nancy drew

Nancy Drew is a fictional character in a mystery fiction series created by publisher Edward Stratemeyer. The character first appeared in the year 1930; the books have been ghostwritten by a number of authors and are published under the collective pseudonym Carolyn Keene. Over the decades the character has evolved in response to changes in US culture and tastes. The books were extensively revised and shortened, beginning in 1959, in part to lower printing costs and to eliminate racist stereotypes, with arguable success. In the revision process, the heroine's original character was changed to a less assertive and more feminine character. In the 1980s an older and more professional Nancy emerged in a new series, The Nancy Drew Files, that included romantic plots for the sleuth. In 2004 the original Nancy Drew Mystery Stories series, begun in 1930, was ended and a new series, Girl Detective, was launched, in which the title character drives a hybrid electric vehicle and uses a cell phone. In 2013 The Girl Detective series was ended and a new current series called Nancy Drew Diaries was launched. Illustrations of the character have also evolved over time to reflect the Nancy Drew type in contemporary terms. The character has proved continuously popular worldwide: at least 80 million copies of the books have been sold, and the books have been translated into over 45 languages. Nancy Drew has featured in five films, two television shows, and a number of popular computer games; she also appears in a variety of merchandise sold over the world.

A cultural icon, Nancy Drew has been cited as a formative influence by a number of women, from Supreme Court Justices Sandra Day O'Connor and Sonia Sotomayor to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and former First Lady Laura Bush. Feminist literary critics have analyzed the character's enduring appeal, arguing variously that Nancy Drew is a mythic hero, an expression of wish fulfillment, or an embodiment of contradictory ideas about femininity.

Nancy Drew is a fictional amateur sleuth. In the original versions of the series she was a 16-year-old high school graduate, and in later versions was rewritten and aged to be an 18-year-old high school graduate and detective. In the series, she lives in the fictional town of River Heights with her father, attorney Carson Drew, and their housekeeper, Hannah Gruen. As a child she lost her mother (at age 10 in the original versions; at age 3 in the later versions); this would reflect in her early independence (running a household since the age of ten with a clear-cut servant, to later, deferring to the servant as a surrogate parent). As a teenager she spends her time solving mysteries, some of which she stumbles upon and some of which begin as cases of her father's. Nancy is often assisted in solving mysteries by her two closest friends, Bess Marvin (who is delicate and feminine) and George Fayne (who is a tomboy), and also occasionally by her boyfriend, Ned Nickerson, who is a college student at Emerson College.

Nancy has often been described as a supergirl: in the words of Bobbie Ann Mason, she is "as immaculate and self-possessed as a Miss America on tour. She is as cool as a Mata Hari and as sweet as Betty Crocker." Nancy is wealthy, attractive, and amazingly talented:

At sixteen she had studied psychology in school and was familiar with the power of suggestion and association. Nancy was a fine painter, spoke French, and had frequently run motor boats. She was a skilled driver who at sixteen flashed into the garage with a skill born of long practice. The prodigy was a sure shot, an excellent swimmer, skillful oarsman, expert seamstress, gourmet cook, and a fine bridge player. Nancy brilliantly played tennis and golf, and rode like a cowboy. Nancy danced like Ginger Rogers and could administer first aid like the Mayo brothers.

Nancy never lacks money and in later volumes of the series often travels to far-away locations, such as Nairobi in The Spider Sapphire Mystery (1968), Austria in Captive Witness (1981), Japan in The Runaway Bride (1994), Costa Rica in Scarlet Macaw Scandal (2004),and Alaska in Curse of The Arctic Star (2013). Nancy is also able to travel freely about the United States, thanks to her car, which in most books is a blue convertible. Despite the trouble and presumed expense to which she goes to solve mysteries, Nancy never accepts monetary compensation; however, by implication, her expenses are often being paid by a client of her father's, as part of the costs of solving one of his cases.