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Nancy Drew: Girl Detective facts for kids

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Riverboat Ruse, from the Girl Detective series

Nancy Drew: Girl Detective is a 2004-2012 book series which replaced the long-running Nancy Drew mystery series. This new series is written in first person narration, from Nancy's point of view, and features updated versions of the main Nancy Drew characters. New secondary characters are introduced to populate River Heights and appear over multiple books, adding a framework to Nancy's world.

Though this series has many improvements over the Nancy Drew Mystery Stories, the drastic change in the main characters' personalities was hard for many readers to accept. The series was negatively reviewed by many fans of the series, mainly over the change in Nancy's character. In 2008, the series was changed into a trilogy format, which gained even more negative reviews than before. Simon & Schuster cut back to 4 books a year in 2010, before low sales finally forced the cancellation of the Girl Detective series in 2011. In 2013, the Nancy Drew Diaries series was launched as the replacement for Girl Detective.

Main characters

  • Nancy Drew is an 18-year-old young woman who lives with her father in River Heights. When she was only 3 years old, her mother died, something with which she has had trouble coming to terms. She and her two best friends Bess and George and boyfriend Ned Nickerson solve mysteries in River Heights and places they visit. Nancy is confident, determined (which her dad calls a 'stubborn streak'), and sometimes forgetful when thinking about a case, but her friends help her out so she stays on track. Nancy has shoulder-length, strawberry blond hair, blue eyes, and is said to be 5'8". She thinks style is okay but prefers comfort.
  • Georgia "George" Fayne, is one of Nancy's best friends. She is an athletic tomboy who is really good with modern technology. She has brown eyes, short brown hair and is tall and thin and does not care about fashion at all. Unlike the original series, George is also now characterized as a sarcastic pessimist.
  • Bess Marvin is Nancy's other best friend and George's cousin, though they don't have much in common except their friendship to Nancy. Bess is flirty and, according to Nancy, seems perfect in every way. She has blue eyes, blond hair, and curves, unlike her cousin George, who has brown eyes, short brown hair, and is skinny. In Murder on the Set, Bess is said to be 5'2".
  • Ned Nickerson is Nancy's boyfriend. He sometimes comes along with Nancy on her cases. Ned is in college and tends to be casual. He works for his father's newspaper, the River Heights Bugle. In Murder on the Set, Ned is said to be 6'1".
  • Carson Drew, Nancy's father, is a lawyer. He is famous in River Heights for being good at solving crimes, a gift he passed down to his daughter. He will sometimes refer small cases his clients have to his daughter. In False Notes, he celebrates his birthday.
  • Hannah Gruen has been living with the Drew family ever since Nancy's mother died. Hannah is their housekeeper and is like a member of the family. She is protective of Nancy, sometimes even when she is working on a case.
  • Deirdre Shannon is Nancy's nemesis and former classmate. Deirdre's father, like Nancy's, is also a lawyer in River Heights. However, Deirdre is an obnoxious, spoiled brat, and frequently being compared to Nancy by her parents. Thus, Deirdre is jealous of Nancy, and the two's rivalry can be traced back to the first grade. Deirdre hates her grade school nickname, DeeDee, and becomes irritated if called by that; thus, George Fayne often refers to her in that way. She has a not-so-subtle big crush on Ned Nickerson, even though he is dating Nancy. With her black hair, green eyes and pale skin, she looks like a Cruella de Vil II. In Murder on the Set she is mistakenly named "Dierdre Simmons".
  • Chief Pete McGinnis is the local police chief. Unlike the old Nancy Drew stories, in which he and Nancy had a friendly relationship, their relationship is more antagonistic in the new series. Nancy beats him to crime scenes and solves mysteries before him, so he is jealous of her success. In Fishing for Clues, his first name is revealed to be Pete.
  • Harold Safer is Nancy's neighbor. He owns the town's cheese shop, and likes sunsets and Broadway musicals. In the first book, Without a Trace, Harold is accused of smashing a zucchini patch. Nancy and her friends help him prove his innocence. In Lights, Camera... and Action!, he co-stars with Nancy on a TV movie being shot in River Heights.
  • Charlie Adams works at Carr's Garage, and is a friend of Nancy. He often doesn't charge Nancy, because he is in love with her (though those feelings are not reciprocated). In Pit of Vipers, Nancy is surprised to discover he is a snake collector, when he gets arrested on suspicion of stealing a snake from the local zoo.
  • Luther Eldridge (originally Atchinson) is an expert on River Heights history and he often helps Nancy on her cases. Nancy likes spending time with Luther because she can learn interesting things from him. She was a friend of his daughter, but Luther's entire family died in a car accident when Nancy was still young; afterwards, Luther quit his job while struggling with depression.
  • Mrs. Mahoney is the wealthiest person in River Heights, and the owner of Rackham Industries. Her husband Julius's ancestors were a part of the Rackham Gang, who committed the infamous River Heights Heist and escaped with the money on the Muskoka River (as explained in Action!). While she is very charitable and kind, her late husband is described as the complete opposite.

List of books in the series

Books in the Nancy Drew: Girl Detective are released in paperback format by Simon & Schuster. From 2008 to 2012, the mysteries were presented as 3-book mini arcs, drawing the mystery out over three distinct, but linked, titles. The re-designed covers feature model Jessica Silverman as Nancy Drew.

Regular Series

Titles and publication dates
# Title Released Author
1 Without a Trace March 1, 2004
2 A Race Against Time
3 False Notes
4 High Risk
5 Lights, Camera... May 1, 2004
6 ...Action! July 1, 2004
7 The Stolen Relic September 1, 2004
8 The Scarlet Macaw Scandal November 1, 2004
9 Secret of the Spa January 1, 2005
10 Uncivil Acts March 1, 2005
11 Riverboat Ruse May 1, 2005
12 Stop the Clock July 1, 2005 George Edward Stanley
13 Trade Wind Danger September 1, 2005
14 Bad Times, Big Crimes November 1, 2005
15 Framed January 1, 2006 George Edward Stanley
16 Dangerous Plays March 1, 2006
17 En Garde May 1, 2006
18 Pit of Vipers July 1, 2006
19 The Orchid Thief September 1, 2006
20 Getting Burned October 24, 2006
21 Close Encounters December 26, 2006
22 Dressed to Steal February 27, 2007
23 Troubled Waters April 24, 2007
24 Murder on the Set May 8, 2007
25 Trails of Treachery August 21, 2007
26 Fishing for Clues October 27, 2007
27 Intruder December 26, 2007
28 Mardi Gras Masquerade February 5, 2008
29 The Stolen Bones April 22, 2008

Trilogy Series

Titles and publication dates
# Title Released Trilogy
30 Pageant Perfect Crime June 3, 2008 Perfect Mystery Trilogy
31 Perfect Cover July 29, 2008
32 The Perfect Escape October 7, 2008
33 Secret Identity December 16, 2008 Identity Mystery Trilogy
34 Identity Theft January 27, 2009
35 Identity Revealed March 24, 2009
36 Model Crime June 2, 2009 Model Mystery Trilogy
37 Model Menace August 4, 2009
38 Model Suspect October 6, 2009
39 Green-Eyed Monster December 1, 2009 Eco-Mystery Trilogy
40 Green with Envy February 9, 2010
41 Seeing Green April 6, 2010
42 Secret Sabotage June 8, 2010 Sabotage Mystery Trilogy
43 Serial Sabotage October 12, 2010
44 Sabotage Surrender February 8, 2011
45 California Schemin' June 14, 2011 Malibu Mayhem Trilogy
46 Mystery at Malachite Mansion October 18, 2011
47 Stalk, Don't Run February 21, 2012

Girl Detective Super Mysteries

Titles and publication dates
# Title Released
1 Where's Nancy? June 1, 2005
2 Once Upon a Crime June 1, 2006
3 Real Fake July 10, 2007
4 Ghost Stories August 5, 2008


Nancy Drew and the Clue Crew

Starting in 2006, Aladdin Paperbacks published a new series to replace the Nancy Drew Notebooks series for younger readers; it exists in the same universe as the Nancy Drew: Girl Detective series.

It features Nancy Drew, George Fayne, and Bess Marvin as eight-year-olds in the third grade at River Heights Elementary School, and solving kid sized mysteries, from finding a stolen ice cream formula entry to the culprit who cut the cake before the bride. This series also sets George's mother working her own catering company, and reveals George's real name to be Georgia. This series ended in 2015 to be replaced by the Nancy Drew Clue Book series.

Titles, authorship, and publication dates
# Title Pub.
1 Sleepover Sleuths June 1, 2006
2 Scream for Ice Cream June 1, 2006
3 Pony Problems August 1, 2006
4 The Cinderella Ballet Mystery October 3, 2006
5 Case of the Sneaky Snowman December 5, 2006
6 The Fashion Disaster February 6, 2007
7 The Circus Scare April 10, 2007
8 Lights, Camera... Cats! May 8, 2007
9 The Halloween Hoax August 7, 2007
10 Ticket Trouble September 25, 2007
11 Ski School Sneak November 27, 2007
12 Valentine's Day Secret December 26, 2007
13 Chick-napped! March 4, 2008
14 The Zoo Crew May 6, 2008
15 Mall Madness July 1, 2008
16 Thanksgiving Thief September 9, 2008
17 Wedding Day Disaster November 4, 2008
18 Earth Day Escapade January 6, 2009
19 April Fool's Day March 10, 2009
20 Treasure Trouble May 19, 2009
21 Double Take July 21, 2009
22 Unicorn Uproar September 8, 2009
23 Babysitting Bandit November 10, 2009
24 Princess Mix-up Mystery December 29, 2009
25 Buggy Breakout March 9, 2010
26 Camp Creepy May 4, 2010
27 Cat Burglar Caper September 14, 2010
28 Time Thief January 4, 2011
29 Designed for Disaster May 3, 2011
30 Dance Off September 13, 2011
31 The Make-a-Pet Mystery January 3, 2012
32 Cape Mermaid Mystery May 1, 2012
33 The Pumpkin Patch Puzzle September 25, 2012
34 Cupcake Chaos March 5, 2013
35 Cooking Camp Disaster July 9, 2013
36 The Secret of the Scarecrow November 12, 2013
37 The Flower Show Fiasco March 25, 2014
38 A Musical Mess July 8, 2014
39 Museum Mayhem November 4, 2014
40 Butterfly Blues March 24, 2015

Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys Super Mystery

A crossover spin-off series with The Hardy Boys: Undercover Brothers series. The stories are told in first person, alternating chapters, between Frank's or Joe's, and Nancy's perspective. The first title in the series acts as an introduction between the characters. This series published one title per year until the end of the Girl Detective and Undercover Brothers series in 2012.

Titles and publication dates
# Title Released
1 Terror on Tour June 5, 2007
2 Danger Overseas May 6, 2008
3 Club Dread May 5, 2009
4 Gold Medal Murder July 6, 2010
5 Bonfire Masquerade July 12, 2011
6 Stage Fright July 10, 2012

Graphic novels

Beginning in 2005, Papercutz began issuing a new series of Nancy Drew graphic novels as an offshoot of the Girl Detective series. The series is edited by Jim Salicrup, written by Stefan Petrucha, and illustrated by Sho Murase. All the storylines are completely new. The manga-style illustrations and technical allusions (Nancy's hybrid car, George's tablet PC) give Nancy and her friends a 21st-century spin.

There are several nods and tie-ins to other Nancy Drew media. In The Old Fashioned Mystery of The Haunted Dollhouse, the citizens of River Heights dresses up as if they were in the 1930s to celebrate an event. In Global Warming, Dr. Craven from Her Interactive's PC game The Creature of Kapu Cave appears. The Dana Girls and their friends appear in both High School Musical Mystery and High School Musical Mystery Part 2: The Lost Verse, initially as rivals to Nancy, though they eventually team up to solve the mystery.

The series also has continuity, and several multi-issue cases. Issues #9-11 (Ghost in the Machinery, The Disoriented Express, Monkey-Wrench Blues) form "The High Miles Mystery" trilogy; Issues #17 and #18 (Night of the Living Chatchke and City Under the Basement) form a two-part storyline; and Issues #20 and #21 (High School Musical Mystery and High School Musical Mystery Part 2: The Lost Verse) form The High School Musical Mystery, which also features fellow Stratemeyer Syndicate series The Dana Girls.

In 2010, the series was rebooted as Nancy Drew: Girl Detective - The New Case Files. These new novels center around a River Heights that has become obsessed with vampire books. The third novel of this new series, Together with the Hardy Boys, featured a crossover with The Hardy Boys, who also had their own graphic novel series at that time. This ended up being the last issue, and the series was cancelled after that. In 2014, the series began being re-released as an offshoot of the new Nancy Drew Diaries series, containing two volumes per issue.

Titles and publication dates
# Title Released Re-released
1 The Demon of River Heights October 13, 2005 February 11, 2014
2 Writ in Stone October 13, 2005
3 The Old Fashioned Mystery of The Haunted Dollhouse November 29, 2005 July 29, 2014
4 The Girl Who Wasn't There January 24, 2006
5 The Fake Heir April 18, 2006 October 21, 2014
6 Mr. Cheeters is Missing August 8, 2006
7 The Charmed Bracelet November 28, 2006 February 24, 2015
8 Global Warning March 6, 2007
9 Ghost in the Machinery May 5, 2007 July 7, 2015
10 The Disoriented Express August 7, 2007
11 Monkey-Wrench Blues November 13, 2007 December 1, 2015
12 Dress Reversal January 22, 2008
13 Doggone Town May 27, 2008 May 17, 2016
14 Sleight of Dan August 19, 2008
15 Tiger Counter November 25, 2008 November 8, 2016
16 What Goes Up February 3, 2009
17 Night of the Living Chatchke April 28, 2009 July 25, 2017
18 City Under the Basement July 31, 2009
19 Cliffhanger November 24, 2009 December 12, 2017
20 High School Musical Mystery June 8, 2010
21 High School Musical Mystery Part 2: The Lost Verse August 17, 2010
Titles and publication dates
# Title Released
1 Nancy Drew: Vampire Slayer September 14, 2010
2 A Vampire's Kiss October 21, 2010
3 Together with the Hardy Boys August 2, 2011
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