess laughed. Georgia was her cousin’s real name, but she would never allow anyone to call her by it!

Nancy, Bess, and George remind me of the three bears when Goldilocks discover them… George is a teeny too thin and masculine, while Bess is just a wee bit plump and too feminine, but our Nancy is just right!

Burt Eddleton: In Nancy’s Mysterious Letter, Burt is described as blonde with blue eyes. He attends Emerson College with Ned and is a good friend of George Fayne. His character is written as shorter and huskier than Dave and Ned… a good athlete and also on the football team with both Ned and Dave. Wherever they go, George is always paired with him. In The Secret of The Forgotten City (Bk 52/pg. 11), Burt is described as a stocky brunet and they surmised that he must be a football player (guess that means stocky). This volume was penned by Harriet Adams; someone must have forgotten to look at the character page of their descriptions!

Dave Evans: Blonde fair-haired, often described as just blonde, but always with green eyes and husky like Burt. Dave attends Emerson College also with Ned and Burt and seems to be the best friend of Bess Marvin. In The Secret of The Forgotten City (pg. 11), Dave was also labeled incorrectly as having dark hair and eyes and of a slightly less stocky build as Burt. (No proofreader/editor caught these mistakes on Burt and Dave?)

Helen Corning Archer: Helen accompanied Nancy on several sleuthing adventures before cousins Bess and George arrived on the scene. She’s described as a dark-haired petite girl, and the 1st friend of Nancy mentioned in The Mystery of Lilac Inn. Helen was nearly three years older than Nancy… but they were very close in the first two books. Maybe they wrote out Helen, feeling that Bess and George were more popular once introduced; after marrying Jim Archer, she was not heard of or seen very often.


The clues are often very obvious, especially if you’ve read many Nancy Drew books. They are there to open up the mystery that Nancy Drew is called upon to solve… it’s those clues drawing Nancy to many places… and sometimes often quite far away.

Who doesn’t like to discover secret wills tucked inside the family clock or a hidden staircase behind secret panels, the dropped diary was written in Swedish, car keys left under the mat, a ring Ned found with the initial D, or a note saying “bluebells will be singing horses” found on an injured homing pigeon. I always enjoy finding the first clues and wondering… where will they lead Nancy!

Just for fun… I’ve made notes of some clues I’ve come across!

  • Bk. 8 (pg. 8): In searching for the stolen mailbag, young boy Tommy gave Nancy clues of a man wearing a yellow overcoat driving an old, no good, tin steaming car with smoke coming out of the tailpipe going chuff – chuff. I laughed at the chosen word of “chuff-chuff” to describe the smoke… wouldn’t you have said puff – puff?
  • Bk. 8: The letter Nancy receives from a lawyer in England mentions a Nancy Smith Drew whom they are looking for and inquires if it is she… immediately Nancy is intrigued and wants to find that Nancy! (I could just see the wheels turning in her head)
  • Bk 8 (pg.89): After Nancy paid Mrs. Sheets the $10, she said, “but now I guess there’s no loss in telling you where the other Nancy Drew might be. She went with a family named Hutchinson – Thomas Hutchinson. I forwarded enough mail to her, to remember that Thomas Hutchinson was at The Breakers Hotel on Cape Cod.” (Nancy was soon on the hunt for the English Nancy) 
  • Bk 8 (pg 90): “I’ll borrow a New York Telephone Directory from the library or the phone company, Nancy said as she planned to search for names. (How times have changed… if only our Nancy had Internet, she would have found the names within five minutes on a computer, and wouldn’t it be fun to picture her searching online. How many friends would she have on Facebook?)
  • Bk. 10: Nancy is given a bracelet by Dr. Spires and she traces the family crest on a gold bracelet back to the Eldridge Family of St. Louis. Nancy quickly discovers that the elderly matriarch of the Eldridge family is missing and she sets off to find her.
  • Bk. 46 (pg.60): A Florida newspaper discovered in a pile of papers in the corner of the room gives a clue when looked at. Nancy scours the newspapers and finds an article “Stolen Shell Collection Remains A Mystery.”
  • Bk. 46 (pg. 99): When Nancy talked to Ned on the phone, she asked him his name to prove that he wasn’t being held captive. It was a strategic move between the two of them, to be able to identify if one was held captive. They had set up a code… if Ned answered saying his name was Edward Emerson, then he meant he was free to talk. If he had answered, “I keep my middle name a secret“… it meant he was being held and could not talk freely.
  • Bk. 23: Nancy finds a piece of paper on the floor when waitressing… it says, “jewels embedded in an XXX cast iron bell!” Nancy is puzzled and curious!
  • Bk. 51: Good thing Nancy brought her magnifying glass for this one, as an examination of the dried mud on the tires indicated that the take-off spot was probably near a swamp of black muck. She found tiny shreds of wood in it… “a lumber camp or some other kind of forest area,” the young detective murmured to herself. (Only Nancy always carries a magnifying glass)

Nancy has unraveled clues from discovering them in old clocks, twisted candles, broken lockets, brass-bound trunks, jewel boxes, diaries, and letters. Clues are everywhere… you just have to have a nose like Nancy to find them! Being a family history researcher… it’s the clues which lead me to discover those missing names on my family tree!


Until I began taking another look at Nancy Drew for the second time in my life…I never knew about all the collectibles that go along with her… or even knew there were so many adults still hooked on Nancy… also looking to rebuild their “lost” collections… just like me!

People are clever and crafty in transforming things into collectibles. I’ve found Nancy Drew journals made from actual Nancy Drew books, although sadly the inside pages are replaced with blank journal pages… but they nicely left a few pages from the book to give character. I know I’ll be buying myself one soon to journal all about my Nancy Drew collection, and I’m just waiting to find one of my favorite book covers!

Another new collectible I discovered was Nancy Drew puzzles… two 1000 piece puzzles showing all those “artsy” book covers. They were supposed to have been my winter project with hubby… but as you can see in the photo below… it never happened!

puzzle 2

My Nancy Drew puzzles… and still not put together!

There are book bags, and purses made from Nancy Drew fabric.. yes there is really cloth with various Nancy motifs on… from photos of the book bindings, end pages, the famous magnifier… even to the many pictures of Nancy herself. When I told hubby I wanted to sew myself a “Nancy Drew” bag with the material I bought… he gave me a look and said… “there really is Nancy Drew fabric?” I hate to think what he really wanted to say, but I didn’t ask! He never says no to me when I want anything…. he may think otherwise, but he keeps it to himself! I just told my mother about this the other night and she immediately said, “oh, I want one too!” Imagine if she lived near me, we would be the Nancy Drew twins… hunting books together.

fabric 1fabric

My Nancy Drew fabric collection!

I never thought I’d begin another collection… especially in retirement, as I vowed to begin decluttering my house. But collecting is so much fun… gives life to living… something to do… something to look forward to… and so much fun reading Nancy Drew again!

While the first books are very collectible, it’s the “dust jackets” that are the prizes to find; far and few in between… although I do have a few as of this writing. It’s said that a dust jacket on a first edition book is worth about seven times more than the actual book! Imagine finding a box of never used dust jackets! What a prize that would be… and it’s not the first time that things like that have been found… so never rule it out!

There are two things in life you should never do… well maybe one… never collect any one specific thing, as it can easily backfire on you, suddenly! I should know, as I’ve collected things all my life and kept many of them, except my original Nancy Drew collection! And what am I doing now… I’m collecting Nancy Drew, and it’s “growing” all over my house!

I’m beginning to find “books having books” in every nook and cranny in my house lately… I love the artwork on the Nancy books! And where am I spending Saturday mornings now… looking for book sales to attend! Even hubby keeps an eye out for those yellow spines when we’re at tag sales!

If only, I had thought to have saved my Nancy Drew’s when I was young, I would have had the best thing you can have in your collection… your first original books! But I don’t, so I’m on the hunt!

Diary books from the site of: Nancy Drew Sleuths

I was a big fan of diaries as a young girl, and if only these had been around when I was writing my deepest thoughts, I just know I would have had one, or two! Since I’ve discovered that there are “diaries”…. I must find one! The red is my favorite, but I’m told that the white is the more scarce/hard to find one… Oh Hypers! The white diary pictured through NancyDrewSleuths is from the collection of David Farah.

If I’ve confused you on all that is there to collect on Nancy Drew, besides just books… well there is more on Nancy than I can even write about! Just the many formats of the same books on one volume alone… are mind-boggling. Just take volume #1, The Secret of The Old Clock… there are several printings to date, which means several changes of the picture covers from 1930 to 1979. Confused… well, you should be as there are 55 more books I could dissect from covers, text, plots, and names… but I won’t!


Nancy Drew fashions in my paper doll books (Oh, I’d love to cut them out, but I’d hate to ruin my books. Maybe I’ll buy another set and teach my granddaughters the “art” of cutting them out. As a young girl, I loved paper dolls and cutting out my new sets was the most fun!)

The clothing our “original” Nancy wore in the 1930’s before the “revisions” are quite different and I’ve strived to take notes as I read… but often I became lost in the story and forgot to document. Sometimes it takes the enjoyment of reading the story away when you are constantly reading and writing… and not getting far in the read! But in one way, it has made me pay more attention to details by writing it down as I read.

The Hidden Staircase: (RT) Nancy wears a yellow sun back dress, jacket, and gloves. Definitely, too much flesh uncovered in this dress for an “original text” book. Later in the book Nancy changes into a simple green linen sports dress with matching sweater and handbag; clothing sounds so summery!

The Secret of the Wooden Lady: It’s summer and all Nancy packed was her pale green evening dress… traveling light on this adventure. Unless she went skinny dipping, she had a bathing suit tucked in that bag also! I know she always has a flashlight in her handbag…. but a chisel… Really!

Nancy’s Mysterious Letter: (pg.81): Nancy mentions she’ll be wearing her raccoon coat to the game at Emerson, but will need to go shopping for a hat to match in the Emerson colors of orange and violet… perhaps one of those snappy new sports ones in violet with an orange feather. Her thoughts continue about wearing the lavender evening dress with the… no, I’ll wear the deep yellow one with a corsage of violets. I’ll have to get some new slippers to go with it though. I forgot to note if this was read in the OT version book, but surely we all know it was, from the descriptions and the raccoon coat mentioned. I hope Ned wore one too!

Nancy’s Mysterious Letter: (pg.101):  What fun Nancy was having as she went shopping for a hat to wear at the game at Emerson University. She bought a snug fitting felt hat of a deep rusty brown… she didn’t choose the one in orange as she felt like she’d look like a pumpkin! The hat had a cluster of pheasant feathers that she replaced with a pair of quills in burnt orange… they emerged from a fluff of “violent down” on the hat. Next stop was the shoe department for Nancy… she even brought along a scrap of the material from her deep yellow evening gown to match up the perfect yellow silk dancing pumps! I’d love to have a coloring page of this outfit, complete with the raccoon coat! I remember taking a swatch of my dress for the senior prom to have my silk heels dyed to match… do they even do that anymore?

The Password to Larkspur Lane: (pg.88): Nancy wore a rose-colored formal with her hair piled high and a gardenia tucked in. Can’t you just picture that… and the smell of the gardenia? Gardenias are so Southern! Could that be a clue to where she lives?

The Scarlet Slipper Mystery: (OT): I forgot to note where Nancy was headed when she dressed in a navy linen suit and carried a straw purse. Sounds very summery… I had a straw purse for my Barbie and still have it tucked away in my blue Barbie case.

The Scarlet Slipper Mystery: (pg.161): For a late afternoon ride and dinner with Ned, Nancy dressed in a pink sports dress. Can’t you just picture her and Ned out on that ride, hope they took Nancy’s convertible?

The Scarlet Slipper Mystery: ( pg. 193): Nancy donned a pair of jeans and a plaid cotton blouse as she headed to search a barn. Good thing she wasn’t wearing a dress as she searched through those hay lofts looking for clues… but how many times have we seen her traipse around in a dress when we all thought… why not wear jeans or pants!

Nancy goes from the 1930’s of flapper style dresses to glam frocks, pearls, gloves, and handbags. When the 1940’s come, the clothes became more simple dresses, plain tailored outfits with blouses and she now carries a purse. Other outfits she sports in the books now are a simple two-piece navy blue dress… a forest-green cotton dress with flat heeled brown play shoes, and a simple black cotton dress and pumps. Every time I read about her “outfits”… I vividly picture them in my mind. I need a coloring book of all Nancy’s fashions so I can color her clothes… the child in me has been brought back by my renewed interest in Nancy Drew! I loved to color as a child!

The Mystery at the Ski Jump: Nancy dressed warmly in this winter book… dressing in a trim blue ski outfit and other colorful ski clothes in which she showed off her figure skating skills. They ate lavishly throughout this book, see letter F for foods. Luckily besides her trusty flashlight, she packed chocolate bars in her  “to go” bag on this trip.

The Haunted Showboat: Good thing Nancy packed her bathing suit as she was able to swim in the Mississippi River on this adventure… although not sure if I’d jump in… could there have been alligators lurking nearby? While she packed for adventures, she also threw in a few dressy outfits like her flowered bouffant dress, black shawl, and ivory fan. Her blue eyelet embroidered dress reminds me of the one my mother embroidered when she sewed my clothes. There was also a mention of a costume party on the newly restored River Princess but it wasn’t to happen until the end of the book. What confused me in her packed clothing was, she packed her bathing suit… and wore it, but she also packed a wool dress and a warm car coat… did the weather go from summer to winter? (The black lace shawl and intricately carved ivory fan were found by Hannah in the trunk in their attic. It was said to have belonged to Nancy’s mother… we can only surmise that she once used it for a masquerade ball)

The Ringmaster’s Secret: In this adventure, Nancy doesn’t need any fancy clothing as she joins the circus… so to speak. Her clothing consists of jodhpurs and a tight-fitting coat… sounds more like a ringmasters coat. But just in case she needed something a little more girly… she packed an attractive blue sports dress.

In joining the circus to try and solve a mystery, Nancy showed off her trick horse riding skills but passed out after her horse was spooked. Every time she turned around something was happening. First she was choked with a whip and almost passed out… and later she blacked out on the train after a dark cloth was thrown over her head; acid exploded in her bag and temporarily blinded her, and if that wasn’t enough… she was shoved into a lion’s cage, but Ned stepped in for the rescue.

The Secret of Shadow Ranch: Nancy’s suitcase intrigued me as she packed her “knitting” bag on this trip… first I’d heard she knitted. She packed her olive green knit with matching shoes (doesn’t she always have matching accessories), navy jacket, yellow blouse and skirt with matching slipover, riding clothes (to show off her riding skills), powder blue sweater and skirt… and naturally jeans and shirts. When they mentioned her turquoise blue “squaw” dress with silver rickrack trim, my eyebrows raised… I bet this dress definitely made the cut in the revised books, but I also imagined that Nancy twirled and do-se-doed a square dance or two in it! I guess Nancy didn’t do any knitting after she found the rattlesnake tail in her knitting bag with a warning note of “second warning.” I know I wouldn’t have!

The Clue of the Velvet Mask: Nancy attends a masquerade party wearing the costume of a Spanish senorita… a red gown with a long sweeping skirt and black lace mantilla… and of course with a matching fan and mask; Nancy covered her golden hair with a black wig. Ned wasn’t left out either as he donned an eighteenth-century Spanish grandee’s costume with a plumed hat, high-heeled boots and white neck ruff with lace cuffs. Oh, I’d love to have seen a photo of them on the book cover! For the wedding, she brought her yellow formal and gold accessories… such a redundant word in always describing her fashion… accessories! Hannah also packed a pink flowered dress, with a pink hat that sported a black velvet bow. Nancy needs a complete floor at home for her closet…. just add up all the clothes, and don’t forget the accessories she has!

The Clue of the Black Keys: At the weekend party Ned buys Nancy a new aqua evening dress. George called it too “fussy”, but Bess called it “dreamy.” Naturally Nancy also bought slippers to match… and of course, she needed new accessories!

Nancy Drew fashions to book

Nancy Drew Mystery Stories “fashion plates” created for the pages at Polyvore.com These fashion ideas created on this site are awesome to check out; very creative and they’ve posted links to where you can actually buy items shown. (This fashion art created by 


Yes, they really do have Nancy Drew Conventions, and their very 1st one was in 2001 in Toledo, Ohio with the original “Carolyn Keene” present… Mildred Wirt Benson!

The conventions are organized and run by Jenn Fisher of Nancy Drew Sleuths… and her mission, if you choose to attend… is for you to walk in Nancy Drew’s footsteps in a location of an area where Nancy Drew solved a mystery. She organizes events to allow book hunting and activities based on the theme of the book(s) chosen for the convention.

Although I haven’t attended one yet… but it is on my to-do list…  it’s a great way to meet some of the people you’ve chatted with in the groups, swap stories and buy and trade books. If you’ve ever read just one Nancy Drew book as a child, you’ll find yourself falling down the rabbit hole on the “sleuth” web page… such a wealth of information and history. You will, once again, be that young girl of 9 again… wanting to read just one more book, under the covers by flashlight!

If only I’d known about the convention (2016) held in New Orleans, Louisiana… they enjoyed road trips to Cajun Country, swamp tours and were even treated to a ghost tour…. a must when visiting the French Quarter! Who wouldn’t enjoy a cruise on the Natchez Steamboat and a masquerade mystery soiree? What fun it must have been!

Their most recent one was held last October (2017) in Ogunquit, Maine. I was so close, but yet a little intimidated to attend as a newbie. Their theme was The Mystery of The Tolling Bell and The Ghost of Craven Cove. We were traveling through Vermont at the time and I almost told hubby to take that turn to head over to Maine… and now so wishing I had!

Each convention is planned around a theme and by using one or two books they plan event themes based on their stories. The 85th anniversary celebrated Nancy Drew in Hawaii and was focused on The Secret of the Golden Pavilion. The days are filled with speakers on various topics, often celebrities are on the venue for question and answer sessions; friends meet up yearly, and there’s always the fun venue of the buy and sell vendor booths with more memorabilia than you have ever seen or thought of. I love the idea of the “goodie bags” given to the attendees and I look forward to buying one for this year’s convention… as I probably won’t be able to make it there! I can’t wait for it to arrive!

If you’d like to visit Hawaii… I hear there is another convention planned there in 2020 to celebrate Nancy Drew’s 90th anniversary. If you’d like to attend this year, well you might still have a chance at this reading, well maybe… it’s planned for the Florida Keys on April 18 -22 with theme books… The clue of The Black Keys, The Nancy Drew Files #85, and the Sea of Suspicion… sounds like fun! Who knows… I just might be posting from there… that would be super exciting! Guess I better start saving my pennies! If you’re close-by… you’re always welcome to stop by and shop on their buy and sell day.

If you miss out on the 2018 convention, get your passport ready for the 2019 Toronto, Canada convention… and I’ve heard that there might be a 2019 Nancy Drew Con 1 planned for NYC later in the year… so stay tuned! That would be so awesome and I’d definitely plan to attend!!!!

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Want to read more, click below….

2018: A to Z – All About Nancy Drew 

© 2018, copyright Jeanne Bryan Insalaco; all rights reserved

About Jeanne Bryan Insalaco

My blog is at: https://everyonehasafamilystorytotell.wordpress.com/
This entry was posted in 2018: A to Z - All About Nancy Drew, Daily Writings and funnies... and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to 2018 A to Z: C… All About Nancy Drew

  1. Kim says:

    Ok, now I got to go retrieve Clue in the Old Stagecoach and Nancy’s Mysterious Letter to re-read!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Wendy says:

    I’m learning to love Nancy all over again.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. James Keeline says:

    Another “C” that ties to Chapters is “Cliffhangers.” The books were written with chapter endings that encouraged the reader to turn the page and continue the story. The Stratemeyer Syndicate called these “holding points” and it was an old tradition from the magazine and story paper serial days of the 1880s.

    Sometimes the chapter ending was something dangerous like a large ship emerging from the fog that was going to collide with the boat containing our heroes. However, other times it was a discovery of an important clue.

    By the time of the 20 chapter era (1958+), the Syndicate had developed a “formula” for their outlines. They prescribed which chapters would have an interior illustration and how the different kinds of chapter endings would be distributed throughout the text. I wrote about these and other related topics last November (NaNoWriMo month) on my blog on http://Stratemeyer.org

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh darn! How did I miss that one!!! I’ll check out that writing you left a link for. I did the NaNoWriMo a couple of years ago. Such fun but so hectic. I appreciate you reading and the history you’ve offered!


  4. James Keeline says:

    Given that most people who are active Nancy Drew fans today have the strongest memories of the yellow spine books, a format that began in 1962, it seems appropriate to acknowledge Harriet Stratemeyer Adams. Without her work on the series for more than 50 years, Nancy might have ended in 1931 or 1932 and been a very short series like Perry Pierce or Doris Force (don’t remember those?).

    Mildred Wirt, and all of the Syndicate’s ghostwriters made important contributions to the series they worked on. However, the versions of the stories remembered from the yellow-spine era (and bought today) are not Mildred’s writing in most cases. Some were shortened from her original text versions with 25 chapters so some passages remain. However, it is risky to assign too much credit to a ghostwriter who is working from an outline and whose work is edited by the Stratemeyer Syndicate which commissioned the work in the first place.

    We can celebrate all of the participants and give them fair share for their contributions to Nancy Drew and the other series over the years.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. kristin says:

    Wow! I read one Nancy Drew book back in the late 1950s, I think. My cousin recommended it to me. I didn’t especially like it and never read another. But you have the makings here of a book about Nancy. I like the idea of solving the contradictions and telling the “true” story.

    Liked by 1 person

    • So happy you found me… maybe you’ll give Nancy another try. I’m still enjoying her in my retirement! Thanks for stopping in!


    • Thanks for stopping in. I stopped by your page but didn’t find you writing this year but I did take a look at some of your A to Z from last year, but comments were closed. I can’t imagine searching for your ancestors as persons of color, it’s so much harder. We often discuss that in our genealogy blogging group. We have several women who share the slaves found in their ancestors wills when found and add them to a site. You might find her site interesting… it is at http://mytrueroots.blogspot.com/


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