I'm quite fond of those yellow-spined Nancy Drew volumes: more than 60 of them, still in print. They weren't part of my childhood -- Cherry Ames (Student Nurse/Visiting Nurse/Flight Nurse/Camp Nurse/Cruise Nurse/etc) was the only one of those series that hooked me. Nancy is the keeper, though: every so often at the store someone will come searching for #34, which she has to read before #35, because she's doing them all in order. I listened to The Secret of the Old Clock (#1) a while ago and was captivated on many levels. Nancy goes through a clear process of deductive reasoning -- they're a good introduction to sleuthing. She really figures stuff out. Nancy's male counterparts, the blue-spined Hardy Boys books, also have that step-by-step thinking.
I love the Nancy articles you linked to -- my favorite quote was from an Atlantic reviewer:
A bit of an overstatement, but a lovely sentiment.The real allure of Nancy Drew is that, almost uniquely among classic or modern heroines, she can follow — is allowed to follow — a train of thought.
Those yellow Nancy Drews also give parents the opportunity to explain An Earlier Era. I often point out that Mr. Popper's Penguins, in addition to being a delightful book, calls on grown-ups to explain iceboxes and vaudeville. There's a stunningly dated scene in The Secret of the Old Clock when Nancy goes to a department store -- buying a dress is a crucial part of the plot -- and has to wait until the saleslady finishes showing another customer some dresses before she can look at any. Made me think of when I was a suburban 15 year-old shopping by myself at Saks Fifth Avenue in The City, carrying a note with my mother's letterhead (remember Grandma's stationery?) instructing the saleslady to put my purchases on her account. No account number -- they didn't even keep the note. Ah, a bygone era.
Happy Fourth of July to you & yours.