Saturday, February 25, 2012

Nancy Drew 2012 Convention Clues #7

The Kachina Doll Mystery - Review

A Few Fast Facts

Ghostwriter: Sharon Wagner

Illustrators: Ruth Sanderson, Hector Garrido, Linda Thomas.

Synopsis: When Nancy arrives at the McGuire's fitness ranch in Arizona, she discovers that the future of the ranch is being threatened by unexplained accidents. Teaming up with a ghost, Nancy begins her search for a precious collection of ancient Kachina dolls and hunts for her elusive adversary, who is determined to prevent the ranch from operating.

Growing up, I read the Wanderer paperbacks as they came out, and was really excited to read Kachina Doll. I grew up in the Southwest, and the Indian theme with the Kachina Dolls was very familiar to me. The ghostly Kachina Doll was fascinating, especially since Nancy didn't normally believe in ghosts and there was a real ghost/Kachina spirit in this book. Now that I live out in Arizona, the setting for this book is about 35 minutes from my house and I'm thrilled to bring this book alive for Nancy Drew fans at this year's convention. The resort setting will be perfect with it's desert/Superstition Mountains backdrop. I like how the ghostwriter also worked in the gold mining aspect of the mystery since that is a huge part of the Superstitions lore.

5 Fun Things About This Book:

1. George Fayne's quote, "No ghost is safe around Nancy."

2. We learn that when someone's trying to buy your land, trickery going on might just be their handy work!

3. This is quite a meal! On a horseback ride, they eat ribs, beans--traditional baked and Mexican refried with bits of hot peppers and onions, taco chips, green mound of guacamole dip, fresh fruit and vegetables, icy soda, and Indian Fry Bread for desert with powdered sugar or honey.

4. We learn that a nightstand drawer is a terrible hiding place!

5. The barn dance with the colorful Mexican paper flowers and other decorations sounded like fun.


Nancy Drew 2012 Convention Clues #6

Hilili - Witch Kachina

The Kachina Legend

Kachina Dolls are immensely varied and colorful and special to the Navajo and the Hopi Indians. They form the basis for the mystery in the Nancy Drew book, The Kachina Doll Mystery. You may be wondering what they are and what they symbolize.

As this site explains it, they are "They are a representation of good and of evil, they answer prayers of the people and enhance life. They are representations of the Pueblo's beloved spirits." There's more detail in the meaning of Kachinas at this site that I recommend reading.

Though it doesn't fit into our schedule this year, we visited The Heard Museum in Phoenix where they have a large collection of Kachina Dolls that are quite lovely. If you have any down time or are spending some extra time in this area, you might visit the museum--check out their website here on the Kachina collection. They also have a page on interesting Kachina Doll Facts.

For a list of Kachina Doll meanings by name, click here. In The Kachina Doll Mystery, there were 6 Kachina's mentioned that were painted in the hall at the resort, though not all were named. Those named and their meanings:

Cloud Kachina - Represents the clouds in the sky, brings moisture for the crops.

Bear Kachina - Represents great power to cure the sick.

Eagle Kachina - Represents Strength and power, carries your dreams to heaven.

Prickly Pear Cactus Kachina - Represents the spirit of the cactus.

Mudhead Kachina - Well known Kachina dolls, acts as clown.

And on the outside wall was painted the Hilili - Witch Kachina is a guard Kachina known for the shrieking call he makes.


Friday, February 17, 2012

Nancy Drew 2012 Convention Clues #5

Nancy Drew - Kachina Dolls

In The Kachina Doll Mystery, when Nancy Drew and her chums Bess and George visit the McGuires at Kachina Resort, the main house features a few Kachina paintings in the hall. Most of them are named but there are a couple that are not. And on the outside of the house was a witch Kachina. Of the ones named, I'm featuring some Kachina Dolls to show you all what they look like. Above is the Prickly Pear Cactus Kachina.

Mudhead Kachina

Eagle Kachina

Bear Kachina

Cloud Kachina

Hilili - Witch Kachina


Nancy Drew 2012 Convention Clues #4 The Gift Exchange

Nancy Drew & Series Book Exchange

Felling kind of crafty? Or more like store bought is right up your alley? Here are some sample hand-crafted Nancy Drew gifts to give you some ideas. From decoupage to collage to jewelry to sewing to paper crafts, anything goes. We will be doing the all-series exchange table this year so you can make a Nancy Drew gift or buy one or do the all-series (handcrafted or store bought mixed on same table). Can be one series or a mixture in the imagery.

Shown above are some of the ways Sleuths have wrapped their gifts for the gift exchanges. See below for crafty ideas:


January/February 2012 Issue of The Sleuth

Our January/February 2012 issue of our Nancy Drew and series books zine The Sleuth is available! Preview the issue below and at our website. You can subscribe there, purchase back issues, or send in a printable PDF form from the website to:

Nancy Drew Sleuths
P.O. Box 128
Higley, AZ 85236-0128

Back issue special $4.00 ea through Mar. 15, 2012. Not reflected at the website, so send in checks or money orders to the above address or send a Pay Pal to: or e-mail to request an invoice ( If in Canada, add 1.00 per issue for additional shipping. If Overseas, add 2.00 per issue for additional shipping.

In This Issue:

Calling All Sleuths: Editor’s Note By Jennifer Fisher

Burt or Dave? Quiz

The Burt & Dave Phenomenon By Jennifer Fisher

The Nancy Drew Crookbook Part XXI By Caroline Stellings

Nancy Drew Releases

Getting to Know Judy Bolton: A First Time Reader’s View – The Riddle of the Double Ring By JK

One Afternoon in the Emerson College Frat House By Pamela J. Horack

Deconstructing The Digests – Debunking The Misconceptions Surrounding The Nancy Drew Paperbacks #99 – The Secret at Seven Rocks By Todd H. Latoski

Mystery Solved By Janet DeVries

The Dean’s List – Scrambled Nancy By Dean Burcham

Alternate Ned Nickersons By Kyle Wilke

The Centerfold Case: The Dawn Allen Collection

Crazy Eights with Michael G. Cornelius – The Ghost Jogger By Michael G. Cornelius

Clues From The Sleuthing Scene

One Hundred Years of Girl Scouts in Series Fiction By Dawn Allen

Nancy Drew Web Con 3

Pop Sleuth…Nancy Drew Sightings

An Interview with Diane A.S. Stuckart a.k.a. Ali Brandon By Janet DeVries

Jumping off the Jacket: Nancy Models for Her Covers – Velvet Mask & Ski Jump By Faye Kisker

Missing Nancy Drew Mysteries By Meghan O’Keefe

Nancy Drew’s Survival Guide: Sleuth Lesson #33

The Scoop on Upcoming Issues, Clue Conundrum Answers

Classic Nancy Drew Book Illustrations Series #21: The Secret in the Old Attic


Thursday, February 16, 2012

Nancy Drew Cafe Press Shop Sale: $5 off $45+ orders!

Nancy Drew Shop $5 off orders of $45+ Sale!

WHEN: Sale Runs From Feb. 16 to Feb. 22, 2012

SAVE: $5 off orders of $45+



Be sure you're ordering from the shop page only--marketplace orders do not count for this promotion, so if you're at the main website and/or using search boxes to add items to your cart, those are considered marketplace items. You must order from the Nancy Drew shop page itself. If you have any trouble with the code--contact Cafe Press customer support (there's a phone number you can call right away) and they can help you with it.

Thanks for your support!


Sunday, February 12, 2012

Nancy Drew 2012 Convention Clues #3

Gold Canyon Golf Resort

I thought I'd highlight a few photos that I took around the Gold Canyon Golf Resort our "Kachina Resort" setting for our Nancy Drew Convention based on the resort in The Mystery of the Kachina Doll book. Rooms are individual bungalows - "casitas." While you might not have a real Kachina ghost lurking around, you're bound to enjoy the setting of an oasis in the desert with beautiful desert and Superstition Mountain surroundings...

A casita to the left is surrounded by native
brush, trees, and cacti.

Paths snake around the resort to the various
casitas and other buildings. You can hike
or get around by golf cart.

Sleuth Gina on a visit with me last November
while we sleuthed for mystery weekend ideas...

View of a double bed casita

View of a spa double bed casita

Pool Side

Courtyard area opening off of several casitas

Spa casita view

Winding around the resort with the adobe style buildings.

I think the resort setting is going to be a lot of fun for members attending the convention this year!


Nancy Drew 2012 Convention Clues #2

I'm pasting a Blog from my past 365 Days of Nancy Drew Blog which was a year long Blog devoted to Nancy Drew. I went through all the classic Nancy Drew books and did mini reviews for discussion. Here's my posting on The Secret at Shadow Ranch/The Secret of Shadow Ranch - our convention will mainly focus on the revised version with the Cowboy Outlaw Dirk Valentine's treasure and the Phantom Horse, but both versions were set in the Phoenix, AZ area at fictional Shadow Ranch several hours from Phoenix in the mountains. Real life settings for such a ranch would be up in the Sedona area or in the Payson/Heber areas which are mountainous and could be the likely real life settings. Enjoy this review:

A missing father, a phantom horse, Zany Shaw's Junk Shop. Let's discuss!

The Secret at Shadow Ranch is another of those stories that when revised, became an all new plot. Both set in the same area--mountains near Phoenix, AZ, but two different mysteries. Both a Western setting but the mystery in the revision fits the theme better.

A Few Fast Facts:

Original Ghostwriter: Mildred A. Wirt Benson

First Cover Art Illustrated By: Russell H. Tandy

Where You Can View the Tandy Painting: The Toledo Public Library

Synopses From My Website:

Original Text:

Nancy, Bess, and George head to Arizona to visit Shadow Ranch along with Alice Regor, a cousin of Bess and George. Alice's father disappeared many years before. The plight of a young child, Lucy, who lives with a very mean woman, Martha Frank, leads Nancy to suspect something is not right. In her search to find out how Lucy came to be with Martha, Nancy solves not one, but two baffling mysteries!

Revised Text:

Nancy, Bess, and George arrive in Phoenix, Arizona, eagerly looking forward to a fun-filled vacation at Shadow Ranch, but abruptly finds themselves involved in a baffling mystery. The ranch is being haunted by a phantom horse and maliciously damaged by an unknown enemy. Local people believe that the ghostly animal is carrying out the curse of Dirk Valentine, the romantic outlaw who was killed many years ago at Shadow Ranch, where he had gone to fulfill a promise to his sweetheart. Nancy suspects that a treasure is hidden by Valentine on the ranch and becomes involved in a dangerous race to find the treasure.

I often hear that people prefer the revision to the original--as to the mystery and plots. The writing style of the original is still tops and character development is much better. But the Cowboy Outlaw mystery in the revision was a lot of fun as well as searching for the treasure using the clues while trying to figure out the phantom horse mystery. The one constant in both was Alice's missing father. I think it tied in better in the revision to the mystery at hand.

I was amused in the revision when Nancy, Bess, and George refresh their lipstick while sitting in their overheated car in the desert in major heat while awaiting rescue.

Original vs. Revised - 5 Interesting Clues:

1. The original involves 1 kidnapping, the revision 2.

2. For fun in the original we have Zany Shaw's Junk Shop, in the revision we have a Phantom Horse!

3. Nancy uses a gun in the original and shoots a lynx.

4. The revision involves a search for Cowboy Outlaw Dirk Valentine's Treasure.

5. Nancy punches villain Zany Shaw in the original version--no punching of any villain in the revision.

3 Mysterious Things About Nancy:

1. Nancy knows her way around a gun.

2. Nancy's chocolate cakes are scrumptious!

3. She's willing to break and enter to gather evidence.

An Important Lesson We Learned From Nancy:

Where there's a hidden treasure and a phantom horse, there's some trickery going on!

Sleuthworthy Rating on a Scale of 1-10:

Original: 7
Revision: 10

I preferred the revision due to the mystery being about a hidden treasure, a Cowboy Outlaw, and a suspicious phantom horse. The mystery focused more on the theme of ranches and the far west which was the main setting. The original mystery was OK, but not as exciting--and the villains getting off so easy in the original was unfortunate.


Saturday, February 11, 2012

Nancy Drew 2012 Convention Clues #1


Our March 2012 Nancy Drew Convention is just weeks away and I'm very excited about our week of mystery and fun in sunny Arizona! If you've got the winter blahs, you'll enjoy a nice week-long break here where the weather is much milder and no chance of snow!

I will begin blogging regularly leading up to the convention and have some fun things in store for you and great highlights of our activities. For those of you attending--please bookmark our Blog if you haven't already and check back in regularly! In a couple of weeks we'll be having weekly contests to give away prizes to those who are attending!

Aside from our regular Nancy Drew Convention, we have a sub-convention going on at the same time - Sleuth Con - an all-series book event. Our first time for this type of format, so if you enjoy other series, we'll have some of those being highlighted by members this year.

If you'd like to sport some spiffy convention wear, visit our Nancy Drew Cafe Press Shop - with several styles of choose from for Nancy Drew and the all-series theme, you'll find lots of goodies like totes, mugs, tees, and jewelry among lots of other products. There are often coupons for shop purchases so when those are available, I will post them here at the Blog.

For our Nancy Drew theme this year, our main classic book is the classic paperback #62, The Kachina Doll Mystery which was set in the Apache Junction, AZ area. This forms the basis for our setting out in Gold Canyon AZ at he Gold Canyon Golf Resort. In the book, Nancy visits a resort that is being built and getting ready to open so our resort setting was perfect for the theme. In a future Blog post, I'll highlight this book. A secondary theme book is the classic Nancy Drew book #5, The Secret of Shadow Ranch (primarily the revised text cowboy outlaw/treasure version).

Members who attend the weekend portion can take part in our mystery weekend where they'll play detective and try to solve a mystery!

And finally--a fun image of a Cloud Kachina Doll - which was the ghostly Kachina spirit that guided Nancy around in Kachina Doll. There are many sites online where you can purchase Kachina dolls and some local places we'll visit at the convention too.


Thursday, February 2, 2012

Nancy Drew Cafe Press Shop Sale: Free Ship on $50+ Orders

Nancy Drew Shop FREE SHIP on $50+ Sale!

WHEN: Sale Runs From Feb. 2 to Feb. 8, 2012

SAVE: FREE SHIPPING on orders of $50+



Be sure you're ordering from the shop page only--marketplace orders do not count for this promotion, so if you're at the main website and/or using search boxes to add items to your cart, those are considered marketplace items. You must order from the Nancy Drew shop page itself. If you have any trouble with the code--contact Cafe Press customer support (there's a phone number you can call right away) and they can help you with it.

Thanks for your support!