A stocking-stuffer tell-all by the “real” Nancy Drew follows the sleuth decade by decade.
Carolyn Keene, the official author of the original detective series, was actually Nancy’s neurotic college roommate who failed her only attempt at sleuthing and wrote untrue accounts about Nancy out of jealous vengeance. Now, Nancy is attempting to set the record straight. We learn that the real love of her life hasn’t been Ned Nickerson but Frank Hardy—of the Hardy boys—whom she met on a case as a teenager in the 1920s. She dutifully marries Ned but bears Frank’s son after working with him again to foil Nazis during WWII. In 1959, she becomes involved in a morally questionable CIA plot concerning Patrice Lumumba that marks the end of innocence in sleuthing. Soon Nancy admits that her marriage to Ned is in trouble. The story goes on to her caper in San Francisco during the summer of love, Nurse Cherry Ames’s murder at a feminist convention in the ’70s, and finally to a geriatric rekindling of romance with Frank.
Fans of the teen detective genre will like the clever but tame co-mingling by Cain (Dharma Girl, not reviewed, etc.) of series heroes from Drew up to Encyclopedia Brown (but no sign of Harriet the Spy).