Oh Nancy, you taught me how to read, and you were ever so brave. In hindsight, your complete disregard of danger seemed to stem from a firm belief that no one would ever hurt a lady. And you were such a lady. Everything was matchy, matchy with you – hand bags and shoes and lots of sweater sets. You would be hot on the trail, and then you’d get distracted, wondering if you were wearing the right thing. It always was, Nancy. You always did the right, respectable thing. You showed no fear around criminals, but you were helpless when it came to social mores. You had a reputation to uphold, and you were perhaps painfully aware that solving crime didn’t jive with your pearls. You were ahead of your time but always of your time. You did most of the investigations, a woman on a mission and on her own, but then you kept a boyfriend on retainer for appearances. He would show up right when you fingered the bad guy. You didn’t seem too keen on the boyfriend otherwise. And he seemed willing to take things slow. He could wait to marry you and take you away from your father, whom you worshipped and lived with. Nancy, you’re a mess of contradictions – part rebel and part pawn – but I will always adore you. Your courage and intelligence were infectious, and you made me imagine adulthood held all kinds of wondrous adventures and accessories. The covers of your books still excite me, so in your honor, click below for a tour of my favorites.

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