And then the series and cover art changed a LOT:
Ah, the Nancy Drew series. My literary gateway drug to serious book addiction. I devoured these books over and over again. The Christmas I was in 3rd grade, my aunt gave me The Secret of the Old Clock and The Mystery at Lilac Inn, and I fell in love. I began reading and collecting, until I had books #1-56. I spent all my allowance money saving for these books, and every birthday and Christmas I would ask for a few more. I got a few books after #56, but the new paperbacks with the drastically different cover art (WHO is the girl on them? Huh?! Not titian-haired Nancy!) really put me off. Which is ironic, since my local small-town library had several first edition Nancy Drew books (early 1930's) that I loved as well, but the yellow hardcovers really spoke to me.
In fact, I still have them all, and when my daughter is older I will happily introduce her to a smart, brave, kind and self-reliant heroine. Nancy represented the girl I wanted to be - she had amazing, scary adventures where nobody ever really got hurt, she had the best girlfriends ever, and a sweet and hunky boyfriend. But the mysteries were the best part - who didn't want to be Nancy and escape the boring life of elementary school?
Are you a Nancy Drew fan? Did the cover art matter to you, too? What's your favorite cover/book?
I think my favorite cover is The Ghost of Blackwood Hall - it has it all, the three best friends together in a spooky house, in a seemingly dangerous situation. The Mystery at Lilac Inn is probably my second favorite. I'm a ghost story lover from early childhood, and the retro dress and hair lends the picture an "out of time" aura.
There is a wonderful website about Nancy Drew at http://www.nancydrewsleuth.com/. The author is a SERIOUS collector and Nancy Drew expert, and the website is comprehensive, educational and fascinating.