Between third and sixth grade, I read every Nancy Drew book I could get
my hands on. I followed Nancy through haunted mansions and inside treacherous caves, I rode along in her cute-as-ever convertible and traveled to far-away lands on thrilling adventures. I admired her sleuthing abilities, how she ultimately saved the day and of course, how she seemed to always have the
perfect dress for any occasion. Never mind that she was fictional and a bit
unrealistic—whose parent would give them all the money they want and let them travel the world to take on hardened criminals? Not mine!—Still, Nancy was one of my favorite childhood heroes and I learned a lot from her.
Here’s what Nancy taught me:
Be inquisitive, don’t be afraid to ask for what you want, and be
Nancy never backed down from a good mystery, even when it put her in danger. She hung in there, pursuing truth and justice with dogged determination. She went after what she wanted, unapologetic and unabashed. Yes, Nancy was the ultimate get-it-done gal.
Women can be both forceful and beautiful
Who else but Nancy could slip into a cotton sheath, don pretty patent leather
pumps and kick some major criminal booty? Nancy embodied feminism and strength, a winning and admirable combination.
The world is a big ol’ place
Nancy went places I’d only dreamed of going: Hawaii, England, the Scottish
highlands … Not only did her adventures broaden my geographical perspective,
they showed me just how diverse and wonderful the world can be.
Compassion is the key
Whether it was a missing young girl, a woman being driven from her home by
“ghosts”, or a business owner victimized by a ring of thieves, Nancy was there,
indiscriminately fighting to help one and all.
Friends are important
And they come in a variety of shapes and personalities. Bess and George, Nancy’s constant companions, couldn’t have been any different: Bess was a bit frumpy, overly cautious and preferred to limit her adventures to shopping and sampling scrumptious treats. Whereas the athletic and boyish George was keen on any sort of adventure, and the more dangerous, the better. Still, each friend fulfilled a valuable role in Nancy’s life, and often helped get her out of sticky
situations. It just goes to show that we benefit from knowing and accepting a
variety of people into our lives.
But what’s the number one influence Nancy Drew has had on my life? She fostered my love of a good mystery. From THE SECRET OF THE OLD CLOCK
to THE PHANTOM OF VENICE and beyond, Nancy proved a formidable sleuth. To this day, I love the concept of an amateur sleuth conquering the odds and solving the puzzle. Nancy Drew is one of the main reasons I’ve become a mystery writer. So thanks, Nancy! You’re a real stand-up gal.
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About Susan Furlong
During her writing career, Susan has worked as a freelance writer, academic writer, and novelist. Her short work has appeared in several national publications including Woman’s World magazine. Currently she’s busy working on The Georgia Peach Mysteries, soon to be released from Berkley Prime Crime. She
has also continued the New York Times bestselling Novel Idea Mysteries, starting with the fourth book in the series, under the pen name Lucy Arlington.