If I could be anyone else in the world besides myself, I would be Nancy Drew. I can still remember Mrs. Mickels, the librarian at my elementary school, introducing me to the beautiful, yellow-colored shelf in 3rd grade, just filled with every Nancy Drew mystery story ever made. I remember starting with the one labeled #1, on that classic blue spine, and checking out two per week, every week, as per my library’s limit, until I had read through the entire series.
Nancy was exciting. She was a proper young lady, but she ran around town solving mysteries. She always dressed to the nines, drove that classic blue convertible, had great girl friends, and an always ambiguous, exciting boy friend – Ned. Her dad was a lawyer, they lived in a large house with a housekeeper. All the clues came together from her mystery of the moment just right in the end, and sometimes I could figure it out with her! The girl you would want to be friends with – or be!
While Nancy Drew’s fictional town, River Heights, was most likely somewhere in the Midwest (some speculate Iowa, Illinois, or Ohio), she epitomizes Southern qualities – hospitality, charm, smarts, humility, and of course, a well-dressed appearance!
So, when I pulled down my collection of the Nancy Drew Mystery Stories, it was no surprise to find that several of the mysteries are set in the good ol’ South.
Two of my favorites are The Mystery at the Moss-Covered Mansion and The Haunted Showboat. Moss-Covered Mansion takes place in Florida, at Cape Kennedy. Depending on which version you get your hands on (1941 or 1971), it revolves around an old, spooky mansion complete with African wildlife on the grounds. The Haunted Showboat revolves around a trip to Mardi Gras, in New Orleans, where an old river showboat is being prepared to be used for an engagement party, but all sorts of strange happenings are encouraging the party to leave it abandoned.
If you have girls in your house, from elementary school aged all the way up to grandma’s age, they’ll love to discover, or rediscover, this classic American heroine.
Who were your favorite characters from fictional literature as a child, or a grown-up?