I was racking my brains (stretched it out at LEAST twice its size) trying to think of a topic for my first Make Mine Mystery post when the lovely Vivian Zabel sent an email announcing her new mystery blog, Vivian's Mysteries. I went over for a peek and, after being the FIRST person to officially follow Vivian's blog (I have no idea why this pleases me so much or why my reaction, after hitting the 'be the first person to follow this blog' button, was a general "in your face!" towards...well, I honestly don't know towards who. This reaction simply illustrates a certain rich vein of immaturity running through my blood.
So after becoming Vivian's follower (I'm hoping she issues cool Monk-like robes or something), I read her post, which mentioned her love of Nancy Drew. This reminded me that the first mystery I read was actually The Secret of the Old Clock, #1 in Carolyn Keene's (pen name!) Nancy Drew, Girl Detective series.
I received Old Clock, The Hidden Staircase and The Bungalow Mystery for Christmas when I was 6 or 7 (the same year, I also scored the Dark Shadows board game). At first I was disappointed (with the books, not the board game); I hadn't gotten to the stage where I actually asked for books as gifts. But after I read the first book, I was hooked. Mom gave me a bunch of her old Nancy Drew books (the blue bound editions). I plowed my way through those and by the time I was in my early teens, I'd amassed most of the books in the series.
When I hit my '20s, I'd fallen out of love with Ms. Drew and her irritating habit of doing everything perfectly. I still understand why the books were and are so popular, although I admit to having problems when they were updated to meet the current times' politically correct standards. The formerly swarthy villains (ALL bad guys were described as 'swarthy') joined the Rainbow Coalition, Nancy's already feminist leanings became more prominent, and the adventure were modernized to appeal to a more sophisticated readership. These are all good things, I realize that. But my childhood memories felt betrayed and I was quite happy when they reissued the original versions of some of the books for those of us who enjoy things for what they were and as a sign of the times they were originally written or filmed.
On a sad note, my entire collection of Nancy Drews died a stinky death when one of our cats peed on and in the box I'd stored them in, in my parents' garage. There is no bringing back a book from a dousing in cat urine.