Hi there Sassy Detectives!
I last left you after I went on a ghost hunt fit for Frank and Joe, but today is day 4 and my final day at the Nancy Drew convention. Try to hold back your tears, I know what you’re thinking. Today is the last Nancy Drew convention ASB… for now anyway! Plenty of more conventions to go to in the future and maybe something will remind me of a story or two from this one that I want to share later.
The convention day started with some free time to walk around the tables that were set up. My two favorites were the ND Sleuth Shop set up by Jenn Fisher, the organizer of the event, and Ruth Sanderson, the illustrator of 18 Nancy Drew Mystery Stories. I bought a copy of Nancy Drew Mystery Stories 57: The Triple Hoax from her that included an original drawing on the inside cover!
My signed copy of The Triple Hoax by Ruth Sanderson!
Next up are the talks! First, there were some opening remarks by the Nancy Drew Sleuths President, Jenn Fisher. She explained how they pick a local library during every convention and donate a complete set of yellow-back Nancy Drew books to their children’s section. I think that is just absolutely wonderful. I had no idea they did that, and it makes me so proud to be a part of a community that is always thinking of others and how we can support the future generation of early readers AND little sleuths alike.
The day’s schedule and an image of one of my favorite quotes from Mildred Wirt Benson!
Next, Jenn stayed up to talk about the Haunted History Behind the Mystery! Jenn is a wonderful storyteller who shared with us that many believe Harriet Stratemeyer and Mildred Wirt Benson may be haunting us today. There are stories of the ghost of Mildred haunting the Toledo Blade office, where she worked as a reporter for many years, and Jenn and some other sleuths even went there to investigate themselves! You can find the articles about their investigation on the Toledo Blade website, I’ll let you decide if Mildred’s ghost is still hanging around for that last big scoop. When it comes to Harriet, this is a ghostwriter I am not as familiar with. The story goes the home where she wrote many of her manuscripts is haunted on the second floor by a friendly ghost who moves things around, and a few other supernatural phenomena are known to happen there. Maybe if you visit yourself, you will hear the clacking away of a typewriter writing the newest Nancy Drew mystery story. Whatever you believe, it is interesting two of the “ghostwriters” for Carolyn Keene may still be “ghostwriters.”
The speaker after Jenn was Ruth, and if she proved anything, it was that there was just one exciting talk after another! Ruth talked about how she was “in the right place at the right time” to illustrate 18 Nancy Drew books. In my opinion, she was selling herself short! Ruth is an amazingly talented author and storyteller. Ruth talked about finding her “Nancy” (Lisa Tharp), working with Simon & Schuster to sometimes settle on illustrations without having the book’s final copy, how her husband posed for almost every “bad guy,” and what it was like being a young woman in 1979 illustrating books with a strong young female protagonist.
She told so many interesting stories, but perhaps my favorite was her talking about illustrating this one book where Nancy goes to some ruins in Mexico and is physically running away from the culprit. The original direction from Simon & Schuster was that Nancy should be in a skirt and heels. This was the status quo for women at the time, Nancy was almost always in a dress or skirt of some kind. Ruth fought to have Nancy in shorts and sandals. She argued that Nancy needed to be able to move if she was running and that in Mexico it would be too hot to traipse around ruins in a dress or skirt with heels. Ruth believes this is the first time we see Nancy’s fashion move into the more modern look that we often see today. Thank you Ruth for your advocacy because without shorts and sandals Nancy in the late 70s and early 80s, we probably wouldn’t have mom jeans and horse shirt Nancy in the 2000s.
I forgot to write down the name of the book! Does anyone know what Nancy Drew Mystery Story she goes to Mexico in?
The final talks were Lisa Tharp and me. I gave a brief overview of Nancy Drew Games and was so excited when I asked for a raise of hands and over half the room had played our games! I led Nancy Drew: Midnight in Salem trivia where the winners received a redemption certificate for Nancy Drew: Mystery of the Seven Keys when it comes out! I was so happy when someone cosplaying at Mei got one of the questions correct! If anyone deserves a game code, it was her. Then Lisa, Ruth’s model for Nancy, ended the talks. She shared the most heartfelt memories from that time in her life. We learned how she was the new girl in school when she became Nancy, and Ruth asked her to bring her friends to have them model for Bess, George, Ned, Dave, and Bert. Lisa, Ruth’s model for Nancy, ended the talks. She shared the most heartfelt memories from that time in her life. Lisa said she didn’t really know anyone else being new at the school, but she had a job to do so it pushed her out of her comfort zone in a good way. She gained confidence as she became Nancy, and perhaps in the best example of life imitating art, Nancy’s gang of friends became Lisa’s gang of friends. Although, if memory serves me correctly, Lisa didn’t date the student model for Ned, but instead Bert!
Introducing myself before trivia time!
As the 2023 Salem – Nancy Drew Convention was winding down I was sad it was almost over, but very excited for the final event- the Mystery Dinner. This dinner was a mash-up of Nancy Drew: The Invisible Intruder, Nancy Drew CW show, and Nancy Drew: Midnight in Salem. There was a skeleton butler aka Mr. Jeffers, an Aglaeca skeleton, and even a photo backdrop area. The food was delicious, and it was so much fun to watch all the tables work together to solve the mystery.
The mystery dinner tickled everyone’s funny bones! ☠️
Have you or your friends ever thrown a Nancy Drew party like this one? Back in June, I threw a Nancy Drew birthday party for a friend, and it was themed Treasure in the Royal Tower. You can read about it here. Comment below if you have ever done something similar!