Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Nancy Drew…my hero

Do you believe it. This year, Nancy Drew turns 84. Since the publication of “The Secret of the Old Clock” in 1930, more than 200 million Nancy Drew mysteries have been sold and I got to tell you I bought my share. I think there are now 64 books in the series.

The books were 2.99 in my day and any money for birthdays went to buy Nancy. I was babysitting in the sixth grade and six hours of babysitting at fifty-cents an hour meant a new Nancy Drew book! Nancy is the first book I bought with my very own money. Was it yours?

 Nancy has gone from a 16-year-old girl with a roadster to an 18-year-old with a Mustang. But no matter how often the details changed, Nancy remained more or less the same. She was a model citizen with a perfect balance of toughness and femininity, and she was independence and poised. 


When I read Nancy…discovered Nancy…devoured Nancy it was not exactly Mad Men era but close. Men were in charge. It was a man/boy’s world. There were no girl sports teams at school, no girl altar boy/girls. The only thing women did other than stay home and raise the kids...not that there is one thing wrong with that...is be a secretary, teacher or a nurse. Period.


With Nancy Drew  she was in charge. She solved the crimes, took over, drove the car and made her own decisions. She was confident and adventuresome and not afraid and no one put Nancy in the corner...so to speak. She was her own person.

Nancy was/is my hero! I still keep the first three books I bought of Nancy on my desk today.


Nancy Drew was smart and caring. I really loved that she was smarter than the guys. I wanted to be Nancy! Reading Nancy Drew was great for mystery and the ego. Personally it planted a seed that took root in enjoying mysteries and life.
I owe a lot to Nancy Drew. I think a great deal of who I am today is because I read Nancy Drew books. If she could live like that I truly believed I could too.

So, are you a Nancy girl? Did she inspire you? Is there another read that made you the person you are today?

I’ll pick two winners from the answers and send you a Dianne Castell romance book. Be sure to check back to see if you won! Anyone wanting Pearls and Poison goodies just send me your mailing address to duffybrown@duffybrown.com

Happy reading and thanks for chatting.
Hugs, Duffy




80 comments:

Mark Baker said...

I started with The Hardy Boys and read more of them than Nancy Drew, although I certainly read my share of Nancy Drew books. However, when I discovered Trixie Belden, I never felt the same way about Frank, Joe, and Nancy. Trixie always felt more real to me.

It's funny you would blog about this today since I spent my reading time on Tuesday rereading The Secret of the Old Clock.

SueAnn said...

I never read Nancy Drew...I had 5 older brothers and they had Hardy Boys, and I would read those, then my Mom bought me Cherry Ames series- she was a nurse..she went from Student Nurse..on up...thru the war.., out into the world.....Reading her books, made me realize, girls could do more than just get married and have kids!!!

lavendersbluegreen said...

Me too! Oh my goodness, I loooooved Nancy Drew. Oh sure, I devoured all those mysteries, but gosh I sure did like my Nancy. I loved how clever she was and have a collection still.
I have to admit thought that my first memory of buying my own written word with my own money is a bit of an oddity; I bought a used copy of Isaac Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine and an Analog for a dime each!
Some of my most prized books are the really old copies that are well worn and loved of Nancy, Little House in the Big Woods, and a few other select hard covers... maybe that was why I was so stubborn about hopping on the e-book train. There is just something so cozy about cuddling up with a paper (hardback better yet) book, the smell, the feel, the atmosphere...
Thanks for sharing pictures of your books.

annette blanchard said...

I read alI of the original Nancy Drew, but, like Mark, I preferred Trixie Belden. The Trixie books had that re-readable quality I've always looked for in books. Trixie made mistakes, had a temper and chores, which included babysitting her little brother. Like Mark said, Trixie seemed more real.

Of course, my daughters read both.

patrice spencer said...

I read and still have all of my Nancy Drew books. How I so wanted to be Nancy, she was so cool.

I can still remember sitting on the back porch reading and rereading Nancy Drew books. My mom and dad kept yelling to get my nose out of the book at me to go outside and so something! I would take my books out (they didn't say what to do once I got outside) and just get lost in the stories.

So much of my childhood and early teens were spent with Nancy (and Trixie, The Mystery of the Doll Hospital and Harriet and the Cherry Pie). How I miss those innocent days.
Trice

Gram said...

Nancy Drew and also the Hardy Boys. Great childhood memories.

mary kennedy said...

I didn't know there were so many Nancy Drew books!! I'm a huge fan, too. Great blog, Duffy!

Duffy Brown said...

Hi, Mark.I so need to reread The Secret of the Old Clock! Been way too long. I read my share of Hardy Boy books too and Trixie. Used to swap with friends and we’d leave notes for each other in the books. Book nerds! LOL

Duffy Brown said...

Hi SueAnn I read some Cherry Ames too. I had a friend who decided she wanted to be a nurse after reading the book and she did it. What we read sure makes a difference in our lives.

Duffy Brown said...

Hi Lavender. A syfy lover at such an early age! I love it. I read Little House in the Big Woods and loved that too especially since I lived in a city.
Confession time… I don’t have an ereader either. I have an ebook only coming out in Feb…a novella. I won’t be able to read my own book. Too funny. Hugs

Duffy Brown said...

Hi, Annette. I think you’re right about Trixie being more real and I think I liked Nancy because she was like this supergirl to me when girls were expected to get married and have kids…period. I think she gave me hope. :-) Hugs

Duffy Brown said...

Hi, Patrice. My mom used to yell at me for reading too much too. She was not a great reader, much more of a doer and never really saw much use for books. I honestly don’t remember her ever sitting and reading a book. Newspapers but never books.

Nancy Markovich said...

My mom started me on Nancy Drew books and I have been reading mysteries ever since. Every now and then I pick up one of my old ones and read it. Brings back good memories.

Duffy Brown said...

Hi Gram. Yes, great memories indeed! I’d like to go back for a day.

Duffy Brown said...

Hi Mary. Nancy changed with the times…don’t we all. I think I liked best sitting down with a new Nancy Drew knowing I was going on an adventure.

Duffy Brown said...

Hi Nancy. I reread books a lot too. Even hunt up my fav parts just as a guilt pleasure when I need a break. I’m sure reading Nancy Drew set me on the path of being a mystery lover.

Lisa Ks Book Reviews said...

Nancy Drew books were the books that hooked me on reading. At the age of 11, 12 I was helping my Dad in his sub shop and making tips (Adults loved having a little girl wait on them). Attched to the sub shop was a small five and dime sort of store. I couldn't wait to get enough tips saved up to run over there and by a new Nancy Drew. I didn't but them in order. I studied the covers and what the book was about and put a lot of thought into it. And when I started reading, there was no stopping me. I could not put the book down. I've recently start rereading Nancy Drew and I'm building a new collection. Sad but true, when I was a teen, I sold my Nancys at a yard sale. I'd love to have even one of them back again. Duffy, I love that you have your first three. What treasures!

Tonya Kappes said...

She definitely inspired me! I wanted to be her but had to settle for writing and living through my characters. I couldn't wait to get up in the morning and grab my paperback book! In fact, I wore out the pages reading and re-reading over and over again.

Kathy Gonzales said...

The first mysteries I ever remember reading we're nancy drew , and I have my collection to this day! I'm in my 40's and still re read them. Classics never grow old :) kathambre@yahoo.com

Anonymous said...

Nancy WAS inspiring. So was her dad - he didn't second guess her or act like he had no confidence in her. That, also, was terrific.My dad was sometimes like Nancy's dad. My mom was a chemist and was rather strict - she didn't call herself a feminist, but she certainly had her "criteria". Nancy made the cut with them both. That was instructive. What happened to all those books? I'm not sure. Wish I had them now. So - I found some Nancy Drew earrings on Etsy !! In honor of all the lost books. ;) Harriette

Colleen Leyrer said...

There are so many Authors/Books I have never read, and Nancy drew would be in that list. Almost two decades ago, when I was in high school, I was more into historical people like Vlad the impaler, Ivan the terrible, and my favorite to this day, Eszerbet Bathory. I would eat up the grimm's fairy tales (the original ones) and even read the dictionary and encyclopedia. The big author at that time in high school that I can recall was Anne Rice. I never even read Judy Blume until I was 16, and that was when she wrote a Young Adult book, "Summer Sisters". This all makes me realize, that I need to catch up on all the good books that I've missed out on through the years. So many books, not enough free hours and tea. Maybe I'll start with Nancy drew, as soon as I'm done with Kitty Vagabond book.

Diane LaBrie Leverson said...

I loved Nancy Drew. I could walk to the library so only owned a few if her's. I could take out 4 books at a time and was back for more in a short time. Loved Her!
When my son first started going to the library, he couldn't find any books he thought he would like. I pointed him to the Hardy boys and, in time, he owned the whole set. My grandson has them now but too young to get into them yet. BTW. that started my son loving mysteries and thrillers. That is all he reads.

Anne Lovell said...

Nancy Drew was the first mystery I read, loved her books, I still have most of them. Those books made me love the mystery genre and it is my favorite to this day. and now I read all the cozy mysteries I can. Thank you for writing some of my favorites! annelovell12@yahoo.com

Miranda James said...

Nancy Drew was my first mystery, too, and I have a large collection of the books. Loved Trixie Belden as well because she lived on a farm like me. One small thing though -- one if the three books in your picture is a Judy Bolton, not Nancy Drew. Judy is another favorite of mine.

Duffy Brown said...

Hi, Lisa. I didn’t buy them in order either and I remember choosing a book over a record or soda etc. I love that you were mini waiters. Bet you were terrific.

Duffy Brown said...

Hi, Tonya. I have books with the pages falling out too. I reread tons. Hope your little dog is okay. What a worry but he sure has a good mommy. Hugs

Duffy Brown said...

Hi, Kathy. And I so love the feel of an old book in my hands…like saying howdy to an old friend.

Duffy Brown said...

Great Nancy jewelry on Etsy! I think Nancy Drew influenced a lot of us to be who we are. Sounds like you had amazing parents. Nancy’s dad was terrific and supportive. He never said…you can’t do that you’re a girl. Go dad!

Duffy Brown said...

Hi, Colleen. I need to try the Kitty books. Like you said…so many books so little time and tea. The grimm tales scared the bleep out of me. You are a brave soul!

Duffy Brown said...

A reading family…nothing better. I got ND from my library too but they were always out. Trading around with friends was good until someone didn’t return a book.

Duffy Brown said...

Hi, Ann! You sure make my day. Nothing more fun than chatting mysteries with other mystery lovers. All I watch on TV are the mysteries too.

Duffy Brown said...

Oh that’s right! I pulled Judy from the shelf the other day to show my daughter and just snapped the pic without checking. I love Judy too. I didn’t read as much of her as Nancy. I could only stretch my babysitting money so far.

Anne Lovell said...

I still have my Nancy Drew books, they were the first mysteries I ever read. I thank my mom for starting me to read them, she had a couple of the original blue binding books.
Mysteries are my favorite genre to read, thanks for writing them for us! annelovell12@yahoo.com

Anonymous said...

I loved Nancy Drew...bought everyone that I could. The Hardy Boys were ok but I didn't read as many. Spending time in England and having a British mother, I read lots of Enid Blyton as well The Famous Five and the The Secret Seven. Loved all these books!

Anonymous said...

I had all the Nancy Drew books and sure wish I still did ( as Anne Lovell does)! I remember The Hidden Staircase cover so very well! It hit home with me and pulled on my heartstrings. I think Nancy D. helped me REALLY become a reader. I've been a reading teacher now for 20 years. ( Though my title has been a Literacy teacher, a Title One Teacher, An AIS-ELA teacher, etc... ) Thanks for the memories, Duffy! Teri Lenz shado85455@aol.com

Karen Candee said...

I loved the Nancy Drew books too - I was lucky enough to own some of them but I did get most of them at the library. I am glad they are still publishing them.

Karen in Ohio said...

If you have a smartphone you can download a reading app, Nook or Kindle, and read from that device.

Very cool that you have an ebook coming out!

I was also a Hardy Boys fan, in addition to devouring as many Nancy Drew books as I could find. And spent my birthday cash on my very own books. They were so precious when you bought them yourself, weren't they?

Karen in Ohio said...

Something I didn't know until a couple years ago about the Nancy Drew books--there never was a real Carolyn Keene. The books were all ghost written, by various authors, under that name, called a collective pseudonym. Mildred Benson was the first, and she wrote many of the early ones.

Duffy Brown said...

Hi, Ann. What a great mom to get you hooked on reading. Love that she has the blue binding ones. I can still feel the texture…sort of rough. Oh the love of a book, esp a mystery book. Hugs

Grandma Cootie said...

I read my first Nancy Drew book, The Secret of the Old Clock, just last week. Not sure why I never read her since I was always reading. When I was younger I did love the Bobbsey Twins but I quickly went straight to the adult section of the library: Victoria Holt, Patricia Whitney, Mary Roberts Rinehart, and Robert Heinlein and other SF because my uncle read it. Both my mother and grandmother belonged to many book clubs, including mysteries, and we had a great library in town, so except for the regular school book sales I didn't own many of my own books.

I became fascinated with Jane Eyre and read that over and over, but I think the book and character that may have impacted me the most was Francie in A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. While her family life wasn't exactly like mine, some parts of it were pretty close. She didn't solve any mysteries but Francie seemed very brave and determined to me. I even tried reading books from the library from A-Z like she did for a while ;-).

Duffy Brown said...

English mysteries have a certain flair and depth. I watch the Midsomer murders on PBS and of course there’s the new Sherlock that I absolutely adore.

Duffy Brown said...

A reading teacher…no one more important than you! Teaching kid to read is indeed the key to life. Sure wish I had all the old Nancy books. I think I’m going to start collecting…the hunt is on!

Duffy Brown said...

Hi, Karen. I got a lot of mine from the library as well…just couldn’t afford my reading habit any other way. Thank heavens for the library on so many levels. Hugs

Duffy Brown said...

When I found out there wasn’t any Carolyn Keene I was heartbroken. Sort of took some of the magic out of it for me. I think I thought of this Jessica Fletcher kind of woman penning out these amazing books just for me.

Duffy Brown said...

Hi Grandma Cooie. A lot of great reads mentioned there and so varied. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is amazing…made me want to go to Brooklyn. Loved the Bobbsey Twins at the Seashore…I thing that was the one. I’d never been to the ocean then and this was a special treat. Mimi vacation for a kid. Hugs

nancy wolfe said...

I love Nancy Drew and still have my set of them. Reading has always been something I can't do without. I started reading mysteries with her series and still love them today.

Duffy Brown said...

Hi Nancy. I’m just like you…Nancy got me hooked on mysteries and Murder on the Orient Express. So love that story! Never saw the end coming. :-)
Hugs

Rachelle21 said...

I still have my Nancy Drew books but I loved Judy Bolton books more. They were based on things that happened in Margaret Sutton's life. Judy also grows up and gets married in the books. Nancy has only aged 2 years in the time she has been around.

Of course, I now love books written by cozy authors as they are the modern day mysteries to read

Diane P said...

I was a book devoured back then as I am now. I loved the Bobbsey twins, Nancy Drew, Cherry Ames, Dana sisters. Then I went on to read the Five Little Peppers & how they Grew. I next read all of Louisa May Alcott's books. I think that was the beginning of my finding favorite authors & reading all of their works.

Maggie Sefton said...

Duffy----I wonder how many of us were devoted Nancy Drew lovers? I think she planted those early seeds of plotting mysteries way back when I was in elementary school. Nancy's stories were my favorites, along with horse books. Still remember how much I cried when reading Black Beauty.

Liz Straw said...

love Nancy Drew (I did like Trixie Beldon a little better because she was 13 and 14) but I find myself going back to Nancy Drew books all the time. I even played some of the Nancy Drew games on my computer. I loved my mother's copy of Secret of Shadow Ranch, the 1930s version. I realizes how 'cleaned' up my 1960s books were and I prefered the older versions when I could find them to read, still do in some ways. I am always wishing Hannah Gruen would come to my house and stay...

Duffy Brown said...

Hi, Rachelle. That is always a dilemma… have the character age and change or keep him/her the same. Since there is no one author for Nancy Drew I think they had to do it the way they did, but she got updated. LOL I love Judy Bolton!

Duffy Brown said...

Hi, Diane. I’m the same way when I find someone I love. I have to read all their books. I did that with the Stephanie Plum series but I have to admit I sort of slacked off the last few. I love Stephanie.

Duffy Brown said...

Oh Maggie, I read tons of horse books too. I never learned to ride but wish I had. Black Beauty… now there’s a book!

Duffy Brown said...

Yes, Hannah Gruen. I loved her. She’s a tough old girl and I always felt Nancy got a lot of her gumption from Hannah. Loved how she stood up for and protected Nancy. Great character

sue lopp said...

I Loved Nancy Drew. I wanted to be Nancy Drew when i grew up! I had all her books in hard cover and my dad bless his heart gave them all away to a buddy at work to give to his daughter.. i was heart broken.. i also enjoyed Trixie Beldon, Encylopedia Brown... and there was one other that i cannot recall right now...

Mary Jane Maffini said...

Great post, Duffy! We still love Nancy Drew and so do our characters. XO MJ

Linda Kish said...

I loved Nancy Drew books and Cherry Ames, Student Nurse books, as well. I grew up and became an RN.

Maureen H said...

I loved Nancy Drew, all my birthday money went toward them. I still have them.

Duffy Brown said...

Oh your dad meant well I’m sure but I’d be heartbroken too. I looove Encyclopedia Brown! Used to read it to my class when I taught and we’d try and figure out the mystery together. Good times.

Duffy Brown said...

Hi MJ. Yes, I do refer to Nancy in my series too. :-)

Duffy Brown said...

Hi, Linda. What a great story. And I grew up and solved mysteries…sort of. LOL

Duffy Brown said...

Hi, Maureen. Lucky you to have held on to them. :-) Love the old ones the best. Hugs

Georgette Tarnow said...

Loved Nancy and collect the books. I think about 175 Nancy Drew Mysteries were published, plus 47 ND "All-New" books, 124 ND Files books, as well as the ND on Campus, ND Notebooks, ND Clue Crew, ND Diaries, and more!

Rebecca said...

I loved Nancy growing up and I'm thrilled that my eight-year-old daughter loves her now. There are a few different Nancy series, my daughter read the entire "Nancy Drew and the Clue Crew" series last school year. I'm thrilled that she's now reading the series that I grew up on!

Diane Vallere said...

Duffy, I've been meaning to stop over here and read your blog post since it popped up in my Facebook feed this morning! I read my first Nancy in 5th grade. I admit, I was a Trixie Belden girl by then, so Nancy wasn't my first girl detective. But I still remember which was the first one I read (The Mysterious Mannequin, and to this day I wonder if there are secret messages woven into Turkish rugs!). Trixie made me who I am today, but Nancy definitely helped!

Duffy Brown said...

Hi Georgette. I han no idea there were that many. That girl sure gets around. ;-)

Duffy Brown said...

Oh Rebecca. That is so neat to have your kids like what you do and then talk about it together. Eight is such a fun age. Lucky you. Enjoy.

Duffy Brown said...

Hi, Diane! I love that you look at the rugs and wonder about a hidden message. That is so much fun. Isn’t it amazing how these characters influenced us like they did? I wonder if the authors had any idea their books would be so powerful? Hugs

Duffy Brown said...

Hi everyone. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts on Nancy Drew and other sleuths of your childhood. It is amazing how this character influenced us. I just love chatting with you all over this. What a fun day.

The winners of my romance books are: Liz Straw, Georgette Tarnow, Annette Blanchard
send me your mailing address: Duffy Brown@DuffyBrown.com.

Have an amazing weekend. Hugs. Duffy

Anonymous said...

Because my name is Nancy, I always identified with Nancy Drew more than any other fictional female. (Growing up in Montreal, Canada, instead of River Heights, USA, was no impediment to me being this character. The fact there were no real mysteries to solve didn't stop me either - I was Nancy Drew!) My 2 boys collected The Three Investigators and the Hardy Boys, so I was thrilled to have granddaughters who shared my enjoyment of Nancy Drew. comment by Nancy Reid, aka Nancy Drew .......... now, if I could just solve the mystery of how to publish via some way other than anonymous

Anonymous said...

Well, get two Hidden Staircases, one for me! Love, Teri and thanks for being a part of our Iroquois Reading Council over the past school year! PS CONGRATS to the WINNERS! :)

Duffy Brown said...

Go to Join this Site (above) click on it and sign up and you can add your picture. Hope this works. If not email DuffyBrown@DuffyBrown.com and we’ll figure it out together. Have a great weekend. Hugs

Robin Driscoll said...

OMG, I loved Nancy Drew. She is the reason I love to read. I love mysteries the most.

Duffy Brown said...

Hi, Robin! Ditto here. And she’s the reason I write ‘em. :-) Have a good weekend. Hugs

lavendersbluegreen said...

My Dad bought me one for the holidays a year ago... I fryed it. And the 4 that came after. I have 2 books (1 soft & 1 hard) in my purse with the e-reader now... I read over a book a day so apparently they don't make an e-reader to keep up with an uber reader like me... giggling.
I cannot wit for your e-book. Let us know when we can pre-order.
You can also download a kindle app for your computer. They have nook, kobo, and adobe apps too.

lavendersbluegreen said...

Congrats ladies!

Duffy Brown said...

Thanks for playing along, Lavender. Have a terrific weekend. Hugs, Duffy

Laurie Fancy said...

LOVED the Nancy Drew series!! I got the 'Clue in the Diary' for my 8th birthday... That was like getting clothes... Gee, thanks (for nothing!). Later when I got the measles and/or chicken pox, I really appreciated that book. I even asked my mom to bring me more home from the library. In those days they isolated you for 10 days to 2 weeks. I was hooked! Later I would buy more from the small bookstore downtown at the reasonable price of $1.95. Birthday money went to buy me quite a few Nancy Drew's!! My daughter got my set to read, and she still has it for her daughter. They'll get a lot of mileage, to be sure!! The only one I don't have is 'the Nancy Drew Cookbook' they did back in 1975. If I ever come across it I'll have to pick it up! Yes, I have very fond memories and countless hours of reading about Nancy and her gal pals - George & Bess.

Duffy Brown said...

Hi, Laurie. The whole set!!!!! That is fantastic. I did a quick search and came up with this. .http://www.kijiji.ca/v-books/markham-york-region/the-nancy-drew-cookbook-carolyn-keene-1975-hardcover/601071306?enableSearchNavigationFlag=true

I’ll keep my eye out at garage sale etc too. Good luck. Hugs