Sleuthing out Nancy Drew

Nancy Drew—an American detective successfully marketed to young girls—has had a universal appeal. Not only has she sustained popularity over the decades, but also in other countries. However, names matter.  Nancy's name morphed to fit in with her readers.  Visit this webpage for some fascinating facts behind the international publications (or keep reading my post for the highlights).

In earliest German translations, Nancy’s called Susanne Langen.

In Sweden, Nancy’s called Kitty, while in the Netherlands, George gets called Kitty.

In Denmark, Nancy is Nancy, but George is Georgia.

The French call her Alice.

In Portugal, Nancy becomes Diana D. (Bess and George become Teresa and Joao, respectively). 

Never mind the names, what mattered was Nancy’s personality and that seems consistent throughout the earlier Grosset and Dunlop series released between 1962 and 1968 (#1-45) that I grew up reading. 

By the end of the first chapter of “The Ghost of Blackwood Hall” (#25)—the book I’m currently re-reading—Nancy’s outstanding character traits have been revealed. She’s shown as funny, kind, diplomatic, and displaying her father’s ‘courage and keen intelligence’. She’s also described as curious and as a risk-taker. 

Why do I care so much about Nancy Drew? She's been a shadowy star of a novel I'm working on and I like to read what my protagonists read. There's an even closer connection, as you might guess.

Growing up, I pretended to see her in my own mirror, hiding behind my immigrant name and awkward family. I wanted to be Nancy … clever, pretty, funny, kind, and curious. I’ll settle for curious. That's one trait Nancy, the cat and I all share along with the various risks that go with it. Nine lives, please!

Growing up in the sixties here in Canada, Nancy inspired many girls and I bet my uncomfortable immigrant experience is still experienced by modern-day refugees and newcomers. Getting lost in a book was a great way to explore the world and Nancy Drew was the magic mirror that transformed my childhood.

Now, as an adult and as an author myself, I'm curious about Carolyn Keene, the author name on all these hundreds of Nancy Drew books. That's a mystery I've yet to solve. So I guess I'll have to be a sleuth and post on this topic once again. 



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