Every story began with the same line - or so it seemed to me and my knowing sisters. Nancy bounced down the front steps, her blue eyes sparkling, her blond hair blowing in the breeze.

She was Nancy Drew, the preternaturally talented and perpetually cheerful young detective who could swim like an Olympian and nurse like Florence Nightingale, who could pick locks, solve puzzles, stare down crooks, and change a tire on her zippy blue roadster with the same ease she shopped for an evening gown. She was always polite but ever firm, brave but sensible, gracious but independent.

Her father, handsome attorney Carson Drew, indulged her; her mother had conveniently died years before. She was a high-school grad with no apparent plans for career or college. In the sunny town of River Heights, some vaguely Midwestern locale that never seemed to experience winter, her days were her own: She was always bouncing down those front steps with only a cardigan for warmth, climbing into an open car and roaring off on another adventure.

I think that was her appeal most of all, her autonomy. At the magic age of 18, she was already endowed with the freedom that we girls dreamed adulthood would bring. It was a freedom unencumbered, of course, by both the deeper pleasures and the daily drudgery of real adulthood, things of which girlish readers did not yet want to know. Housekeeper Hannah Gruen cooked the meals, Carson Drew picked up the bills, and boyfriend Ned Nickerson never required more attention than a peck on the cheek.

Of course, we had an inkling there was something unnatural about this world.
 Kate Taylor, writing in the The Globe and Mail, June 16, 2007.