Monday, October 27, 2008

How Could I Forget?

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.

Heh.

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.

10 comments:

Morgan Mandel said...

What an untimely demise for poor Nancy Drew - being soaked in cat urine!

I don't know of very many women mystery writers who didn't first start out with Nancy Drew. I wish I hadn't been so diligent about cleaning out some of my old books way back when. I don't have any of them left either.

Morgan Mandel
www.morganmandel.com
http://morganmandel.blogspot.com

Morgan Mandel said...

What an untimely demise for poor Nancy Drew - being soaked in cat urine!

I don't know of very many women mystery writers who didn't first start out with Nancy Drew. I wish I hadn't been so diligent about cleaning out some of my old books way back when. I don't have any of them left either.

Morgan Mandel
www.morganmandel.com
http://morganmandel.blogspot.com

Mark said...

My sister was a Nancy Drew fan and I was a Hardy Boy fan. I picked up one of her books once to see what it was about. It had something to do with a ghost and a haunted house. Way too scary for me. I stuck with the Hardy Boys.

Jean Henry Mead said...

I can relate to your Nancy Drew collection demise. My dogs reviewed some of my favorites by chewing them up when they were puppies. By the way, Dana is the protagonist's name in my new Logan and Cafferty senior sleuth series. :)

Dana Fredsti said...

My cats have often given back...er..ended critique to certain books and records, so we learned to either put up plastic sheets or keep the books up high. THey don't seem to do it so much these days...

I never got into the Hardy Boys, but I suspect most girls gravitated towards Nancy and most boys towards...well...the boys!

Jean, I heartily endorse your use of my name for a sleuth! :-) Funny, my dog was remarkably undestructive, but the cats?... sigh.

Vivian Zabel said...

My cousin (the age of my mother) gave me and another cousin (my age) two copies each of the original Nancy Drew books. My same-aged cousin allowed me to borrow hers and read them but didn't want to borrow my copies to read. When I tried to return her copies, she informed me that she wasn't interested in books and to keep them. I didn't argue too much.

So I had four original books, until my daughter lent them to a friend who tore one apart. I was sick. I put the copies in plastic bags with something to absorb moisture, and there they stay.

On a sad note, one of my favorite authors died earlier, Tony Hillerman. I admired him greatly and will miss him and his writing.

http://viviansmysteries.blogspot.com
http://VivianZabel.blogspot.com

Libby McKinmer said...

I, like so many, also cut my mystery-loving teeth on Nancy Drew. I also enjoy the Hardy Boys and Trixie Belden. Then came Phyllis Whitney and on goes the list!

Thanks for bringing back a memory of such good times, reading my Nancy Drew books.

Dana Fredsti said...

I heard about Tony Hillerman, Vivian. The positive is that he left a wonderful legacy behind, but yeah, I was sad too.

LIbby, Phyllis Whitney!! I used to love her and Victoria Holt and...oooh, I know what my next post is gonna be about... heheheh...

Other Lisa said...

"Nancy, being an excellent swimmer, quickly kicked off her pumps and dove into the freezing lake."

In contrast, I was not a huge Nancy Drew fan, though I later became hooked on Agatha Christie. Go figure.

Christine Duncan said...

Other Lisa, I thought I was the only mystery writer who wasn't a Nancy Drew fan. Victoria Holt, Yes, and Georgette Heyer.