“When confused, sit back and try to arrange the facts into some kind of order.” – The Ghost of Blackwood Hall

When I was younger, the summer break from school always meant plenty of time for reading. When we lived in California and in Overland Park, KS we were just down the road from the local library. At least once a week I was checking out more books to read. At some point I became hooked on the Nancy Drew mysteries and remember going through the entire collection at the library. Many a summer day was spent in Nancy’s blue roadster zipping around the city and countryside to solve the latest mystery.

“Moxie and a good sense of balance are essential when crawling on a roof.” – The Hidden Staircase

Earlier this year I finished a excellent history of Nancy Drew – Girl Sleuth: Nancy Drew and the Women Who Created Her by Melanie Rehak. This was a fascinating peek behind the pages at the syndicate that created Nancy Drew (among others) and all the authors that penned stories as Carolyn Keane. Throughout the decades since Nancy first debuted in the 1930s she has always been a gal ahead of her time. Nancy embodied a fiesty spirit of independence that many of us can relate to. It was interesting to read about the evolution of Nancy and how readers responded to the changes in her character – she has withstood the test of time and the original books are still the most popular ones.

“Don’t pass up a great deal on a used sailboat because of a sorry paint job. It could be a real gem.” – The Clue in the Old Album

Even though the books were fun fiction, they were filled with all sorts of “tips” that seem as applicable in the real world today as they were when Nancy first spoke them. A quick search around the web finds lots of Nancy Drew sites – and of course a new movie is set to open with an updated Nancy story. (And that has sparked lots of new articles.)

“Don’t let you troubles get in the way of enjoying a leisurely and delightful lunch.” – The Secret of the Old Clock

In April I had the opportunity to hear Jack Olseker read from his new knit mystery, Cast On, Bets Off at My Sisters Knits. This is the first in a series of knit mysteries that Jack is writing – it is set in the fictious town of Indigan right along Lake Michigan – Harbor Country that is a favorite weekend getaway for me. This was a breezy read – full of the local sights and sounds that make Harbor Country a fun place to visit. While the knit shop sleuths, Max and Lisa, may not encounter all of the “bumps in the road” that a Nancy mystery includes, they do indeed sleuth in a sporty car. The references to the current knit culture were fun to read – when I saw The Yarn Harlot in April, Jack had me pass along a copy of the book to Stephanie because she indeed makes a fun appearance in the book. Jack has quite a writing history – both for the page & for the screen; with this series he is putting the books in yarn shops instead of selling them through traditional bookstores. (P.S. Jack & Kim will be at the Estes Park Wook Market for a book signing on Saturday.)

“It’s good to toast space exploration and fancy gadgets, but it’s more important to raise a glass to the beauty of soft candlelight.” – The Sign of the Twisted Candles

This weekend I will be heading over to Harbor Country for the annual “Kansas Sisters Weekend” with my sister and our friends, Jen & Kristy. While we won’t be in a blue roadster, my blue car will carry us on our adventure. Our summer sleuthing goals for the weekend: finding some fun yarns at Sit & Knit, “investigating” some of the local wineries, searching for “great finds” in the antique shops and who knows what else.

“Don’t let fear mean more to you than your friends.” – The Clue of the Velvet Mask

Jack has given me two copies of his book for a blog contest. How to enter? Between now and Wednesday (June 20) leave a comment about your favorite summer reading memories: Nancy Drew…other mysteries…any other book/series that defined summer reading for you.

“Learning a new craft will make you chatter on incessantly about the art form. Be careful not to bore your less artsy friends. – The Clue of the Leaning Chimney