I have been a fan of Nancy Drew since I was a kid and I read my first case of hers The Mystery at Lilac Inn.I was hooked ever since, and since that first iconic yellow hardcover, I’ve seen many iterations of Nancy Drew through the years, from various book versions to the small and big screens, and even to a beloved video game franchise. She, as a character, was such an influence in my life, that I’ve often found myself asking – What would Nancy Drew do?
I specifically remember the moment when Nancy Drew became a part of my life. In fact, I actually think the reading of that book is my first memory of reading a full-fledged novel that wasn’t a picture book of sorts. I remember my friend was reading Nancy Drew and she was the one who introduced me to the series. It must have been when I was in grade 3 or 4. We went to our school library and she pointed out the yellow hardcovers to me, pulling The Mystery at Lilac Inn off the shelf and suggesting I start there, as that was her favourite she had read so far. So that’s where I started. Maybe it would have made more sense to start with number one, rather than the fourth book in the series, but eh, we were kids, we didn’t pay much attention to that sort of thing.
From that moment on, an obsession began. Specifically for Nancy Drew, but also less specifically for mystery/crime stories in general which led to my more adult adoration for shows like CSI and Criminal Minds and even to my brief childhood desire to become a criminologist when I grew up (I specifically remember saying “criminologist” and not detective).
But Nancy Drew was special. She was the beginning of it all. She was like a superhero to me. She was smart, she was pretty, and she got to live a life of adventures – not to mention, she always solved the case.
My collection of Nancy Drew books grew and grew, although my favourites now are of course the classic yellow hardcover stories, the original first 56. Looking back at my collection now, it saddens me that I don’t actually own that many of the yellow hardbacks (I don’t even own The Mystery at Lilac Inn, my first Nancy Drew book, because I had borrowed it from the library). The majority of my Nancy Drew books are from the Minstrel and Aladdin editions, which I did love as a child, but reading any of them now I’d much prefer the originals, just for the sake of the writing.
I would love, love, LOVE to someday own all of the original yellow hardbacks, purely for nostalgia’s sake. Some of those I never even got the chance to read, so it would be great to complete the series.
Nancy Drew is still going strong for me, even though I haven’t loved some of the most modern adaptations of her, such as that movie they released several years ago with Emma Roberts as Nancy Drew. If anyone out there is looking for a great modern adaptation of Nancy Drew and all her friends, then I highly recommend the Nancy Drew adventure series by Her Interactive. I absolutely love these games. I have since I was a child, and I still do to this day. I love being able to solve the puzzles and the mysteries, and I’ve actually learned a lot about history from the computer games as well. They’re fun, they’re challenging, and at times they are terrifying – I’m looking at you Ghost of Thornton Hall! But in the end, they’re awesome. I get to pretend I’m my childhood hero for a few hours, and that’s greatness in and of itself.
So thanks Nancy Drew, for always being a part of my life, and thanks to all the creators who helped to make that possible.