Nancy Drew is a fictional character appearing in several mystery book series, movies, video games, and a TV show as a teenage amateur sleuth. The books are ghostwritten by a number of authors and published under the collective pseudonym Carolyn Keene. Created by the publisher Edward Stratemeyer as the female counterpart to his Hardy Boys series, the character first appeared in 1930 in the Nancy Drew Mystery Stories series, which lasted until 2003 and consisted of 175 novels.
Over the decades the character has evolved in response to changes in American culture and tastes. Beginning in 1959, the books were extensively revised and shortened, partly to lower the printing costs, with arguable success. In the revision process, the heroine's original character was changed to be less unruly and violent.In the 1980s, an older and more professional Nancy emerged in a new series, The Nancy Drew Files, that included romantic subplots for the sleuth. Launched in 2004, the Nancy Drew: Girl Detective series features Nancy driving a hybrid electric vehicle and using a cell phone. In 2012, the Girl Detective series ended, and a new series, Nancy Drew Diaries, was launched in 2013. Illustrations of the character evolved over time to reflect contemporary styles.The Nancy Drew franchise has been adapted into other forms of media with varied success. As of April 2020, the character has been adapted into six feature films, three television series, four television pilots, 33 video games produced by the brand HeR Interactive, and two different comic book series. Film and television adaptations of the character have been met with mixed reviews, while the video games by HeR Interactive have often been lauded.
The character proves continuously popular worldwide: At least 80 million copies of the books have been sold, and the books have been translated into over 45 languages.
A cultural icon, Nancy Drew is cited as a formative influence by several women, from Supreme Court Justices Sandra Day O'Connor and Sonia Sotomayor to former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and former First Lady Laura Bush. Feminist literary critics have analyzed the character's enduring appeal, arguing variously that Nancy Drew is a mythic heroine, an expression of wish fulfillment, or an embodiment of contradictory ideas about femininity.

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