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Picturing a World

Nancy Drew and a Clue to the Blog

Is there an American woman novelist writing today who did not read at least one Nancy Drew mystery as a girl? For many women over a certain age, the Nancy Drew books were favorite reading, as compulsive as Harry Potter.

In my family, they were taken for granted as pleasurable junk, tolerated because my mother’s great-aunt, Harriet Otis Smith, worked for the Stratemeyer Syndicate that published them along with dozens of other “juveniles.” Mother recalled visiting Mr. Stratemeyer’s office when she was a very little girl, and I grew up knowing that Carolyn Keene was as fictional as Nancy Drew herself.

Why am I bringing this up? Because I’m shifting this blog to include more posts on the fictional world I’m inventing now, the world of Jeanette Palmer’s younger sister, Mattie Palmer. Mattie is the secretary in a partnership that produces ghostwritten children’s books in the first decade of the 20th C; but she is not, I repeat, NOT, based on Harriet Otis Smith except insofar as her duties at work are much the same.

My plan is to continue posting images that inspired or reflect Where the Light Falls, partly because I still find them beautiful and interesting and partly because I hope new readers of that novel will land here and enjoy seeing exploring it through imagery. If you work through the archives, you will find that the chronology of the book roughly underlies the sequence of earlier blog posts. I’ll soon begin at the beginning and run through it again with different pictures.

At the same time, I hope readers will enjoy my new discoveries more or less as I find them. You can’t know the story yet, but perhaps by the time the novel is published (fingers crossed!), you’ll be eager to enter the time and place we have explored together here. And please, please make suggestions!

A final note for the day: Chasing Nancy Drew around the web can turn up delightful serendipity, e.g., an vintage clothing specialist inspired to make a Girl Detective Dress. I love going off on tangents like this and hope you enjoy them, too.
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