1930 Version:Page Count: 210
First Sentence: "It would be a shame if all the money went to the Tophams! They will flyer than ever!"
Page Count: 180
First Sentence: Nancy Drew, an attractive girl of eighteen, was driving home along a country road in her new, dark-blue convertible.
In the original version Nancy is 16 versus 18 in the later versions.
Nancy's friends Bess and George are nowhere to be found and are replaced by Helen Channing who is described as a long time friend of Nancy's.
The housekeeper Hannah Gruen is still there but she is the maid not the housekeeper and it's made very clear that Nancy is in charge of running the house which includes meal planning, ordering groceries, and working with a budget.
The harrowing scene where a little girl runs into traffic which leads Nancy to meet the two elderly aunts, learn of a theft and discover the whole missing will in the first place is completely missing. Instead Nancy is already aware of the issues regarding the will and the questions surrounding it and comes into contact with two sisters who were expecting the inheritance on her own.
Nancy herself is completely different. Instead of being constantly nice and charitable, Nancy can be a bit blunt. She dislikes the two Topham girls who seemed to be the beneficiaries of the will and doesn't really pull her punches. Instead of judging a store clerk for being gossipy she is interested and quick to encourage her confidences. And at one point she even withholds evidence from the police. To be honest I liked the 1930s Nancy way better.
The writing style in general. The newer version is very simplistic and has an almost lecture-y tone at times whereas the original version is faster paced and more exciting. The lecture-y tone is gone in favor of just telling a good story. As well there was quite a bit about daily life that I found interesting. We see more of how Nancy runs the house as well as seeing the difficulties that two sisters she becomes friends with better explored.
The basic plot and outcome is pretty much the same. Nancy is intelligent and pretty much left to her own devices to solve the mystery.
My Overall Thoughts:
I tried to read the two books 5 chapters at a time to really compare the two but the newer version was so simple and childish compared to the original version that I ended up stopping that. I'm not really sure what version I read but considering it was off library shelves I wonder if it was a mix. There are some that are really stuck in my head but others that have faded into nothingness. I wonder if the ones I vividly remember were the originals.
I really enjoyed this reread of a old favorite and am so glad I took the time to revisit the world of the Nancy Drew and River Heights. If you're a fan of Nancy Drew I definitely recommend a revisit though maybe try and get your hands on the original version. I don't think you'll be disappointed!