Nancy Drew Mystery Stories #2: The Hidden Staircase by Carolyn Keene, Mildred Benson (Ghostwriter) Nancy Pickard Introduction

Nancy Drew debuted in 1930, and a lot has changed with America’s favorite teen sleuth. For one thing, her books were updated in the 1960’s and 70’s. This review is for both the Original Text The Hidden Staircase and theRevised Text The Hidden Staircase.

From the publisher: “Nancy Drew is alarmed when Nathan Gombet threatens her father. Gombet sold a piece of land for a railroad bridge through Carson Drew and now believes that he was cheated.

Meanwhile, valuable objects are disappearing from rooms in the Turnbull mansion even while the Turnbull sisters, Rosemary and Florette, are at home in their locked house. Having heard about her reputation for solving mysteries, the sisters invite Nancy Drew to stay in the mansion and discover the thief.”

I had never read the OT The Hidden Staircase, and was surprised to find Nancy packing heat! Yup, she carries a gun. She’s also described as having blonde curly hair, which I never really got from the pictures of the original books.

Nancy’s father goes missing! Where could he be? Nancy’s chum, Helen, has a great grandmother who has  a home called Twin Elms home that is haunted. Helen convinces Nancy to investigate the mystery. Nancy discovers a hidden staircase between Twin Elms and another mansion and solves the mystery of unexplained happenings. And of course, finds her father in the process. Turns out their cases were connected. This is something that happens frequently in Nancy Drew books. There are no coincidences.

This wasn’t my favorite for the obvious reasons that it was dated and had racial stereotypes, but the story overall was very good.

In The RT of The Hidden Staircase, some relationships are changed, the names are somewhat different, and the story has a quicker pace. The cringe-worthy racial stereotypes are taken out, the police aren’t to be mistrusted, and Nancy no longer carries a gun.

It’s a toss-up as to which version is “better.” If you don’t mind the out-of-date writing with phrasing and stereotypes, then try the OT. If you like a quick paced mystery, try the RT. It’s Nancy Drew–it is almost always good.

For more information about my favorite sleuth, check out Jenn Fisher’s Unofficial Nancy Drew website, which has a wealth of information.

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