The true story behind the iconic fictional detective is “a fascinating chapter in the history of publishing” (The Seattle Times).
An Edgar Award Winner for Best Biography and a Chicago Tribune Best Book of the Year
The plucky “titian-haired” sleuth solved her first mystery in 1930—and eighty million books later, Nancy Drew has survived the Depression, World War II, and the sixties (when she was taken up with a vengeance by women’s libbers) to enter the pantheon of American culture. As beloved by girls today as she was by their grandmothers, Nancy Drew has both inspired and reflected the changes in her readers’ lives. Here, in a narrative with all the page-turning pace of Nancy’s adventures, Melanie Rehak solves an enduring literary mystery: Who created Nancy Drew? And how did she go from pulp heroine to icon?
The brainchild of children’s book mogul Edward Stratemeyer, Nancy was brought to life by two women: Mildred Wirt Benson, a pioneering journalist from Iowa, and Harriet Stratemeyer Adams, a well-bred wife and mother who took over her father’s business empire as CEO. In this century-spanning, “absorbing and delightful” story, the author traces their roles—and Nancy’s—in forging the modern American woman (The Wall Street Journal).
“It’s truly fun to see behind the scenes of the girl sleuth’s creation.” —Publishers Weekly
“As much a social history of the times as a book about the popular series . . . Those who followed the many adventures of Nancy Drew and her friends will be fascinated with the behind-the-scenes stories of just who Carolyn Keene really was.” —School Library Journal
“Sheds light on perhaps the most successful writing franchise of all time and also the cultural and historic changes through which it passed. Grab your flashlights, girls. The mystery of Carolyn Keene is about to begin.” —Karen Joy Fowler
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Such an engrossing read that it made me hungry for some Nancy Drews. Rehak writes with gusto and intelligence. Nancy would be so proud.