This page is for the book. For the video game of the same name, see The Phantom of Venice (video game).
This article may contain spoilers. Please read at your own risk.

The Phantom of Venice is the seventy-eighth book in the Nancy Drew Mystery Stories series. It was first published on October 1, 1985, by Wanderer Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster. In this book, Nancy investigates a kidnapping in Venice.


The official synopsis from the publisher's website:

In this thrilling adventure rife with romance and danger, Nancy travels to Venice to investigate the kidnapping of a famous glassblower and the disappearance of an artist.

Plot summary

Nancy is on her way to Venice to meet her father, who is helping his client, Crystalia Glass Company, negotiate the purchase of Vetreria del Falcone glassworks in Murano, Italy. On the flight, she meets fellow traveler Tara Egan, who also is on her way to Venice. Tara is going to collect the belongings of her father, an artist named Rolf Egan, who accidentally drowned in a canal. Tara's parents divorced when she was young, and thus she does not know her father well; she asks Nancy to accompany her to see her father's friend, Angela Spinelli. At Angela's apartment, the girls hear Angela's story of Rolf's drowning: Rolf fell into the canal shortly after gunshots were heard from the fondamenta (a street parallel to a canal). Rolf's body has not been recovered, which upsets Tara and is suspicious to Nancy. On their way out, Nancy notices someone lurking in the alleyway, and brings Tara back to her hotel. On the way back to her Palazzo, Nancy is harassed by Angela's brother, Gianni.

Afterwards, Carson and his friend, the Marchese del Falcone, give Nancy another case. The master glassblower at Falcone's factory, Pietro Rinaldi, has been kidnapped and is being held for ransom. Without him, Crystalia is threatening to call off the sale. Nancy agrees to investigate, and while unpacking, finds an odd shell in her suitcase. In the hotel's drawing room the next morning, Nancy and Carson meet Dutch photojournalist Katrina van Holst, who is covering the Marchese's masquerade ball. Nancy goes to tour the factory in Murano, where she meets her gruff guide and interpreter, Don Madison. On the tour, Nancy notices the showroom has some works that were designed by Rolf Egan. Nancy is more surprised to find that Don is also staying with the Marchese, and is much more friendly than she initially thought. Nancy convinces Don to let her search Pietro's flat, though she finds nothing out of the ordinary. Don does explain that Pietro and Rolf were old friends, which explains why Rolf's designs were in the showroom. Outside, Nancy is pushed from behind and breaks a heel, but is saved by Don from falling into the canal. Don and Nancy kiss, before Nancy returns to Venice to meet with Tara.

The Marchese invites Tara to stay and room with Nancy, which both girls agree to. Nancy shows Tara the shell from her suitcase, which Tara says she once gave to her father. Nancy becomes suspicious of the Marchese's friend Oliver Joyce, an art collector, after he appears to be reconnoitering about the Palazzo and has a gun in a leg holster. Gianni offers to give a tour of Venice to Tara, and Nancy tags along to protect her from Gianni. The trio runs into Don, where Gianni becomes obviously jealous of Nancy's attraction to Don. Nancy and Don go to dinner, and discuss the Marchese's upcoming masquerade ball. Tara accuses Nancy of trying to interfere with her budding relationship with Gianni, and Nancy promises to back off.

In the middle of the night, Nancy awakens to find a hooded skull-faced figure standing above a screaming Tara. Nancy begins to pursue the figure, but loses him, and goes back to confront Tara. In the morning, Nancy and Tara go to the Ca' d'Oro, where Gianni spots Nancy, who rebuffs him. Gianni sexually assaults Nancy, who leaves the museum. Nancy finds a note in her purse, telling her to meet under the Winged Lion at Piazza San Marco at six o'clock. When Nancy goes, a scarred-face man in Safari clothing approaches Nancy, but runs away after he sees Gianni also approaching. When Nancy and Tara go back to their room, they find it has been ransacked.

At the masquerade ball, Nancy - dressed as an Asian dancer - kisses a man with the costume Don described, although realizes too late he is Gianni. Don and Tara are upset at the kiss, while Nancy once again rebuffs Gianni. Nancy spots Oliver Joyce, and follows him to a hallway where she is stopped by a mime named Hans who tells her Tara is in danger. The mime disappears after power outage, but after the lights are restored, Nancy finds that a Fabergé egg the Marchese showed off earlier has disappeared. The Marchese explains that the egg is only a glass reproduction, though a butler finds the egg without a jeweled bird inside. Tara and Nancy reconcile after Tara reveals she met another man at the party. That night, another intruder enters their room, and Nancy chases him as he escapes in a gondola. She finds that the intruder has left wet footprints, dispelling Tara's belief he is a ghost.

Spoiler warning: Click "show" to reveal.
Crystalia agrees to put up half of Pietro's $100,000 ransom, which Carson discloses to Nancy the next morning. However, Nancy believes that Pietro was not kidnapped for ransom, but instead over something of value - a paperweight she initially bought as a gift for her aunt Eloise. Nancy concocts a plan with Don to set a trap and stake out the factory. On the way, Don confesses that he has a fiancée, but loves Nancy, who is "on a break" with Ned.

On the stakeout, Pietro arrives, but cannot find what he is looking for in the paperweights. Katrina arrives with the plant manager Signor Rubini and another man, an armed thug. Don and Nancy attack, and following their fight, Gianni appears. He reveals himself to be apart of the Diamante Network, a group of diamond smugglers run by Katrina. He wants the gem for himself, but Nancy throws the paperweight at him so Don can disarm him. Nancy finds that the paperweight has a large diamond in it. After the Network is arrested, Pietro explains that he was kidnapped by the Network after he was recruited by Hans, who is an illegal diamond buyer. Rolf comes out of hiding, to reveal that he is the "phantom". He hid after Pietro was kidnapped, and used the "phantom" to try and let Tara know he was still alive.


1. Mid-Air Meeting
2. A Shot in the Dark
3. The Watcher in the Shadows
4. Falcon Palace
5. A Glass Menagerie
6. Unseen Eyes
7. Shell Game
8. A Sinister Sign
9. Ghost Story
10. Rendezvous with Danger
11. Secret Search
12. Masquerade
13. Dark Deeds
14. Game Plan
15. Stakeout
16. Night of the Omelet



Characters appearing in this book include:

  • Nancy Drew
  • Carson Drew
  • Tara Egan
  • Rolf Egan
  • Gianni Spinelli
  • Pietro Rinaldi
  • Don Madison
  • Katrina van Holst
  • the Marchese del Falcone
  • Oliver Joyce
  • Angela Spinelli
  • Hans Aacht
  • Signora Dandolo
  • Zorzi Dandolo
  • Signor Rubini


Businesses and organizations

  • Crystalia Glass Company
  • Vetreria del Falcone glassworks


to be added


Following the sale of the Stratemeyer Syndicate to Simon & Schuster in 1985, the company looked to relaunch the character. The company developed both The Bluebeard Room and The Phantom of Venice to serve as "backdoor pilots" for a spin-off aimed at a teen audience, which eventually became The Nancy Drew Files.


In 2008, Her Interactive adapted the book into a video game of the same name as the eighteenth game in the Nancy Drew adventure game series. The video game focuses on a crime ring, which Nancy is called in to go undercover to investigate; the glassblowing and romantic elements of the book are not present. However, some of the characters - such as Katrina van Holst and Don Madison have been retained and renamed.


  • This is the final book to have the involvement of the Stratemeyer Syndicate.


Type Publisher Released ISBN Length
Paperback Wanderer / Simon & Schuster Oct 1, 1985 0-671-49745-6 157 pages
eBook Aladdin / Simon & Schuster Jul 16, 2013 978-1-4424-9881-5

Image gallery

External links


Nancy Drew Mystery Stories (1930-2003)
Original series & Wanderer Titles (1930-1985)
Mega-Books era (1987-2003)

79. The Double Horror of Fenley Place
80. The Case of the Disappearing Diamonds
81. The Mardi Gras Mystery
82. The Clue in the Camera
83. The Case of the Vanishing Veil
84. The Joker's Revenge
85. The Secret of Shady Glen
86. The Mystery of Misty Canyon
87. The Case of the Rising Stars
88. The Search for Cindy Austin
89. The Case of the Disappearing Deejay
90. The Puzzle at Pineview School
91. The Girl Who Couldn't Remember
92. The Ghost of Craven Cove
93. The Case of the Safecracker's Secret
94. The Picture-Perfect Mystery
95. The Silent Suspect
96. The Case of the Photo Finish
97. The Mystery of Magnolia Mansion
98. The Haunting of Horse Island
99. The Secret at Seven Rocks
100. A Secret in Time
101. The Mystery of the Missing Millionairess
102. The Secret in the Dark
103. The Stranger in the Shadows
104. The Mystery of the Jade Tiger
105. The Clue in the Antique Trunk
106. The Case of the Artful Crime
107. The Legend the Miner's Creek
108. The Secret of the Tibetan Treasure
109. The Mystery of the Masked Rider
110. The Nutcracker Ballet Mystery
111. The Secret at Solaire
112. Crime in the Queen's Court
113. The Secret Lost at Sea
114. The Search for the Silver Persian
115. The Suspect in Smoke
116. The Case of the Twin Teddy Bears
117. Mystery on the Menu
118. Trouble at Lake Tahoe
119. The Mystery of the Missing Mascot
120. The Case of the Floating Crime
121. The Fortune Teller's Secret
122. The Message in the Haunted Mansion
123. The Clue on the Silver Screen
124. The Secret of the Scarlet Hand
125. The Teen Model Mystery
126. The Riddle in the Rare Book
127. The Case of the Dangerous Solution
128. The Treasure in the Royal Tower

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