Posts Tagged ‘Carolyn Keene’

The Sleuth

I don’t remember exactly how old I was when my mother introduced me to Nancy Drew, but from the moment I read Carolyn Keene’s first book, I was hooked. She was one of Mom’s favorites, too. Nancy was smart. Nancy was rich. Nancy was independent, at least as much as a teenager could be. Nancy drove a blue roadster, whatever that was. I loved reading about her adventures with friends George and Bess and her boyfriend, Ned Nickerson. Our small town, like many others, had a library back in those days. It was cool and dark inside and smelled like books. There was no need for a library card because the librarian knew us all by name and besides, we signed them out ourselves on a card that was located in a pocket inside the front cover of each and every book. I suppose if they were overdue the librarian could call my mother, but I was always so excited to read the next adventure that mine never were. I filled a book bag or my bicycle basket every time I went, and could spend hours perusing the shelves, deciding what to read next. I loved the adventures of the Bobbsey Twins and The Boxcar Children, but soon switched to the mystery genre such as The Happy Hollisters, Trixie Belden, and Cherry Ames. Nancy Drew was my favorite of all of these old friends, and I read the books over and over. For books that were written a generation before mine, they never seemed to get old. Nancy kept me entertained through numerous bouts of tonsillitis. She accompanied me to our cabin, where I spent many hours lying in a hammock on the beach reading and slapping mosquitoes. After dark, I would duck under the covers, book in hand. Mysteries become more mysterious when read by the light of a flashlight unbeknownst to your parents. I found out many years later that my parents knew exactly what I was doing and that Carolyn Keene wasn’t a person at all but a pseudonym for several authors who wrote the series. That was somewhat of a disappointment to me, as I had pictured a real live Carolyn Keene hunched over an old typewriter in an attic room somewhere, tapping away at the keys. Nancy Drew has been around for 85 years. It is kind of amazing how this fictional character entertained and even influenced several generations of women, including me. One of my hobbies is collecting the original hardcover books from the 1930’s and 1940’s. It is no mystery why they are so hard to find. Thanks, Mom. You were right, as usual. The second Mother’s Day without you is no easier than the first.

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