Did you know that Nancy Drew mysteries go back to 1930, and that in the 1960’s and 70’s, she went through a makeover of sorts? Texts were revised or completely rewritten, so the Nancy Drew that your grandma or mother read could be quite different than what you or your children read. We refer to the first 34 books, which were revised or re-written, as OT (Original Text) or RT (Revised Text).
You can tell that Nancy’s Mysterious Letter with the Original Text Nancy Drew was written by a man. “Nancy proved herself to be a real girl, in that buying good-looking new clothes gave her a great thrill.” What the heck sort of sexist remark is that? That’s not the Nancy Drew that main ghost writer Mildred Wirt portrayed in about 25 volumes of the series.
Walter Karig, the ghost writer, keeps mentioning her fur coat and how swell she looks in it, and also spends way too much time describing how Nancy drives; he even has the color of her roadster wrong: he keeps mentioning it as maroon when in most volumes, it is blue.
There’s also a lot about the Emerson football game and how Ned Nickerson is an awesome player on both defense and offense (iron man teams were common back then). Now don’t get me wrong, I like football a lot, mainly because I was born and raised in a football town (and have four brothers who played), but don’t tell me that a 10-year girl in 1932 would have the same sort of interest.
Helen Corning is introduced to Nancy in this volume, which makes no sense because they were fairly tight “chums” in the first four volumes of the series, when Helen is engaged to Jim Archer. In this volume, Helen is dating some guy from Emerson. There’s just no continuity whatsoever in this volume.
As for the Revised Text Nancy’s Mysterious Letter, I was happy to find that the editors sucked all the testosterone out of the newer version.
Revised Text is much better than the Original Text. Same basic story as the original, but Nancy does more sleuthing in this one. There’s one thing that doesn’t make sense, though. Bess and George accompany Nancy to Emerson to see Burt and Dave and watch the big football game, but they are nowhere to be found during the game, Nancy’s chumming around with Miss Wilson, just like in the original. They meet up afterward. Sort of a continuity error, which was usually taken care of with the RTs.
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