Recently the news broke that there’s a plot afoot to reboot Nancy Drew–not on the page (heresy!) but on the television screen, as a 30-something NYPD detective. As a lifelong devotee of the valiant girl detective, I have mixed emotions about Hollywood meddling with the plucky teenage private eye who had such a powerful influence on my life and generations of other American readers. But until Hollywood deigns to consult Bas Bleu about its literary adaptations (what a wonderful world that would be!), I’m sharing my list of eighteen life lessons I learned from Miss Drew. (Why eighteen? Because Nancy is eternally eighteen!)
1. If your car’s brakes go out while you’re driving, aim for the nearest incline and coast to a stop.
2. Rattlesnakes like warm places, so check your sleeping bag for invaders when you’re camping out.
3. Smart women don’t buy what the beauty magazines are selling. Really, a touch of lipstick and a hair brush are all a girl needs to transition from an afternoon’s detecting to an evening’s dinner date.
4. If someone tells you you’ve won a contest you don’t remember entering, turn that sucker down. It’s a trap!
5. Antique clocks and cabinets always have secret compartments. Don’t stop looking until you find them.
6. That guy you thought was dead? Yeah, he’s not.
7. Any structure that’s more than fifty years old probably has a secret passageway. If there’s a creepy caretaker on the scene or an elderly widow being forced out of said structure by pushy relatives, you’d better believe there’s a treasure hidden in said secret passage.
8. Cultivate long-term friendships. Not only do those people hire you because they trust you more than the police, but they pull strings for you when you’re in hot water.
9. When your boyfriend and your dad are feminists who support your daring deeds, be prepared for other men to fall short.
10. There’s no such thing as ghosts. There is, however, such thing as a conniving conman who will do anything to scare people away from a priceless treasure/valuable real estate.
11. Always, always, always opt for flats or a low heel; you never know when you’ll need to run for your life.
12. If you want to get rid of someone, kill them right away. Don’t leave them to die a slow death as the tide comes in or something, because then they have plenty of time to escape. (Disclaimer: The smarter choice, also known as Nancy’s choice, is to never kill anyone.)
13. It always helps to have a loving housekeeper to look after you and fortify your dangerous exploits with cookies.
14. Sporty convertibles and coupes are great for hugging corners during death-defying car chases. That said, don’t skimp on your auto policy.
15. What it takes two guys to figure out, one woman can deduce in the same amount of time…and in heels. Take that, Hardy boys!
16. If a guy who doesn’t give you the time of day when you first meet him suddenly tries to date you after you begin investigating a murder at his school/ancestral estate/place of business, be very suspicious.
17. Life can be pretty dull if you don’t spend it doing work you love.
18. Best friends make the best sidekicks.