I've seen critiques of the Nancy Drew stories--all about how it wasn't healthy to entice girls with a heroine who seemed to have all the money in the world and a dad who let her do anything. You know, those things never occured to me. I never thought, "Gee, I wish I was rich like Nancy" or "I wish Dad would let me do whatever because Nancy can do everything." Yeah, I admit it, I wanted a blue roadster (for that matter, I still do), but not as a thing to possess. For me, that blue roadster represented adventure. Anything might happen when you set out on an ordinary day in your blue roadster. And, for Nancy, anything did.
These books were the bread of my reading existence when I was growing up and were always my comfort reads when I needed comfort or just didn't have anything else on hand. You know, it's been over 25 years since I read a Nancy Drew book, but I can still tell you what the Secret was in that Old Clock and where the Hidden Staircase was and why it was important. I can also tell you what the Clue in the Broken Locket was and why The Sign of the Twisted Candles is one of my least favorite of the Nancy Drew books. Given my aging brain, I couldn't give you as much detail about some of the books I've read over last year as I can about my Nancy books.
Speaking of The Clue of the Broken Locket--that is one of my all-time favorite Nancy books. In this one Nancy, Bess and George go to meet another friend Cecily and get involved with a mystery involving a missing locket half, the entertainment business and a ghostly boat. I know that the mystery was changed a bit in the version I read (record companies weren't quite so prevalent when this story was originally written), but that didn't make it any less enjoyable. There is a fair amount of suspense and I love the way Nancy wraps this one up.
And Nancy led me by the hand straight into the mystery field. At the same time I discovered Nancy I also found her male counterparts, the Hardy Boys. It didn't matter to me if the protagonists were boys or girls--just give me those mysteries and adventures. From there I jumped straight into Sherlock Holmes and Agatha Christie and I never looked back.