Friday, October 19, 2007

Nancy Drew revisited

I'm writing this post in reference to a previous one on the subject of Nancy Drew novels.

box setMy daughter recently picked up a boxed set of Nancy Drew mysteries, none of which I recognized from my teenage years. She devoured the first book in days, during which time I learned that Nancy Drew has been updated. She now has a cell phone and a laptop, and I'm quite sure sometime soon she will be sporting an Ipod (if she doesn't have one already!).

Of course, I began thinking about the author of the Nancy Drew books, Carolyn Keene. Although it is possible, strictly speaking, that she might be alive after all these years, I had a hard time believing that in her golden years she'd be as hip as the protoganist appeared to be in my daughter's edition. So, what does one do when met with such a burning question? Why, of course, I wikipedia'd Carolyn Keene.

What I discovered is that Carolyn Keene is a pseudonym for the authors of the Nancy Drew mystery series, published by the Stratemeyer Syndicate. Stratemeyer hired several writers to write the novels in the series and paid them the initial paltry sum of $125 per book. And the poor starving artists were required by contract to give up all rights to the work and to maintain confidentiality.


The Stratemeyer Syndicate also published The Rover Boys, The Bobbsey Twins, The Hardy Boys, The Dana Girls mystery series, also written by Carolyn Keene, and Tom Swift (among many other series).

In 1982 Simon & Schuster purchased the syndicate. I wonder how much money Stratemeyer Syndicate made in those days. And whether we'll ever find a complete list of the ghostwriters' names.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

GGGGRRRR. Blogger is acting like a dit, again, and blocking my comments.

Hopefully, this version gets through:

What I wanted to say was that I don't think we'll ever get a full list of participating authors and that's so sad, because they obviously had talent, not only to write the series but to mesh with the other writers.

It makes me wonder about the Dr. Suess books...

1:56 pm  
Blogger Eva said...

Surely there can be but one Dr. Suess.

2:58 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's what I thought too, but I heard rumors that people are writing under his name...perhaps I've misunderstood and they're writing in his style, but not his name (I hope)--you know, like the author (whose name I can't remember) but who has apparently picked up Agatha Christie's torch and writes stories in her style...

9:10 pm  

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