The Nancy Drew franchise began as books in 1930, and has since expanded into a franchise of new book series, films, television series, video games, and more. All versions of the series feature the main character Nancy Drew, an amateur detective solving mysteries.
Major characters include:
- Nancy Drew, an amateur detective
- Bess Marvin, Nancy's feminine best friend and George's cousin
- George Fayne, Nancy's athletic best friend and Bess's cousin
- Ned Nickerson, Nancy's patient boyfriend
- Carson Drew, Nancy's father who is a lawyer
- Hannah Gruen, the motherly housekeeper of the Drews
Nancy Drew Mystery Stories (1930-2003)
- Main article: Nancy Drew Mystery Stories
The Nancy Drew Mystery Stories is the beginning of the Nancy Drew franchise and is the "main" Nancy Drew book series. The first book The Secret of the Old Clock was published in 1930, and the series continued to be published until 2003 with a total of 175 books. The series was ghostwritten by multiple authors using the pseudonym Carolyn Keene.
The first 56 novels were published by Grosset & Dunlap, from 1930 to 1979. From 1959 to 1977, the first 34 novels were significantly revised and updated. In 1979, Simon & Schuster became the publisher of new titles, beginning with book 57, The Triple Hoax in 1979. The series officially ended in 2003, with the publication of book 175, Werewolf in a Winter Wonderland. The series was ended to launch the Nancy Drew: Girl Detective series.
Nancy Drew: Girl Detective (2004-2012) and spin-offs
- Main article: Nancy Drew: Girl Detective
In 2004, Simon & Schuster launched the Nancy Drew: Girl Detective to have a new, more contemporary series for the character. This new series is written in first person narration from Nancy's point of view, and it features updated and overhauled versions of the main characters.
The first four books - Without a Trace, A Race Against Time, False Notes, and High Risk - were first published in March 2004. Beginning with book 30, Pageant Perfect Crime, the series switched into "Trilogy mode", with books now being in the then-popular trilogy format. The series finally ended with volume 47, Stalk, Don't Run, being released in February 2012. The series was canceled and replaced with the Nancy Drew Diaries series.
In addition to the 47 volumes in the "main" series, the Girl Detective series had several spin-offs using the banner. Four books were released from 2005 to 2008 under the Girl Detective Super Mysteries sub-series. That same year, a graphic novel series was launched in association with Papercutz; 21 volumes were published until 2010, with an additional three published under "The New Nancy Drew Case Files" banner. In 2007, the Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys Super Mystery was launched as a crossover with The Hardy Boys: Undercover Brothers series; six books were released in that series, until its end in 2012.
In addition to these spin-offs, younger series Nancy Drew and the Clue Crew exists in the same universe as Girl Detective.
Nancy Drew Diaries (2013-present)
- Main article: Nancy Drew Diaries
In 2013, Nancy Drew Diaries was launched to replace the Nancy Drew: Girl Detective series. The series continues today with releases planned through at least 2020.
Young adult book series
These books are intended for slightly older readers, age 12 and up.
The Nancy Drew Files (1986-1997) and spin-offs
- Main article: The Nancy Drew Files
In 1986, The Nancy Drew Files series began with the first book Secrets Can Kill. The series is aimed at teenagers, has romantic subplots, and more mature mysteries (such as murder) than the Mystery Stories series. The Nancy Drew Files ran for 124 books, with the final book, Crime at the Chat Cafe, published in December 1997.
A crossover series Nancy Drew & Hardy Boys Super Mystery featured Nancy teaming up with The Hardy Boys. It ran for 36 volumes from 1988 to 1998. (Not to be confused with Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys Super Mystery series which was published between 2007-2012 and part of the Nancy Drew: Girl Detective book series.) In addition, The Nancy Drew Files also launched a mostly-unrelated series titled River Heights, which starred Nancy's neighbor Nikki Masters. Nancy only appeared in small cameos in three of the books.
Nancy Drew on Campus (1995-1998)
- Main article: Nancy Drew on Campus
In September 1995, Nancy Drew on Campus was launched with the New Lives, New Loves. This series featured Nancy and her friends Bess Marvin and George Fayne going to college at Wilder University; the series focuses more on college life and romance, rather than all about solving mysteries. The series was most notable for Ned Nickerson being absent for the majority of the series, after readers could call a 1-800 number to state whether Nancy should continue dating Ned, or break-up with him (apparently, the ladder was chosen). Bad reviews and low sales plagued the series, and it ended in 1998 with book 25, Snowbound.
Children's book series
These books are intended for young readers, about age 6-9 years old.
Nancy Drew Notebooks (1994-2005)
- Main article: Nancy Drew Notebooks
Beginning in 1994, the Nancy Drew Notebooks series began with the first book The Slumber Party Secret. The series is aimed at young readers, and portrays an 8-year-old Nancy and her friends in the third grade solving smaller mysteries. In 2005, the series ended with book 69, The Kitten Caper, and was replaced with Nancy Drew and the Clue Crew.
Nancy Drew and the Clue Crew (2006-2014)
- Main article: Nancy Drew and the Clue Crew
Nancy Drew and the Clue Crew is a reboot of the Nancy Drew Notebooks series, and exists in the same universe as the Nancy Drew: Girl Detective series. It began with the publication of Sleepover Sleuths in 2006, and ended in 2014 with book 40, Butterfly Blues.
Nancy Drew Clue Book (2015-present)
Film and television
1930s film series
From 1938 to 1939, four Nancy Drew films were released by Warner Bros. starring Bonita Granville as Nancy Drew:
- Nancy Drew: Detective (November 1938)
- Nancy Drew... Reporter (February 1939)
- Nancy Drew... Trouble Shooter (June 1939)
- Nancy Drew and the Hidden Staircase (September 1939)
These films were inspired by the popular Torchy Blane B-film series, also produced by Warner Bros. Granville portrayed Nancy as a ditzy, more immature young girl, often chasing mysteries with her reluctant boyfriend Ted Nickerson (changed from Ned), and at the chagrin of her father Carson. Four more films were planned by Warner Bros., but were canceled when they decided to end production on all B-film series.
1970s TV series
- Main article: The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries
The television series The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries ran from January 30, 1977, to January 14, 1979, on ABC. Pamela Sue Martin starred as Nancy Drew. This series is regarded as the most faithful series to the books. However, after the first season, producers began to focus more on The Hardy Boys (Parker Stevenson and Shaun Cassidy), causing Martin to leave midway through the season. Though she was replaced by model-actress Janet Louise Johnson, Nancy was dropped from the series after the second season; the series overall would be canceled after the third season.
1995 TV series
- Main article: Nancy Drew (1995 TV series)
In a 1995 television series, Canadian production company Nelvana produced a syndicated series starring Tracy Ryan as Nancy Drew. Nancy is now a 21-year-old criminology student, moving to New York City and living in an upscale apartment complex and solving mysteries with Bess (a gossip columnist) and George (a mail carrier and amateur filmmaker). The series ran in first-run syndication for 13 episodes from September 23, 1995, to December 16, 1995. A Hardy Boys television series was produced by Nelvana, and both suffered from low ratings as a result of being poorly syndicated.
2002 TV movie
- Main article: Nancy Drew (2002 TV movie)
On December 15, 2002, ABC aired the made-for-TV movie Nancy Drew, starring Maggie Lawson as the character Nancy Drew. The movie was intended to be a pilot for a possible weekly series, which was not picked up. The movie saw Nancy and her friends going off to college in a modern setting, and Nancy pursuing a journalism degree while solving mysteries.
- Main article: Nancy Drew (2007 Film)
On June 15, 2007, the film Nancy Drew was released by Warner Bros. starring Emma Roberts as Nancy Drew. The story follows Nancy Drew as she accompanies her father Carson Drew to Los Angeles on one of his business trips. Nancy stumbles across evidence of a long-unsolved crime involving the mysterious death of a beautiful movie star.
- Main article: Nancy Drew and the Hidden Staircase
On March 15, 2019, the film Nancy Drew and the Hidden Staircase was released by Warner Bros. starring Sophia Lillis as Nancy Drew. It is based on the book The Hidden Staircase, and it is the second adaptation of the book after the 1939 film. In it, Nancy investigates the haunting of the local Twin Elms mansion with her friends and rival.
2019 TV series
- Main article: Nancy Drew (2019 TV series)
When a socialite is murdered, Nancy finds herself a prime suspect in the crime, along with a group of other teens present at the scene. The five teens must team up to clear their own names.
HeR Interactive releases Nancy Drew video games beginning in 1998 and continuing today.
Failed adaptation attempts
Drew (2016 TV series)
- Main article: Drew
On October 5, 2015, CBS announced that it would be developing a new series titled Drew. The pilot was shot in March 2016, on location in New York City, starring Sarah Shahi as Nancy Drew. The premise featured Nancy as a non-Caucasian New York City police detective in her thirties. The pilot episode revolved around Nancy investigating the death of Bess Marvin, who had died six months previously. On May 14, 2016, CBS officially passed on developing Drew, and the pilot was never aired.
- Wikipedia: Nancy Drew