Thursday, October 24, 2019

The Jennifer Fisher Collection at the Toledo Public Library

The Mystery of the Slowly Disappearing and Soon to be Missing Nancy Drew Collection? All roads lead to Toledo, OH to the downtown Main Library branch of the Toledo Public Library where my collection is in the process of being shipped and assembled into what will be known as the Mystery Room housing the Jennifer Fisher Nancy Drew Collection. The library recently reopened after a year's closure due to a multi million dollar renovation throughout the building.

Toledo was home for many decades to the original Carolyn Keene, Mildred Wirt Benson, who I'm writing a biography about. Some of the classic Nancy Drew books were written in Toledo and the library is home to a full set of all the books and series she wrote in their Toledo Blade Rare Book Room as well as ephemera related to Benson's life. It's a fitting spot for a Nancy Drew museum display of sorts. I'll have more info on the donation and the collection and the progress of it all in the coming months to post here.


The library has a beautiful Nancy Drew diorama from the first cover to The Secret of the Old Clock and it graces the end of a shelf along with other nearby literary dioramas. They also have the original 1931 Russell H. Tandy artwork to the classic Nancy Drew mystery, The Secret at Shadow Ranch. It hangs among a large gallery art collection around the children's section of original children's book artwork.


The Mystery Wall is a neat interactive element to the children's area and features the Nappi art from The Secret of the Old Clock. My collection is in a 2 room area around the corner from this.


There's a little there now - an overview to put on display for the recent reopening of the library. But the full collection will be installed in the coming months and then programs and an opening of the collection next year for the 90th anniversary of Nancy Drew. 

I wanted to share a little preview of everything so far. I have a lot more boxes to ship off to the library. There's more cabinetry to be installed and interactive pull out drawers to house trinkets and small collectibles. Framed art and posters to be put on the walls.

Eventually the collection will be digitized and it will be open for educational research for scholars and advanced collectors as well as just pure nostalgia and entertainment for more casual fans of all ages. Something for everyone. I can't wait to share more of it as it transforms!


Wednesday, October 09, 2019

Nancy Drew Premieres tonight on the CW - Get Set to Sleuth!

Nancy Drew Fans! Grab your magnifying glasses and get ready! Today is the day that our favorite sleuth returns to TV, so tune into the CW tonight after Riverdale to watch the show's premiere. And if you're in the mood for more hauntingly good fun, join us for a Nancy Drew mystery weekend in Haunted Savannah, GA October 25 and 26  at the Nancy Drew Convention!

As one of the ultimate Nancy Drew Fans out there, I can't tell you how thrilled I am to not only see her back on TV, but in a way that is more fitting to the brand and character than previous attempts in recent years. The cast is great and Kennedy McMann was an amazing choice to play Nancy Drew - she's also been a fan and a player of the popular Her Interactive Nancy Drew Computer Games.

I screened the Nancy Drew pilot recently and having already seen the script, it was so much fun to see how it all came to life from the bare bones of the script to the vivid detail on screen. Horseshoe Bay is just like River Heights, a hotbed of crime and mystery. And Nancy Drew, though modernized, is just like her old self - bold and daring and determined to get to the bottom of things and right wrongs. And we wouldn't want her any other way.

Every generation of fans has had their "Nancy Drew." In order to stay fresh and relevant to new generations, she has to stay relevant and has consistently been revamped along the near 90 year history of the series. As long as her essential character isn't changed, she's capable of adapting to any era. For some fans, it's not what they're used to, and that's OK. For others, we're excited to see her inspiring new generations and entertaining us along the way. There is romance to be found, but it's not graphic and it's a back burner to the mystery as the episode is mostly about the murder and the backstory of Dead Lucy. So, like the books, mystery is the main focus. After all that's Nancy Drew's true love - she's a mystery magnet!

If you want to learn more about Nancy Drew's mysterious 90 year old history - visit my website for there are a lot of clues to solve that  puzzler. You can also follow along as I'm working on a biography of the first Carolyn Keene, Mildred Wirt Benson, who ghosted the books from the beginning - 23 of the first 30 and was a real life Nancy Drew in her own right.  

I won't spoil anything here, but just know that the episode delivers and I enjoyed the suspense and mysteriousness of it. The episode opens with Lucy, the infamous Sea Queen who falls mysteriously to her death and whose ghost appears to haunt Horseshoe Bay - a running mystery that will carry us throughout the season. Nancy, true to herself notes, "I don't believe in ghosts. I believe in looking for the truth." We segue through recent events in Nancy's life that have changed her focus - including her Mom's passing. She's existing and trying to find her way, tangled up with Bess and George who are working with her at The Claw. Ned - "Nick" - is her love interest, but there are complications to come. Her relationship with her father Carson is strained and the town's Police Chief McGinnis has clearly been bested one too many times by Nancy from all the cases she's solved. Then a murder happens, changing the course of Nancy's drudgery and fires up her sleuthing instincts which have been buried a bit after her Mom died. She just can't help herself and we are ready to sleuth along with her and solve the mystery.

There are Easter Eggs for fans of the classic series - the attic scene so reminiscent of the spooky scenes from The Secret of the Old Attic and it's iconic covers. Cases she solved in the past - like The Hidden Staircase. There are elements of the classic mysteries - flashlights and sleuthing tools. Searching for hidden spots - like the false bottom in a night stand. And you'll see the end of the episode - the placemat from The Claw has a lot of fun detail for fans. And then there are really cool classic tie-ins as we have Pamela Sue Martin joining the cast for a cameo as Harriet, a psychic medium who helps Nancy figure out a clue. As most of you know, Pamela played Nancy Drew in the 1970s TV Show - one of the most successful television adaptations of classic Nancy Drew. I hope to see her in future episodes as fans love those kinds of tie-ins.

Ultimately, the cast and crew are working so hard to adapt Nancy Drew to the modern era yet stay true to her classic roots as those roots are what has made her so popular for so long and have been entrenched into the fandom. I can't wait to see what happens with Dead Lucy and the socialite murder as it plays out in future episodes and I hope you'll join me tonight in watching the show.

We'll be discussing it over at the Facebook Group - Nancy Drew Book Fans - so if you're not on there, join us.

Images courtesy of CW