2018 A to Z: X… All About Nancy Drew

2018 A to Z: X… All About Nancy Drew

X 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!


X is for… X marks the spot, There’s an X in Hoax, X Words found throughout Nancy Drew stories, and Crossword Puzzle (pun on X), and eXtra’s

“X” marks the spot

While I’m only writing on the first 56… which I consider the classics… I was at a loss for anything X, but on No. 57, The Triple Hoax I found my X.


Sounds like Nancy had to do a little algebra in solving this one!

There’s an X in Hoax:

The Moonstone Castle Mystery: Maybe the whole thing was a “hoax“, George thought!

X Words found describing throughout Nancy Drew…

Exquisite, Expensive, Except, Examining, Exclamation, Expect, Examined, Exclaimed, Exasperated, Expressed, Excused, Exhibit, Extravagantly, Exquisite, Explained, Extremely, Excited, Expected, Exotic, Excused, Exactly, Exuberance, Expression, Obnoxious, Exasperating, Hoax, Expression, Excellent, Excuse, Extremely, Expensive, Oxygen, Exchanges, Wax, Taxi.

Wanna Play Nancy Drew and sleuth your way to discover from which book I took these X words from? The answer will be on Letter Z!


Crossword Puzzle (a play on X)



Simon & Schuster Mega Crossword Puzzle Book #16 asked: 42 Down – “Nancy Drew” author… I”m sure you knew the answer!


CROSSWORD CLUE: Nancy Drew’s boyfriend
Posted on: January 14 2018
Publisher: New York Times




Anyone who collects Nancy Drew books will tell you… “oh yes, I have “extra’s!”  Why? Well, there are many reasons why you would, or should have extras…

  • someone gave them to you (don’t you love those extras!)
  • the price was too cheap… to not buy
  • because the book cover was different from the one you already had
  • extra’s can be used for trading
  • just because you couldn’t leave it behind
  • there’s always a good reason to buy more!

It’s almost literally impossible to not have “extra’s”…. you buy a copy, then you find a better copy to upgrade.. hence the Extra! Also, if you want one of each of the many different variations of the books including the originals, revisions, dust jackets, flashlights, and variations on the matte book cover colors… they all add up to be your “extra’s.” Note: If you don’t want your “extras”… send to ME!

magnificator ThanksForReading

Want to read more, click below….

2018: A to Z – All About Nancy Drew

© 2018, copyright Jeanne Bryan Insalaco; all rights reserved

Posted in 2018: A to Z - All About Nancy Drew, Daily Writings and funnies... | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

2018 A to Z: W… All About Nancy Drew

2018 A to Z: W… All About Nancy Drew

W glassIn 2016 I first learned of the 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 A to Z theme of Southern Foods and Memories; it said to write what you know! When April of 2017 rolled around, I decided to share A to Z 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!


W is for… Warnings, Where is River Heights, Writings, War, and Why do I Collect Nancy Drew?


The Clue of the Velvet Mask: pg. 44 – phone call: “Nancy Drew, keep out of affairs that aren’t your own. If you don’t, be prepared for the consequences!”

The Clue of the Black Keys: pg. 62 – a note to Nancy: “No more interference or there will be trouble for you!”

The Ringmaster’s Secret: pg. 5 – verbal: “If you know what’s good for you, Miss Drew, you’ll stay away from circus riding.”

The Secret of the Wooden Lady: pg. 18 – telephone call: “Tell your father to stay away from Easterly’s ship. Do you hear?”

The Clue of the Leaning Chimney: pg. 4 – told to her face: “If you don’t get going, you’ll get hurt.”

The Ghosts of Blackwood Hall: pg. 75 – note left in the tree: “If you are a believer, may the wrath of all the Humphrey’s descend upon you.”

The Mystery of The Tolling Bell: pg. 44 – phone call: “Stop her. Don’t let her go.”

The Secret in the Old Attic: pg. 125 – letter: “Further accusations will lead to a libel suit.”

The Brass Bound Trunk: pg. 27 – on the phone: “Don’t sail on the Patrician next week if you know what’s wise! That’s all, but remember!”

The Whispering Statue: pg. 4 – on the phone: “You tell Mrs. Merriam to shut up or she’ll get hurt and you people too.”

Password to Larkspur Lane: pg. 21 – in person: “Tell Carson Drew to mind his own business or he’s in for a bad shock.

The Secret of Red Gate Farm: pg. 43 – phone call: “Listen, Miss, tell that snoopy friend of yours to stop her snooping, or she’ll be sorry.”

The Secret of Shadow Ranch: Nancy finds a note on the seat of the ranch wagon… written in crudely penciled letters… it said, “Keep away from Shadow Ranch.” If they knew Nancy, they’d have known that such note only intrigued her to go there even more!

Where is River Heights:


The Drew Home

If River Heights wasn’t a fictional place… it would so be on my list of places to visit! Who wouldn’t love to drive by Nancy Drew’s home on Oakwood Avenue… hoping to see her blue roadster parked in the driveway! (now to remember where I found this reference of Oakwood Avenue?)

Reading Nancy Drew books are a cool way to roam the country and even travel abroad… and all from the comfort of your couch! All the quaint resorts and inns that Nancy visits often reminds me of how I’ve heard the Pocono resorts were during those times.

The town of River Heights was the most populated in the 1960’s and 1970’s… that was at the time when many of the Nancy Drew books were being revised… maybe those books sparked an interest in the newer generations to the continuing read of Nancy Drew and wishing to visit River Heights… back to simpler times.

So where do you think River Heights was… other than somewhere in your mind… I’d love to hear your comments!


Table from All Around River Heights blog. Do take the time to check out this blog, as whoever wrote this did an awesome amount of research.

River Heights has been suggested, rumored to be somewhere midwest, possibly in either Ohio, Iowa, Indiana, or Illinois… but also New Jersey is later suggested when Harriet Adams began writing. As the first writer, Mildred W. Benson lived in Iowa, many considered she wrote her area for the setting to be River Heights… knowing it best.

I’ve often thought, or wondered… did Mildred leave us clues in her writing as to where River Heights really was… maybe like an “Easter Egg.” Ok sleuths… get busy! They always tell you, write what you know… and maybe she did!

In searching for a Muskoka River, I found that there really is a river by that name in the Muskoka District of Ontario, Canada. In as often as Nancy wore that bathing suit she kept tucked in her “to go” bag… I don’t think River Heights was located in Canada, but somehow I feel Mildred might have visited this area and something about it remained in her mind.

In as much as Nancy visited her aunt in NYC, was she living close by, like maybe in Ohio? There is a University Heights in Iowa, was that a clue… in Illinois, there is an Arlington Heights, Riverside, Riverdale, Riverwoods… so many to ponder on.

In The Clue of the Broken Locket, Nancy drove to Maryland… leaving early afternoon and stopping by late afternoon for dinner… when she was about halfway to her destination of Misty Lake. Nancy’s father said they would drive down and arrive about dusk… so how far away was she? Was early afternoon 1 or 2… was late afternoon around 4 if she arrived at dusk… well depending on the time of year, dusk could be between 7 to 8 in the Northeast. So if she had driven around 7 hours, and arrived in New Jersey… well that definitely meant she didn’t live in New Jersey, as she would have arrived much sooner; we might assume she lives in the midwest… but I feel Iowa was too far away for that drive, so possibly Ohio, and I definitely feel it’s a long stretch in saying Indiana or Illinois. I’m going in circles here!!! In the newer Nancy Drew paperbacks, they finally said that Nancy lived in a suburb of Chicago, Illinois… wonder why they finally pinpointed it!

When I read how Bess served cookies and bottles of soda… that made me feel that River Heights was definitely not in the South. As a girl born in the South, we don’t offer you a soda, but we will offer you a Coke! My first job was as a waitress… and my first table was a group of boys from Ohio who ordered “pop.” I had no clue what that even was, so I just told them we were all out. They had a good laugh at me after I finally realized they only wanted a Coke… wouldn’t it have been a lot easier if they had just told me that they wanted a Coke in the first place! That seems to throw out my theory that River Heights might be in Ohio… they never offered “pop” in the book… but we do we say soda in New England.

While I haven’t found very many real city names mentioned in my readings so far … maybe the Syndicate had a rule that they didn’t want to list “real” city names? Whenever Nancy goes to NYC, did they mention Manhatten, or do they mostly just say NYC… I’ll need to recheck that. In The Hidden Staircase, they did write the city of Chicago in.

river heights

In The Clue of The Leaning Chimney, the story mentioned a white china clay, or “Kaolin.” While deposits of this clay are found in several states, ironically… it is the state rock of Iowa! Is that the clue to Nancy’s home state? Was that the “Easter Egg” Mildred secretly wrote in? Maybe if I look close enough I can find a clay quarry on here!


After all my research and writing of this A to Z, I feel compelled to write my own Nancy Drew novella! Maybe I’ll have Nancy Drew help my character, Rebecca, solve her mystery in Behind the Wall… a novel I’ve worked on for years. What a twist that would make to my story!

Why did I choose Nancy Drew for my A to Z? Nancy Drew came back into my life as I began buying books for my granddaughter… I fell in love with Nancy again… retreating back to my childhood. Reading Nancy Drew is much more fun than listening to the world news in today’s world.

Too bad our Nancy Drew never kept a journal through-out her mystery stories… wouldn’t it be interesting to read her thoughts as she chased down the villains! That could be a story all by itself!

I always keep paper and pencils close by… doodling or writing… my hands have a want to be kept busy. I’m a doodler, in thinking of what to write… often drawing on the side of my writings. My mother has always said… “just give you a box of paper, scissors, and pencils as a child… and you’d stay busy all afternoon.” I guess that was the beginning of my writing and blogging!

I don’t know if I could churn out a manuscript in 30 days like the ghostwriters did for the Nancy Drew books… how often were the scenes similar in many of the children series books?

November brings the NaNoWriMo writing challenge… maybe I’ll gear up for my own Nancy Drew novel this year. I joined that challenge a few years ago in writing a story that had lingered in my mind for years; I managed to write the 50,000 words required. It’s a fun write, but be forewarned… you’ll need to sit in front of your computer daily to reach your goal!


During the war years, there were many issues that dwindled away from the books… in a way, it was their contribution to the war effort. Nancy was no longer mentioned as driving the country roads as she sleuthed her mysteries. The, as to “how” Nancy arrived at the many places mentioned, seemed to have been left to the reader’s imagination. Everyone during WWII wanted to do their part, and the Syndicate was no different. They toned down many topics during the war years.

Special Armed Service Edition books were produced for the war

Even though the books somewhat rationed gasoline by not writing about Nancy driving, it didn’t stop people from getting to the stores to buy her books. The demand for books was higher during wartime… why… because people spent more time home… they read stories to escape from the war news. Publishers gave away over 122,951,031 copies of their most valuable titles during the war years. Not sure if soldiers, at that time, would have read Nancy Drew, but possibly they may have read the Hardy Boys if they were available. Even though they were targeted for a younger audience, maybe they enjoyed bringing themselves back to their younger years, when times were care free… taking their minds off war for the moment.

The Stratemeyer Syndicate was forced to donate their old unused metal bookplates for scrap metal collections by the government in WWII. During the war years, the Nancy Drew books were printed with a new motto on their title page… “This book while produced under wartime conditions is in full compliance with government regulations for the conservation of paper and other essential materials is COMPLETE AND UNABRIDGED.”

war clip

This appeared on G&D books from 1943 to 1945

For the most part, the Syndicate did not address war issues, but as many children series books later began to address the war in their books, Harriet soon felt compelled to join in. In the Secret of the Old Attic (1943), they introduced a grandfather who had fought in WWI and also mentioned his deceased son.

In The Quest of the Missing Map (1942), published just after the US entered WWII… this was mentioned in the book… “Nancy and George found two letters and some type of a machine in a secret tunnel on the Chatham estate. One of the letters said the War Department (pg. 76-89) might be interested in it.” Later in the book, an older man told Nancy “war bickering… Yes, there’s plenty of it these days. What the world’s a-coming to, I don’t know.” (pg. 141)” While I haven’t read this volume yet, I’m sure it must have been in the “original text” version.

By the time Harriet received the manuscript of The Mystery of the Brass Bound Trunk, war news was beginning and she felt compelled to make more changes than ever to the book before printing occurred. Harriet completely changed the country of England that Nancy was traveling to… and rewriting her to instead go to Buenos Aires! War made Harriet feel the need to change the country where Nancy was originally heading to.

To somewhat appease readers about the war, Harriet asked Mildred to somehow write that Ned was in Europe and mention that Nancy was now taking flying lessons; to somewhat hint that she was learning to fly as part of the war effort. I’m not quite sure how Nancy learning how to fly a plane would be taken as doing her part for the war… do you? Was she going to become a secret spy for the government? Actually, I wouldn’t put it past her!

The first war casualty to affect the Syndicate family was Ensign R. V. Adams, Jr., the son of Harriet S. Adams. Harriet’s sister, Edna, stepped in for a short period until Harriet returned to work.

The war caused many changes around the globe that affected the Nancy Drew mystery books. Norway was the first foreign country to publish a Nancy Drew story, but after six volumes had been printed… the Nazi’s quickly stopped all production on more printings.

Nancy, a.k.a. Kitty, Susanne, Alice… were the many names Nancy Drew translated into for their readers in Norway and other European Countries. Another change besides the name was the color of her car… it became red! I guess blue wasn’t a favorite color there, but red is definitely my favorite color! In 1941, Norway was occupied by German forces who were very strict with what books could be confiscated. Eventually, Nancy Drew also found herself on the list, along with children classics such as Robinson Crusoe, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, The Three Musketeers, and The Jungle Book. What good company our Nancy Drew kept!

War Restrictions also affected the printing of Nancy Drew books; in 1942, American publishers were restricted in how much paper they could use. The beginning of their allowance was first cut to using only 90% of the paper they had used in 1941; it later fell to 75% by 1944.

It took more than just paper to print those Nancy Drew books… other things such as copper, cloth, lead and even chlorine began to affect the printing industry. Plus the shortage of printers and binders, due to the draft, was another issue.

To further explain the things that affected the printing… Book Cloth was replaced with pressed paper… Copper was needed to make electrotype printing plates… Lead had been used as an element in the type of metal used in line castors like Linotype… Chlorine was needed to bleach and change the pH level of the wood pulp in order for it to remain white and flexible over a longer period of time; chlorine was also needed by the war department… it was the main ingredient in the manufacture of explosives.

The white paper normally used for printing book pages also became scarce during the war, so Grossett & Dunlap turned to using pulp paper in 1942; the white paper suppliers dwindled during the war years. The problem with the pulp paper was that it aged brown and often turned brittle with exposure to sunlight, air, and heat. It wasn’t until 1949, that G&W returned to using the good white paper again on their series books.

Besides the change to pulp paper, the paper itself became thinner… even using smaller margins. The thickness of the Nancy Drew books changed also from their usual two inches thick… down to almost one inch or so. Shrinking that much made for fast reads through those books… but as there was a high American patriotism during the war… no one complained!

Also during the war years, there was less mentioning of the scrumptious foods that Nancy and her friends had enjoyed earlier in the books. By the 1950’s, the elaborate foods we had remembered, once again reappeared back on the pages. I’ve always paid attention to the details of the food… as I often thought some of the dishes a strange pairing.

Why do I Collect Nancy Drew:

I had never forgotten Nancy Drew, but she came back into my life in 2017. Why? I had begun to make a collection for my granddaughter… but it wasn’t long before I fell back in love with Nancy Drew… falling hook, line, and sinker! I soon began searching for the yellow vintage books I had grown up with, in the 1960’s. The more I held them in my hand… they brought back my childhood memories of being so excited when I went to the stores with my mother and came home with a new book. And you know what happens when you begin collecting… there are always more “accessories” that goes along… and Nancy is known for her “accessories”!

magnificator ThanksForReading

Want to read more, click below….

2018: A to Z – All About Nancy Drew

© 2018, copyright Jeanne Bryan Insalaco; all rights reserved

Posted in 2018: A to Z - All About Nancy Drew, Daily Writings and funnies... | Tagged , , , , , | 15 Comments

2018 A to Z: V… All About Nancy Drew

2018 A to Z: V… All About Nancy Drew

V 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!


V is for… Villains and Video Games


villian canva

Do you know which covers of our Nancy Drew books match up to these illustrations within… there is always a villain, criminal or person of suspected character which creates that mystery for Nancy to solve?

The “villains” in the Nancy Drew mysteries are who Nancy always escapes from… they were the suspicious characters who she chased, and often who chased her in trying to scare her away! If you’ve only read one Nancy Drew mystery, you know that nothing scares Nancy, it only intrigues her even more!

As Nancy went about her “mystery solving”… she ran into all type of characters, from kidnappers, burglars, psychics, thieves and just dirty rotten scoundrels… and Nancy always prevailed! She’s been locked in closets… left to starve, received countless phone threats, chased by ghosts, and how many times has her car been sideswiped or run off the road! Nothing deters her!

Nancy isn’t easily scared off… in fact, it only encourages her!

A few of the more well-known villain names were Mortimer Bartesque (OT) but it was later slightly changed to a less sounding “villain-like” to Martin Bartesque in the later revised text (RT) volumes.

Don’t laugh, there are even more odd villain names… to the likes of El Gato, Snorky, Swahili Joe, Stumpy Dowd, Nathan Bombet, Fleetfoot Joe, Hector Keep, Cobb Hooker, Tom Tozzle, One Caputti, Zany Shaw, Sid Zikes, Biggs the chauffeur, Harry Tyrox, Ferdinand Slocum, Sniggs, Grumper Franz, Bushy Trott, Horace Dight, John “Bullseye” Bellows, and even Spike Doty, which makes me think of the old cartoon… Spike the bulldog!

There are even more villains with names like Howard Fay, but known as “Flip Fay aka The Crow,” and the Carr brothers with their evil wives. How horrible to be labeled as your husband’s evil wife! And sometimes, they’re even just referred to as “dark, short, or sort of a crooked mouth with beady eyes (The Clue of the Black Keys (OT)).

If they didn’t have a nickname, you just knew they’d be referred to as a descriptive, to the likes of… the “crinkly-eared man,” the masked man, old grizzle face, the bearded man with cruel, beady eyes, or the villain who’s tall and gaunt with piercing eyes, and not to forget the dark-haired, beady-eyed stranger, or just plain written as having a cruel face with a set-jaw and fiery eyes… and there’s also even been a tin can robot villain creature who attacked Nancy Drew.

If only Ned had chased Nancy as well as he helped her chase the villains… well he might have really made her his girlfriend… which was never actually implied!

There’s not even one of the Nancy Drew mystery books which doesn’t have a victim or victims… as what else would Nancy do without them? If I haven’t mentioned all their names here… well you’ll recognize them by their square jaws, ruddy complexion or just plain ornery looks! Don’t tell them I told you!

88  years later, Nancy is still empowering girls to be brave… she’s still the role model of showing how to be the strong female!

Video Games:

old clock for computer games

Picture from Her Interactive… the creators of the Nancy Drew video games.

If only they had video games when I was reading Nancy Drew as a young girl… My, Oh My… wouldn’t I have had fun!

I have not actually played any of the Nancy Drew games for the computer by Her Interactive… but I have watched a few videos of them on YouTube as I’ve been contemplating if my eight-year-old granddaughter could play them. I think I may give her a little more time before buying one, but you never know as kids operate the computer better than we think. I recently gave her a book on Helen Keller and it definitely kept her interest, as her mother said that after reading the entire book, she googled her on the Internet.

Many of the games are somewhat along the same plots as the books, such as The Secret of the Old Clock, while others are completely different; mostly targeted for ages ten and up, so I guess I’m not left out!

While I’ve never been much of a game player on the computer, I might just have to buy one and give it a try before giving to her. I just hope I don’t become too interested, as I already have enough on my plate… especially since adding Nancy Drew back in my life and recently becoming addicted to knitting socks… I just found a yarn that reminds me of the colors of Nancy Drew in yellow and blues… and it’s calling to me!

magnificator ThanksForReading

Want to read more, click below….

2018: A to Z – All About Nancy Drew 

© 2018, copyright Jeanne Bryan Insalaco; all rights reserved

Posted in 2018: A to Z - All About Nancy Drew, Daily Writings and funnies... | Tagged , , , | 12 Comments

2018 A to Z: U… All About Nancy Drew

2018 A to Z: U… All About Nancy Drew

U glassIn 2016 I first learned of the 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!


U is for… Unusual Finds, Urban Dictionary, Unlikely Events Happening to Nancy, Undressing, Unconscious, Unraveling Mysteries, and Underground Tunnels/Caves

Unusual Finds:

card books

The Secret Of The Old Clock is a box of postcards of book covers

I spotted a box sitting on an antique shelf showing The Secret of the Old Clock book cover on it… that certainly peeked my interest… I had to know what was inside! It turned out to be a box of postcards, with each card portraying one of the Nancy Drew book covers. It was just too cute to leave behind… besides displaying them with my books, I thought I might be able to use them in a craft… one day. They came home with me!

Urban Dictionary:

The “Urban Dictionary” online gave the meaning of “Nancy Drew” as… to fake something or escape out of a situation, like feigning unconscious until your captor loosens their grip… then you run away… sound familiar?

Unlikely Events that Happens to Nancy: But in the case of being Nancy Drew… they were all very “likely”!

  • Threatening phone calls to Nancy at her home… happening more than once!
  • How many times has Nancy’s roadster or convertible been run off the road, sideswiped or hit from behind? She took all the dents in stride though… just write a check and the car is magically repaired… never loses her cool over a damaged car.
  • Nancy has even had someone break into her bedroom! Guess the watchdog Togo wasn’t on guard duty that night. You’d think Mr. Drew would have had a security system, but that was the time when people left their doors unlocked!
  • A threatening letter was left for Nancy in the mailbox once… was there a stamp on that letter? If not, that was a federal crime in itself!
  • How many times has Nancy been kidnapped or rendered unconscious? Check back on Letter K…  you are in Letter U… so keep reading!
  • Nancy was pushed, shoved into a closet… like when she was on the hunt for the will in The Secret of the Old Clock and told: “no one will ever find you.” Even though she did get herself out of that closet, her friends George and Bess would have never stopped looking for her!

But “All’s Well” that “Ends Well” in the Nancy Drew books!


We all know that our Nancy was not the type of girl to undress, show too much leg, always being prim and proper; I’m sure her bathing suit was quite modest for the times… especially during the 1930’s. I haven’t found any mention of Nancy undressing or being caught undressed, but again there was George caught in her unmentionables… In as much as my mother wanted to be a detective like Nancy Drew, she wasn’t nearly as modest as Nancy was. Mama loved to sunbathe when she grew up on the farm… but her idea of sunbathing was going out in the middle of her fathers wheat field and sunbathing in the nude! My grandfather would get so mad at her, yelling to put her clothes back on that someone would see her… but she’d reply, “we live in the country, who’s going to see me.”

In The Clue in the Crumbling Wall, George takes an accidental swim… falling in a pond where the girls have trespassed while searching for Heath Castle. George takes off her outer clothes to hang on nearby bushes to dry and hides in a nearby stone house out of sight. While she’s patiently waiting for them to dry, she spots a young boy stealing her clothes… and runs off. As this was written in 1945, chasing him in her undies would have been taboo… but I’m sure it wouldn’t have bothered George one little bit!


Stratemeyer had a so-called “recipe” for his books in the very beginning… they must only be 25 chapters… no more… no less; no character can be knocked unconscious more than once per book; action should be shown which would require exclamation marks; last, to write the book in about 30 days.

FYI: Nancy, always “unconsciously” assumes the lead in almost all instances!

The Hidden Staircase: Nancy lays unconscious… after falling down a ladder in discovering the hidden staircase. Funny how Nancy can be knocked out one moment, and be perfectly fine the next!

The Bungalow Mystery: Nancy and her father drag a man and woman out of a car unconscious… they turn out to be villain Stumpy Dowd and his wife. And not to be outdone… Nancy is knocked unconscious later by Stumpy… he sneaks up on her while she’s talking to Jacob; a double unconscious in this book!

Nancy’s Mysterious Letter: Hannah administers first aid to the unconscious mail carrier Ira Nixon.

The Mystery at Lilac Inn: While Nancy was searching for clues with her flashlight, she discovered her friend Helen unconscious.

The Sign of the Twisted Candles: Nancy and Ned discover a man unconscious below the ladder, which had been leaned against the house. Ned leaves Nancy to go phone the police, while Nancy goes inside looking for the guard. All of a sudden, the unconscious man was suddenly standing behind her… Nancy quickly realized that the man had faked his unconscious to outwit them.

The Clue in the Crumbling Wall: Nancy, Bess, and George take a boat out to the Heath castle to search for clues, but before reaching the shore, another boat appears from and crashes into them, sending Bess overboard. George dives in and Nancy helps to pull an unconscious Bess onboard.

The Password to Larkspur Lane: Even after being knocked unconscious the night before… Nancy still plans to break into the estate where she believes Mrs. Eldridge is being held… and says “let’s have milk and crackers and pretend someone didn’t just try to murder me.”

The Clue of the Broken Locket: With not a second to lose, Nancy grabs the unconscious girl and rolled the both of them off the path to safety… just before the speeding log would have slammed into them. This time it wasn’t Nancy who was unconscious, but instead an unknown person she stumbled upon in the forest.

The Thirteenth Pearl: Nancy and Ned are chloroformed as they leave the building where the pearl cult is celebrating… so they both are rendered unconscious!

The Secret of the Golden Pavillion: This time it’s Nancy’s father, Carson Drew, who was found unconscious by his secretary.

The Mystery of the Brass Bound Trunk: In the “original text” Nancy is knocked unconscious when she backs into a stack of leather luggage… they quickly toppled on her, and she fainted into unconsciousness from the blow. In the “revised text“, Nancy, George, and a sailor were down in the hold when suddenly the ship lurched, toppling all the luggage over on them all… knocking George out. Nancy was so upset, thinking George might be seriously hurt… that she then passed out! (double unconsciousness)

The Crooked Bannister: Nancy, Bess, and George are eager to spend an exciting weekend at a mysterious pink zigzag house with a crooked banister… hence the name! Along with this mysterious house, also comes an unpredictable robot… and being unpredictable, the robot attacks Nancy and literally squeezes the breath out of her and becomes unconscious!

The Secret of the Wooden Lady: While Nancy talked to Bess on the phone, Bess said, “I think someone is in my house,” then she screamed and dropped the phone. Nancy hopped into her car, and after arriving, she was attacked on the front steps of Bess’s house. The strong man quickly pressed his thumb on the back of her neck, giving her unbearable pain… causing everything to go black. When Nancy regained consciousness, she found herself back in her car. She tried to stumble up the walk to Bess’s house, but she was too weak and fell back into the car… blasting the horn until Bess’s father came out. Nancy sent him back into the house to check on Bess, where he found her unconscious on her bedroom floor. (double unconsciousness)

The Clue of the Tapping Heels: George and Nancy fall into unconsciousness as they are overcome from incense smells. They pass out not once, but twice. (would this be a double-double unconsciousness?) Incense is enough sometimes to make anyone pass out!

The Ringmasters Secret: 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; later, 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 that rescue.

The Mystery of the Fire Dragon: Nancy decides to visit a bookstore, and while walking on the sidewalk, she is knocked unconscious by a falling vase hitting her on the head. Bess and George continued working on the case while Nancy remained unconscious…

The Phantom of Pine Hill: Nancy accidentally knocked herself out when yanking too hard on a secret panel. Later, Nancy and George are both knocked out when one of the bad guys used a “knockout spray gun” when they were caught snooping. I’m not sure what they meant by the use of a knockout spray gun… new one to me! (I thought it was written… somewhere… that there was only suppose to be one unconscious per book… but again Nancy was knocked out twice in this book!

The Double Jinx Mystery: Mr. Thurston and Ned investigated mysterious things happening near the aviary, and after being delayed, Nancy found them both unconscious. After Ned and Mr. Thurston recovered, Mr. Thurston went back to check on the birds, while Ned and Nancy looked for clues. Following footprints away from the aviary and past the Thurston property, they found an easy clue, an empty chloroform bottle.

After all those “knock-outs”… we must conclude that Nancy had a very “hard head“!

Underground Tunnels/Caves:

Image result for underground cave in nancy drew bookThe Hidden Staircase: Nancy discovers a hidden staircase with many passageways in the stone mansion while searching for ghosts.

The Secret of the Red Gate Farm had a tunnel on the farm which the criminals used… don’t all criminals have a tunnel or cave they hide in?

In Clue of The Broken Locket… there was a tunnel leading from the castle to the lake… making it easier for them in trying to scare everyone away with the ghostly canoe gliding over the misty lake.

The Message in the Hollow Oak… Nancy heads to the Ohio River near Elizabethtown, Illinois in trying to solve the mystery. She went to check out a place that pirates used years ago called Cave in Rock.

Secret of The Old Attic… Nancy finds herself in a tunnel full of cobwebs, but she eventually discovers her way out. Just from the title of the book, I knew she’d end up in a tunnel somewhere that she would need to escape from.

Mystery of the Tolling Bell… Nancy flashed on the light to reveal that the stairs led down to a dark narrow tunnel beneath the old house. It didn’t take her long to venture into that tunnel through a cave from the beach. It was there that she found…. well, you’ll have to read to find out!

The Ghost of Blackwood Hall… “How would you like to go with me to Blackwood Hall?” asked Nancy. “The book at the library told various stories about this old mansion, which stands within a few miles of River Heights. It’s haunted, has a secret tunnel, and is said to house the ghost of one Jonathan Humphrey who lost his life in a duel. Would you like to explore it with me?” WHO would refuse such an offer… I’d be right there with Nancy!

The Hidden Window Mystery… Nancy believed that the tunnel she found was from the Civil War… a tunnel used for slaves to escape through. She quickly suggested that the regular cellar doors be securely bolted, the secret entrance to the tunnel nailed shut, and the trap door in the attic covered with a heavy trunk. (I’m sure the references to slavery was erased from the “revised text”… I’ll have to re-read to see what was written about how the tunnel was used.)

The Secret of The Golden Pavillion… While Nancy watched the octopus waving its tentacles at the opening of the cave, she wasn’t noticing the very large fish swimming toward her… was it the Kaahupahau coming to save her; which was the old Polynesian name given to the Queen of the Sharks that lived in the cave. You’ll have to read to discover! 

The Phantom of Pine Hill… Ned and Nancy searched along the coastline and underwater for caves… but it wasn’t until Nancy and her trusty fingernail file that discovered the secret panel… did they finally make the discovery!

The Invisible Intruder… Nancy had help on this one with Ned. He shone his light below to discover the steps cut out of solid rock, where they descended to find themselves in a short tunnel.

The Crooked Banister… Nancy’s beam of her flashlight revealed an opening, which resulted in being a tunnel. She hurried along the vaulted corridor, made of stone and earth.

The Secret of Mirror Bay… Nancy Says, “we’re here to ask you a question, have you ever seen a cave up in the mountains where thieves might hang out.” The cave I’m thinking of is up in the rough part of the woods“, the clerk said.” Now, who would ask a question like this other than our Nancy Drew!

The Secret of The Forgotten City... Nancy and George finally found the entrance to the bandit’s cave. George said, “what a place for a hunted man to hide out in.” As Nancy waded in, a sudden rush of water swept into the tunnel and knocked her over… the current was soon sweeping her along into the foaming tunnel. (Can’t you just picture all the ocean foam pushing Nancy deep into the tunnel)

The Sky Phantom… No opening is ever too small for Nancy to squeeze through; good thing she had a flashlight hooked on her jeans. She quickly beamed the light inside and saw that it was quite large. You just knew Nancy was curious to discover what was inside!

Mystery of Crocodile Island…  As Nancy and George searched through the mangroves, amidst the sounds of crocodiles grunting and hissing… they came to a low coral cave. At even the mention of walking in areas where crocodiles roamed would have been enough to make me leave that island!

magnificator ThanksForReading

Want to read more, click .….

2018: A to Z – All About Nancy Drew

© 2018, copyright Jeanne Bryan Insalaco; all rights reserved

Posted in 2018: A to Z - All About Nancy Drew, Daily Writings and funnies... | Tagged , , , , , | 7 Comments

2018 A to Z: T… All About Nancy Drew

2018 A to Z: T… All About Nancy Drew

T 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!


T is for… Travel, TV Series, Trivia, and Taboo


Nancy, a young girl of 16 (18 in later books) has probably traveled more than most young girls her age… either alone or with friends. She never seemed to lack money, or problems in buying anything… and never a problem with writing checks for car repairs! What teenager can freely write checks like that?

Foreign travel has had Nancy traveling to… Kenya, Canada, Caribbean, Mexico, Europe, London, India, Scotland, France, Turkey, Hong Kong, Japan, Argentina, Mexico, and Colombia. Remind me if I’ve missed one… only from the first 56 volumes!

Her travels weren’t just limited either to foreign lands… in the United States, she has traveled to Arizona, Nevada, Hawaii, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Florida, Louisiana, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Missouri, Maryland, Vermont, New Hampshire, and New York. Too bad she never traveled to my home state of Georgia… she could have visited Stone Mountain. For a more detailed list of Nancy’s travels in the states and abroad, click HERE…

TV Series:

  • In April of 1957, Desilu & CBS developed a pilot for a Nancy Drew Detective show based on the 1930 movies. Roberta Shore played Nancy Drew with Tim Considine as Ted Nickerson, and Carson Drew was played by Frankie Thomas Jr. Unfortunately the series was never picked up by any sponsors, which made Harriet S. Adams happy… as she never approved of the series. Somehow, there were legal troubles in trying to bring the show to TV… CBS eventually abandoned it.
  • Pamela Sue Martin debuted as Nancy Drew (later Janet Louise Johnson) with The Hardy Boys in 1977-1979 on ABC in The Sunday Night Mysteries Hour; Nancy Drew alternated with The Hardy Boys on every other Sunday night. Parker Stevenson and Shaun Cassidy portrayed the Hardy Boys. Wonder why they kept her as a brunette? They could have added some red highlights to her hair!

  • In 1989 a Canadian Company began filming for a 13-week Nancy Drew series called Nancy Drew & Daughter. Margot Kidder played an adult Nancy Drew with a daughter… also named Nancy. After Margot was injured during the filming of the 1st episode when the brakes failed on the car she drove, the series canceled production the following month. Actually, I liked the idea of Nancy Drew having a daughter named Nancy. Can’t you just picture her daughter, right alongside her, helping to solve cases;  I think someone should revive that idea!
  • 2015: CBS, once again, tried to revive Nancy Drew in a series to be called “Drew”… which would feature Nancy as a non-caucasian (not sure why they felt the need to change her race, and that might have been the downfall of the series.) NYPD detective… fast-forwarded into her 30’s; big change from our 18-year-old Nancy. The pilot was to have Nancy investigating the death of Bess Marvin – who died 6 months prior. (I definitely don’t like that idea… I think Nancy Drew fans would like to see all the girls, somehow… reunited, or at least staying in touch ever so often. They cast Sarah Shahi as Nancy Drew, Anthony Edwards as Carson Drew, Vanessa Ferlito as George Fayne, Steve Kazee as Ned Nickerson, and Debra Monk as Hannah Gruen. CBS passed on the pilot because there was another pilot in competition at the same time; there might have been more to that, as even the Nancy Drew character was quoted as saying “it wasn’t good.” Characters usually have a feeling, and she must have felt that this storyline just wasn’t “Nancy Drew” worthy.
  • 2017: Nancy Drew fans were excited to hear on October 16, 2017, that… once again Nancy Drew might be revised on TV. The same writers from the last pilot will be headlining this pilot also… but taking it in a different direction. This new TV series will feature Nancy reuniting with her both of her best girlfriends, Bess and George… now in their 40s to 50s; they strive to overcome any bad bloodshed since Nancy has found fame, and somehow had lost her best friends along the way. They now come together and pull their strengths to once again solve mysteries as the famous trio we all remember and loved. (Has anyone heard what happened to this series?)


  • In The Sign of the Twisted Candles (OT)… the term “few rods ahead” is mentioned in describing where lightning hit a tree… and means… measurements used by surveyors and equals to 5.5 yards.
  • Nancy Drew was originally 16 years old when the series began in 1930. In the 1950’s they changed her age to 18… to better work with the driving laws.
  • Nancy Drew’s roadster/convertible have not always been blue… they have also been maroon, yellow and green.
  • Nancy Drew has been translated into several languages, with each country often changing her name.
  • In France, our Nancy Drew is known as Alice Roy, she is known as Kitty Drew in Sweden, and Paula Drew in Finland. In Norway, they called the book Miss Detective, but she’s still referred to as Nancy, and in Germany, Nancy is a law student known as Susanne Langen.
  • The Bungalow Mystery is the 3rd book in the Nancy Drew Mysteries and the last volume that Edward Stratemeyer edited before he died; his daughter revised the books in 1959.
  • Nancy first met Ned Nickerson when Nancy accused Ned of trying to steal her car in The Clue of the Diary.
  • Nancy Drew’s name almost became Diana Dare, Stella Strong, Nan Nelson, Helen Hale and even Nan Drew… but they made the best choice with Nancy Drew!
  • The “fan favorite” Nancy Drew book is The Hidden Staircase. Is it yours?
  • In the 1938 Nancy Drew movies, Ned was known as Ted Nickerson… the writers thought that “Ned” was too lame of a name! Really… I actually like Ned better!
  • The first 34 original Nancy Drew books were revised, beginning in 1959. They changed them from a 25 chapter book to a 20 chapter book, erased all stereotype accusations, racial speech, and often rewrote some of the plots.
  • Nancy’s father gives her a maroon convertible in the very first book… The Secret of the Old Clock. How cool to get a car for your 16th birthday!
  • Carolyn Keene was not a real author… only a pen name used by several ghostwriters.
  • Nancy lives in River Heights, a fictional town set in the state of… well, that’s the 64-thousand dollar question! They made the town fictional… so why not set it in a state if it didn’t really exist? Maybe they did it to just drive us fans crazy?
  • The typewriter that Mildred W. Benson used to write the Nancy Drew stories was donated to the Smithsonian Institution.
  • The first printing and first edition of The Secret of the Old Clock, which is the first volume, is such a rarity that there are only about 5 known first printings with the dust jacket. Is there more, I sure hope so as I’d love to find one! It can command almost $10,000.00!


The Stratemeyer Syndicate had formulas for their ghostwriters to “strictly” follow… subjects that they must adhere to and one such subject was “Taboos.”

We all know that Nancy Drew is listed as a “mystery book”, but they were mysteries for young readers… mostly girls. A murder was definitely a taboo in the books. In their guidelines, “taboos” included… “Murder, Liquor, Excess use of slang, Sensationalism, Narcotics, Brutality, Making fun of physical or mental handicaps, and even Foreign Dialect.

Let’s look at them… one by one!

  • Murder: As of yet, I have not read of any murder in Nancy Drew and seriously doubt I ever will… unless there is one lurking in the original text versions. Do let me know if you know of one… maybe I’ve forgotten!
  • Liquor: At the young age of sixteen, I’m happy to have “not” read that our Nancy was a teetotaler! Even when they aged her later to eighteen, she still was not of legal age to drink and never did. There was no mention either of Carson Drew enjoying a drink in the evening, or even Aunt Eloise enjoying an after-dinner libation. Good for them! We didn’t need to read of those activities in a children’s book… but I might enjoy a glass of wine now as I’m reading Nancy Drew in the late night! But that’s Ok – right?
  • Excessive use of slang: I’m taking that as they may use a limited amount of slang? Off the top of my head, I’m not remembering any, but hopefully, one of my readers stopping by will know! I searched out a few older slang examples and laughed at “The Cat’s Pajama’s“… which was often used by the flappers of the roaring 1920’s. Gee Whiz – I wonder if my grandparents said that! And who would want to be referred to as a wallflower! I’m sure I’m guilty of “don’t have a cow“… but today it might just be one word, like “whatever“… which drives my husband crazy! I totally became lost in my search for slang, and I might just have to write a post on that word “slang” in the near future… but after the April A to Z is over! I did write a post a couple of years ago on all the southern expressions I’ve heard and said over the years; my mother has said some doozies over the years… it can be found HERE.
  • Sensationalism (sex luridness): The definition of sensationalism, especially in journalism means… “the use of exciting, and shocking stories or language at the expense of accuracy in order to provoke interest or excitement.” I believe Nancy Drew was written as an exciting book, encouraging young readers to continue turning those pages and begging their parents for the newest book! And it was all written without shocking stories or language in achieving that… it wasn’t needed! I still enjoy reading those stories today, and while I’m not a young reader any longer… I’m still loving Nancy Drew!
  • Narcotics: Nancy never needed any drugs or other substances as she traveled to solve those mysteries. She only needed a “mystery”… that was what kept her going! It was her excitement… she lived for the next mystery to solve… that was her “vice”!
  • Brutality: Depending on how you looked at it, there was brutality in the Nancy Drew books… but it was the villains who committed those actions. Remember the robbers who threw our poor Nancy in the cottage closet… and left her to think “they’ve left me here to starve.” And what about all the “many” other times in which Nancy was knocked unconscious, but I suppose the guidelines meant that only Nancy would show no brutality! She was always the one who came to everyone else’s aid… she never contributed to hurting anyone!
  • Making fun of physical or mental handicaps: Our Nancy never had or never would make fun of anyone! She was the first one to always come to the aid of anyone being taunted!
  • Foreign Dialect: I’m not quite sure if I understand what they meant by this, other than possibly when they wrote in colored dialect in the early original text. Those writings were removed in the later revisions. While a voice can mimic somewhat a foreign dialect… writing it constantly, distracts me from reading. It’s easy enough to imagine their dialect when they wrote of ethnicity… after all some things are better left to the imagination!

Any thoughts on these… do leave me a comment and a Like!

magnificator ThanksForReading

Want to read more, click below….

2018: A to Z – All About Nancy Drew

© 2018, copyright Jeanne Bryan Insalaco; all rights reserved

Posted in 2018: A to Z - All About Nancy Drew, Daily Writings and funnies... | Tagged , , , , | 5 Comments

2018 A to Z: S… All About Nancy Drew

2018 A to Z: S… All About Nancy Drew

S 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!


S is for Signatures, Spines, Sleuthing Party, Storylines, and Superstitions


As I began finding Nancy Drew books, I also found many with signed signatures on the inside front pages. They were the names of the first owners from many years ago; their name tells much more. You get a feel for the year by just the signature itself, as you often can tell it’s a young girls script of her name… and if she wrote her address and telephone number…. even more, clues! If their phone no. was written with no area code, it was a good reference that it was maybe mid-60’s; different parts of the country used area codes before others so you might have to research that.

Were you one of those girls who wrote your name in your Nancy Drew books? I sure wish I could remember, but in as much as I try… I still have no clue! I wrote my name on many things and other books, so I’m assuming I did…. and what I wouldn’t give to have just one book with my name written inside. None of my books were saved… and not sure why, but I hope they found a good home! I’ve often tried and tried to think about reading my books… picturing my name on the page… as I kept a diary and wrote my name in them, but having none of my original Nancy Drew books… I have no specific proof, just a guess! I’ve asked my mom, but unfortunately, she doesn’t remember either… darn it! I really need to be able to go back in time, just for one quick moment to take a peak… and if I go back, I’m not coming back without one of my books!

I’ve found that there will be a Friends of the Library book sales this April (26) in Perry…. my hometown and guess what? I’m hoping to attend that “book sale” Wouldn’t that be a miracle if I discovered one of my old books there… if I opened a book and saw my name, I think I’d feel I was in a dream. I know it’s a long shot, but a girls gotta dream!


yellow spines

When your hunting Nancy Drew books… what catches your eye? Those famous yellow spines are what stops my eye on a shelf of books! They are the ones I grew up with, unlike my mother who grew up with the blue tweeds covered by the famous artsy dust jackets! Since I’ve become “hooked” again on Nancy Drew, I’ve discovered that there are many more different “spines” to look for… more than I ever knew!

Even hubby has gotten quite good at spotting them… often calling me over to show what he’s found. I need to show him all the other book styles… he may be missing many of the good ones!

What I do remember about my Nancy Drew books… is those yellow spines sitting on my bookshelf… if I could only close my eyes and read the titles!

Sleuthing Party:

If I planned a sleuthing party… and I’m hoping my granddaughters will want one… one day… well, I’m already planning!

Sleuthing 101 Party Goodies:

  • Flashlights: every “Nancy” needs a handy flashlight in looking for clues… and never forget to have extra batteries on hand. Teach the girls how to use the flashlight to send out an SOS signal and what it means. If our Nancy had an I-Phone, she’d have a flashlight built in! SOS signal: 3 short, 3 long, 3 short.
  • Magnifying Glass: a must in a sleuthing purse or tucked inside a pocket for a closer look in trying to identify a fingerprint.
  • Compass: you never know… when you might need to know in which direction your suspect went… after all, there was no GPS in her old roadster!
  • Red Lipstick: a girl should never leave home without this in her purse… how would you write your SOS help message on a window! (The mothers might not like this one)
  • Notepad and Pen: A must in your sleuthing purse… to write down your clues or phone numbers. Today I use “notes” in my I-Phone but Nancy was in 1930!
  • Overnight Bag: It never hurts to have a bag packed in the trunk of your car, and a swimsuit is a must; going for an impromptu swim always seems to come Nancy’s way. Doesn’t she always end up at a lake somewhere? (I could pack all their goodies inside the overnight bag)
  • Snacks: Every sleuth knows she should have snacks packed at all times. Who knows when your car might break down or become stranded in a snowstorm! Has Nancy ever been snowed in?
  • Bobby Pins: Another must to have… a bobby pin in your hair or a couple tucked somewhere as they just might help you get inside that locked door… or even out of that locked closet!
  • Puzzle Pieces: The clues could be written on them, and after gathering all the pieces… they are put together to spell out where the missing suitcase is!
  • Nancy Drew books: what the girls will find after following their clues… a suitcase full of Nancy Drew books. Who wouldn’t like to pick out a new book to take home! One way to create new Nancy Drew readers!

Nancy must have been a Girl Scout in growing up, as they are taught to always “be prepared”! I’ll have to check the newer Clue Crews and Notebooks and see if the younger Nancy at age 8 ever joined the Girl Scouts.

Can you picture the birthday girls bringing home the “goodie bag” and trying to explain what they’re going to do with that red lipstick… the mothers will wonder what kind of party was planned! (you might better clue the moms in ahead of time about that lipstick!)

Now let’s plan desserts…

As to the cake, what would we make other than a Nancy Drew book cake! I’m not sure if I’m talented enough to design that myself… but taking a book to the bakery should solve that problem unless you’re a talented cake decorator. I know I’d have a hard time in deciding which book cover though!

Last Halloween I saw a sleuthing party having cookies in the shape of a magnifying glass… how cool is that! I’m not a fan of making roll-out cookies, but I bet that same bakery who makes the cake could make those also… unless you happen to enjoy rolling out cookie dough. The last time I rolled out cookie dough was when I made sugar cookies to look like french fries for a father’s day picnic… I had also made muffins that looked like hamburgers. After all that bending over the table, I had a stiff back for several days!

In as Nancy served lemonade so often, I’d be sure to serve a big pitcher of freshly squeezed in her honor! (see Letter P for magnifying cookies and recipe)

Every sleuthing party needs a good mystery… but I’m leaving that up to you. I can’t divulge my mystery here as prying eyes might see! Now go plan your sleuthing party!


It is Edward Stratemeyer who we credit for the idea and beginning storylines for Nancy Drew… breathing life into our Nancy. Way before he dreamed up Nancy Drew, he was already writing children books like the Hardy Boys… and even though he didn’t finalize the complete first three books, he wrote the outlines… it was Mildred W. Benson who first began molding her into the girl we love… pulling all his ideas together.

Stratemeyer died a few weeks after the first Nancy Drew was published, but his storylines continued through his daughter Harriet, as she took over running the company while Benson continued with the writings. Between the two of them, they continued to breathe life into Nancy Drew… and she’s still going strong. Just walk into any bookstore and ask for Nancy Drew… everyone knows who she is! Whether you’ll find the coveted yellow spines on the shelf is another problem though, as I’m usually told… “they go out as fast as they come in.” That’s the one line I don’t like to hear when I’m on the hunt!


I don’t think I’ve read that Nancy was superstitious, but she once was accused of being a witch in The Witch Tree Symbol by the Amish people… who were being very superstitious. Nancy, George, and Bess were led to the Pennsylvania Dutch country in pursuit of a thief after they found a witch tree symbol.

In The Ghost of Blackwood Hall, Nancy searched for the jewels of the very superstitious Mrs. Putney.

My Superstitions… As a young girl, I remember plucking Daisy petals off to the tune of “Love Me”… “Love Me Not.” Did I believe… No… but it was fun in trying to guess. And who doesn’t look for a Four Leaf Clover in the grass… I don’t remember if I ever found one!

  • Reading my daily horoscope was very popular with me and I bought many horoscope books as a teenager… reading them every single day! I think I was a daydreamer!
  • Ouija boards… my girlfriend and I often played around with one… hoping and probably making that pointer move to where we wanted.
  • Walking under ladders – I always think about how it’s bad luck to walk under and I always walk around… never under!
  • Step on the crack – remember the old kid saying… “don’t step on the crack, you’ll break your mama’s back.” It sounds so silly and I have no clue where it originated from but even today walking on a sidewalk, I watch my steps! I often find myself saying it to the granddaughters today.. and laugh as they start stepping over the cracks!
  • Palm reading – my girlfriend and I stopped once to have our palms read. I think she told me I’d marry a dark-haired man… that wasn’t too hard… and I did!
  • Rabbit’s foot – who had one? I had a few in growing up and never gave a thought to it, but I bet my granddaughters would go “ewe” thinking about someone cutting off a rabbit’s feet… did they really do that?
  • Horseshoes – if you hang one, you must hang it with the open ends up… hang them down… all your good luck will drain out.
  • Chain letters – haven’t we all received those… telling us to send to 13 friends or bad luck will follow.  Now they come to us on Facebook… as who writes letters anymore!
  • Witches – I once wrote an essay report in high school on white witches and insisted to the teacher that I was a white witch… which is a good witch! I’m sure she raised her eyebrows at me! Sure wish I kept that report!
  • I have had instances where I believe “someone” was trying to contact me. While in Georgia reading the book, Dahlonega Haunts… reading specifically a story about a cousin, Lizzie Gooch. That same night, my daughter was spending the night in Lizzie Borden’s house in Massachusetts. Every time I started to read the story, the lights on my cell phone lit up… but no one was calling… or were they?
  • There are times when a butterfly crosses my path in an unusual way and makes me feel that someone is saying hello. Once, a butterfly landed on my camera bag and he was very insistent as not wanting to leave! It made me feel like my father was trying to say hello.
  • Who doesn’t think of someone trying to say hello when they see a red cardinal fly into view… I’ve often had one hang around on the tree in the front yard as if he’s watching me!
  • Dreams – are your dreams a little superstitious in making you feel as if someone came to you in your dreams? I often dream of my father, but in my dreams, I can never find him. That specific dreams puzzle me!

Nancy was more true-footed in following her intuition to solve her mysteries, but often the many she helped… were just a little superstitious!

magnificator ThanksForReading

Want to read more, click below…. 

2018: A to Z – All About Nancy Drew 

© 2018, copyright Jeanne Bryan Insalaco; all rights reserved


Posted in 2018: A to Z - All About Nancy Drew, Daily Writings and funnies... | Tagged , , , , , | 11 Comments

2018 A to Z: R… All About Nancy Drew

2018 A to Z: R… All About Nancy Drew

R 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!


R is for… Revisions “vs” Originals

Image result for mystery of the old clock

Photo courtesy of: nancydrewslueths 

If you read Nancy Drew… what was your preference, “original” or “revision“? And if I’ve lost you already… keep reading! Don’t feel bad, as I just learned about this last year. The first 34 books, beginning in 1930, were written as twenty-five chapter books… but in 1959 those “original” books were involved in a revision process.

The revisions, beginning in 1959, continued all the way up to 1979… until they finally revised all 56 volumes. The revisions of the first “original” 34 were overseen by Harriet S. Adams, along with Mildred W. Benson; even though Benson originally wrote the first 23, Harriet always oversaw the final editing of the manuscripts. For these two women to have worked together for so many years, they must have had a good working relationship… I’m assuming!

Why Revise?

The publisher pushed for the revisions… looking to take out references to characters of color, removing all stereotyping, and changing Nancy from a “break all rules” type of girl into more of a model citizen as on the book pages today. In order to continue publishing Nancy Drew, the publisher set new guidelines for the books… times were changing! As I never read any of the early books until recently, I never even knew about those changes. By the time I began buying Nancy Drew, the revisions in the early books were what I read, and was already in place. I have now begun reading some of those early books, and I often enjoy those storylines more than the revisions… how about You?

Adams was criticized strongly over these revisions because they felt Nancy’s appeal was compromised… it wasn’t the Nancy, the readers remembered! The first three manuscripts had been written by Edward Stratemeyer, Harriet’s father, and he had portrayed Nancy as a girl who could be more than just the usual secretary in 1930… she could be adventurous and follow her dreams; which was a little unusual for those times and most fathers would not have encouraged their daughters to do all Nancy did. Carson Drew was a lawyer, but yet he never encouraged his daughter to further her education… attending college would have given her more credentials for all she did… and logically, how long could she continue to solve mysteries… often better than the local police. Well, I guess she could continue on… as 88 years later… Nancy is still solving mysteries!

The revisions did more than eliminate pages and shorten chapters… several of the original stories became all-new-stories, such as books 2, 4, 5, 11, 12, 14, 17 and 18. Why… well it wasn’t necessarily the original writer revising her own books and anyone who writes will always spin a different twist on a story. I’m sure if they revised them again today, they would take on yet another twist… adding new places and plots!

One reason for concern by the publisher was the copyright issue. Copyrights were owned for only fifty-six years… if no one bought books, the publisher made no money and copyrights weren’t renewed. Another issue was the cost of using newer printing technology, which shifted from the older electrotype printing plates to the new offset printing. Anytime you make revisions in your company… it comes at a cost… but they knew they needed to make those changes in order to continue selling their loved Nancy Drew for many years to come. (Many thanks to James D. Keeline in sharing his wealth of information on the Stratemeyer Syndicate and it’s revision process)

Harriet S. Adams strived to keep Nancy Drew alive through the revisions… ensuring that the newer generations remain interested in reading Nancy’s adventures… always leaving them wanting more. Adams, as a mother, wrote her “daughter” in a less adventurous style, from the 1930 style Nancy, but still kept her character as one who’d always be the first to stop, help, and offer to solve a mystery. She also toned down Nancy’s sharp tongue into a more friendly style… but there were many who voiced opinions that they liked the old-style Nancy more!

As they began the written revisions, they also revised the book covers. They went from the early tweeds with dust jackets of a painting-type of art to the yellow spine books we know today with the art design printed directly on the matte cover. There were many book cover changes along the way… you’ll find several book covers for just one title.

Another revision was Nancy Drew’s age. She originally began as a sixteen-year-old girl who had already graduated from high school; the revision process changed her into an eighteen-year-old because of driving laws. I never quite understood that, but it seems that some states, during that time period, required you to be eighteen in order to drive.

The other major change to Nancy was the age she was when her mother died. In the original books, Nancy was three years old, but in the revised books they changed her age to ten years old.

Did the revisions work? Just look on the bookshelves in Barnes and Noble or Amazon online… you’ll still see, not only the flashlight editions covering the classic first 56 books, but many varieties of new styles of Nancy Drew books the publishers have brought into the line, from the early “Clue Clew” with Nancy as a young eight-year-old to an older Nancy in the “On Campus Series“, where we finally see Nancy attending Wilder University (fictional) to earn a degree in journalism; Ned was never happy in her attending Wilder… wanting her to attend Emerson with him instead… that seemed to be the demise of Ned as the boyfriend… the breakup was doomed to be!

In The Mystery of Lilac Inn, they rewrote several paragraphs of what they felt was racism out of the story. I’m not sure if I agree with all of the revisions, such as when Nancy commented after seeing Mary in an upscale dress shop and saying, “surely a girl in her circumstances cannot afford to buy dresses at such a place as this.”  If we had read that scene… we might have thought that very same thing in looking for clues to solve the mystery! In reading a book, sometimes unless they write those “clues” in… like hearing what Nancy thought to herself… we might not have made that observation.

The Password to Larkspur Lane was slightly changed to only read “Password to Larkspur Lane” in 1966; not sure why “the” made a difference? They also made the same change to Mystery of the Moss-Covered Mansion… leaving out “the”at the beginning of it also.

In the revisions, they wrote the housekeeper, Hannah Gruen, as more of a mother-surrogate to Nancy and less as just a housekeeper; Nancy often confided in Hannah and asked her advice. Some say it’s an improvement, while others didn’t like the new change. If you grew up reading only the originals, I probably wouldn’t have liked all the changes either… I’m not a fan of change!

Nancy first drove a blue convertible roadster, along with several other colors, in the early originals, but in the revisions, the wording was changed to a blue convertible, and in the newer books, she now drives a Mustang convertible. The car changed colors through the books as her father often gifted her new cars… how lucky was she! I did ask my granddaughter Ella if she knew what a roadster was… and she shocked me by saying, “I think it’s a car.”

Nancy opens the story in The Hidden Staircase with… “I declare, I don’t know what makes me so nervous this afternoon! I have the strangest feeling — just as though something were about to happen.” (While I’ve heard the word “declare” all my life, it’s definitely a southern term, but our famous Scarlet hadn’t come on the big screen yet… although I just bet our Miss Mildred had already read Gone With The Wind!

The story in its original text (OT) is that Nancy has been asked to investigate the Turnbull sisters “haunted home” where valuables keep disappearing. Nancy talks it over with her father about going and he immediately unlocks a drawer and hands her his revolver to take along with her. There was no “carry” permit in those days, no investigation into anyone’s character in the purchase of a weapon, no visit to the FBI office for fingerprinting. You just bought a weapon, were responsible for it, and used it responsibly, but the 1930 book showed it being handed to a sixteen-year-old… a girl! My mother grew up on a farm where guns were always present. Her brother went shooting, almost daily, and he knew if he left his gun carelessly around the house… that it would have been the last time he saw it. Granddaddy didn’t tolerate anyone using a weapon and not being responsible with it… it was always returned to where it was stored… when not in use. During the 1930’s, it was not unusual for young children to handle firearms, but in the revisions… it was changed.

The “revised text” books (RT) also showed other new changes… it now had a yellow spine… but it still showed Nancy with her famous flashlight on the stairs… it’s just that the storylines are somewhat different. The publishers were no longer going to allow the writing of Nancy’s father handing her a revolver… they nixed that paragraph right out! While our Nancy had once been quite the strong young woman, capable of taking care of herself… many references to certain things were now completely written out. If you had read the original text of The Hidden Staircase, well you might just be feeling that this revised text was certainly not as you remembered… and you definitely would be right! It wasn’t enough that they, somewhat changed storylines… they also snuck in new characters, and even our Nancy behaved differently. That’s what happens when two different women rewrite the same story… having their own views of how Nancy should look, act, and even say. I’m sure my take on Nancy would also be different from theirs… don’t you rewrite stories as you read… saying, “I wouldn’t say that, or I wouldn’t have gone there like that.” Come on… I bet you do! I’ll fess up… I do!

clock two versions

1930 versus 1987 illustrations… I’m often partial now to the earlier illustrations, but I love the newer one of Nancy crawling over all the stolen merchandise… and probably in a dress! Photo courtesy of bookmice.net

The Secret of The Old Clock: I’ve only read the revised text version of this, and it’s on my list to read the original. In the revised, Nancy is 18 and driving a blue convertible. There’s no reference to her friend Helen Corning and the caretaker is white vs black as in the original… where his dialogue was written to insinuate his color. All references to color and speech were completely rewritten in the revised books.

Bess and George take a vacation which leads them to the discovery of the Moss-Covered Mansion with strange eerie sounds emanating from inside the mansion. As Nancy looks to discover the source of the sounds, she stumbles upon a mystery involving a lost fortune. (Maybe Nancy should be labeled as Nosey Nancy!)

Revised Text… A friend of Carson Drew’s was arrested for sending a truck loaded with explosive oranges (odd weapon) to the Space Center at Cape Kennedy, Florida. Nancy, Bess, George, and Carson rush to Florida to help prove that Carson’s friend is innocent. During Nancy’s investigation, she becomes suspicious of a spooky moss-covered mansion (well who wouldn’t) and the wild animals that roam around freely on the grounds. Nancy soon becomes involved in the Mystery of the Moss-Covered Mansion. (Does one sound better than the other to you? I think both would entice me to read!)

I hope I’ve intrigued you to tackle reading the “original text” and the “revised text” of each of the first 34 books… so you can compare, laugh, and giggle as you follow Nancy, Bess, and George in their funny escapades.

magnificator ThanksForReading

Want to read more, click below….

2018: A to Z – All About Nancy Drew

© 2018, copyright Jeanne Bryan Insalaco; all rights reserved

Posted in 2018: A to Z - All About Nancy Drew, Daily Writings and funnies... | Tagged , , , | 6 Comments

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 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 storyline… 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 jibberish 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)



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?

magnificator ThanksForReading

Want to read more, click below….

2018: A to Z – All About Nancy Drew

© 2018, copyright Jeanne Bryan Insalaco; all rights reserved

Posted in 2018: A to Z - All About Nancy Drew, Daily Writings and funnies... | Tagged , , , , , | 6 Comments

2018 A to Z: P… All About Nancy Drew

2018 A to Z: P… All About Nancy Drew

P 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!


P is for… Publisher, Plots, Places and Planning a Nancy Drew Party


It was Edward Stratemeyer  (1862-1930) who wrote the first manuscripts for the Nancy Drew Mystery books… he formed the Stratemeyer Syndicate, a company formed in 1905, which published his early books. He seemed to be way ahead of everyone in his thinking process of how to create “many” children series, in a short period of time.

Stratemeyer was considered a genius by many in his creation of an assembly-type line of producing children series books. The stories were his ideas… but by hiring multiple ghostwriters, he was able to churn out several volumes a year, versus him actually writing each manuscript himself. He’d often deliver a manuscript to a selected writer and within 30 days, they turned it into a volume for his edit and approval. They also signed away their rights to royalties and by-lines for a flat one-time fee. Imagine if they had received royalties all these years!

It was Grosset & Dunlap who he turned to, to publish those various series books. Most children, including me, never even knew that Carolyn Keene was simply a “ghost” name. Several ghostwriters wrote under that pen name through the years… both men and women wrote as Carolyn Keene.

Nancy Drew was created by Stratemeyer after he began The Hardy Boys series in 1926. He felt that as the Hardy Boys were so popular with girl readers, that those same girls would most likely be drawn to a strong female heroine. His mind poured out the first three manuscripts of plot outlines and he hired Mildred Wirt Benson to ghostwriter under the pseudonym of Carolyn Keene… a name he also created. It was Mildred Wirt Benson who first breathed life and character into the early Nancy Drew!

Stratemeyer never wanted his daughters to work for the Stratemeyer Syndicate… for years they were discouraged to not be involved… he felt that women should be home raising the families. Finally, after pressure from them, he relented to let his daughters work on editing manuscripts in the privacy of their homes. He had even expressed upon his death, that they should actually sell the Syndicate.

The Stratemeyer Syndicate almost ceased to continue after the stock market crash of 1929. Edward quickly made changes, and moved the Syndicate offices from Manhattan to his home state of New Jersey; that move saved the Syndicate.

Another strategic move of Stratemeyer was how he entered into a contract with Grosset & Dunlap for the low royalty rate of 2-cents per copy for the first 10,000 copies… which at that time were only selling for 50 cents a copy.

The first few books printed in 1930 were an immediate hit! Macy’s ordered 6000 copies of Nancy Drew books for their 1933 Christmas Season and sold out in one day! I can’t imagine parents buying many books at that time, but most likely they were only bought by the affluent, not the average young girl growing up on a farm… a girl like my mother who had to borrow books to read… she was that average girl living on a farm! Wouldn’t you like to see how they advertised Nancy Drew at Macy’s… I can just picture in my mind an entire Nancy Drew window dressed up as a theme from one of the books… hopefully, it was The Secret of the Old Clock! Maybe they’ll do a “children’s series” book for a Christmas theme one year… and I’d be right there waiting in line! I love Macy’s decorated windows at Christmas!

Edward Stratemeyer died (May 10, 1930) a few short weeks after the Nancy Drew books premiered; he died at the family home after suffering from pneumonia for over two weeks. The family was shaken as they struggled to save the Stratemeyer Syndicate, a company their father loved dearly. His two daughters, Harriet S. Adams (1892-1982) and Edna C. Squires (1895-1974) quickly stepped up to run their father’s company, even though they knew nothing about editing and writing… they quickly took over to create plots, edit and publish the final outlines.

Stratemeyer only lived to see three Nancy Drew books published… Nancy was the last character he created… saving the best for last!

It was Harriet, the oldest daughter, who mostly took over the day-to-day running of the Stratemeyer Syndicate, even eventually writing 72 volumes of children series books… beginning with The Bobbsey Twins volumes in 1943. Harriet’s first Nancy Drew volume wasn’t published until 1953… which was the beginning of her taking over the writing of the Nancy Drew stories… later in 1959 she brought Mildred W. Benson onboard to help in the rewrites of the first 34 volumes. Edna published one volume in the Kay Tracey stories, but it was mostly Harriet who took over and ran the Syndicate.

Grosset & Dunlap were the publishers of the original and revision of the Nancy Drew books, but in 1979, after the Stratemeyer Syndicate was sold to Simon & Schuster, there was a lawsuit. G & D fought hard against the new company, but they eventually lost the right to publish new Nancy Drew stories. What they did win was… to retain the rights to continue publishing the first original 56 books and they continue to publish them today… they are known as the “flashlight series.” The new books became so named as such because of the flashlight on the top banner.

Simon & Schuster added new lines of Nancy Drew books, which gave our Nancy a new look, and naturally a new car; she also sports a new attitude. It was their way of introducing our beloved Nancy to a new generation. Hmmm… do you think the new readers will one day search out the vintage Nancy Drews? Hopefully, my granddaughter’s will, and I’ll have them waiting… in my collection.

In 1991 – 2005, Applewood Book publishers reprinted the Nancy Drew volumes 1 – 21 in their original format. They didn’t continue to reprint all the original 25-chapter volumes… they weren’t selling as they thought they would. These books are another set of Nancy Drew’s that a collector wants in their collection… me included!

The owner of Applewood Books was first concerned that his company might be viewed as racist by reissuing them in their original format, but he wanted the new readers to understand where we once had been in this country… in order to see where we were now as a country. In talking to people today, and asking them about the early original books, I’ve found that many never even knew there were “before” books… me included!

Foreign publisher Harold Hill & Son Limited, a family-owned publishing company in the United Kingdom published Nancy Drew books there during the years of 1954-1955. What made them distinguishable from the American books was the artwork on the covers. They only published the first 6 titles in the Nancy Drew line and used their own original artwork… signing Varty on the bottom, or either the left or right side; the art was believed to be the work of a Frank Varty.

Book photo from nancydrewworld

All Harold Hill dust jackets had spines of blue… totally different from the American yellow spines by Grosset & Dunlap. They kept the Nancy Drew symbol circle, but the picture of Nancy is slightly different, and where Grosset & Dunlap would be on the bottom, they have their HH logo. While these books are not written in a foreign language, they are written in what’s called “Queens English.” I hope to add a couple of these to my collection… just to read how they translated Nancy’s words into sounding more English!

The Sampson Low publishing company took over the series after no. 6 was published by Harold Hill & Son Limited… their first Nancy Drew began with no. 7. They redesigned the book jacket to wrap over onto the spine, and continued using the same HH Nancy Drew symbol logo but added the book no. inside the logo circle; their name of Sampson Low was added on the bottom of the spine.

Book photo from nancydrewworld

I like how the spine wrap spills over from the front cover. This specific cover art was quite different as Nancy exposed much more leg than our American covers… where she was more covered.

Upon reading more on this specific artwork, I learned it was only released in the UK by Sampson Low. Many have speculated that it was actually painted by Bill Gillies, who painted the dust jacket wraps for Grosset & Dunlap for volumes 1-9 and no. 11 during the 1950’s. It’s also speculated that this specific one might possibly be the one rejected due to Nancy’s left thigh being exposed. What’s more of a mystery is not why it was rejected, but how did Sampson & Low end up with it. That mystery may never be solved, as everyone has their own idea of how it might have happened.


Writing all those manuscripts… twisting and turning plots throughout the books, still amazes me. The continual writing of one story after another with the same characters… must have been hard in not repeating previous storylines.

Even though there weren’t ghosts in all the books, several “would-be” ghosts seemed to always be around… trying hard to scare Nancy away… to keep her from solving the mystery. The villains just never learned though… the more they intrigued her… the more she became determined to solve the mystery. Nancy Drew never gives up… always getting her man!

nancy octopus

Burt and Ned battling an octopus in The Invisible Intruder! (my coloring art)

There have been several ghosts of all shapes and sizes throughout the books… ghosts even in the shape of animals… ghosts operating canoes, octopus in freshwater lakes, circles of fire, whispering statues, haunted bridges, passwords that open gates, hidden staircases that help to reveal secrets, and clocks holding secrets.


While there are some real name places used in the Nancy Drew stories… for the most part I’ve found them to be fictitious. Was there a reason? Maybe to keep you guessing where the real Nancy Drew lived? We all know that her hometown of River Heights is not real, but they did keep the name real when she visited  New York City.


Nancy Drew Land (My Coloring Art)

At least when Nancy traveled abroad, the names weren’t made up, she really did travel to countries like Canada, Scotland, England, India, Japan, Turkey, Argentina, and China. I’m sure there are more, but I haven’t read as of yet.

When it comes to colleges though, they didn’t seem to want to use a real place name. I believe Hale College was really meant to insinuate Yale… funny when they use a similar-sounding name… like we couldn’t put two and two together; but maybe, the young readers didn’t in years past!

What were the highlights of places near River Heights? You could always enjoy a scenic drive down Larkspur Lane… it must have been an awesome drive when the Larkspurs were in bloom. Who wouldn’t enjoy a romantic weekend at the Lilac Inn? Be sure and store your valuables in their in-room safe though, as it’s known that lurking jewelry thieves frequent there. If you’re a ghost chaser, you’re sure to enjoy hunting the ghostly apparitions that have been known to frequent the grounds.

Don’t bypass a trip to Red Gate Farm as their cider is awesome… but don’t feed the animals while there! You’re sure to leave with a car packed with home-grown veggies, so be prepared to cook a big dinner when returning home!

I could easily spend a day clamming with “Mehearty” along the Muskoka River… searching for a pearl or enjoy a leisurely crawl down the river along its narrow and winding banks. Can’t you just hear ol’ Mehearty singing that little tune he sang as he peddled his clams along the streets of River Heights?

Nancy and Gypsy1

Madam Tarantella threatens Nancy, but a threat never intimidates our Nancy… it only encourages her! (my coloring art)

What fun you could have at Misty Lake, especially if you partake in a little late night ghost hunt when the lake is shrouded in a foggy mist… isn’t that the time the ghost canoe appears? If someone told me about that, I know I’d be right out there looking for it!

Planning a Nancy Drew Party:

What fun it would be to plan a Nancy Drew party… and I hope I’ll get the chance for one of my granddaughters birthday parties.

In planning my daughter’s parties, from the bridal shower to the baby showers, I’ve always designed the invites, crafted all the centerpieces and made all the goodie bags. For a Nancy Drew party, what would be better than using original, or look-alike library cards… for the invitations? You’re invited to the party of……. where the name of the book would be, and the Due Date, naturally would be the date of the party. Can’t you picture it in your head? A special size envelope could be folded for it to fit snuggly inside! Maybe even stamp Nancy’s trademark “magnifying glass” on the card… and definitely again on the envelope letting them know it’s a mystery sleuthing party!

magnyfing glass cookiesFix

Photo from Country Living Magazine

If you’re inclined to make the cookies, here is the recipe from Country Living. They sure look good!


2 1/4 c. cups all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled, plus more for working
3/4 tsp. Kosher salt
3/4 c. (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 c. sugar
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. pure almond extract
1 large egg, beaten
1 c. finely crushed pineapple Lifesavers candy
1/2 c. finely crushed green apple Lifesavers candy
  1. Whisk together flour and salt in a bowl. Beat butter, sugar, and extracts on medium-high speed with an electric mixer until light and fluffy, 1 to 2 minutes. Beat in egg until blended. Reduce mixer speed to low, and gradually add flour mixture to butter mixture, beating just until flour is incorporated.
  2. Divide dough in half, and flatten into 2 disks. Wrap in plastic wrap, and chill at least 2 hours or up to 3 days.
  3. Preheat oven to 325°F. Line three baking sheets with parchment paper. Working with one disk at a time, on a lightly floured work surface, roll dough to 1/4-inch thickness. Use a 5 3/4-inch-long magnifying glass-shaped cookie cutter to cut as many cookies as possible; place on prepared baking sheets. Use a 2-inch round cutter to remove the center from each cookie; reroll scraps, and repeat the process. Freeze 10 minutes. Stir together candies in a bowl.
  4. Bake until golden brown around edges, 10 to 12 minutes. Cool 3 minutes. Sprinkle crushed candies in center of each cookie, dividing evenly. Bake until candies melt, 2 to 3 minutes; swirl with a toothpick to mix colors. Cool completely on baking sheets on a wire rack. (I’m hungry after reading through the recipe)

Naturally, there would be a table set up with the famous detective Nancy silhouette standing in the rear, with trays of magnifying cookies… just like the ones shown in the Country Living Magazine. There must be a punch bowl for the kiddies… I’d serve my famous birthday punch I always served at my children’s birthday parties; a punchbowl filled with a mixture of punch soda, sprinkled with dollops of sherbet, frozen strawberries (helps to keep cold), orange juice and ginger-ale poured over all. That’s the secret ingredient which gives it that foamy look…. oh so good!

As it’s a “Nancy Drew” mystery birthday…. there must be some goodies to get the detectives started as junior sleuthers! Depending on how large a mystery they’re solving as what might be needed… from flashlights to search for clues with, a magnifying glass to better read clues, and maps to lead them to the evidence! I’ve made maps before from crinkled up brown paper torn into shapes; it could even be a quieter table mystery where they gather and learn all about fingerprints, even discovering how to lift them off their own glass!

And what better to go in the goodie bag… than a Nancy Drew book (flashlight edition) and maybe even a few Hardy Boys thrown in for good measure… Who knows, you just might be forming the next generation of Nancy Drew readers… and collectors! I’m hoping my granddaughters will want a sleuthing party one day…. and I’ll be right there helping to plan! I better bone up on my print lifting skills!

magnificator ThanksForReading

Want to read more, click below….

2018: A to Z – All About Nancy Drew

© 2018, copyright Jeanne Bryan Insalaco; all rights reserved

Posted in 2018: A to Z - All About Nancy Drew, Daily Writings and funnies... | Tagged , , , , , , | 6 Comments

2018 A to Z: O… All About Nancy Drew

2018 A to Z: O… All About Nancy Drew

O 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!


O is for… Out of Time, On My  Shelf, and Oh My!

Out of Time:

How many times has Nancy been almost out of time… as in “not” getting caught… and all the times of out of time and getting caught!

Remember when she was hiding in the cabin in The Secret of the Old Clock… and the villain discovered her… throwing her in the closet. She just knew no one would ever discover her and she would starve! Couldn’t you just picture her in that closet… her, thinking she’d starve… like no one would find her… it was kind of laughable, that she was that afraid… our Nancy!

On My Shelf:

  • 1: The Secret of the Old Clock – 1930: Nancy did an awesome sleuthing job in tracking down the clock. I’m looking forward to reading the original text (OT) and read about Nancy darning socks… and I thought Nancy couldn’t sew!
  • 2: The Hidden Staircase – 1930: Who doesn’t love trasping down a hidden staircase in heels fighting off cobwebs! Nancy’s friend Helen Corning called Nancy for help in solving somewhat strange “hauntings” at Aunt Rosemary’s family mansion. Nancy couldn’t resist the mention of music, thumps, creaking noises and eerie shadows on the walls… which always intrigued Nancy immediately!
  • 3: The Bungalow Mystery – 1930: haven’t read
  • 4: The Mystery at Lilac Inn – 1930: The first book I found in re-building my collection, and the first one I re-read! I learned that Nancy was skilled in scuba diving in this book.
  •  5:  The Secret at Shadow Ranch – 1931: Nancy was quite skilled in her shooting skills in this read, and a good thing she was, or…. they might not have made it back to the ranch that night, as they were lost on the trail and someone was tracking them.
  •  6:  The Secret of Red Gate Farm – 1931: haven’t read
  •  7:  The Clue in the Diary – 1932: Nancy first met Ned in this book as he somewhat rescued her car… I think she liked him immediately but didn’t want to dare let Bess and George know! Bess mentioned Ned’s blue eyes in this book, but Wiki says they are brown!!
  •  8:  Nancy’s Mysterious Letter – 1932: Nancy was quite intrigued after reading the letter from England and couldn’t wait to help solve the mystery of the other Nancy!
  •  9:  The Sign of the Twisted Candles – 1933: haven’t read
  • 10: The Password to Larkspur Lane – 1933: This storyline had somewhat a “genealogy” intrigue to me as Nancy searched for a family crest to discover the family that the bracelet belonged to.
  • 11: The Clue of the Broken Locket – 1934: Quite a few different mysteries which intertwined altogether – I enjoyed them all.
  • 12: The Message in the Hollow Oak – 1935: haven’t read
  • 13: The Mystery of the Ivory Charm – 1936: Nancy, as usual, came to the rescue and saved a life, while almost trampled by Old Tom and squeezed to death by the snake which fell on her!
  • 14: The Whispering Statue – 1937: I’m still looking for!
  • 15: The Haunted Bridge – 1937: haven’t read
  • 16: The Clue of the Tapping Heels – 1939: haven’t read
  • 17: The Mystery of the Brass-Bound Trunk – 1940: haven’t read
  • 18: The Mystery at Moss-Covered Mansion – 1941: haven’t read
  • 19: The Quest of the Missing Map – 1942: haven’t read
  • 20: The Clue in the Jewel Box – 1943: haven’t read
  • 21: The Secret in the Old Attic – 1944: haven’t read
  • 22: The Clue in the Crumbling Wall – 1945: I enjoyed Nancy’s story of how she named the old man selling the clams… it was sometimes quite farfetched in the plot but there’s no mystery Nancy can’t solve!
  • 23: The Mystery of the Tolling Bell – 1946: I had a hard time staying interested in this storyline… and somewhat skimmed over a lot. It’s the first time a book just didn’t want to make me read, but I did feel guilty skimming through it though!
  • 24: The Clue in the Old Album – 1947: haven’t read
  • 25: The Ghost of Blackwood Hall – 1948: Nancy never gave up in her search for the ghosts and why the girls were leaving money at the tree. 
  • 26: The Clue of the Leaning Chimney – 1949: haven’t read
  • 27: The Secret of the Wooden Lady – 1950:  still looking for!
  • 28: The Curse of the Black Keys – 1951: haven’t read
  • 29: The Mystery at the Ski Jump – 1952: haven’t read
  • 30: The Clue of the Velvet Mask – 1953: haven’t read
  • 31: The Ringmaster’s Secret – 1953: haven’t read
  • 32: The Scarlet Slipper Mystery – 1954: Nancy does it all… also an accomplished ballerina… who knew she could dance on her toes?
  • 33: The Witch Tree Symbol – 1955: haven’t read
  • 34: The Hidden Window Mystery – 1956: haven’t read
  • 35: The Haunted Showboat – 1957: haven’t read
  • 36: The Secret of the Golden Pavilion – 1959: haven’t read
  • 37: The Clue in the Old Stagecoach – 1960: haven’t read
  • 38: The Mystery of the Fire Dragon – 1961: I enjoyed this story and all the various storylines they were involved in. Another book which had Nancy tied up, but she used her skills in escaping; good thing she carried lipstick for the SOS!
  • 39: The Clue of the Dancing Puppet – 1962: Nancy proved quite the actress in solving this caper.
  • 40: The Moonstone Castle Mystery – 1963: haven’t read
  • 41: The Clue of the Whistling Bagpipes – 1964: haven’t read
  • 42: The Phantom of Pine Hill – 1965: haven’t read
  • 43: The Mystery of the 99 Steps – 1966: haven’t read
  • 44: The Clue in the Crossword Cipher – 1967: haven’t read
  • 45: The Spider Sapphire Mystery – 1968: haven’t read
  • 46: The Invisible Intruder – 1969:  This book had way too many mysteries going on at once… and that paddling canoe had me laughing as they tried catching it!
  • 47: The Mysterious Mannequin – 1970: haven’t read
  • 48: The Crooked Banister – 1971: haven’t read
  • 49: The Secret of Mirror Bay – 1972: haven’t read
  • 50: The Double Jinx Mystery – 1973: haven’t read
  • 51: Mystery of the Glowing Eye – 1974: haven’t read
  • 52: The Secret of the Forgotten City – 1975: haven’t read
  • 53: The Sky Phantom – 1976: Still elusive to me!
  • 54: The Strange Message in the Parchment – 1977: haven’t read
  • 55: Mystery of Crocodile Island – 1978: haven’t read
  • 56: The Thirteenth Pearl – 1979: I’m still looking for this elusive one also, so if you have it hiding in your attic… feel free to send it on to me!

1979 ended the Nancy Drew books yellow spine matte books published by Grosset & Dunlap… but the books continued… published under the banner of Nancy Drew Mystery Stories; now published in the paperback, beginning in 1979 and 1981, but later reissued in the hardcover format around 2005; then printed in the “flashlight” hardcover book style to match the first 56… reprinted as the flashlight series.

The reprinting of the Nancy Drew book series has a flashlight on the top banner and soon became known as the “flashlight series.”  Why a flashlight… well didn’t every young girl read Nancy Drew under the covers? The Nancy Drew Mystery Stories finally ended in 1981… but never actually ended… as they continued to publish Nancy Drew in paperback through No. 175 in 2003.

I have not read any of the paperbacks as yet, and quite honestly… they just don’t grab me! I love the look and feel of the yellow spines and think I’d feel as if I was unfaithful by turning to the paperbacks! I do have a few sitting alongside my Nancy Drew’s, and maybe…. one day I’ll read and compare, but first I have to finish rereading my old favorites. Reading the stories today is often a dual read… as the first 34 books actually have two story versions per say, as revisions began in 1959. So you know what that means… I am compelled to read them both… and as my mother tells me quite often… I’m such a glutton for punishment! As you can see above, I have many books left to read… but I’m in no rush… I’m enjoying the read!

They printed several more stories in the flashlights in hardcover… I’ll be including them alongside my vintage ones.

  • 57: The Triple Hoax – 1979:  Looking For
  • 58: The Flying Saucer Mystery – 1980:
  • 59: The Secret in the Old Lace – 1980: Looking For
  • 60: The Greek Symbol Mystery – 1980:
  • 61: The Swami’s Ring – 1981:  Looking For
  • 62: The Kachina Doll Mystery – 1981:
  • 63: The Twin Dilemma – 1981:
  • 64: Captive Witness – 1981:


Oh, My… what am I thinking… building another collection just as I retired. What I should be doing is de-cluttering my house of all things gathered through the years. If you need anything… I just bet that I have it in my house… somewhere! Just ask! I could probably craft for the rest of my life and never buy another craft item!

After cleaning out my bookcase of books I’ve read and saved through the years… I began building another book collection… Nancy Drew’s are multiplying all over the place… and this A to Z… All About Nancy Drew I’m writing for this April (2018) has me really saying… OH MY, What Am I Doing!

magnificator ThanksForReading

Want to read more, click below….

2018: A to Z – All About Nancy Drew

© 2018, copyright Jeanne Bryan Insalaco; all rights reserved

Posted in 2018: A to Z - All About Nancy Drew, Daily Writings and funnies... | Tagged , , | 3 Comments