Girl Sleuth

Girl Sleuth : Nancy Drew and the Women Who Created Her

3.76 (2,056 ratings by Goodreads)
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Description

A plucky "titian-haired" sleuth solved her first mystery in 1930. Eighty million books later, Nancy Drew has survived the Depression, World War II, and the sixties (when she was taken up with a vengeance by women's libbers) to enter the pantheon of American girlhood. As beloved by girls today as she was by their grandmothers, Nancy Drew has both inspired and reflected the changes in her readers' lives. Here, in a narrative with all the vivid energy and page-turning pace of Nancy's adventures, Melanie Rehak solves an enduring literary mystery: Who created Nancy Drew? And how did she go from pulp heroine to icon? The brainchild of children's book mogul Edward Stratemeyer, Nancy was brought to life by two women: Mildred Wirt Benson, a pioneering journalist from Iowa, and Harriet Stratemeyer Adams, a well-bred wife and mother who took over as CEO after her father died. In this century-spanning story, Rehak traces their roles--and Nancy's--in forging the modern American woman.
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Product details

  • 12-17
  • Paperback | 364 pages
  • 137 x 205 x 25mm | 367g
  • United States
  • English
  • Reprint
  • Illustrations, black and white
  • 015603056X
  • 9780156030564
  • 706,981

Flap copy

In 1930 a plucky girl detective stepped out of her shiny blue roadster, dressed in a smart tweed suit, ready to restore a stolen inheritance to its rightful owner. Tied up by the villains, she managed to free herself and bring them to justice - all while wearing a pencil skirt and high heels. Eighty million books later, Nancy Drew has survived the Depression, World War II, and the sixties (when she was taken up with a vengeance by women's libbers), and emerged as beloved by girls today as she was by their grandmothers. Now, in a narrative with all the fast-paced thrill of one of Nancy's adventures, Melanie Rehak solves a page-turning literary mystery: Who created Nancy Drew? And how did she go from pulp heroine to American icon?
With ebullience, wit, and a wealth of little-known source material, Rehak weaves a behind-the-scenes history of Nancy and her groundbreaking creators. Taking us from The Secret of the Old Clock to The Secret of the Spa, Rehak tells all about our fearless sleuth - including the fact that both Nancy and her "author," Carolyn Keene, were invented by Edward Stratemeyer, a dime-novel genius who also created the Bobbsey Twins and the Hardy Boys. But Nancy Drew was actually brought to life by two remarkable women: original author Mildred Wirt Benson, a convention-flouting Midwestern journalist, and Harriet Stratemeyer Adams, a wife and mother who transformed herself into a CEO to run her father's company after he died. Together, Benson and Adams created a character that has inspired generations of girls to be as strong-willed and as bold as they were.
Melanie Rehak will send you back to your old Nancy Drews -- but thanks to GIRL SLEUTH you'll never read them the same way again.
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Back cover copy

Winner of the Edgar Award for Best Biography * A Chicago Tribune Best Book of 2005* Winner of the Agatha Award for Non-Fiction
"A feat of daring worthy of Nancy herself." Los Angeles Times
Nancy Drew has survived the Depression, World War II, and the sixties to enter the pantheon of American girlhood. Here, with all the vivid energy and page-turning pace of Nancy s adventures, is the first behind-the-scenes history of our beloved girl detective. Behind the blue roadster, cloche hats, uncanny timing, and constant presence in the lives of American girls lies an enduring literary mystery: Who created Nancy Drew? And how did she go from pulp heroine to icon? Melanie Rehak has put together the clues and tracked down the suspects; grab your flashlights and join the gang as we find out the truth about Nancy Drew.
"Such an engrossing read that it made me hungry for some Nancy Drews. Rehak writes with gusto and intelligence. Nancy would be so proud."--Chicago Tribune
"Absorbing. Girl Sleuth is an enjoyable, thorough piece of detective work." The Plain Dealer (Cleveland)
"A proper sleuth for grown-up girls. Prose [that is] steely, lovely, and precise." The Atlantic Monthly
Melanie Rehak is a poet and critic. A recipient of the New York Public Library's Tukman Fellowship at the Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers, she writes for the New York Times Magazine, the New Yorker, Vogue, and the Nation, among others. She lives in Brooklyn.
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Review quote

"Rehak chronicles a character who influenced at least two generations of women in a highly readable, exhaustive book."
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About Melanie Rehak

Girl Sleuth earned both Edgar and Agatha Awards.
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Rating details

2,056 ratings
3.76 out of 5 stars
5 21% (436)
4 43% (875)
3 29% (587)
2 6% (133)
1 1% (25)
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