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Mattie Hatter and the Gilded Gauge

Thursday, March 23, 2017


Nancy Drew
Where my love for mysteries and solving puzzles began.

When I decided to rebuild my collection and reread them from the beginning, I knew I would be seeing them differently . . . through an adult mind. 

What I didn't realize was how the memories would come rushing back to me, and just how much I have missed reading these books. 

I hope you'll enjoy reliving Nancy Drew with me, or learn to love her for the first time. 

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Nancy Drew
#2
THE HIDDEN STAIRCASE
by Caroline Keene

Current cover

After receiving a call from her friend Helen Corning, Nancy agrees to help solve a baffling mystery. Helen's Aunt Rosemary has been living with her mother at the old family mansion, and they have noticed many strange things. They have heard music, thumps, and creaking noises at night, and seen eerie shadows on the walls. Could the house be haunted?

Just as soon as she hangs up the phone, a strange man visits Nancy's house to warn her and her father that they are in danger because of a case he is working on buying property for a railroad company. This warning leads Nancy and  her father Carson to search for the missing Willie Wharton, a landowner, who can prove he signed away his land to the railroad and save the railroad from a lawsuit. Will Nancy be able to find the missing landowner and discover how these mysteries are related?

MY REVIEW


As I read THE HIDDEN STAIRCASE I recalled being a young girl reading Nancy Drew and being both frightened, but safe in knowing Nancy would save the day. As reckless as she could be, I would have followed Nancy anywhere. You know what? I still would.

Illustration One

NANCY DREW: THE HIDDEN STAIRCASE if the first “ghost” story I ever read. I couldn’t believe Nancy wasn’t afraid of ghosts! In my rereading of this classic, I now see my girl Nancy never believed there to be ghosts in the first place. She knew there were humans causing the trouble in this story. But Nancy wasn’t even afraid of them, even when she should have been. I think the only real fear Nancy ever felt was when she or someone she cared for were in direct danger. But in her search for the truth, Nancy tended to rush (no matter how cautiously) into every situation running on adrenaline more so than thinking it through.

Illustration Two

The mystery in THE HIDDEN STAIRCASE grew with every turn of the page. There was always something happening! Nancy was always on the move searching for answers. It was truly hard to put the book down at any point because I knew something else was about to happen.

Illustration Three

I often became amused that Nancy was on her own so much. During one part of the story when Nancy went outside at night to investigate, her friend Helen not only stayed inside, but she went back to bed and slept! When it came to situations like this, Nancy was kinder than I would have been. Here she was, there to help Helen and her family at their request, and her friend lets her go out into the dark of night on her own. I would have tipped Helen out of her bed and told her to get her butt dressed! ;-)

Illustration Four

I really became swept up in the excitement when Nancy finally discovered the hidden staircase. And even though I knew they would be okay, I held my breath as Nancy and Helen took those stairs in search of the answers to the mysteries around them.

Illustration Five

As wonderful a read at fifty years old as it was when I was in my “tweens”, NANCY DREW: THE HIDDEN STAIRCASE was a suspenseful, danger filled mystery that readers young, old, and every age in between will want to add to their bookshelves. 

Illustration Six

I hope you enjoyed reading me review as much as I enjoyed writing it!

The cover when I read them in the seventies/eighties

More covers and illustrations




Note the title says THE HIDDEN STAIRCASE,
but the cover photo is from THE SIGN OF THE TWISTED CANDLES






Random observation of the whole series . . .

Nancy and her friends never missed a meal!

In books, on TV and in the movies of today, people take a bite or two and then they’re done. But in Nancy Drew, they eat breakfast, lunch, dinner, and even follow through with the cleanup.

So fellow amateur sleuths, make sure not to miss a meal, and you too will find your minds and bodies strong and true, and ready to solve any mystery that comes your way!

Newly published retro cover

What about you?
It there a series from your childhood you'd like to reread? 
Do you still have your originals, or would you have to rebuild your collection as I am?
Let me know. I'd love to hear about it!

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Be on the lookout for my review of 
Book #3 
NANCY DREW: THE BUNGALOW MYSTERY.


While driving a motorboat around the Twin Lakes, Nancy and her friend Helen get caught in a dangerous storm. Luckily, they are rescued by another teenage girl in a rowboat. They soon learn that their rescuer is Laura Pendleton, whose mother has recently having passed away. Laura has come to meet up with her new guardians, but something isn't quite right about them. Nancy investigates the situation, and soon she stumbles upon a shocking surprise in the cellar of a bungalow!

I don’t remember much about this one. I’m not even sure I read it. I never had the whole set. When I bought them or received them as gifts, they were out of order, according to what sounded the most exciting to me. 


As always, please leave a comment and 
let me know what you think!

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7 comments:

  1. Thanks, Lisa! Yes, this sure brings back memories. Happy Thursday, to you.

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  2. Thanks for sharing your great post, Lisa.

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  3. So much fun reminiscing and reading your blog, Lisa! I've been on a mission to recreate my water-ruined collection after discovering Half-Price books and their collectible section, where I found #5, The Secret of Shadow Ranch yesterday, rounding out the first seven books in the series. The Hidden Staircase is my favorite of all the Nancy Drew mysteries. I spent lots of time looking for a hidden staircase in my childhood home, a Queen Anne built in the 1890's. The closest thing I ever discovered was a "hidden" storage area under the eaves accessed through the back of a closet. Thanks for the stroll down Memory Lane!

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  4. I had the full series of Nancy Drew mysteries when I was younger.
    Unfortunately, I lost the whole collection in a flood which filled my basement where they were stored in a bookcase. I do have several originals from the 20's that were kept upstairs. She was my favorite series of books. I would spend all my allowance on her books.

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  5. The Hidden Staircase was my absolute favorite Nancy Drew! I'd forgotten many of the details you mentioned, Lisa. Thanks for bringing back memories.

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  6. OH MY GOSH!! I love this post!! I enjoy rereading these books and I even play the Nancy Drew CD-Rom adventure games with my daughters. We all still enjoy those. The photos of the covers and the inside illustrations you shared are so much fun. I love the classic covers from the 50s, 60s and 70s and have a huge collection of those books that I've shared with my daughters. Thanks for such a great walk down memory lane with Nancy! :)

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  7. I love your post, Lisa! It brings back so many memories... both of these wonderful books and my childhood. I never got to purchase any of the books when I was a kid, instead I rode my bike to the library very frequently, and checked them out. I found out early on, if my library didn't have one of the series, I could request it and they would get it from another larger branch. I still love libraries and mysteries to this day :)

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