Sunday, June 9, 2013

BOOK REVIEW: Nancy Drew Mystery Stories The Clue of the Tapping Heels

So you need to know from the get-go that I've recently become something of a fangirl for Nancy Drew.
I was a fan of the Nancy Drew Mystery Series when I was little, but I wouldn't have called myself a fangirl then. I read a few of the books, then quickly moved on to other literary horizons. (Probably Anne of Green Gables. I was a fangirl for L.M. Montgomery for a while.)

Recently, though, while on a run-of-the-mill Goodwill jaunt, I rediscovered the series. And I can't even describe how excited I was to see the books there. I literally gasped: "Nancy Drew!" I bought the few books they had, read them, and that was that.

Next thing I knew I was scouring every Goodwill in the greater Austin area, with the help of my helpful and enabling boyfriend Brandon. I even put an ad on Craigslist. And WOW was that a success! I found a woman who needed to sell FORTY books! For a STEAL!

So why do I love Nancy Drew? And why should you care?

Nancy Drew was fierce. She was an original independent woman. She was smart, tough, and fearless but never brash or mean. She was awesome.

Today I am reviewing the 16th title in the series: The Clue of the Tapping Heels. And through this I will share with you how I discovered that Nancy Drew was censored revised.

This is the cover of the version of the book I found at the Goodwill. This version was published under the imprint of Applewood Books. They included a publisher's note after the copyright page in which it is explained that this edition of the book is complete and unrevised just as it was originally published and that it therefore may contain elements that may offend modern readers. The note goes on:
"These books are a part of our heritage. They are a window on our real past. For that reason, except for the addition of this note, we are presenting The Clue of the Tapping Heels" unedited and unchanged from its first edition."

I was intrigued. Before reading that publisher's note, I had never heard of Nancy Drew books being revised or censored edited for content. But apparently they had. I dove right into the book, nearly daring it to offend me in some way.

What I found was the Nancy Drew I knew and loved. This original version was longer than other Drew mysteries I'd read, and felt less rushed. The story had time to develop at its own pace. I liked that. There was a moment, though, when Nancy's boyfriend referred to an African American man he bumped into on the sidewalk as a "darky." That was, umm...unsettling. Nancy herself never made any racial slurs, however.

Since reading that version I've picked up the revised edition, with the familiar yellow cover.
This version of the story is 38 pages shorter. I've skimmed through it. It has absolutely been edited for content and length. The story has the same framework: Nancy learns to tap morse code and helps an old spinster who has too many cats and suspicious neighbors, but aside from that they're remarkably different books. Which makes me wonder if all the Nancy Drew Mystery Stories have been changed to this degree.

Right now I've just been collecting what I can find, which means with the exception of the original version of The Clue of the Tapping Heels, all my other books are the regular yellow hardbacks--the censored revised versions. I love them. And I'll collect all that I can find. But I look forward to also collecting as many original editions as I can.

Before I go! Allow me to share the recipe to a Nancy Drew drink I found!

1&1/2 ounces white rum
splash of lime

This is light, sweet, and bubbly. Enjoy!

1 comment:

  1. Weird with the revision bit and Darky? Hope you find all you are looking for.