Sunday, November 04, 2007

Clues for Real Life

My book is finally out! I had a wonderful opportunity last year to compile this book for Meredith Books and together with my editor there, Stephanie Karpinske, and the designers, the book turned out really nice. I'm very pleased with it.

I am still at work on other Nancy Drew book projects and hopefully those will come to fruition soon.

I will be doing a book sighing at the Poisoned Pen in Phoenix in December. You can purchase this book at my website--signed copies--here:

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Clues for Real Life Advertising Flyer

The Nancy Drew nostalgia book I compiled for Meredith Books--Clues for Real Life: The Classic Wit and Wisdom of Nancy Drew comes out in November. I've scanned the advertising flyer for it. Click on the images for larger scans.


Nancy Drew Crafts

Hi Everyone,

Long time no blog! :) A fellow Sleuth member pointed me to Somerset Studio Gallery magazine, Summer 2007 issue. On page 139 starts a neat Nancy Drew purse project with neat accessories! Here are some small pics of the article and crafts, click on them for larger images. If you need a spiffy summer project, this is it! If anyone makes one, or attempts it, send me pics:)
I actually made a Nancy Drew trunk purse a few years ago decoupaging many images of Nancy Drew all over it. My mom lined it with a blue satin liner and it has a small flashlight and magnifying glass inside it.
Jenn:) (Who's about to turn 34 and wishes she had Nancy's agelessness!)

Thursday, July 12, 2007

The Case of How Mysteryville's "It" Girl Goes to Hollywood

I tried to have this article published in my local paper (Arizona Republic), but they hemmed and hawed with it so long that it's not timely anymore to submit anywhere else:P So, I decided to post it here at my blog. Maybe some of you will get a kick out of it!

The Case of How Mysteryville’s “It” Girl Goes to Hollywood

A spooky old mansion dripping in old Hollywood kitschy glamour. A secret tunnel with plenty of sinister suspects to stir up a good fright. All the trappings of a page-turning Nancy Drew mystery yarn. Yet, this was no musty old book. The scene before me was unfolding through the magic of Hollywood on a soundstage at Warner Brother’s Studios.

The creepy atmosphere of the set was the perfect place to discover a few good clues to Warner Brother’s new movie, Nancy Drew. As the resident would-be gumshoe and Nancy Drew movie consultant, I came prepared. With my proverbial magnifying glass and my keen eyes, I was on a mission. Alas, I was without the glorious blue roadster or fashionable frocks Nancy often sported in her mysteries. No matter, I was just as determined as Nancy ever was to do a little sleuthing and get to the bottom of this puzzler…

Demystifying Nancy Drew

Baffling Mystery? Check! Spooky Scenery? Check! Chasing Dastardly Villains? Check! Sleuthing in old musty attics? Check! America’s Favorite Teenage Sleuth Nancy Drew’s back on the case in classic form and ready for adventure!

Directed by Andrew Fleming and produced by Jerry Weintraub, Nancy Drew will debut on June 15 to much fan fare, for it’s been nearly seventy years since the famous teen sleuth graced the big screen in the 1930s Nancy Drew films starring Bonita Granville. In this modern day classic, Nancy Drew is played endearingly by Emma Roberts.

Nancy remains rather timeless and fixated on mysteries rather than all the things most teenagers worry about like peer pressure and the social scene. Her love for a mystery and “old-fashioned things” contrasts Nancy to the rather spastic teens she must deal with after a temporary move to Hollywood while on one of her father Carson Drew’s business trips.

Nancy’s supposed to be avoiding sleuthing because LA is a dangerous place for a small town girl. But, she’s Nancy Drew. That means it’s in her nature to sleuth, snoop, and get to the bottom of all clues until she nabs the bad guys and saves the day. We wouldn’t have her any other way.

Doesn’t every eccentric movie star who dies a mysterious death leave behind a spooky old decaying mansion with a creepy caretaker and a mystery just waiting to be solved? Well, in Hollywood anyway, she does. Enter one intrepid teen sleuth.

True to form, with a spiffy sleuth kit, classy clothes (thanks to impressive costumer Jeffrey Kurland), and a snappy blue Metropolitan Nash convertible, Nancy determinedly solves the mystery surrounding the death of glamorous actress, Dehlia Draycott.

A long way from small town River Heights, Nancy finds herself in a not so friendly setting and laments, “In my book, courtesy counts!” Just how does Nancy find herself such a fish out of water? Read on for a few good clues…

Fashionable Clues Behind the Scenes of Nancy Drew

The mansion’s staircase seemed a tad rickety. The walls were crumbling. Vines had magically worked their way inside. Everything was glamorous yet dingy and it was believable. I’d literally stepped back into a time warp.

As I climbed the stairs to the mock second floor of the Draycott mansion, amidst the hustle and bustle of the crew, I ran into “Carson Drew” complete with robe, slippers and an old faded “River Heights Police Department 10-K Run” T-shirt. A fabulous lawyer and fit—now that’s my kind of Carson Drew!

An attic scene had just wrapped in which Carson arrives after a ghostly ruckus for a classic Nancy Drew movie line, “The Four Seasons isn’t haunted. What do you say?” I don’t think so! Anyone who knows Nancy Drew, knows she’d never end up at the Four Seasons when a “haunted house” is calling…

Tate Donovan, the actor behind attorney Carson Drew, waxed nostalgically with me about the movie and reading Nancy Drew and The Hardy Boys. I think the collector in me was fixated over that River Heights T-shirt, but I’m pretty sure he said he enjoyed playing the role!

Enter costume designer, Jeffrey Kurland, who designed the movie’s costumes. Kurland wanted to keep the look of Nancy timeless and elegant. In the movie, Nancy’s look is dubbed “The New Sincerity” complete with penny loafers, headbands, and classic lines. Can you say “Penny Loafer Fashion Moment?”

My next obsession became Nancy’s infamous sleuth kit. I was thrilled at its fashion-forward cleverness. The inside plaid design matched the lining of her coat and the seats in her snappy roadster!

Just what does Nancy carry in her kit you might wonder? In exploring the contents of the kit, I discovered an umbrella, a suped up flashlight, Ipod and recorder, digital camera, multi-tool, powders for fingerprinting, magnifying glass, evidence bags, lock picking tools, a pen, a container for a snack—like Hannah Gruen’s luscious lemon bars for calming cranky crooks, and a sweet little book marked “clues.”

Spooky Sleuthing: Spot the Clues to Classic Nancy Drew

All quiet on the set! Emma Roberts began filming a scene in the attic looking for evidence in old books which were full of dust that she blew off with each take. As musty and dusty as the attic was set up to be, my keen eyes spied a mock poster of Dehlia in a movie entitled “The Haunted Bridge.” A nod to the Nancy Drew book of the same name.

After the scene wrapped, Emma Roberts breezed over and introduced herself. Her burning question for this Nancy Drew expert? “What is Nancy’s mom’s name?” I was sorry to disappoint her, but Nancy’s mom was never named in the books. If you’re wondering what exactly happened to Nancy Drew’s mom, well that’s a mystery for another day. One likely to remain unsolved. Back to the set, Emma decides she’ll name her Margaret.

We segue way to an attic scene with actor Josh Flitter playing Nancy’s sidekick Corky. Gone are Nancy’s foil friends plump Bess Marvin and tomboyish George Fayne who only make a brief appearance at the movie’s beginning. Enter 12-year-old Corky who provides comic relief and develops a crush on Nancy, becoming an irritating thorn in Nancy’s boyfriend Ned Nickerson’s side.

Between freaking out at nearly being run down by goons to Corky’s amusing pick up lines like, “I think the ability to sleuth is an attractive quality in a woman,” to his giggling at Nancy’s daring jaunt into a tunnel, Corky doesn’t quite get the seriousness of all this mystery business. His character is a great contrast to Nancy Drew, who’s serious-minded when it comes to solving a case.

Part teenager, part mystery machine, Nancy Drew has had a one-track mind for over 77 years and there’s no stopping her affinity for getting to the bottom of something fishy. Tweaking this aspect of Nancy’s plucky personality would never do. Fans might revolt. Seriously.

Kudos to director Andrew Fleming for keeping Nancy tried and true. I chat up Fleming about the film’s classic Nancy Drew style. Fleming is busy pacing around the scene, getting the feel of the room as he enthuses about the film’s vintage movie quality. To him, the setting is timeless and fans should enjoy it. A fan of the classic Nancy Drew mysteries (the first fifty-six), Fleming and the crew worked hard to bring the mysterious aspect of the old decaying regency style mansion to life. Taking Nancy Drew out of her comfort zone in River Heights to LA, was a conceptual way to emphasize her timeless character when contrasted with the ultra modern movers and shakers in LA.

Recently Fleming stated, “There was a moment when I thought, why don’t we make her totally modern, give her high-tech gadgetry, make her sexy and hip? But if we did, what’s the point? Why call her Nancy Drew?”

Nancy Drew just wouldn’t be Nancy Drew without a few clues to uncover. Add in a secret tunnel and it’s the crème de la crème for mystery buffs. How apropos it was that I stumbled upon the entrance to the infamous secret passageway through Nancy’s bedroom fireplace. Unfortunately, with some resignation, I realized this would be just a tad too big to secrete in the back of my car. I stopped short of taking measurements to be sure. Nancy once used her skirt as a ruler in The Witch Tree Symbol. So, I suppose I could have improvised!

After a round of takes involving the secret passageway, I asked Emma how she got the part of Nancy Drew. She said she was interested in playing such an iconic character, though it was a daunting role in some ways. She hoped they were doing it right—creating something that Nancy Drew fans would approve of.

Nancy Drew fans can be fickle. They don’t like their Nancy Drew messed with. Yet, fans of all ages and generations should be happy to see that Nancy is still Nancy and that’s no mystery.

Later, as I’m about to leave mysteryville for my soundstage exit back into the real world, I sweetly pester the prop guy about interesting movie set collectibles. However, I had no blondies like Nancy uses in the movie to wheedle for more clues.

Did this mystery reporter uncover the clues to solve the puzzler of how Nancy Drew makes it in Hollywood? You betcha, and it’s one sizzler of a case. Check it out, June 15th, in a theater near you. There’s already talk of a sequel and the movie hasn’t even premiered yet! Sequel or not, whether on the big screen or throughout the pages of time, Nancy Drew will always be every generation’s mystery solve-It-girl!

And “that’s a cut!”

Interesting Nancy Drew movie facts:

The filmmakers hired an etiquette coach to help refine Emma Robert’s depiction of Nancy Drew as an elegant young lady.

Emma describes the movie’s convertible as “a bathtub on wheels.”

Emma didn’t have her driver’s license yet when filming was underway, so she had to be pulled around by a trailer in the driving scenes.

Emma didn’t read the Nancy Drew books before signing on to the role, though she’s reading them now.

In a recent interview, Emma noted, “Nancy and I are both passionate, determined and ambitious. She will not give up until she gets the results she wants. I am very similar in that way.”

Emma says the biggest difference between she and Nancy Drew, is that Nancy Drew is perfect.

Just like in the movie, Nancy Drew was only 16 when the series first debuted in 1930. It was not until the 1950s, that her age was changed to 18.

In the movie, Nancy Drew uses delicious lemon bars to calm cranky criminals and blondies to wheedle clues out of people.

Actors Bruce Willis and Chris Kattan have cameos in the film.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Nancy Drew Movie: Food

Getting closer...the movie has a grand Hollywood premiere on June 9th! As in the books, food plays a role in the new Nancy Drew movie. Hannah Gruen sends Nancy some delicious treats--and she even uses them to help sleuth and uncover clues!

Here's my recipe for lemon bars--my Mom's--and it's good! "Not good for a diet though," moans Bess Marvin! It's no wonder Nancy Drew always remained forever slim and attractive, she had the benefit of sleuthercise! Chasing down crooks in dark alleys and climbing lots of ladders and stairs in her signature heels--where can we sign up for that exercise class? Sign me up, I'm there!

"Movie Star Lemon Bars"

The best Lemon Bars—great for calming cranky crooks!


1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar
2 cups flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup butter, softened

For large cake pan or two smaller 8 x 8 pans. Mix dry ingredients and cut in butter. Press into cake pan and bake 15 minutes at 350°.


2 cups white sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
4 eggs, slightly beaten
4 TBSP lemon juice
1 TBSP lemon rind

Mix ingredients, pour into pan. Bake 20 minutes at 350°.


4 TBSP lemon juice
1 1/2 cups confectioner’s sugar
2 TBSP butter
Vanilla extract--1/2 tsp or to taste

(Sleuthing Tip: You can use milk instead of lemon juice, adding a little bit at a time.)

Mix ingredients and spread on cooled lemon squares. These can be frozen.


Sunday, June 03, 2007

June 2nd: Don't Judge a Movie By Its Trailer!

Hi Sleuthers,

2 weeks until Sleuth Day!

I'm always amused when people freak out about stuff related to Nancy Drew:) I also think younger people tend to be a little more dramatic, since things to them seem to be "the world" and anything wrong is "the end of the world"--due to lack of perspective that comes with maturity and aging.

Not that I need to defend this movie--or my involvement with it--as I think it speaks nicely for itself, but here's a few thoughts. As with any collector/reader genre, there's always the naysayers (or shall we call them the Tophams?), the everythings, and the well it depends folks. I have been amused at some of the e-mails about the movie and the trailer I've received recently now that the movie is about to be released. Yes, the trailer focuses on Nancy vs. the LA mean girls. But, yes, the trailer also focuses on the movie as a mystery--you know, that little something that always intrigued Nancy in the books...

The movie is not a parody of Nancy Drew. Don't confuse humor with parody--they're not necessarily the same, and certainly not in this case. And to the same, don't confuse humor with comedy. A movie can have some humor without being a total comedy.

In the movie, Nancy is Nancy, classic like in the classics. She's nice, polite, knowledgeable, good at what she does, and likes to help others--and solve mysteries. She's not about trying to impress others or change for others, she's just herself and does what she loves to do--sleuth!

The movie is a mystery, set in LA, with a subplot of Nancy being this small town girl/"fish out of water" who is different from the LA teens she deals with, but in the end she wins them over. She's serious minded like in the books, intent on solving the mystery. There is some comic relief in her sidekick, Corky and then Corky and Ned's banter. In the end, naturally, she solves the mystery and heads back to River Heights.

Most of the trailer's scenes at the school take place near the beginning of the movie. The rest of the movie is Nancy's sleuthing to get to the bottom of the mystery of what happened to actress Dehlia Draycott.

Sure she's 16 in the movie and she was 18 for a long time in the books. True Nancy Drew fans know that she was 16 from 1930 until the late 1950s when she was aged to 18 due to driving laws in states. Since when is being 16 a whole lot different from 18? Believe me, I'm 33, whether you're 16 or 18, you're a kid plain and simple. Being 18 doesn't make you magically adult and sophisticated:)

Honestly, I haven't been given a valid complaint by anyone who has just seen the trailer, and my challenge/answer is to see the movie, you'll find yourself liking it more than you think! You can't really have an informed opinion on the movie, if you haven't seen it. And that's a fact!

Most people I know are very excited about the movie and Nancy being on the big screen after nearly 70 years! Those who have seen it that I've talked with, love it. They find it cute, endearing and so reminiscent of the classic Nancy Drew books in the spooky setting and house, the sleuthing, and Nancy's determination to get to the bottom of the case.

The greatest thing about this movie, is that they kept her classic. They didn't modernize her in a way as to change her character or personality. That would have been a disaster. Kudos to Jerry Weintraub and Andrew Fleming for a job well done--as well as cast and crew!

For fun, here are my 10 favorite Nancy Drew movie things:

1. Jeffrey Kurland's costumes

2. Hannah Gruen's lemon bars to calm cranky crooks

3. Blue convertible (not a hybrid!)

4. Opener with vintage books (some are mine) and line drawing images

5. Spooky old house with all the mystery trappings

6. Nancy Drew's old-fashioned birthday party

7. Nancy's Sleuth Kit

8. Nancy's magnifying glass pin with her initials

9. Corky's line: "I think the ability to sleuth is an attractive quality in a woman."
10. Leshing--the creepy caretaker


Saturday, June 02, 2007

Movie Sleuthing Countdown!

Well fellow sleuths, just a couple of weeks now until the Nancy Drew movie hits theaters (June 15) and the Nancy Drew Sleuths converge on Pasadena, CA for our annual convention! With our snappy blue roadsters and magnifying glasses of course;)

I'm going to attempt in all the craziness of these last two weeks to update this blog with happenings and news each night (also known as the wee hours)!

Convention planning is at a whirlwind but things are finally coming together as they always do at the last. We will most likely have our biggest turn out thus far, this year! If you're in the LA/Pasadena area, come and join us!

If you're lucky enough, your area mall may just have Emma Roberts stop by for a visit--she's making a small number of appearances to promote the Nancy Drew film all around the country. The other day she was in DC and got to meet the First Lady, Laura Bush--they both read to kids from The Secret of the Old Clock. Trivia tidbit: Nancy Drew got to have lunch with the First Lady in the original text of The Mystery of the Ivory Charm.

I've been interviewed for a lot of articles on Nancy Drew and the movie in the last week, so will update when articles start appearing. I'm hoping that the movie will inspire more Nancy Drew readers from today's generation and also inspire older fans to rediscover the books.

I saw Nancy Drew displays in the bookstores today, so she's getting more of a push these days!

More tomorrow!


Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Nancy Drew Sleuth Convention Merchandise!

Super fun Nancy Drew merchandise! Officially licensed from Simon & Schuster for a limited time/quantity at Cafe Press:

Sales only through June 30, 2007, so order now:)

Several convention designs including a nostalgic/humorous design, "You Know You're a Nancy Drew Fan When..."

Support the Sleuths and help us out with our convention costs!