The Titian-Haired Detective

Our latest sibling writing assignment was posed to us by InlandEmpireGirl. She wanted us to write about a book that made an impact on us while we were growing up.

With me, it wasn’t one book, but a whole series.

When I reached about third grade, I was drawn to a certain special shelf at the Kellogg Public Library that held a series of books and I decided I was going to read every one of them.

These were the Nancy Drew books.

Each mystery took me to River Heights, into the world of Nancy Drew and her family and friends who would often stumble on a mystery to solve, or would get some help find the mystery from her lawyer father Carson Drew.

However she would find her mystery, the words on the page sucked you into Nancy’s world. I remember some of the books described her hair as titian. I always wondered what color titian really was…but I guess I knew she was some kind of blond. And she drove a blue convertible.

Besides her father Carson, there was her housekeeper, Hannah Gruen, who was more like a mother figure to her.

Her two best friends were George Fayne, the tomboy, and Bess Marvin, George’s cousin who they always described as plump, but pretty. They often were right there with Nancy, helping her solve the latest mystery.

Occasionally, Nancy would get help solving the mysteries from Ned Nickerson, her boyfriend, and his two friends Burt Eddleton and Dave Evans, who would often hook up with the cousins.

Nancy was always brave and self-assured. She never seemed too scared of what might happen on her sleuthing trips. Bess was usually the one who got scared.
I remember being up in my bedroom at night reading the books, and trying figure out the mystery before Nancy did. Sometimes they got a little spooky. I enjoyed that too.

Some of the titles I remember are and that were my favorites were:

Secret of the Old Clock
The Hidden Staircase
The Clue in the Diary
The Whispering Statue
The Secret in the Old Attic
The Clue in the Old Album
Ghost of Blackwood Hall
The Clue in the Old Stagecoach
The Clue of the Dancing Puppet
The Moonstone Castle Mystery
The Clue of the Whistling Bagpipes
The Phantom of Pine Hill
The Mystery of the 99 Steps

My daughters have read some Nancy Drew mysteries. I don’t like the modern ones. They have Nancy breaking and entering, and doing things “my Nancy” from the 60’s and 70’s would have never done.

She had more class.


InlandEmpireGirl said...

What a great post. We did love those Nancy Drew mysteries. Two of my favorites are on your list... The Moonstone Castle Mystery and The Phantom of Pine Hill. I remember standing up and giving an oral book report in sixth grade on the latter and not giving away the ending so people would want to read it. Isn't it weird what we remember?

raymond pert said...

Perfect perfect perfect perfect last sentence.

"She had more class."

I just saw a one-eyed fat man smile from heaven!

Laurie said...

Makes me want to go reread some Nancy Drew!

Anonymous said...

I just read the Clue in the Diary, and also one about Japan.
I don't remember what it was called.

Anonymous said...

The one set in Japan is 'The Thirteenth Pearl'. My personal favorite.

old mc said...

I too wondered about what "titian haired" meant. Also assuming blond of some sort although the cover art shaded from blond to red & back, depending upon which mystery. Compare cover of The Mystery of the Broken Locket (definitely blonde) with The Message in the Hollow Oak (definitely redhead). While reading about genetic variation in the MC1R protein which determines melanin content (skin color), I found the technical/medical term for red haired was Titian. So now we know...

Anonymous said...

I agree SO much with this: "she had more class." SO TRUE! I didn't know there were all these modern Nancy Drew books, like the Nancy Drew Files and Nancy Drew: On Campus. I also don't like how Ned and Nancy's relationship gets confusing, and I don't even know if they marry eachother!! I like the mystery stories; the ones starting from the Clue in the Old Album to the Thirteenth Pearl. I liked how the relationship was Ned and Nancy, Burt and George, and Dave and Bess. It actually makes me quite sad if they did change it up that much [in which one of the series Nancy gets a new boyfriend!]They had to make it so confusing! I haven't read all them but I certainly am planning on it! I read all the Nancy Drew Notebooks in third grade, and now I'm on the Mystery Stories! Really enjoy them, even though I'm confused on the series, relationships, and "ghost writers." Bye!! :D