2018 A to Z: Q… All About Nancy Drew

2018 A to Z: Q… All About Nancy Drew

Q 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!


Q is for… Quotes and Questions


Sharing many of my favorite quotes from the books I’ve read as of this writing… and I’m sure you have many favorites also! Enjoy my ramblings… along with the quotes!


How many times has Nancy almost been poisoned, starved, knocked unconscious, tied up, drowned or tricked…“I’ve been tricked, this powder may be poison”, Nancy says. I need to hire Nancy to solve my dilemma here, as I didn’t note which book this quote is from!


How many times have we heard Nancy say this?

The Moonstone Castle Mystery: Bess screamed. “The castle is haunted! A ghost must be raising the drawbridge.” RT, pg. 42

The Moonstone Castle Mystery: An unidentified mans voice from inside the castle says, “swim-m-m  ba-a-a-ack! Death awaits you here!” RT, pg. 56

The Mystery at Lilac Inn:And now meet your double, Nancy Drew!” said Gay Moreau, the washed-up actress in the play!

Bess and George enjoyed teasing Nancy about a new handsome guy who suddenly appeared at the fire in The Clue in the Diary… who would soon be in Nancy’s life. “He’s handsome too,” Bess giggled, “and what a soulful expression in those big blue eyes of his when he looks at our Nancy.”  Another dilemma here… does Ned really have “blue” eyes … as Wikipedia lists them as brown and his eyes are mentioned as brown in other books. Both his parents’ eyes are written as blue in Nancy’s Mysterious Letter.

The Clue in the Diary: Ned was introduced with this 7-word quote… “I’m Ned Nickerson,” declaring with a warm smile! “Anything I can do?” Those few words first introduced Ned into the story-line… certainly catching Nancy’s attention, although she tried hard to appear uninterested…. but we all knew differently!

The Clue in the Diary: “You girls haven’t seen the last of me,” Ned called to them. “I know the road to River Heights and you mustn’t be surprised if I follow it one of these days.” It seems Ned liked what he saw that night of the fire when he met Nancy… took bad Nancy wasn’t as smitten!

Ned soon opened up the door to dates and more, but all our Nancy seemed to be thinking about was… is solving the next mystery… what’s wrong with that girl! Nancy was certainly a tease at the end of The Clue in the Diary… Ned tells her he’ll only start a diary “if I can fill most of the pages with entries of dates with you.” Nancy suggests… “maybe soon I’ll find another mystery we can work on together.” Nancy has a lot to learn about boys!

I’m sure Carson Drew loved every minute when Nancy questioned him immensely over the case of The Secret of the Old Clock. Many times her father is somehow “mysteriously” involved in the same mystery that Nancy is trying to solve. “You sound like a trial lawyer, the way you cross-examined me.” Mr. Drew told Nancy.

The Secret of the Old Clock: Nancy stood silently in the musty old closet, hoping the villains would leave and not discover her hiding inside, but that was not the case! I was a little surprised when Nancy seemed to give up so easily, especially as she’s usually such a strong woman.  “They’ve left me here to starve,” Nancy thought frantically! I’m sure we all laughed when she said that!

 The Clue of the Broken Locket: While Nancy and Cecily searched for Susan, who they soon discovered was tied up… they then were captured and all three forced down the stone steps to the beach house below and locked in.  “You girls will never see daylight again!”

Nancy seemed to have given in to her feminine wiles in The Clue of the Broken Locket, but usually, she’s strong on her own merit. “Oh Ned,” Nancy cried, “I’ve never been so glad to see you.” Ned and Burt had busted through the door to rescue the ladies… see Nancy can’t always get herself out of some jams… nice to have the guys along for the ride!

If I was Nancy, I’d be thinking… I’m doomed and never to get out of this damp hole I was just forced to climb into… down a flimsy wooden ladder. The nurse wasn’t so smart though, as she threw the pieces of the broken ladder down the hole also… giving Nancy tools to help her escape with… in The Password to Larkspur Lane. This is worse than I bargained for, Nancy thought ruefully.”

Come on Ned, when are you going to make Nancy your “real” girlfriend, as you’re always willing to be right there for her, especially in The Password to Larkspur Lane. Ned says, “you don’t expect me to look at this (bits of paper from the burned fireworks) when I could be looking at you.” Come on Nancy, there’s your chance, don’t flub it! Nancy blushes and tells Ned to please be serious… but it’s Nancy who should get serious as Ned is telling her pretty directly… he wants more in the relationship!

The Scarlet Slipper Mystery. “I’m making a mountain out of a molehill,” says Nancy. (Bk 32, pg.32.) I laughed out loud at that, as it’s one of my mother’s favorite sayings!

Nancy should learn to sometime forget solving mysteries and just enjoy being a girl with Ned, especially in the moonlight! (The Scarlet Slipper Mystery) Ned chuckled, “It isn’t often that I get a chance to ride along the Muskoka River with you in the moonlight.” Maybe if Ned said more words to Nancy like this, he might get her mind off solving so many mysteries. (pg.85)

I guess the villains haven’t learned yet that certain words only encourages Nancy as they found out in The Scarlet Slipper Mystery. “Stop your detective work at once or you will find yourself in grave peril!” ( pg. 112)

“Do not turn around! You are my prisoners and will do exactly what I tell you!” The Scarlet Slipper Mystery (pg. 131)

Nancy said, “When I run into a dead end on a clue, I go back to the beginning and start all over again.” The Scarlet Slipper Mystery (pg. 159) Talk about being persistent!

The Secret of the Old Clock: Nancy, sometimes, receives the very thing as a gift, that she’d been searching for… as in the old clock; what an awesome gift to receive, but too bad it’s never mentioned in another storyline as sitting on the Drew mantle. “I’ll always prize this clock as a trophy of my first venture as a detective,” Nancy said with a broad smile. (pg. 180)

Who wouldn’t love a car for their birthday… in fact, Carson Drew gave Nancy a few cars throughout the books, but her first one was in The Secret of the Old Clock. “It was sweet of Dad to give me this car for my birthday,” Nancy thought.

In The Hidden Staircase, Nancy takes a revolver to the Twin Elms mansion, that her father gave her, and said, “I don’t know whether I could hit the broad side of a barn or not!” That expression sounds more like what my mother would say… sounds very Southern. I did find it odd that Nancy had no confidence in handling a gun, and if she didn’t, why would her father give it to her. I think we should have seen a chapter where Nancy and her father went hunting… can’t you just picture that? In later books, we know that Nancy most definitely can hit the broad side of a barn!

Nancy hasn’t learned yet, to never talk about cases outside, as undoubtedly someone was always eavesdropping behind the rose hedge in The Invisible Intruder. “Nancy Drew I am warning you – beware of the dead! Forget the ghost hunt!”  Warning Nancy about anything only makes her want it more, as she says to herself… “Well, he’s not scaring me out of the ghost hunt, this just makes it doubly interesting, and maybe doubly dangerous. I’ll have to watch my steps!

After Nancy was awakened from sleep, and hearing two voices whispering near her window, she quickly put on a robe and slippers and went out to investigate in The Invisible Intruder. She soon began hearing a voice singing over and over... “Ghosts own Sevanee Lake… go away while there is time!” Things like that never make Nancy run away!

How could anyone think that a canoe could actually paddle itself… and to outrun you was even funnier. I’ll have to give it to them though, it was a clever idea of how it operated. “Ned, The self-paddling canoe is just ahead of us,” said Nancy in  The Invisible Intruder. They must have been gaining on the canoe as suddenly their own canoe was turned over and Ned went in the water. Nancy quickly dived under to find Ned, but in coming up she sees him being dragged to shore by giant arms that resemble an octopus. What did the readers think in trying to imagine a giant octopus rescuing and delivering Ned to shore… it was quite funny to imagine, but made him look a little wimpy!

nancy octopus

The Invisible Intruder! “I’m sure octopuses don’t live in this lake, so this one must have been imported,” Ned said. Imported… really… that had me laughing! Doesn’t everyone know that octopus are seawater creatures, that should have been the first clue that it wasn’t real! What was Ned thinking!

I’ll leave out the spoiler here, but be assured, as always… Nancy solves all her mysteries in the end and it’s no different in The Invisible Intruder.The mystery is solved,” called Ned as he’s hit on the head with the very object, in question, falling on him. (I’m leaving out the spoiler)

George and Bess know Nancy better than anyone, as in The Invisible Intruder when George said, “Nancy never leaves a case unfinished.”  Yes, Nancy solved the case and how the mysterious canoe actually self-propelled across the lake. It was discovered when it almost fell on Ned’s head in searching the attic of the cabin. While Nancy solved the question of how the canoe worked… the criminals hadn’t been apprehended as of yet, as they left to continue onto the other multiple mysteries in this book! (I felt there were too many mysteries in this one book… who would have that many mysteries in a row to solve)

Nancy hoped to look around more as the medium read the palms of George and Bess, but in The Invisible Intruder, Madame Tarantella had other plans saying, “I will take this young lady first (Nancy).”  

Doesn’t every medium tell you there’s a man waiting for you in your future? My girlfriend and I went to one once, as giggly teenagers… and of course, she told me I would marry a man with dark hair… and yes I did! In The Invisible Intruder, the medium smiled at Nancy and said, “You’re a sweet, understanding young lady, and as a result, you have many friends. A tall, dark good-looking college man is very dear to you. In the future, you will be asked to make a decision involving this friend.”

Mildred must have loved “Gone with the Wind” using the words “reckon” and “declare”… it’s definitely not northern slang! I do declare I’ve never heard a Yankee utter it as of yet… unless in making fun of me saying it! It did have me laughing when I read it in Nancy’s Mysterious Letter.” I declare young people these days are the most selfish and careless, with no consideration for their elders at all.”  (pg.77)

All that gibberish from the bank teller just to cash a ten-dollar check… I didn’t realize that two-dollar bills were even used back then! It made me laugh to read how Nancy went all the way to the bank to just cash a check; why didn’t she just write Mrs. Sheets a check that very day when she offered to pay her! In Nancy’s Mysterious Letter the teller gives Nancy options, saying “how’ll you have it,” and then continued with, “all in ones, or five two’s or two fives, or how?”  It’s only ten dollars, really!

I laughed out loud at reading this southern expression in Nancy’s Mysterious Letter … I’ve heard southern expressions all my life from my mother. “I’m not so blind that I can’t see through a knot-hole,” said Mrs. Sheets. In the revisions, I wondered why Mrs. Sheets name was changed to Mrs. Skeets… seemed unnecessary, but I guess Mrs. Skeets sounds a little more villainess!

Nancy’s Mysterious Letter: “Fancy a letter-carrier “retiring! I didn’t know they were paid well enough to save up a fortune.” (pg. 4… you’ll have to go look to see who said this)

Nancy’s Mysterious Letter: “You’ll catch your death of cold out in just that thin dress,” Hannah said.

The Mysterious Letter:I know you are Nancy Drew,” mimicked the stranger. “I’ve seen you go flibberty – jibbet in your auto many a time.” Mrs. Sheetz said. (pg. 63) I laughed out loud at that description of Nancy’s auto sound…. ever hear that sound?

The Mysterious Letter: “Have I known many of them? Thank goodness, No! Just you and the other one, and you are both cut out of the same cloth, I’ll say,” Mrs. Sheetz said. Nancy held her tongue, thinking… so someone knows the other Nancy Smith Drew – it’s a clue!

It was quite humorous when George yelled to Bess in The Clue in the Crumbling Wall“I’ve been stranded here for hours! Just wait until I get my hands on Nancy Drew!” George fell in the pond and took off her clothes to dry… hiding nearby in the stone tool house. What was she thinking? Wet or no, I wouldn’t have hung all my clothes out on the bushes to dry while I waited in my undies… for someone to find me! But it was funny when the young boy escaped with her clothes… should she have chased him in her bra and panties? Oh Yes, she should have!

Hannah said, “Nancy, you’re just like a cat with nine lives, the way you often just miss being injured.” The Bungalow Mystery – That was so true! It’s astonishing how she’s never seriously hurt… especially after being involved in high-speed car chases, fighting with criminals, and never afraid to be out late at night, while flying through the countryside in an open roadster.

“You’re the best-looking burglar I’ve ever seen, Nancy says” in The Invisible Intruder. Nancy was certainly giving Ned the once-over in making that remark, and probably thinking more than she was letting on! Too bad she never gave it another thought again…  our Nancy seems to be all talk… No action!

Ned says, “Nancy, how about taking your mind off mysteries for a while and thinking of me instead?” Nancy responds, “aye, aye sir!” I can’t remember which book this is from… do let me know!

in The Invisible Intruder, Madame Tarantella pointed a finger at our Nancy and screamed, “you did this, may your grandfather’s spirit come down and strike you dead!” (Pg. 173) I would have run right out of there!

George whispered to Nancy with a soft giggle (The Invisible Intruder), “she looks like a cross between Cinderella and a Witch.” (pg. 58)

Lieutenant Sanford said, “you’re an amateur detective aren’t you?” Haven’t I read about you in the newspapers? The Invisible Intruder (pg. 129) What police officer would really say that?

In The Haunted Bridge“I am Nancy Drew and I am here to help you.” That line cracked me up… sometimes she reminds me of Temperance on the TV series “Bones”. I think she’d make a great actress to play Nancy Drew on TV! If you’ve never watched that show… give it a try!

The Hidden Window Mystery:We’re in the slave quarters!” Annette exclaimed. “How quaint,” Bess said dreamily, viewing the huge fireplace and copper kettles hanging on the bricks. I’m sure this was in the OT (original text) but was cut for the RT (revised text). Poor Bess, those kettles were making her think of food… and hunger was setting in!

Criminals, like bad money, have a way of turning up sooner or later“, Nancy said in The Secret of the Wooden Lady. Are they saying… money is the root of all evil?

(Pg. 76 OT) “If you girls go alone, I must insist that you take a revolver,” Mrs. Rawley said. “Mr. Miller tells me that there’s b’ar in them mountains.” Nancy did shoot an animal chasing after them… but it wasn’t a b’ar! (The Secret of Shadow Ranch)

The Mystery of the Fire Dragon: (Pg. 144) “This is a dreadful fix to be in, Nancy groaned. “What am I going to do?”

The Strange Message in the Parchment:This is a piece from that sneak thief’s skirt!” she exclaimed. “What a great clue! Togo, you’re a clever little dog.”

The Ghost of Blackwood Hall: “If I ever try to solve a mystery with a ghost in it, I”ll use a smart cat to help me!” Nancy Drew remarked laughingly. “Cats aren’t afraid of ghosts. Did you know that, Togo?”

The Secret of Red Gate Farm: Mr. Drew laughed. “Nancy,” he said, “as I think of your adventures at Red Gate Farm, I can’t decide whether you’re better as a detective or as a promoter!” Maybe Nancy did miss her calling!

The Clue of the Black Keys: The man in the blue sedan said, “arrest me, will you”, he roared. “It’s this girl – you said her name is Nancy Drew – she’s the one you ought to arrest.”

The Clue of the Velvet Mask: “You’ll make a detective out of me yet, Nancy Drew.” Ned laughed. (pg. 166)

You tell me where this quote is from: “If I ever try to solve a mystery without a ghost in it, I’ll use a smart cat to help me!” Nancy Drew remarked laughingly. “Cats aren’t afraid of ghosts. Did you know that Toga?”



Don’t we all have oodles and oodles of questions for Nancy… if we could only ask!!! I’m sure if you’re reading… you have a few! Be sure and leave me a comment below with yours!

We all came onboard reading about Nancy’s sleuthing when she was pretty much all grown up… already driving, solving mysteries… and out of school. Did you ever think about what Nancy must have been like as a young girl, what did she read… did she daydream about solving mysteries or solve mysteries while in school? At least now they have the Nancy Drew Clue Crews books to give you that glimpse of Nancy at age eight. I’ve bought them for my granddaughters… hoping it will bring them into the love I have for my Nancy Drew books. Don’t you wish we had them… when we were eight?

Who taught Nancy to drive that roadster… you know it wasn’t an automatic! If you’ve ever driven a standard, well you know that there’s an art to the learning curve of pushing in the clutch and slowing letting it out, while giving gas with the other foot! I remember learning how to drive my first standard car… a brand new 1973 Volkswagen Beetle! Hubby taught me on the backroads… amongst much yelling and sometimes crying on my part, but I learned! Hmmm…. who taught Nancy?  Can’t you just picture Nancy with her dad… she all dressed up in one of her sporty dresses with a straw hat and a handbag on the seat beside her. I’m sure Nancy didn’t have hissy fits like I did… or did she? My mother taught herself how to drive a standard… a truck loaned to her. She often tells me how she practiced at the edge of her father’s field and learned to park in between his two peach trees. He growled later on, about how she scraped those trees so much that they never produced any more peaches… but she learned!

As much as we all read our Nancy Drew books… what did Nancy read? It might be nice to see her talk about what she enjoyed reading… when not solving mysteries. And what do you like to read… when not reading Nancy Drew? In the past, I’ve read almost all of the Anne Rice novels… remember the vampire Lestat. I guess I’ve always had a “thing” about vampires as I’ve also read all the Dark Shadows books… they keep Nancy company in my bookcase! I haven’t begun to re-read them yet, but hubby and I still watch the old soap opera Dark Shadows. (Wouldn’t that show make a great A to Z… I just might have to work on that)

Once Nancy met Ned… you just know that she liked him from that first meeting… but definitely not wanting to let Bess and George know… or she’d never have heard the end of it! Bess would have needled her incessantly… with questions of…  “are you going to go out with him? Do you like him? Isn’t he cute?” Even though there were some dates… they were always around others… what was wrong with those two… hardly going anywhere by themselves! Did he ever really kiss her? I suppose if they had let Nancy be too friendly with Ned, it might have turned off readers… I’m sure there was a reason for keeping the relationship more long-distance!

The genealogist in me wanted to read more about her mother… reading reminiscences of Nancy thinking about her mother, especially in the early books. Nancy was old enough to remember her mother… so you’d think at least yearly, on the anniversary of her death, she’d mention her. The writers seemed to have swept all information about her mother… under the rug… so to speak!

What Are Your Questions?

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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/
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6 Responses to 2018 A to Z: Q… All About Nancy Drew

  1. Another long post but what a wealth of information! That quote about not hitting the broad side of a barn is quite common in Canada even to this day and applies to everything from a weapon to a ball or even a dart at a carnival.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Wendy says:

    Although I don’t remember all these stories, the quotes made me laugh. The drama. The corniness. Quintessential Nancy Drew.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. JEN Garrett says:

    I was more of a Trixie Belden fan myself, but I love the innocence of those books back then – the romance always kept at a crush even though the characters were technically old enough to get more serious. In this way a ten-year-old could feel all grown up reading about a teenaged detective without actually having to deal with the emotional mysteries that would hit them soon enough at puberty.
    Maybe it was a disservice, but as I look back on my ten-year-old self, I appreciate it.

    Liked by 1 person

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