2018 A to Z: L… All About Nancy Drew
In 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!
L is for Letters, Lasts, Look Ups, Lakes, Love, and Library
While Carson Drew and Ned had their heads together talking football strategies… Nancy sidled away to finally read the letter on the stationery of Malmsbury and Bates-Jones… she’d been carrying it around all day… almost even losing it at one time! The letter below is from Book 8, Nancy’s Mysterious Letter.
My dear Miss Drew:
We are the legal representatives of the Estate of Jonathan Smith, late of LIttle Coddington, Midhampton, Berks., who died intestate on May 2, last. Mr. Smith had as only kin a sister, from whom he was estranged, a Mirs. Genevieve Smith Drew, so, we find, predeceased Mr. Smith by five years, leaving a daughter who is Mr. Smith’s sole heir by law.
We have traced the daughter, Miss Nancy Smith Drew, to the United States, where our agents have been consulting directories and other sources for a trace of her. You are the only Miss Nancy Drew so far discovered by them, and we beg of you to communicate with us.
If you happen to be the Miss Drew for whom we are searching, will you be so good as to submit proofs of your identity, whereupon we shall be happy to make arrangements for your return to England.
After the inheritance and death rates are deducted, the estate size is of a large enough to repay your interest.”
signed… A. E. Lionel Bates-Jones
The letter above is from the “original text” in the book.
If those London lawyers tracked down our Nancy Drew, she must have had quite a reputation… imagine being a young age of 16 and so well known! Naturally, Nancy’s curiosity peeks as she reads, and without even being asked… immediately wants to help track down Miss Nancy Drew, of whom they are seeking. I won’t divulge the ending here, but if you haven’t read… you know you want to now!
Within a day, and while being so rudely interrupted by Mrs. Sheets, Nancy penned a letter back to Mr. Bates-Jones… would have been so much easier if she had email, but… and where does Nancy go to mail a letter, she heads directly to the post office to inquire when it might arrive in England.
“Let me see,” said the man, consulting a big chart. “A ship-yes, the Consultania sails this afternoon. It is a five-day boat. I think your letter can catch it.”
How odd the name of the boat having the word “consult” in it. Imagine today, having to wait five days for your letter to arrive and at least another five-plus days for an answer, but at one time… we waited for “snail mail! (Click link for post I wrote on topic)
In the later revision, the name Mrs. Sheets was changed to Mrs. Skeets… not sure why the change… maybe the name Skeets sounded more villain like?
Did you write “letters” as a young girl? I sure did…. to several penpals through the years, later boyfriends, and even as a teenager wrote to a couple of service guys in Vietnam… the thrill of coming home and finding a letter was exciting! I’m still excited today to find a letter, but sadly no one writes anymore; my last letters received was several years ago. I’ve kept most of those letters and they are safely glued in my scrapbooks. That’s another lost treasure… making scrapbooks during your childhood… saving favorite silly things like bubble gum wrappers, movie star photos, classmate pictures, vacation mementos and anything and everything. I have three such scrapbooks… maybe because I’ve always loved paper so much! Through the years though, I have dismantled a few things from their original pages.
As all good things come to an end, so did a few of our Nancy Drew favorites…
- The last dustjacket for Nancy Drew books was on issue #38, The Mystery of the Fire Dragon. Dustjackets are still used on books today… makes me wonder why they stopped? Even though I love the dust jacket artwork, it’s much hard to read and preserve the dust jacket. So what do you do… you remove the dust jacket while reading and have to store it somewhere where it won’t be damaged… then it gets misplaced… or even worse… damaged!
- The last original matte hardcover book was issue #56 The Thirteenth Pearl. It’s those yellow spine matt picture books that I grew up with and still covet. While I haven’t managed to read this issue yet, it’s still waiting for me to find.
- The last 25-chapter book was issue # 34, The Hidden Window Mystery. They then continued to only publish 20 chapter books for the rest of the yellow spines into the Flashlight series.
Have you found mention of words or phrases, where you went…. duh, now what does that mean? I think we mostly only read those words and phrases in the early 25 chapter books. I’ll note a few I’ve come across.
- Book 8, pg. 95, (Nancy’s Mysterious Letter) “a peal at the doorbell announced dinner guests had arrived: the dictionary says… Peal: a loud ringing of a bell or bells. So the next time you hear a “peal” sound, you’ll know someone is at your door!
- Book 8, pg. 79, (Nancy’s Mysterious Letter) Bess was no longer in the runabout, Nancy discovered! From Wikipedia… A runabout is referred to a specific style of a car body that was popular until early 1915. Now, why did they even refer to her car in that way, as Book 8 was written in the mid-thirties? It was a basic style car, no windshield, no top, often no doors, and only a single row of seats. It definitely wasn’t a roadster style auto. The word runabout was written in the original text version, while convertible was used in the revised text.
- George Fayne’s most used phrase off and on was “Oh Hypers.” In looking it up… all I could find was… excited or a person being over-excited. I like the meaning better that Jenn Fisher gives on her site… “Like Wow“; that’s more how I felt George meant. It’s considered somewhat a slang word used in the era like… the Bee‘s Knees or The Cat’s Pajamas!
- In The Invisible Intruder (pg. 163) Nancy makes a joke about locking the butler Jeffers in with the “diplodocus“. That remark was in reference to Jim hiding behind the skeleton of the diplodocus in trying to fool Jeffers that none of them had escaped. From Wikipedia: Diplodocus is an extinct genus of diplodocid sauropod dinosaurs, whose fossils were first discovered in 1877 by S. W. Williston; the generic name was coined by Othniel Charles Marsh in 1878. This genus of dinosaurs lived in what is now mid-western North America at the end of the Jurassic period. Diplodocus is among the most easily identifiable dinosaurs, with its typical sauropod shape, long neck and tail, and four sturdy legs. For many years, it was the longest dinosaur known.
The Bungalow Mystery: Moon Lake in the 1930 book – Twin Lakes and Melrose Lake in the revised book.
The Clue in the Diary: Lake Mentor
Password to Larkspur Lane: Sylvan Lake
The Clue of the Broken Locket: Misty Lake in Maryland
The Ghost of Blackwood Hall: Lake Jasper… just over the state line, but which state line?
The Mystery at the Ski Jump: Dunstan Lake… supposedly in Vermont, but it’s the mystery to solve if it’s really in Vermont!
The Scarlett Slipper Mystery: Cedar Lake… Ned’s parents own a cottage there, where he takes Nancy to keep her safe.
The Haunted Showboat: Lake Pontchartrain near the Mississippi River.
The Moonstone Castle Mystery: Sylvan Lake near River Heights.
The Clue in the Crossword Cipher: Lake Nahuel Huapi in Argentina.
The Invisible Intruder: Lake Sevance, where the girls chased ghosts and haunted canoes!
The Secret of Mirror Bay: Otsego Lake… with water that shimmered as a mirror… often called Glimmerglass.
The only “love” interest through the first 56 books was Ned Dickerson… and that was a somewhat on-again… off-again romance. Throughout the books, you’ll find slight mentions of dates, but not serious dates… and I’ve yet to read of a kiss. Come on Ned, what are you waiting for, or maybe you’re intimidated by this strong-willed girl!
Ned first arrives in Nancy’s life at the scene of a house fire in Book 7, The Clue in The Diary…. he is a stranger who offers to move her car. Later he contacts her because he’d found a clue and offered it to her in helping to solve the case. George and Bess both begin teasing Nancy about Ned… although Nancy is somewhat interested, she’s not letting on to those two… or they’ll never stop teasing her.
No. 19: The Quest of The Missing Map: “I’m glad you said ‘practically.’ ” Nancy chuckled and led the way to the dining room. “You see, Dad, I mean to attempt the impossible. Monday I’ll do some sleuthing at the public library.”
No. 24: The Clue in the Old Album: Nancy passed the public library and on impulse went in. For two hours she pored over records on genealogy but could find no Bostwick family listing Henrietta as a member. After she had perused all the volumes on this subject, she returned to her aunt’s apartment. (this was part of a reference to genealogy – see Letter G for more)
No. 25: The Ghost of Blackwood Hall: Upon returning home, the young detective sat for a long while in the Drew library, reflecting upon the events of the evening. (I’d love to know what books are in the Drew library!)
REREADING the message several times, Nancy speculated about the Humphreys and their connection with the black walnut tree. Deciding it best to keep the contents of the message to herself, Nancy went to the River Heights Public Library, hoping to find a book which would throw some light on the Humphreys mentioned in the note. The name sounded vaguely familiar, and it had occurred to her that it might belong to one of the very old families of the county.
Finally, Nancy found exactly the book she wanted. Fascinated, she read that a famous old walnut grove along the river once had been known as Humphrey’s Woods. Even more exciting was the information that a duel, fatal to one member of the family, had been fought beneath a certain walnut tree. The tree, known since then as Humphrey’s Walnut, was marked with a plaque.
The article went on to say that Blackwood Hall, the family home, was still standing. Built of walnut from the woods surrounding it, the mansion had, in its day, been one of the showplaces along the river. Now the grounds were weed-grown, the old home vacant, and the family gone. (chapter 8)
No. 26: The Clue of the Leaning Chimney: “If I get any clues, I’ll let you know,” Nancy promised, and hung up. Since she could think of no way at the moment to trace the thief, Nancy decided to concentrate on finding the China clay pit. She went to the River Heights Public Library to scan books on local geology. But after poring over several volumes and maps, Nancy had found nothing.
She closed the books with a sigh and put them back on the shelf. Miss Carter, the librarian, had noticed Nancy’s disappointed expression. “Couldn’t you find what you’re looking for?” she inquired pleasantly. Nancy shook her head and told the librarian the nature of her quest. “Why don’t you ask Miles Monroe?” Miss Carter suggested. “He’s a retired professor of geology. If anyone knows of a clay deposit, he should. I’ll give you his address.” (chapter 7)
No. 29: The Mystery at the Ski Jump: As soon as the plane landed at River Heights, Mr. Drew went to his office. Meanwhile, Nancy searched several telephone directories for a listing of Mrs. Bellhouse. There was none, so she went to the public library and thumbed through the city directories. Apparently, no one by the name of Sidney Boyd’s intended victim lived in Winchester or in any of the nearby towns. (chapter 12) (Nothing better than using city directories to discover where our ancestors lived.)
No. 42: The Phantom of Pine Hill: “My father,” he went on, “has two friends who know a lot about the sinking of the Lucy Belle. They think a treasure was taken from the wreck and buried somewhere around here. They went to the public library and the one at the university for some books that might tell about it but learned nothing.” (chapter 20)
No. 14: The Whispering Statue: While the Drew family and their guests ate, the lawyer suggested that his new client tell her story. “I live in Waterford on the coast,” she said. “Some time ago an uncle of mine left me a very fine library of books. Hundreds of them. My home is too small to accommodate them all, so my husband urged me to sell the collection.
“Horace is away frequently on business and left all the negotiations to me. I went to Willis Basswood in town—he runs a high-class art gallery and bookshop—to see if he could sell the volumes for me.”
“At first everything seemed to go well. Mr. Basswood was able to get a high price for certain volumes, not so much for others. He gave me receipts for everything. Then suddenly the money stopped coming. When I asked him why, he said that the books were not selling.” As she paused, Mr. Drew remarked, “Now Mrs. Merriam has become suspicious of the man and feels that perhaps he’s disposing of them but not giving her the money.” (You’ll have to read… to have the answer revealed to you) (Chapter 1)
No. 28: The Clue of the Black Keys: Nancy looked at her watch. It was ten-thirty. She had a few hours to study! Eager to use her time to advantage, Nancy hurried to the college library. There the librarian pointed out the books used for Dr. Anderson’s course in American Indian Culture.
“And this should help you,” the woman said, giving Nancy a typewritten sheet. “It’s an outline of the work covered each month.” The syllabus stated that the subjects assigned for the past month were The Aztecs of Mexico and Early Indian Tribes in Florida.
Fortunately, Nancy had brought a notebook and her fountain pen. She read all the chapters on Florida Indians, and made notes on the facts which seemed most important about the ancient Aztecs. She hardly took time for lunch, studying her notes while she ate a sandwich in the cafeteria. After lunch she returned to the library and did more reading until it was time to go to class.
“Please remember that none of you will be given special consideration,” he said, looking straight at Nancy. “If you know the subject, you will pass. If you do not know the answers, you will fail.” He gave out the quiz sheets and the blue notebooks in which the students were to write their answers. Nancy’s hours in the library, she discovered, had been well spent. She was able to answer all the questions except the last: Who were the Zapotecs? Where and when did they live? (chapter 13)
No. 36: The Secret of the Golden Pavillion: The young sleuth decided to start work on the case immediately. First, she went to the library to see if she could learn from reference books there the meaning of the Polynesian symbols which Nikkio Sakamaki had sent to his grandson. The reference librarian was very helpful, but neither she nor Nancy could find the answer to the riddle.
“I’m sorry,” said Miss Taylor, who knew the young detective well. “I suppose you’re working on another mystery. Perhaps I can help you. Something just occurred to me. I believe I know the very person who might be able to tell you what these symbols mean. He’s Professor Wharton. I understand he speaks many languages and is an authority on hieroglyphics and other forms of ancient writing.”
Nancy smiled. “That’s wonderful. I’d like to talk to him. Where does he live?” “Just a minute,” Miss Taylor replied. She opened a drawer of her desk and looked through a stack of cards. Presently she pulled one out. “Here it is. He lives in the newly developed section of River Heights called Elwynd Estates. I’m sorry I don’t have the name of the street.” “I’ll be able to find him,” Nancy said, eager to start. “Thank you very much for everything, Miss Taylor.” (chapter 3)
No. 42: The Phantom of Pine Hill: Uncle John motioned his guests to tapestried chairs. Smiling, he said, “I dare say you want to learn about the phantom of Pine Hill. Apparently, he wants something in my library. That’s the locked room across the hall. The first time I noticed books out of place I made sure the windows were locked and put a padlock on the door. Despite these precautions, the intruder got in and has kept right on entering mysteriously!”
Nancy asked Mr. Rorick if he kept any money in his library. He nodded but said he had never missed any. “I must confess though,” Uncle John went on, “I may have overlooked something. I’m pretty forgetful.” He added, “It gives me a creepy feeling to know there’s a ghostly visitor in my home.” “Oh goodness, yes,” Bess agreed. “I hope I never see this phantom. I’ll lock my door and cover my head at night!” The others laughed and Nancy said, “I hope I’ll meet this apparition. I’m sure he’s a real live person. What we must find out right now is how he enters the library.”
The padlock on the library door was still in place. “He certainly couldn’t have gone in there,” Nancy thought. “Since he didn’t pass me near the staircase, he couldn’t have doubled back into the kitchen.”
On the wall adjoining the library was a large brick fireplace with a mantelshelf. Candles in brass holders stood at each end of it. As Mrs. Holman started to prepare breakfast, Nancy said she wanted to check something, then would be right back to help. She hurried to the fireplace in the dining room, leaned down, and tapped its sooty brick walls. Nancy hoped to detect a hollow area that might mean a secret entrance to the library, but found nothing.
When the group finished breakfast, Mr. Rorick said he would give the key to the library padlock to Mrs. Holman so his “girl detective force” could investigate at any time.
He excused himself and went to the library, but returned in a minute with a framed letter. It was dated 1835, and was written in French in an old-fashioned, precise script. The girls tried to translate it but finally gave up. Many of the words were no longer in use. “I don’t know. Maybe some of the old books in my library will tell you. There are many I’ve never read.” Uncle John took the old letter back to the library, then went for his suitcase. Within minutes he was in his car, waving farewell and wishing the girls luck.
But there was one more delay before Nancy could start investigating the library. A young detective arrived to take Nancy’s fingerprints, since she had been out the night before when he came to investigate the case of the missing necklace.
After he had gone, Mrs. Holman unfastened the padlocked door and the girls went in. Like the living room, the library extended from the front of the house to the back. “Oh,” said Bess, “I’ve never seen so many books in one room. There must be thousands of them!” Every wall was lined with shelves from floor to ceiling and filled with double rows of books. Many of the volumes looked old and fragile. A quick survey indicated a wide variety of subjects. As Mrs. Holman, Bess, and Nancy hurried across the library, George held out an open book. In it was a sizable heap of bills.
“After talking with you about the Lucy Belle last night, Nancy, I recalled something that happened in our college library a couple of weeks ago. I noticed two men standing behind one of the stacks of books. I’m sure they didn’t belong to the university. At first I paid no attention to them, but when one of them, who had a deep, hoarse voice, mentioned ‘the Rorick treasure,’ I listened. Then they left.”
After he had gone, Nancy went to look at the wall on either side of the library door. Was one of the panels a secret entrance to the room? She stepped close to tap for a hollow sound. “After I get home from the dance, I may want to hide in the library and watch for the phantom.”
As she rejoined Bess and George at the car, Nancy said, “Let’s walk over to the college library and see what we can find out about the Lucy Belle. “Having been to Emerson several times before, the girls were familiar with the campus. As they walked to the library building, Nancy told her companions about the riverboat book Ned had seen and the men he had overheard talking behind a stack of books.
After leaving, Nancy drove directly to the Rorick home. She asked her friends to help her search the books in the library for further information on the Lucy Belle. When the girls were ready to go into the library, Mrs. Holman went along. As the door was swung back, the four gave startled cries. The room was a shambles! Books and pamphlets lay strewn about the floor and on the furniture. Nancy and the housekeeper returned to the library. By this time the girls had gone through hundreds of books.
The woman assured her that Nancy was fine and had enjoyed being kidnapped by the Indians. The three entered the book-strewn library. Bess was sure George was right. Nancy did not commit herself. She changed the subject and said, “Let’s investigate the library and see if the phantom has been here again. Last time I was in there I switched two books with the word roar in them. I’ll be curious to see if they’re still where I left them.”
She looked up the flue in the library, then dashed out to the hall and into the dining room. In a few moments she was back.
“My father,” he went on, “has two friends who know a lot about the sinking of the Lucy Belle. They think a treasure was taken from the wreck and buried somewhere around here. They went to the public library and the one at the university for some books that might tell about it but learned nothing.” (There were way…. too many library references to the private library in this book, some I left out)
No. 47: The Mysterious Mannequin: “We picked up a clue,” Nancy remarked, “but we still have to locate Aisha Hatun. I have a hunch. Let’s try the library. I noticed one not far from here.”
“Hello, Nancy,” she said. “I guess you’re surprised to see me here. Most of my pupils go away in the summer and I take this part-time job. How come you’re in this neighborhood? Sleuthing?” Mrs. Armstrong pulled out her card file and thumbed through to the H’s.
“Here it is,” she said. “Miss Aisha Hatun takes out books quite regularly. She must be a great reader. Oh, oh. She has two overdue books.” After a moment’s pause, Mrs. Armstrong continued, “She lives at 26 Dawson Street.” Nancy was thrilled to have the address. At last she seemed to be getting somewhere on the mystery.
Mrs. Armstrong went on, “She lives with a couple named Kosay.” Nancy thanked the librarian, said she was glad to see her again, and went off. It was only a few minutes’ walk to 26 Dawson Street.
This reminds me of census records where a person lives as a boarder under a different head of household that might not be part of the indexes (before all-name searching available today) for censuses since 1850. Before 1850 you still have the head of household issue. (chapter 11)
No. 51: Mystery of the Glowing Eye: “I’m inclined to agree,” said Nancy. “Let’s stop at the library and see what we can find out about the Anderson Museum.” The girl at the reference desk there told them she had never been to the museum but understood it was a spooky place. “But look in the newspaper file. I think there’s an article in one of the papers.” (chapter 4)
No. 11: The Clue of the Broken Locket: Nancy would have preferred that the girls say nothing, but Cecily spoke up eagerly. “Yes, I’m looking for an iron bird. I have no idea what it looks like, and I’m not sure whether the lodge is the place for me to search. My ancestors once lived in a similar house, though, and I’m curious to find out if this is the one.”
He said he must be leaving and walked off toward Pudding Stone Lodge. Nancy had a sudden hunch that he would search for the iron bird himself—that he probably suspected there was more to the whole story than Cecily had revealed. (chapter 6)
George said she had learned that the original owner of Pudding Stone Lodge was André Delaroy and it had been built in 1825. His two sons were Simon and William. She smiled at Cecily. “It sure looks as if Pudding Stone Lodge was really your ancestor’s home.” Cecily was greatly excited, and listened intently as George went on, “The property was inherited by Simon Delaroy’s only child, Ann. She married a Wayne.”
“Oh, George, that’s wonderful!” Cecily said, her eyes dancing. “We are looking in the right place for the iron bird! Just think! The old family treasure must be buried someplace at the lodge. As soon as we finish eating, let’s go back and make plans.” (chapter 7)
No. 19: The Quest of the Missing Map: The following morning Nancy spent two hours at the library examining old atlases and historic records. Although the librarian permitted her access to some old and precious maps, she could find no chart which bore any resemblance to the scrap in her possession.
Disappointed, Nancy turned to business directories and biographies. She carefully studied the names listed. “There’s not a John Abner Tomlin Jr. among them,” Nancy sighed.
Next, she consulted an old book on ships lost at sea. It contained a brief account of the sinking of the Sea Hawk. Captain Abner Tomlin, age forty-five, was in charge of the freighter. There also was a list of the officers and sailors who had shipped aboard.
Next, Nancy went to the newspaper office of the River Heights Gazette and asked if she might look through their files of old issues. Soon she was busy searching for stories concerning the Chatham estate. Without much trouble she found an article reporting the sale of Rocky Edge, after the owner Silas Norse had died.
Finally her eyes lighted upon a startling headline: BURGLAR STARTS LAWSUIT Thief Injured at Estate Claims Damages. The story went on to tell how one Spike Doty had broken into the home of Silas Norse. As he was about to escape with valuable loot, he had been caught between sliding panels and injured rather badly.
She hunted further and found a photograph and an article about the inventor himself. There were pictures of various rooms in his home, showing sliding panels, secret closets, and several gadgets. (chapter 4)
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