Nancy's Mysterious Letter (Nancy Drew Mystery Stories, Book 8)

by Carolyn Keene

Hardcover, 1963



Local notes

Fic Kee





Grosset & Dunlap (1963), Edition: New edition, 174 pages


Nancy receives a letter meant for a British heiress who has the same name and, in her attempts to contact the other young woman, faces danger from a man who operates a Lonely Hearts Club mail fraud.


Original language


Original publication date

1968 - revised edition

Physical description

174 p.; 4.94 inches

User reviews

LibraryThing member monkeyfamily
Nancy Drew gets a letter and she has to find out the mystery of Edgar
LibraryThing member t1bclasslibrary
Boy, people are really going after Nancy Drew now. She has to put all these pieces together fast to stop the evildoers, but she just can't get in touch with someone very important- another Nancy Drew. She keeps at it though, and defeats a very unsavory character.
LibraryThing member angharad_reads
Tonight, over about two hours, I reread this 1932 edition of the eighth Nancy Drew novel. The plot was more complex than the first novel: a point in its favour. However, it was complex through coincidental tidiness: a point in its disfavour. Includes amusing advertisement/exposition paragraphs for
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previous novels and heavily dialected "coloured" servants. I'm still not convinced that Nancy's solving of cases requires any difficult intelligence or cunning. She seems to use practicality, intuition, bravery, stealth, and diligence.
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LibraryThing member mandochild
I decided to abandon sensible reading for our weekend away and had fun in a 2nd hand bookshop in Cooma. This book was wonderfully typical of Nancy Drew and managed to keep my attention right the way through. Nancy wasn't even quite such a "superwoman" in this one - no astounding talents in sport,
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art, music... All I know is that I'd love to have her lifestyle with a live-in housekeeper and no work to go to every day! Nancy is definitely perfect reading for adding to the "carefree" aspect of time away and helped to make this one of our best and most memorable short breaks ever.
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LibraryThing member TamiHindes
First a quick summary - Nancy invites the postman in for a cup of hot cocoa and his mailbag is stolen from the entrance way. Inside the bag was a special delivery letter for Nancy all the way from England. Fast forward, Nancy learns that the letter was for Nancy Smith-Drew and it was about a small
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inheritance; Nancy and her friends Bess and George set about finding this other Nancy Drew and solving the the mystery of who stole the mailbag. Of course the mysteries are intertwined. Nancy and the girls head off to watch Ned Nickerson win the football game for Emerson College, while George and Bess are also dating boys from the same college, but they are only on the reserve string. Nancy gets locked in a gym, hit by a sled, nearly run over, nearly nailed by a falling theatre curtain and finally knocked out by drugging, but the plucky Nancy just keeps going and solves the mysteries.
I'm still confused as to where Nancy lives; A sailor mentions that his wife moved him to an area far away from the smell of the sea, but Nancy and her friends talk about going to New York like it's just a drive. Later, they take a plane to LaGuardia and a taxi to Kennedy. So I guess I have a mystery to solve also...what state does Nancy live in? She and her friends are still able to drive around, fly to New York all without worry about money, but with no apparent jobs. It's a good thing that Mr. Drew is a world famous lawyer so he can continue to support his daughter. I also found the whole weekend at Emerson College charming, with the girls staying in a room together. One problem I had with the football game, I don't know too many quarterbacks who are also kickers. Do you think the author didn't know too much about football and the editor assumed that girls reading the book wouldn't either?

This one, while it wasn't an intense book, was fun.
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LibraryThing member soccerskiread
mysterious, can't put down, kind of book
LibraryThing member Beammey
A brilliant addition to this series. Though not my favorite, still a quick and solid read. I would recommend it. 5 out of 5 stars.
LibraryThing member justagirlwithabook
I absolutely loved Nancy Drew growing up. This was a series I latched on to for dear life and never let go. Anytime my mom and I would go to antique stores, we'd peruse the Nancy Drews and add them to the collection (oftentimes my mom had to make deals with me on how many I could buy). So, while I
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don't remember the exact details of each and every one, the entire series was amazing and really fed my love for reading (especially novels full of suspense and mystery). Thank you, Carolyn Keene, for giving us an intelligent female character to fall in love with in Nancy Drew!
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LibraryThing member AbigailAdams26
Teen sleuth Nancy Drew confronts two mysteries, both related to the mail, in this eighth entry in the series devoted to her ongoing adventures. Her regular mailman, Mr. Ira Dixon, was due to retire from the Postal Service with a thirty-five year, unblemished record. Coming into a modest
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inheritance, the kindly old man who had been Nancy's friend since she was a little girl, planned to retire. Then, on one of his last days of work, his mailbag was stolen, bringing him into disgrace. Feeling responsible, as the bag was stolen when Nancy invited Mr. Dixon inside for a cup of cocoa, Nancy decided to investigate. Her suspicions were aroused when she learned that the mailman's younger half-brother, a "wild boy," had been demanding half of Mr. Dixon's inheritance, even though he was not entitled to it. As she got involved in this situation, Nancy also found herself searching for another Nancy Drew, an English Nancy Drew living in America, whose letter had been mistakenly delivered to her - Nancy Drew, the sleuth. While investigating the mystery of the stolen mail pouch and attempting to track down the other Nancy Drew, our heroine also traveled to nearby Emerson College, where her friend Ned Nickerson was to play in the big annual football game against the state college...

Published in 1932, Nancy's Mysterious Letter was the first of the Nancy Drew books not ghost-written by Mildred Wirt Benson, who authored books 1-7, 11-25 and 30 in the series, and who is considered the true creator of the character. Books 8-10 of the series were written by a man named Walter Karig, and although it is not glaringly obvious that a new author is at the helm, there are some clues to that effect. Chief amongst them is the prominent role played by the football game, in the story. Karig's detailed description of the game reminded me of boys' sports-fiction authors of the 1920s and 30s, including such writers as Earl Reed Silver (of whose books, I have read a number). While Nancy is described in previous entries in the series as an accomplished sportswoman, particularly in those episodes occurring at camp, or requiring physical nerve, here the details of football are a bit beyond her feminine mind, and the author depicts all of the women heading back to the comfortable hotel after the game, rather than staying for the rowdy post-game celebrations. This is perhaps true to the time, in terms of gendered social conventions, but it struck me as out of keeping with the tone of earlier volumes, in which Nancy is game for anything. Leaving that aside, traveling to Emerson itself is central to the plot, as Nancy solves both of her mysteries in that locale.

I did enjoy this entry in the series, despite the consciousness of there being a new author, and a slightly different tone - Nancy is more reliant on Ned Nickerson and his father, in this volume, than she seems to have been on other figures, in previous books - and I appreciated the fact that we meet Helen Corning again, however briefly. I read the Applewood Books reprint of the original version - the Nancy Drew books were revised and condensed in the 1950s and 60s - and, as always, I appreciated the many period details. There were one or two unpleasant moments where black porters spoke in the broken dialect assigned to such characters in so many vintage children's books of the era, but these were thankfully very brief. In thinking about why I prefer these original versions to the updated, sanitized ones from a few decades later, despite the far more objectionable social content, I always come back to their more accomplished writing, and to the "period details." Of course, the 1950s are now quite removed from us today, historically speaking, but somehow they don't seem as historical as the 1920s and 30s. I was reminded of this feeling, reading Jane Smiley's introduction to this edition, in which she writes:

"Reading Nancy Drew, as many grown women can attest, can lead in strange ways to adult careers. For me, I think it was those strange words like "roadster" and "sleuth" that made me want to make words and stories my life. These Nancy Drew reprints from the thirties aren't as familiar or easy for girls today as later rewrites and 'The Nancy Drew Files,' but their very strangeness gives girls something that I don't think they should miss."

Exactly! What a lovely way of encapsulating the appeal and importance of these original Nancy Drew books, and of vintage children's books in general!
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LibraryThing member DrFuriosa
I very much enjoyed the search for the elusive Nancy Smith Drew, even if the mystery itself could have been more easily solved. The trip to Ridgeville shows the real work that goes into being a detective, and I appreciated that angle.

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