Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Thursday Thirteen #91 -- Meet the original girl super-sleuth


Before Kinsey Milhone, before Kay Scarpetta, I followed the adventures of the original girl super-sleuth, Nancy Drew. So did just about every girl I grew up with. We weren’t alone: Since 1930, girls between the ages of 9 and 12 have been introduced to the mystery genre through these 175 titles.

Nancy Drew has conquered Hollywood, too, starring in 5 movies – four in the late 1930s with Bonita Granville; one in 2007 starring Emma Roberts. There have been two Nancy Drew TV series. In the first, which premiered in the 1970s, she was played by Pamela Sue Martin (who was replaced by Janet Louise Johnson). The second series ran in 1995 and starred Tracy Ryan.

In the 1990s, Nancy’s adventures as a third-grade sleuth solving mysteries with her young friends (“the Clue Crew”) were chronicled for a younger audience in a series known as The Nancy Drew Notebooks. Also, today’s kids can help Nancy solve mysteries interactively with her computer games.

She has her own website and a line of collectibles . With all this merchandising, I’m surprised the girl still has time to sleuth!

Here are thirteen facts about the girl who has played a role in countless young lives: Miss Nancy Drew.

1) Nancy has always had blue eyes, though her hair color has changed from reddish blonde to just blonde over the years.

2) Except for her incarnation in The Nancy Drew Notebooks, Nancy is done with high school but still a teenager. (I think of her as forever 18.)

3) She lives with her widowed father, famous attorney Carson Drew, in River Heights.

4) Her late mother, who descended from Scottish aristocrats, died when Nancy was either 3 or 10 (depends on which book you reference).

5) Nancy and Carson are tended to by their housekeeper, Hannah, who cooks and cleans and keeps the 3-story brick house running smoothly.

6) Nancy has always loved her blue car. In one book she drove a maroon car, but by the next volume she was back to blue. Over the years it’s evolved from a blue “roadster” to a blue Mustang.

7) Her two best friends are a pair of cousins named Bess and George. Bess is Elizabeth Marvin and George is Georgia Fayne. Bess is pretty and plump, and George is a big, clumsy tomboy.

8) Nancy is without a doubt the leader of this trio, unafraid to do whatever it takes – climb a fence, pick a lock, rifle through drawers – in search of a clue. Bess and George are helpful, but generally just along for the ride.

9) In addition to being fearless, Nancy is always fashionable, and capable of solving crimes in high heels and pearls. She is fond of hats and has a gift for coordinating them with her handbags.

10) Nancy doesn’t just solve crimes. Even though she doesn’t seem interested in college, she enjoys artistic pursuits like music and dancing. She is a fine cook, but loves sports – golf, sailing, swimming, tennis, and horseback riding.

11) Naturally this spirited and accomplished girl is irresistible to boys. But her heart belongs to Ned Nickerson, a sophomore at nearby Emerson College. He is 6’2, with wavy hair. He, too, is excellent at sports and has spent a summer or two as a camp counselor.

12) Ned would like Nancy to settle down and become his wife, but she’s just not ready. In the meantime, he’s welcome to help her solve mysteries.

13) Her latest adventure was Werewolf in a Winter Wonderland (2003). Here’s the plot summary, courtesy of “Things are hairy in River Heights this holiday season. Two wolves have disappeared from WildWolf, the federal wolf preserve just outside of town. Local farmers think the missing wolves are killing their sheep, but there are also rumors of werewolf sightings nearby. At the same time, the annual River Heights Winter Carnival is set to begin. When the first two days of the outdoor festival are full of tragic disasters, Nancy can't help but wonder -- is there a link between the carnival's trouble and the missing wolves? After the carnival's beautiful ice palace is destroyed, Nancy's sure there's a wolf at River Heights's door. But is the leader of this pack of crimes human, or beast?”

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It took two hours, but I VOTED

I have lived more than half my life in the same town, yet had never been inside Village Hall until today. Now I'm an expert on its layout. I can tell you how to find the public restrooms, animal control, and the window for paying traffic fines because the line of early voters snaked through the entire first floor.

I saw a report that said just over 55% of all registered voters cast a ballot in 2004. I predict we're about to see what happens when that percentage rises. My advice: Take a book and bottled water along when you go to vote Tuesday!