Nancy Drew

From Academic Kids

Nancy Drew is the heroine of a popular mystery series for girls. The series was created by Edward Stratemeyer, founder of the Stratemeyer Syndicate. The series was ghostwritten in the early years primarily by Mildred Wirt Benson. Harriet Stratemeyer Adams (who succeeded her father Edward as the head of the Syndicate), contributed a number of volumes and oversaw the substantial revisions begun in the fifties.

All books are published under the pseudonym Carolyn Keene.

Over 200 million have been sold worldwide. Many people collect the series, which has gone through several formats over the years. The series has spawned various spin-offs, most prominently the Nancy Drew Files, starting with Secrets Can Kill (1991).

Original Nancy, as introduced in 1930, is Lawyer Carson Drew's daughter, her mother died when she was 10, and Nancy is clearly in charge of household affairs and the servant, Mrs. Gruen, in addition to having already completed high school at age 16. Her large, three-story brick house is frequently visited by her many friends, first Helen Corning, who appears in the first four volumes, but is never a sleuthing companion. She is often joined in her sleuthing activities by her close friends George Fayne (a girl) and Bess Marvin, cousins who have opposite personalities. Helen returns briefly in original volumes 8 and 10 (which were not written by Bensen), having changed her personality to be more like George Fayne, before disappearing when Bensen resumed ghostwriting with volume 11. Nancy's boyfriend is (usually) Ned Nickerson who often lends his support and help, while George calls on her on-off counterpart Buck Rodman, later Burt Eddleton, and Bess on Dave Evans.

The original Nancy is blonde, and gradually ages from 16 to 18 in the books. Her blue roadster becomes maroon, then green and black, then finally a plain coupe, before returning to a blue convertible in the postwar years. The original versions of the books, often contain depictions of other races and ethnicities in what were considered negative stereotypes, as well as containing customs and courtesies in popular culture that were completely outmoded by the 1950's, so the series' earliest 34 volumes were revised from 1959-1977. Mrs. Gruen becomes Hannah, a somewhat mothering (and at times restrictive) housekeeper, and Nancy's Aunt Eloise, her father's much younger sister, pops up to add New York City place settings or serve as a chaperone. Subplots and vocabulary were cut down, and the action became faster-paced, resulting in slightly shorter and simpler stories in most cases. Many of the volumes were completely re-written, only including some character names and the titles from the original stories.

Nancy becomes strawberry-blonde or titian-haired, and revises her sleuthing techniques to become more politically correct and less sneaky. Old stereotypes, technologies and fashions disappear. The bold Nancy, who knows how to use a revolver (and carries one), who occasionally illegally enters property, trespasses, and appropriates "stolen" property as evidence, becomes more sedate, and just happens to come across incriminating evidence. George Fayne becomes less masculine and brusque, and also learns judo--so she can help Nancy with thugs when Ned isn't around. Female villains emerge to tie up and threaten Nancy, instead of the male counterparts who were verbally abusive to original Nancy. Crimes become international, instead of revolving around River Heights. Classic preppy Nancy, with her pageboy since 1947, becomes psychedelic in the 1960's, with a trademark flipped hairstyle, and wild print dresses and blouses. These covers, using a startled Nancy in the foreground (often disheveled) with images from the mystery scattered about, now appear more "dated" than the portrait covers of "preppy" Nancy they were replacing.

An - incomplete - list of Nancy Drew books:

The books were reprinted in the 1970s and 1980s, and in the early 1990s, a new series of books were created for Simon & Schuster, under the new epithet The Nancy Drew Files. The 'original' series was also extended, and in more recent years, the extra series' Nancy Drew on Campus and Nancy Drew Notebooks have added to the tales about the titian-haired sleuth.

Nancy Drew appeared with The [[Hardy Boysin the 36 volume Supermystery series.

The name Carolyn Keene has also been used to author a shorter series of books in a similar (female detective) vein, as a more accurate crossbreed of The Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew, entitled The Dana Girls, featuring detective sisters.

Actress Bonita Granville portrayed the character of Nancy Drew in four movies in the 1930s. A television series called The Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew Mysteries appeared on television in the 1970s, and another, brief series appeared in 1995. In 2003, ABC broadcast a TV film featuring Maggie Lawson as Nancy Drew.

The following titles have been adapted as computer games:

External links


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