Saturday, April 16, 2011

A-Z Blogging Challenge: Letter N

Here we are at Day 14 on the A-Z Blogging Challenge. Every day in April (except Sundays) I will be doing a post for each letter of the alphabet. It is my plan to make most of my posts reading &/or book-related. April 16th is brought to you by the Letter N. And N is for Nancy Drew.

This takes me back to the roots of my mystery-fixation. It all began with a six book set of Nancy Drew mysteries that my mom passed on to me when I was seven. She had received the books as a Christmas present when she was in grade school and, knowing that she had an avid reader on her hands already, decided to pass them on to me. That set consisted of The Secret in the Old Clock, The Hidden Staircase, The Bungalow Mystery, The Ghost of Blackwood Hall, The Haunted Showboat and The Secret of the Golden Pavilion. I immediately fell in love with Nancy and her blue roadster. I wanted to have adventures like Nancy. I wanted to help people and solve mysteries and have true-blue friends like Nancy.

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.


Leslie (Under My Apple Tree) said...

This gives me a flashback. I loved the Nancy Drew books. They were some of the first books I owned and I still have them!

Sherrie said...

Nancy Drew was one of my all time favorite books when I was growing up. Have a great day!

Just Books

fredamans said...

Fantastic Nancy Drew post! A great tribute to a great character!