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Literature - Nancy Drew

4. 500 Books

4. Nancy Drew and the Case of the 500 Books

Nancy Drew's first book was published in 1930. Since then, more than 500 books have been launched telling the girl's adventures in different series aimed at different audiences. All Nancy Drew books are published under the pseudonym Carolyn Keene regardless of who the actual author was.

Grosset & Dunlap published the first fifty-six titles in the Nancy Drew Mystery Stories series between 1930 and 1979. Many of these 56 titles were subsequently revised and republished in altered form. In these books, Nancy Drew is sixteen, but in the mid 1940s she is aged to eighteen, when the legal driving age was raised.

In volume one of the original series, it is stated that Nancy's mother died when Nancy was 10 years old. It was changed to three in later revisions, as well as her age: in the revised series, she was always eighteen.

In the 1930's she is apparently affluent, but with the start fo the 1940's Nancy began to evolve into a less obiously affluent character. Her fashion style becomes a bit more casual and she no longer pursues angles that greatly endanger herlself or her friends.

During the 1950's Harriet Stratemeyer Adams started writing the books and also revised the earlier volumes to speed pacing and remove regional and racist references.

In 1957 most books dropped from 200 to 180 pages, including the rewrites. Nancy begins to travel away from her hometown, River Heights, which becomes more metropolitan and less rural.

Beginning in 1959, the original books were gradually updated for consistency with the later volumes, sin some cases only sharing a title with the original, with completely new plots and settings.

In 1979, two million copies of Nancy Drew books were sold. It was in that year when Nancy Drew books began to be published by Simon & Schuster in paperback format. Though formatted differently from the original 56-volume series, which continued under Grosset & Dunlap's control, these new books retained the general essence of the series style. It ended in 2003 and it consists of books from 57 to 175.

Running concurrent with the main Nancy Drew Mystery Stories line, in 1987 Simon &Schuster began to publish a spin-off series called "The Nancy Drew Files", aimed at an older teenage audience. In these books, mysteries usually involve murders and Nancy and Ned are more into romance. This series ends with volume 124 in 1997.
The "Nancy Drew Notebooks" series told stories aimed at younger readers, starrion 8-year-old Nancy and her fiends in the third grade. His series started in 1994 and ended with volume 69 in December 2005. The "notebook" refoers to the blue notebook in whihch Nancy srites down her mysterier and what she learns.

This series was relaunched as "Nancy Drew and the Clue Crew" in 2006, and it currently has 21 books.
"Nancy Drew On Campus" series was launched between 1995 and 1998 and has 25 books. In this series, Nancy, Bess and George attend Wilder University.

After the main series was cancelled in 2003, Simon & Schuster started publishing a new series: "Nancy Drew, girl detective". Beginning in 2004, the publisher says: "in the all-new Nancy Drew, we've enhanced and expanded everything you've loved about Nancy, Bess and George and the rest of Nancy's crew. You loved the series before, but with more dimension, you'll love the series even more now!". This series is a bit different: it is written in the first person rather than in the third person, making Nancy much more real. Her best friends, Bess and George, are now a skilled mechanic and a technology wiz, and Nancy is impulsive and flippant as she was in the early books from the 1930's. This series has 37 books, and it is still being published.

There have been some specials: "Nancy Drew Ghost Stories" (2008), "The Nancy Drew Cookbook (1973 and 2005) and "Nancy Drew Mad Libs" (2005).

Another series is "Girls Detective Super Mysteries", with 3 volumes published between 2005 and 2007.
Beginning in 2005, it started a completely new collection- "Nancy Drew Girl Detective Graphic Novels"- based on manga-style illustrations and technical allusions that give Nancy a 21st century spin. This collection has 16 books, and it hasn't finished yet.

Apart from Nancy Drew, the Hardy Boys were another great Stratemeyer Syndicate's creation. In 1981 and in 1984 Simon & Schuster published two books containing short stories with Nancy and the Hardy Boys working together: "Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys Super Sleuths 1" and "2".

And from 1988 to 1998, a new 36-book series was launched: "Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys Super Mystery Series". Other title featuring the same characters is "Nancy Drew and the hardy Boys Campfire Stories", published in 1984.

The same year, a series featuring a level of reader-interaction similar to the "choose your own adventure" books was published. It has 6 volumes and was called "Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys Be a Detective Mystery Stories".

Summing up, we already have 518 Nancy Drew adventure's books. Old volumes are still being reprinted, with revised contend, and new volumes and collections are published to the delight of Nancy Drew fans. As it is said in Nancy Drew Sleuth external link, "Nancy has been modernized for today's generation yet she still retains many of the same qualities that made her so popular back in 1930 […] She was not namby-pamby then and she most definitely is not namby-pamby today".