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The Bungalow Mystery #3 (Nancy Drew) Hardcover – May 1, 2014
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Unknown Binding, Abridged
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About the Author
Carolyn Keene is a pen name used by a variety of authors for the classic Nancy Drew Mystery series. The first author to use the pseudonym was Mildred Wirt Benson, who wrote 23 of the original 30 books. Other writers who have adapted the "Carolyn Keene" moniker include Leslie McFarlane, James Duncan Lawrence, Walter Karig, and Nancy Axelrod.
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My daughter's reading level has improved immeasurably since beginning these Nancy Drew books & her love of reading has escalated as every chapter ends with a minor cliffhanger. She used to complain about her school mandated 20 daily minutes of reading, but now wants to sit down together and solve these mysteries. Thank you, Carolyn Keene!
Eventually, in one of the many moves my family made while I was growing up, that beloved original set of 10 books somehow didn't make it with us. I was devastated, but I started my collection again with the newer Grosset & Dunlap books from the 1970s. But, Nancy was not MY Nancy from those original 10 books.
Enter Applewood and its line of reprints of several of the 1930s original Nancy Drew mysteries. Of course I had to buy this one. Possibly because it was the first of the series I ever read, this one will always be my favorite. Nancy is independent, competent, intelligent, and level-headed as she depicts a teenager who manages to push the boundaries of her society's gender expectations. The writing isn't as "snappy" as the revised versions of the 1970s, but there is more richness in these original versions that is not equalled by the 1970s versions.
What I especially like about these Applewood reprints, and especially this one, are the introductory essays by writers who shed some interesting light on the series and the characters. Mystery at Lilac Inn is introduced by Mildren Wirt, one of the original "Carolyn Keene" ghost writers, who had forward-thinking ideas of gender roles when she was writing back in the 1930s. It is a pleasure to re-read this and the other Applewood reprints. It's a window into our social history.