The Nancys by R. W. R. McDonald

The Nancys by R. W. R. McDonald


I've been solving mysteries-or trying to-since I was seven. It didn't take me long to discover the joys of Enid Blyton's ever-so-English Secret Seven Mysteries and The Famous Five. At nine, I had travelled to Crabapple Farm near New York, following hot on the heels of ‘girl detective' Trixie Belden and her friends Honey and Jim. It was television, though, that first introduced me to amateur sleuth Nancy Drew when she paired up with Frank and Joe Hardy for The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries, produced from 1977-1979. It didn't take me long to find her books on the shelves of the school library.

The Nancys by RWR McDonald may be adult crime fiction but it's heart is in the fictional mysteries of my childhood, and possibly yours.

Eleven-year-old Tippy Chan and her uncle, celebrity hairdresser Pike, share a passion for Nancy Drew and her sleuthing. When Tippy's best friend falls off the bridge and her teacher is horribly murdered, the pair decide to form ‘The Nancys', with Pike's boyfriend Devon, to solve the mystery for themselves. While you don't need to know much about Nancy Drew to enjoy The Nancys, I suspect RWR McDonald has left a trail of Easter Eggs for fans to discover. Riverstone must be a nod to Nancy's home town of River Heights, surely?

Set in New Zealand's South Island, in the claustrophobic town of Riverstone where everyone thinks they know everyone else's business, The Nancys is what happens when Nancy Drew meets Taika Waititi. The characters are vibrant, real and full of personality. No one is what they seem, from the goth neighbour who has entered the local showgirl competition to the buff tv journalist, who shares a mysterious past with Pike, to Tippy's father whose death is another mystery Tippy needs to solve. But can they discover who the real murderer is without getting killed themselves?

The Nancys is a hoot. The mystery will have you on the edge of your seat. But The Nancys is also a heartbreak, as Tippy and Pike discover that you are never to old to grow up... or to follow in the footsteps of one of the world's most beloved teen detectives.


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