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The Mystery at the Ski JumpAn Introduction to 75 Years of Nancy Drew
By Bev Matz

Beverly runs Bev's Books (& Collectibles), in Wheat Ridge, Colorado. Her passion for the teenage sleuth has inspired a personal collection of 3,000 Nancy Drew books and memorabilia. Bev has listed books on Abebooks since 2002. [Search Bev's books on Abebooks]

On April 28, 1930, Edward Stratemeyer introduced a spunky teenage girl detective to the world - Nancy Drew.

The daughter of a lawyer, Nancy lives in River Heights along with housekeeper Hannah Gruen. Her girlfriends, Bess Marvin and George Fayne, along with boyfriend Ned Nickerson, round out the characters who have transcended time.

From 1930 to 1961, 38 titles were published in varying shades of blue hardcover with dust jackets. In 1962, the matte yellow picture cover books arrived with new artwork. An additional 18 titles were added (No. 39 The Mystery of Fire Dragon to No. 56 The Thirteenth Pearl) and the original 38 stories were revised and updated until 1982. These 56 books have been printed in over 20 different formats and are the foundation of Nancy Drew’s legacy.

There are currently 514 Nancy titles in the US and counting. Here’s a sample:

  • Original Nancy: No. 5 The Secret of Shadow Ranch – printed in the original format, the first edition first print run has a blue cover but lacks Nancy’s silhouette on the cover.

  •  Classic Nancy: Vol 2 The Hidden Staircase – look for the dust jacket art of Russell H. Tandy with the hat, gloves and high heel shoes.

  • Double Nancy: With two stories per book in hardback, a set of 27 books were issued in 1976.

  • Nancy Drew On Campus: From 1995-98, Nancy worked on college mysteries for 25 volumes.

  • Team Nancy: She joined the Hardy Boys for 36 books.

  • Leather Nancy: A leather-bound edition of The Secret of the Old Clock is now available.

There have also been books in Braille, a cookbook, records, triple editions, book club editions, large print editions, library editions, parodies and puzzle books. There are even books about the books, such as Girl Sleuth on the Couch: The Mystery of Nancy Drew and The Mysterious Case of Nancy Drew and The Hardy Boys.

Nancy has become an icon and has been a role model to many - long may she reign.