Nancy's Mysterious Letter

Basic Comparisons

The 1932 text 25 chapters and consists of 209 pages.

The 1968 text has 20 chapters and 174 pages. There is an illustration opposite the title page, and one illustration in chapter 1, and illustrations in chapters 5, 9, 13 and 17.


Inside Illustration

Text differences

1. The postman's name is Dixon in the 1932 text, Nixon in the 1968 text.

2. There's what can be taken as a racist reference in the 1932 text when Nancy talks to a neighbor and her language is like 'Not speak english,me'. She's from Poland.

3. In the 1932 version Nancy is referred to as a 'dame'.

4. In the 1932 version the letter to Nancy Drew is not stolen, but Nancy manages to lose it for a few moments but finds it again.

5. One time when Sailor Joe's wife comes to Nancy's Hannah gets really, really mad at her.

6. Racist dialogue relating to a 'colored porter' in the 1932 version.

7. In the 1968 text, Ned collapses on the football field. He doesn't in the 1932 text. He also plays less football and is less the ultra-hero in the older text than in the newer one.

8. In the 1932 version, Edgar and the other Nancy are due to leave by boat; in the new version, they are due to leave by plane. There's also some other differences regarding how they are traced and Ned's role.

Synopsis. SPOILERS!

Chapter 1

1932: The letter carrier's name is Dixon rather than Nixon. They invite him but he hesitates since it's against regulations. He tells her about his half-brother Edgar. His mail pouch is stolen.

1968: Ira Nixon is an old letter-carrier. The girls have gotten back from Red Gate Farm. Nancy's mother died when she was three. They invite the old guy in and his letters are stolen. Some kid saw the thief and his car.

Chapter 2

1932: Nancy goes to a nearby house to see if anyone saw who took the mail. A woman answers and says 'Not speak Engulsh, me.' She's apparently from Poland. She talks to a young boy who saw a suspicious character. Nancy was 'left motherless when a mere child.' Nancy takes Ira to the postmaster and Ira tells him about the stolen pouch and mail. The postmaster blames Nancy.

1968: A half-brother, Edgar, is demanding half of Ira's inheritance. Edgar is very nasty. Nancy calls the police, the post office and her father about the missing letters. A letter for Mr. Drew with money in it was also stolen. A postal inspector says Nancy has broken the law.

Chapter 3

1932: The guy is nasty to her. He calls the police and tells Dixon he's finished. A Secret Service agent arrives and Nancy tells him what she's found out. Two more guys arrive, and one of them refers to Nancy as 'the dame.' She's treated better when they find out she's Nancy Drew.

1968: She's not supposed to invite mail carriers into her home. Mr. Drew checks contacts in London to get a copy of the letter to Nancy, which was also taken. Nancy talks to Ira's neighbors and they all agree Edgar is nasty. She finds some of the stolen letters and follows Edgar's car until it starts to cross an old bridge.

Chapter 4

1932: Dixon admits Edgar has a grudge against him. She takes George home and then drops off Bess. Nancy still has the letter from England. She then loses the letter. (Rather out-of-character for her to be careless.)

1968: Nancy visits Ira at his home and gets a photo of Edgar. A gas station guy has seen him. Her father tells her to come to his office. He has a copy of the letter from London. It's to a Nancy Drew, but not Nancy herself. Some woman forces her way into the home and attacks Nancy.

Chapter 5

1932: Nancy starts to drive, has a problem and pulls over, and finds her letter. She gets home and she and Mr. Drew talk. Mr. Drew thinks the robbery might have been to attack his reputation, but Nancy thinks it was to attack Dixon's. Nancy still has not opened the letter. Ned arrives.

1968: She accuses Nancy of being responsible for the loss of her mail and $10. Nancy tries on a dress and gets her necklace fixed. A worker says she was supposed to have been given a pin.

Chapter 6

1932: He wants to invite Nancy to see his football game. Mr. Drew finds an article about Ned in the paper. He says he played tackle, end and left half-back when he was younger. He and Ned talk about football while Nancy reads the letter. It's about an inheritance for a Nancy Smith Drew.

1968: He tells her the guy was could have been Edgar. She visits a guy who was a sailor. He knew the other Nancy Drew eight years ago. His wife was the woman who attacked Nancy. Ned calls. There's supposed to be a Shakesperian play at the college, and the other Nancy Drew is the drama coach.

Chapter 7

1932: Ned tells Nancy Helen Corning will also be at the game. Nancy writes a reply to the London lawyers. Ira calls Nancy and asks to see her. She mails the letter. Nancy gets to Ira's where a doctor has been treating him. She asks him a lot of questions about Edgar. The nasty postmaster shows up.

1968: Nancy finds someone who the other Nancy Drew had worked for as a governess. Nancy hears from the police about the beat-up car that Edgar had been driving. She goes to answer the door and trips over her not-finished, long dress.

Chapter 8

1932: Nancy talks to the boy who saw Edgar and then goes home. The doorbell rings and Hannah answers it and a nasty woman shows up. It's Sailor Joe's wife. Hannah really gets mad at the woman. She says she knew another Nancy Drew. The woman is even nastier than in the revised text version. (Hannah should have hit her with the broom like she threatened to do.)

1968: A young boy gives Nancy a man's shoe which is from Edgar. Hannah fixes the dress. Mr. Drew arrives, saying he's been discharged from the case. Someone else claims to know where the other Nancy Drew is. Nancy thinks there might be a fake Nancy Drew involved.

Chapter 9

1932: Ira calls Nancy. Edgar has been there. Nancy and the girls talk about what happened at Red Gate Farm. She says Ned told her the college is going to perform The Merchant of Venice. Nancy plans to go to the bank to get the $10 (going to the bank for just $10? I would think Nancy keeps more than that on her at all times considering the amount of shopping she does.) The young boy tells Nancy he saw Edgar again.

1968: Ira calls. His brother had been there in a new car. Nancy gives the shoe to the police. The girls go to look for where Edgar lives. Bess tells Nancy the drama coach is Nancy Smith Drew. She's gone to the town where Edgar is.

Chapter 10

1932: She gets to the bank and the nasty postmaster is there (and is the second person to complain how young people are unmannered these days, the other being the sailor's wife.) A 'colored porter' at the bank says 'Scuze me, sah, but de bank am closin' and some other things. The bank teller is nasty to Nancy.

1968: It starts to snow. Edgar had moved out that morning. He claimed he was inheriting money. He had the other Nancy with him. They go back to where he had stayed. There are some letters for Ira. Nancy gets hit by a kid on a sled.

Chapter 11

1932: Nancy goes to Sailor Joe's. Nancy gets a 'generous' clothing allowance from her father but is not supposed to exceed that amount. There's a referral to 'Her premature training as the lady of the house...' She talks to Sailor Joe for a while. He knew the other Nancy. The wife arrives and continues to be incredibly nasty to Nancy. The sailor remembers where the other Nancy went to live.

1968: Some letters are damaged in the accident. Edgar may be running a Lonely Hearts Club scam.

Chapter 12

1932: Mr. Drew has to go out-of-town for a few days. She gets a letter from Ned's mother. She writes a letter back to her. George comes over for dinner. They are having duck for dinner. George thinks she saw an article in the New York Times that might help them in their search for the other Nancy Drew.

1968: Nancy talks to her father. There's an article on Ned in the paper; he plays football. Nancy is due to go to Emerson to see Ned play. The nasty $10 woman shows up again. The thief apparently only meant to take any mail for the Drews.

Chapter 13

1932: A neighbor talks to Nancy. They had been collecting money to help Ira. She says Edgar is a scoundrel. Nancy then does some shopping. She drives a maroon car. She sees a van that she thinks is being driven by Ned's father. Nancy looks through some newspapers.

1968: Nancy goes to the post master. She has found money in the letters. The girls go to Emerson. The other Nancy is not there. Nancy meets a woman the other Nancy had been the governess for. The woman says Nancy was there at the play. Nancy gets locked in a room and she sees the other Nancy drive away. She's rescued, but right after that there's a rock thrown at her.

Chapter 14

1932: The sailor's wife shows up again. The woman tells Nancy the missing letters have been mailed. She called Ira to tell him and then called the nasty postmaster.

1968: Ned pushes Nancy out of the way. Some man had thrown the rock. Ned catches him. He was paid to scare Nancy. Ned takes Nancy to where the other Nancy is staying, but she's not there.

Chapter 15

1932: Later, elsewhere, Nancy meets Ned's mother and father. They drive to Emerson. They meet Ned at the college.

1968: Mr. Drew calls Nancy. Nancy and the others watch Ned play football. Ned collapses on the field after a really hard hit.

Chapter 16

1932: Nancy is shown to her room, and Helen Corning is there. The football game starts. Nancy finds a girl she was looking for.

1968: Ned is carried off the field but is able to come back in the second half. Late in the second half he manages to win the game for the team. Nancy stops a guy who looks like Edgar but is not him. He tells her about the other Nancy and Ned goes with Nancy to find Edgar. Nancy checks with airlines figuring Edgar wants to get the other Nancy out of the country, planning to marry her and get money she's due to inherit. She finds they have reservations for a trip to London. A car tries to run over Ned and Nancy.

Chapter 17

1932: (There's something odd in this chapter. The text says that Emerson had 'an early lead' in the game. Yet on the next page, after their opponents score, the score is State 7 and Emerson 0. How could Emerson ever have had the lead but not scored any points?) Ned and another player do a fake and the other player scores and Ned kicks the point-after. (Ned's football prowess is much less in this text version.) Nancy finds the woman the other Nancy had worked for as a governess. Nancy thinks she sees Edgar.

1968: The car misses them and they inform the police. The police are already looking for Edgar. There's another attempt to kill Nancy. Hannah tells Nancy that Edgar robbed his brother Ira.

Chapter 18

1932: Nancy goes back with the others to a celebration at the hotel. She reads about the play that is to be performed. The playbook lists the other Nancy as an assistant for the Avon Dramatic company. She's a Shakesperian actress. Nancy and a woman named Marion search for the other Nancy but get locked in a room.

1968: Edgar stole $1000 from Ira. The boarding house woman talks to Nancy and tells her that the other Nancy has moved out. Nancy finds a message of quotes from Shakespeare.

Chapter 19

1932: They see the other Nancy getting into a car. Nancy shatters the glass to get someone's attention. Ned and a guy named Cliff rescue the girls.

1968: She interprets the meaning of the quotes. Nancy finds the flight reservations have been canceled. Ned and Nancy check with the police again. Bess and George stay the night at Nancy's. Mr. Drew has a sister named Eloise. The three girls plan to fly to New York to intercept Edgar and the other Nancy. Nancy is knocked out at the airport.

Chapter 20

1932: Then there's a dance. The next day Nancy meets a colored porter who, again, uses stereotypical black language. She goes to another town to a place where Edgar supposedly lives but finds out he has moved out. She finds Ira Dixon's mail bag. She's given a lot of letters for Edgar. She then gets hit by a kid on a sled.

1968: George and Bess find Nancy and they make it to their plan in time. Nancy sort of disguises herself and waits at the airport where they land. She sees Edgar. Nancy also finds the other Nancy and talks to her. Plain clothesmen arrest Edgar and he confesses. They get back the stolen money from Ira and the other Nancy does not end up marrying Edgar and she gets her proper inheritance.

Chapter 21

Nancy had twisted her knee when hit. A car arrives and there are two guys in it. One of them refers to Edgar as a scoundrel. Nancy looks at some of the torn-open letters and realizes that Edgar is running a scam.

Chapter 22

Ned helps Nancy on her detective work. She talks to the professor in charge of the play and he talks about the other Nancy. There's a bad snow storm going on. Nancy goes for a sled ride.

Chapter 23

Nancy gets a call from her father. He tells her the other Nancy is to inherit $75,000. Ned takes her to a rooming house and Nancy finds out the other Nancy was staying there. The door is answered by a colored maid and, yet again, there's the typical language such as 'she done gone out.' She talks to her father again. There's a costume party that night. She again thinks she sees Edgar.

Chapter 24

Nancy goes to a house where the other Nancy is staying. Edgar and she are having a conversation. Nancy learns the two are not yet married. Edgar leaves and Nancy can hear the other Nancy crying inside the room.

Chapter 25

Nancy goes into the room and talks to the other Nancy. She tells the other Nancy that Edgar is a thief and other things. She also tells her about the inheritance. The other Nancy plans to return to England. Nancy spots Edgar and Ned tackles him. Two Secret Service agents arrive and arrest Edgar. Edgar escapes and jumps into the icy water. He was never heard from again. Ira got an honorable discharge from the Postal Service.

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