"I spent my entire youth idolizing Nancy Drew. I'm pushing forty now, but some fantasies die hard."
Besides her beloved collection of vintage designer clothing, there is nothing Cece Caruso cherishes more than her childhood memories of Nancy Drew. Her near obsession with the fictional teenage sleuth led her to become a professional biographer of classic mystery writers. And now that she's working on a book about Nancy's pseudonymous creator, "Carolyn Keene, " Cece's in heaven.
At the L. A. home of another rabid Drew-ophile, Cece finds a treasure trove of useful memorabilia, including one unique and somewhat shocking collectible. Later she finds a dead body -- and a puzzle that would sorely test the skills of her spunky girlhood heroine. Now she'll have to channel her former idol and unmask a murderer, and the killer may be coming for Cece next.
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Susan Kandel is a former art critic for the Los Angeles Times. She has taught at New York University and UCLA, and served as editor of the international journal artext. She lives in West Hollywood, California, with her husband, two daughters, and dog.From School Library Journal:
Adult/High School–Hip, feisty Cece Caruso is back. Writing biographies of dead mystery authors tends to land her in odd situations, and, as she researches Carolyn Keene, the fictitiously named author of the Nancy Drew books, she is drawn into the murder of a wealthy collector of series memorabilia. Cece has something that the killer wants; while trying to figure out what it is, she finds herself crossing paths with several people who stand to gain from the victim's death. The characters are deliciously drawn, the pace is snappy, and the plot twists and turns will keep mystery lovers satisfied. As entertaining as Cece and the other characters are, the icing on the cake is the depth of Kandel's research. Readers who enjoyed following the teen sleuth's adventures will appreciate the insight into the history of the Stratemeyer Syndicate, the organization responsible for producing numerous children's series. Kandel provides an informative glimpse into 1930s and 1940s book publishing, introducing Mildred Wirt Benson, the author of 22 of the first 25 Nancy Drews; Russell Tandy, the illustrator of the early covers; and Grace Horton, the professional model who was her face. The author blends fact and fiction with assurance, using these real people to set up a plot that ultimately involves Salvador Dali's art. While those who grew up with the girl detective are the ideal audience, Cece's wit and tenacity as she breezes around Los Angeles and Palm Springs make the novel an enjoyable read for anyone in the mood for a lighthearted mystery.–Kim Dare, Fairfax County Public Library System, VA
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