Thursday, December 08, 2016

Linda Fairstein's Devlin Quick Mysteries - A Modern Nancy Drew

It's no surprise that Linda Fairstein is a Nancy Drew fan! After two decades as a successful adult mystery author (Alex Cooper series), she has written the first book in The Devlin Quick Mysteries - a series for the 8-12 set, just as the classic Nancy Drew books were written for.

In fact, very much like the popular Nancy Drew books, these mysteries are very family friendly and "safe and sane" in that they follow a similar mantra that the Stratemeyer Syndicate, who created Nancy Drew, followed for years - no murders, no violence, no vulgarity - safe and entertaining mysteries for kids. Bravo to Linda for continuing that tradition in her mystery series which features a very precocious 12-year-old Devlin Quick.

Linda noted her passion for Nancy Drew when she recently wrote, "I also had a deep affection for and fascination with Nancy Drew. An older cousin put the first one – The Secret of the Old Clock – in my hands, and I devoured each episode as if it was candy.  The teenage detective was my favorite companion on rainy days or whenever I stayed homesick.  The women who wrote under the name Carolyn Keene introduced me to the concept of series fiction, and how your favorite characters—like Nancy and her loyal pals—could entertain you over and over again through their stories.  I fantasized about solving capers with her crew, which probably led me to my job as a prosecutor in Manhattan’s District Attorney’s Office.  Nancy instilled in me the desire to create a protagonist in my book Into the Lion’s Den whose intelligence and devotion to justice would serve her well."

In Into the Lion's Den, Devlin and her pals do quite a bit of sleuthing at the New York Public Library to figure out who stole a map from a rare book. I love visiting the NYPL and have made numerous visits there in recent years in and around Nancy Drew Conventions and appearances on shows like The Today Show to chat about Nancy Drew. My visits helped me gather research that I'm now using to write the biography of Mildred Wirt Benson, the original Carolyn Keene who wrote 23 of the first 30 Nancy Drew books. 

So, it's an understatement to say how much I enjoyed reading this book that begins with the missing map caper at the NYPL and the sleuthing in and around the library. For how Linda came to be inspired to set her mystery in part at the NYPL, she recently wrote in The Strand, "Unlike my adult thrillers, these 8- to 12-year-olds are not the audience for murder and violent crimes. I wanted to be realistic about the kind of event that would trigger a search for justice among a group of adolescents. I recalled an actual case I had worked on decades ago involving a thief who traveled across the country, stealing rare books and atlases from research libraries, including the great New York Public Library, guarded by those iconic granite statues that face Fifth Avenue."

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