Girl Sleuth: Nancy Drew and the Women Who Created Her by Melanie Rehak is a book I just couldn’t pass up. Like many other women, in my youth, I was a Nancy Drew fan. I read her mystery books and watched the movies based upon them. Until reading this book, I never knew how far back the books dated.
The women who wrote the books were like Nancy in many ways – strong and independent. The primary contributors were college educated in the early days when women broke down the barriers which previously kept women in the home.
Contributing writers in the series signed away their rights in order to work for Edward Stratmeyer, who in 1930 began publishing the books under the pseudonym Carolyn Keene. Times were tough during the depression and struggling writers were grateful to write books for money upon completion. Further down the road, they came to realize what they had signed away in future royalties as well as relinquishing credit for their work publicly. All were sworn to secrecy.
Much of this book is about women’s suffrage juxtaposed with the history of the Nancy Drew novels and the people connected with them. I thought it was quite interesting. There’s a lot of ground covered and it is well-done. I recommend it!