Carolyn Keene

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Carolyn Keene
SubjectWriting books

Carolyn Keene is the pseudonym of the authors of the Nancy Drew mystery stories and The Dana Girls mystery stories, both produced by the Stratemeyer Syndicate. In addition, the Keene pen name is credited with the Nancy Drew spin-off, River Heights, and the Nancy Drew Notebooks.

Edward Stratemeyer, the founder of the Syndicate, hired writers, beginning with Mildred Wirt (later Mildred Benson), to write the manuscripts for the Nancy Drew books.[1] The writers were paid $125 for each book and were required by their contract to give up all rights to the work and to maintain confidentiality.

Benson is credited as the primary writer of Nancy Drew books under the pseudonym Carolyn Keene.[2] Harriet Adams (Stratemeyer's daughter) rewrote the original books and added new titles after the withdrawal of Benson.[1]

Other ghostwriters who used this name to write Nancy Drew mysteries included Leslie McFarlane, James Duncan Lawrence, Walter Karig, Nancy Axelrad, Patricia Doll, Charles S. Strong, Alma Sasse, Wilhelmina Rankin, George Waller Jr., Margaret Fischer, and Susan Wittig Albert. Also involved in the Nancy Drew writing process were Harriet Stratemeyer Adams's daughters, who gave input on the series and sometimes helped to choose book titles;[2]: 158  the Syndicate's secretary, Harriet Otis Smith, who invented the characters of Nancy's friends Bess and George;[2]: 140  and the editors at Grosset & Dunlap.[2]: 228 

In 1979, the Stratemeyer Syndicate changed publishers to Simon & Schuster, a move that the former publishers, Grosset & Dunlap, went to court to prevent, claiming a breach of contract. The decision was made in favor of the Syndicate, stating that they could choose which publisher they would like to use for subsequent entries in the series.

In 1985, the Syndicate was bought by publishers Simon & Schuster; the Drew books are now handled by Mega-Books, a New York book packager.[3]


Nancy Drew[edit]

1930–1957 (25 chapter text at Grosset & Dunlap/Stratemeyer Syndicate)
# Writer Story Year Rev. Revised by
1 Mildred Wirt Benson The Secret of the Old Clock 1930 1959 Harriet Adams
2 The Hidden Staircase
3 The Bungalow Mystery 1960 Patricia Doll
4 The Mystery at Lilac Inn 1961
5 The Secret of Shadow Ranch 1931 1965 Grace Gote
6 The Secret of Red Gate Farm 1961 Lynn Ealer
7 The Clue in the Diary 1932 1962 Harriet Adams
8 Walter Karig Nancy's Mysterious Letter 1968
9 The Sign of the Twisted Candles 1933 Patricia Doll
10 Password to Larkspur Lane 1966
11 Mildred Wirt Benson The Clue of the Broken Locket 1934 1965 Grace Gote
12 The Message in the Hollow Oak 1935 1972
13 The Mystery of the Ivory Charm 1936 1974 Priscilla Baker-Carr
14 The Whispering Statue 1937 1970 Harriet Adams
15 The Haunted Bridge 1972 Priscilla Baker-Carr
16 The Clue of the Tapping Heels 1939 1969 Harriet Adams
17 Mystery of the Brass-Bound Trunk 1940 1976
18 Mystery at the Moss-Covered Mansion 1941 1971
19 The Quest of the Missing Map 1942 1969 Priscilla Baker-Carr
20 The Clue in the Jewel Box 1943 1972
21 The Secret in the Old Attic 1944 1970
22 The Clue in the Crumbling Wall 1945 1973
23 Mystery of the Tolling Bell 1946
24 The Clue in the Old Album 1947 1977
25 The Ghost of Blackwood Hall 1948 1967
26 George Waller, Jr. The Clue of the Leaning Chimney 1949
27 Margaret Scherf The Secret of the Wooden Lady 1950
28 Whilemina Rankin The Clue of the Black Keys 1951 1968
29 Alma Sasse Mystery at the Ski Jump 1952 Ann Shultes
30 Mildred Wirt Benson The Clue of the Velvet Mask 1953 1969 Priscilla Baker-Carr
31 Harriet Adams The Ringmaster's Secret 1974 June Dunn
32 Charles S. Strong The Scarlet Slipper Mystery 1954 Ann Shultes
33 Harriet Adams The Witch Tree Symbol 1955 1975
34 Patricia Doll The Hidden Window Mystery 1956 Mary Fischer
35 Harriet Adams The Haunted Showboat 1957
1959–1979 (20 chapter text at Grosset & Dunlap/Stratemeyer Syndicate)
# Writer Story Year
36 Harriet Adams The Secret of the Golden Pavilion 1959
37 The Clue in the Old Stagecoach 1960
38 The Mystery of the Fire Dragon 1961
39 The Clue of the Dancing Puppet 1962
40 The Moonstone Castle Mystery 1963
41 The Clue of the Whistling Bagpipes 1964
42 The Phantom of Pine Hill 1965
43 The Mystery of the 99 Steps 1966
44 The Clue in the Crossword Cipher 1967
45 The Spider Sapphire Mystery 1968
46 The Invisible Intruder 1969
47 The Mysterious Mannequin 1970
48 The Crooked Banister 1971
49 The Secret of Mirror Bay 1972
50 The Double Jinx Mystery 1973
51 Mystery of the Glowing Eye 1974
52 The Secret of the Forgotten City 1975
53 The Sky Phantom 1976
54 The Strange Message in the Parchment 1977
55 Mystery of Crocodile Island 1978
56 The Thirteenth Pearl 1979
1979–1985 (20 chapter text at Simon & Schuster/Stratemeyer Syndicate)
# Writer Story Year
57 Harriet Adams The Triple Hoax 1979
58 The Flying Saucer Mystery 1980
59 Nancy Axelrad The Secret in the Old Lace
60 The Greek Symbol Mystery
61 The Swami's Ring 1981
62 Sharon Wagner The Kachina Doll Mystery
63 Nancy Axelrad The Twin Dilemma
64 Richard Ballard Captive Witness
65 Nancy Axelrad Mystery of the Winged Lion 1982
66 James Duncan Lawrence Race Against Time
67 Richard Ballard The Sinister Omen
68 Sharon Wagner The Elusive Heiress
69 James Duncan Lawrence Clue of the Ancient Disguise
70 Sharon Wagner The Broken Anchor 1983
71 James Duncan Lawrence The Silver Cobweb
72 The Haunted Carousel
73 Enemy Match 1984
74 The Mysterious Image
75 Sharon Wagner The Emerald-Eyed Cat Mystery
76 The Eskimo's Secret 1985
77 James Duncan Lawrence The Bluebeard Room
78 The Phantom of Venice

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Martin, Douglas (May 30, 2002). "Mildred Benson Is Dead at 96; Wrote 23 Nancy Drew Books". The New York Times. Retrieved January 20, 2019.
  2. ^ a b c d Rehab, Melanie (2006). Girl Sleuth: Nancy Drew and the Women Who Created Her. Harvest Books. ISBN 978-0156030564.
  3. ^ Plunk-Powell, Karen (1993). The Nancy Drew Scrapbook: 60 Years of America's Favorite Teenage Sleuth. St. Martin's Press. p. 29. ISBN 978-0312098810.

External links[edit]