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I began my life of crime at the age of eight when I started reading the original version of the first Nancy Drew mystery, The Secret of the Old Clock. Along with most of the girls in my class, I identified with Nancy, an attractive, talented, and affluent sixteen-year-old girl taught by her father, Carson Drew, to be self-reliant and logical. I decided then that I too would dedicate my life to rectifying injustices even if that meant, like Nancy, committing an occasional crime. In The Secret of the Old Clock, Nancy steals an old clock to recover the lost will of Josiah Crowley.

In response to changing conceptions of American femininity, Nancy’s personality has undergone significant revisions since the 1930s. In the 1950s, this bold, capable, and gutsy gumshoe morphed into a demure debutante, less abrasive and more sympathetic. Fortunately, she regained her spunk in the 1980s. Still, throughout her evolution, she has maintained her popularity with more than 80 million copies of her books sold.

Eventually, I graduated to Sherlock Holmes and Hercule Poirot, Lew Archer and Matthew Scudder, Kinsey Millhone and Spenser only to continue my life of crime with the protagonist of my first-century CE mystery series, Miriam bat Isaac.

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