Thursday, July 28, 2011

Is this Nancy Drew Book Rare? Sleuthing at eBay #18

As a long-time collector, I feel the need to help educate those who are not as involved in knowing what exactly you are collecting and those new to collecting Nancy Drew books. There are a lot of book sellers out there who don't know what they have or don't understand what it takes to actually date a Nancy Drew book (by having a guide/etc.) and often go by a copyright date ( a red herring in the case of these books) or other misinformation they pick up. Seasoned booksellers however, generally do know what they have or they should know... ;-)

So I'm going to from time to time, highlight something that's stated to be "RARE" and is most definitely NOT Rare...And I'll tell you why it's not rare so you don't fall for that "RARE" trap in the future.

The basic definition of rare is something that is "seldom occurring or found." You know how they sometimes say a specialized lunar or solar eclipse is rare because it hasn't occurred in hundreds of years? So how can something that reappears on eBay frequently be so rare. To those that should know better: If it's so rare, why is it often being sold for less than $10.00? Or even $50.00? Wouldn't Sotheby's be a super duper place for it, if it's so...rare? ;-)

Bottom line in collecting Nancy Drew books? It boils down to common sense. If someone is shouting out to you that it's rare, but listing it for a few bucks and if you search for it you find a bunch more just like it or see a quite a few of the same or similar in a short period of time, then chances are 99.9% likely it's not so rare. As always, buyer beware. Do your homework before jumping in.

Book: The Lost Files of Nancy Drew

Why it's NOT Rare: The fact that this was published in 2007 and it was a mass-produced publishing should be explanatory enough. In fact you can often find remaindered copies in book stores like Half Price Books these days. Fun tidbit--I got to do a little consulting on this book as to the history section and went over it for them. I had hoped to work on the content of the pages as well, but the UK book packager that put it together didn't really ask for my help. I thought it turned out pretty good overall, but I think they should have used more of the internal art from the books and things along those lines.

Book: The Haunted Bridge--Picture cover, 3rd art cover.

Why it's NOT Rare: The auction showed a shot of the back cover--and it lists to Crocodile Island meaning it's not even the first printing of this text/cover. There's nothing rare about this at all. In fact an eBay search turns up nearly a dozen of those so-called rare book. The only picture cover book that might even come close to being called rare--and even then I hesitate to say that since I have seen it sold at eBay before so it's certainly scarce--would be the first printing of #44, The Clue in the Crossword Cipher. Even I don't own it--yet!

Book: Lot of 27 Yellow Spine Picture Covers

Why it's NOT Rare: The auction described this lot as having "rare copyright dates." Some of them do have 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s copyrights--but that's because those books still have the original text which isn't anything rare or unusual. They just hadn't been revised yet. Original texts with those copyrights are not considered rare in the picture cover format.

Book: The Secret of the Scarlet Hand

Why it's NOT Rare: This is most definitely not rare! It's a mass--produced modern paperback. It's claimed to be so rare in fact, that it's on sale for 3.99 down from the starting list price of 4.99!

Book: The Mystery at Lilac Inn

Why it's NOT Rare: Startling is the fact that the seller has this library discard listed at 99.00! Yes, 99.00! These library editions are most certainly not rare and were fairly mass produced in this style. I see them listed at eBay frequently. Nothing rare about it at all. The seller states that there are "hardly any surviving copies" in existence! Really? Hmmm....

Book: The Mystery of the Tolling Bell--1st Printing Book

Why it's NOT Rare: Of all the books I've featured in this Blog entry, you might wonder about this one--it's a first printing after all. It's listed at a fairly decent 89.99, well under Farah's Guide value. But it's not rare, I've seen them for sale fairly regularly at eBay. It's really not even scarce. Just because something is old or a first printing, does not mean it's rare or even scarce, so be sure to do your homework!


Monday, July 25, 2011

Nancy Drew Altered Art Purse Craft

Nancy Drew Craft Project:

At the local Nancy Drew Sleuths' AZ Sleuths meeting in May of this year, I handed out everyone a Nancy Drew bookbag from the pocketbook mysteries set that I had on hand. I have a huge bag of these with various flaws that keep me from selling them. But they're perfect for a Nancy Drew bag craft activity! We'll be doing one of these at our 12th annual Nancy Drew convention in Phoenix, March 12th. They're very easy to do and embellish and one can be done in about an hour or hour and a half which is perfect for a craft session. So everyone created one for a bag exchange at our July book group meeting at the Poisoned Pen in Scottsdale.

Here's a sample of original bag and finished altered art bag that my mom and I did:

Scrap cardstock was glued onto the bag front and back including the spine using a glue stick. Ribbon was added around the edges using a hot glue gun. Beads were sewn onto the purple ribbon attached inside and also magnifying glass charms. Vintage yellow spine picture covers which had been cut off of books were attached front and back--see above and below:

This bag was created using the actual spines from yellow spine picture covers that were cut up to make spiral bound journals. They needed a new home and were an interesting item to work with for this purse:

Ribbon was used to embellish as was the 1" mini buttons we sell in our Nancy Drew Cafe Press Shop--these buttons ran from front onto the spine and back cover in a line.

Here's everyone with their bags from the exchange--you can see how everyone embellished what existed on the bags with glitter, ribbons, buttons, and charms as well as glued on cutouts:


Nancy Drew Books: Scary Things Kids (& Adults) Do #10

We have another little Picasso on our hands! This frontispiece to The Secret of the Golden Pavilion was colored in--somewhat nicely--by it's former owner. It's not too bad but it definitely devalues the book. How many of you used to draw inside or color images in your books?


Monday, July 11, 2011

Nancy Drew Cafe Press Shop Sale!

Nancy Drew Shop $3 off $30.00+ Sale!

We've added some neat new products: jewelry, key chains, car magnets and bumper stickers, license plate frames, and patches to go along with all the other fun stuff we have in the shop. Shop and Sleuth in Style--and Save!

WHEN: Jul. 12 - Jul. 14, 2011

SAVE: $3 off orders of $30+



Be sure you're ordering from the shop page only--marketplace orders do not count for this promotion, so if you're at the main website and/or using search boxes to add items to your cart, those are considered marketplace items. You must order from the Nancy Drew shop page itself. If you have any trouble with the code--contact Cafe Press customer support (there's a phone number you can call right away) and they can help you with it.

Thanks for your support!


Friday, July 08, 2011

Nancy Drew Game - The Captive Curse

Her Interactive - The Captive Curse

The latest Nancy Drew computer game is The Captive Curse which is based in part on the Nancy Drew book, Captive Witness. Her Interactive shared a few screen shots for me to post here to give you a glimpse of the game. Order The Captive Curse.

To see what Nancy Drew books the various Nancy Drew games are based on, click here.


Wednesday, July 06, 2011

National Lampoon: The Newly Discovered Dark Nancy Drew Parody

Nancy Drew in National Lampoon

You're probably familiar with the above cover from the October 1974 issue of the humor magazine, National Lampoon. In it, there's a Nancy Drew parody that was so out of character that it set off Harriet Adams at the Stratemeyer Syndicate who complained about it. Definitely wasn't your good girl Nancy from the books :)

What I have never heard about from other collectors, though, is another Nancy Drew parody in the May 1978 issue of National Lampoon--shown below:

I recently acquired this from eBay as the seller noted there was a Nancy Drew piece in it. I received it today and went through it. It's kind of an unusual parody. Don't get me wrong, I have a huge sense of humor--very well rounded and am a very sarcastic person. And this parody starts out funny--but near the end, it really begins to border on the dark side and really almost crosses a strange line that leaves the reader with a bad feeling. That's not good humor--at all! Humor should make you laugh and enjoy yourself. It's almost like the author of this parody had a deep seething hatred for Nancy Drew -- either that or they had no clue how to write a good parody. Or they themselves were not in a good place when writing this piece. Something's off, that's for sure.

In this parody, The Mystery of the Clue in the Note About the Old Sycamore by Carolyn Kleene, the first page is an illustration of Nancy Drew peeking through the window at a boy or girl (can't tell!) in bed holding a red book with the words "Nancy Drew Mystery" on the cover. Nancy Drew is peeking next to a tree into this room--sort of like Nancy on the cover of The Secret of Red Gate Farm.

The parody starts off with Nancy spotting an organ grinder and monkey and assuming there's got to be a mystery involved. Bess begs to get some donuts and they lose the monkey and organ grinder in the crowd--they vanish thwarted by Bess's appetite! Bess then eats a chocolate bar--wrapper and all. Then Nancy spies some elephants crossing the road and wants to know why they're doing that and finally learns the circus is in town, thus bringing that mystery to a successful conclusion. Then once home, an oriental woman gives Nancy a crumpled letter and flees. The letter reads:

"Your mother, motherless child, still lives. To find her, go past old Redgate Farm until you reach the Apple Corners intersection near the Old Cave. Go three miles on Magnolia Lane until you come to Whispering Pines Village. Take a right near the old brickyard and you will soon see the Shimmering Lights Harbor. Take the Old Plus Willow Turnpike four miles, through the Southgate Reservoir. When you reach the Old North Maple Woods, stop and walk a mile and a half, counting every third diseased elm. At the ninety-third elm, stop, and take thirty-nine steps at a 63-degree angle to it. There you will find the Old Sycamore and your mother, who waits for you now. Signed, A Friend."

Nancy's response, "Why, I know that very tree." Nancy runs out on Hannah who notes keeping house for detectives is a thankless task. Hannah is up to something, and ditches the roast she's making for a dozen martinis. What could she be up to!?

Nancy gets to the tree and finds a woman in a flowing white robe. Turns out it's Carson Drew with a gun who wants to kill her! He tells her he's going to kill her the way she killed his wife:

"Yes, you little goody two-shoed *itch, you did! And I've hated you your whole miserable worthless chum-filled life for it!"

Apparently Nancy's mom died in childbirth and Carson Drew blames Nancy for it. He thinks her death will bring back his wife Betty. He vowed at her birth to make Nancy "the most abnormal creature the world has ever seen." He goes on to say:

"I taught you to say query instead of ask and chum instead of friend. I gave you a roadster instead of a car. I let you have no friends except for that elephant Bess and George the butch. I hoped by the time you were fourteen you'd be a four-hundred-pound invert, but it just didn't happen that way--you just got prettier and prettier. You got more and more famous and sold more and more books...that's when I realized I'd created a monster..."

Nancy says, "Dad, you can't kill the idol of millions of American girls. It can't be done."

He gets hysterical and counts on his fingers:

"No schooling, sh*t friends, totally sexless, no job, she talks funny, she's a boring, witless blob, and her mysteries are about as mysterious as fried clams! It makes no sense! I made you as worthless as possible, and you become the idol of millions of American girls!"

Nancy thoughtfully asks, "It sure does make you think twice about American girls though, doesn't it Dad?"

Carson Drew replies, "It sure does. It sure does, my dear." Then he shoots himself.

That's the end of it. Wow, such a humorous ending. NOT!

I clearly sense a lot of bitterness from this writer toward Nancy Drew. This was one lousy parody--it started off funny for about 2/3 of it, until you got to Nancy finding her "mom" a.k.a. soon to be Nancy's killer Carson Drew at the tree and from there it descended into a terribly unfunny piece that seethed with some kind of hatred and rage. The ending was really pathetic--Carson Drew commits suicide.

It was written by a Michael Civitello. A Google search of that name didn't turn up much within a few pages. I'd be curious to know what his intentions were when he wrote this. Maybe since a man who likely wasn't a Nancy Drew fan wrote it, that might explain a little bit about the dislike for all things girly Nancy Drew and his lack of understanding of why millions of girls loved this heroine. Maybe his daughter was a huge fan and he hated having to read the books with her. Could be anything. Even though his apparent lack of understanding of why girls liked Nancy Drew might explain part of it, the way the parody turned into some kind of diatribe against Nancy and having Carson Drew commit suicide was very disturbing.

No doubt Harriet Adams didn't get wind of this, or at least I haven't come across any letters regarding it in the NYPL yet. The printing of this coincides with the Nancy Drew TV show airing at the time. If Harriet thought the 1974 parody was bad, this one really takes the cake!