THE MYSTERY OF NANCY DREW


So many of you have told me how much you enjoyed the Nancy Drew mysteries, so much so that you’ve credited them with fostering your love of reading. My own twin sister reminded me how much we’d look forward to each one. We didn’t have the money to buy them, and the library considered them worthless trash that would spoil a child’s appreciation of good literature, but we’d borrow them from friends.

Both the Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys series-- and many others including The Rover Boys, The Bobbsey Twins, and Tom Swift-- were created by Edward Stratemeyer, who first capitalized on the huge, untapped market for children’s books aimed at entertainment rather than moral instruction.

He named the author of the Nancy Drew mysteries Carolyn Keene and the author of the Hardy Boys Franklin W. Dixon, but there were many ghostwriters, at least two dozen females as well as males for both series over the years, sometimes the same author for both. All had to swear they would never reveal that they were writing the books for him.

A recent series (1988—1998), the Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys Superseries published under the name of Carolyn Keene, consists of 36 paperbacks. Personally, I’m curious to see how Nancy interacted with Frank and Joe. As a middle school science teacher, I had to make sure that when boys and girls worked in the laboratory together, the girls didn’t regularly assume a subordinate role such as the data recorder or cleanup monitor. And so, I hope Nancy didn't get just the grunt work. Even my Miriam bat Isaac throws a punch when she has to.

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