Thursday, June 07, 2007

Nancy Drew is a fraud

I've just found out that I've been being lied to all my life. I'm so disillusioned I don't think I'll ever get over it.

Carolyn Keene, whom I've always known as the author of the Nancy Drew series, which I grew up reading and enjoying, doesn't exist. No, I don't mean that a person with another name wrote under the pseudonym of Carolyn Keene. It's worse than that. Several people actually wrote the various books, and they just made up the name Carolyn Keene as the author. The same syndicate perpetrated a similar fraud with the Hardy Boys and, of all things, The Bobbsey Twins.

But it gets worse. Not only were these books written almost by committee, but they were continuously revised as time went on. First Nancy drove a blue roadster. Later versions took out such antiquated terms as roadster and rumble seat and running boards, and Nancy then drove the blue convertible I remember from my childhood. Later still, apparently, she drove a mustang. I have no idea how much changed over time, but this article seems to indicate quite a lot was changed to make the characters feel modern to each generation of new readers and socially acceptable as well. The age at which Nancy's mother had died changed over the years, and it seems characters were added or dropped as the whim of the head of the syndicate dictated.

I'm highly disappointed by all of this. It's probably old news to everyone else, but I feel like I've been betrayed by a very good friend.