I have watched exactly two of the new Nancy Drew CW series and found the changes made to Nancy Drew’s world a little jarring, but that didn’t stop me from reading Nancy Drew: The Curse, the prequel to the show. You do not have to have seen the show to read the book.
Nancy is still in high school, and her mom is very much alive (unlike in the rest of the books, Nancy’s mother died when she was 3, or 6, or 10, or “at a young age” depending on the book). There was a nod to Shadow Ranch, and George is briefly mentioned, but the rest of the Nancy Drew story is upended. This might as well be about Veronica Mars, which is the definite vibe I got.
Nancy has two best friends, just as in the original series, but instead of Bess and George, it’s Daisy and Lena, who are helping in Horseshoe Bay’s annual Naming Day Reenactment. (Horseshoe Bay? Not River Heights. Rumor has it because the name was too similar to Riverdale, another popular show based on the Archie Comics.) This year, as a senior, Daisy is chosen in a major part of the reenactment. This is a big deal because Daisy’s family is one of the founding families of Horseshoe Bay. But instead of being happy for her, Daisy’s parent’s are decidedly put out at the ordeal.
In Nancy Drew: The Curse, our favorite amateur sleuth is an aspiring journalist, working on the school newspaper, The Masthead. Something hits the newspaper’s window and Nancy finds it is a dead raven with a note on the bird saying that the Naming Day Reenactment should be cancelled because of “The Curse.” Curious, Nancy wants to find out more information on the curse and what it has to do with Naming Day.
Throughout the book, several other threats to cancel the Naming Day Reenactment appear, but the only one that seems to be taking them seriously is Nancy. Then two teenage girls disappear, one of them being Nancy’s friend Daisy.
As in the show, the police aren’t exactly the sharpest tools in the shed, so it is up to Nancy to find the missing teens and solve the mystery. Which, of course she does, because she is Nancy Drew.
Nancy Drew: The Curse, should be considered a stand-alone novel separate from the Nancy Drew universe. Because most of the characters in the book aren’t even in the CW show, I hesitate to call this a tie-in. You can read chapter one excerpted on Amazon if you’re unsure if you want to tackle this one or not. I found it interesting and am glad I read it; maybe I’ll give the show another chance.
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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