Book Collecting

Nancy Drew #16 – Clue of the Tapping Heels First Edition Identification Guide

The Clue of the Tapping Heels is the 16th volume in the Nancy Drew Mystery Stories series. It was first published by Grosset & Dunlap in 1939, written by Mildred Benson under the pseudonym Carolyn Keene and first published in 1935. . An updated, revised, and largely different story was published under the same title in 1970. A facsimile edition of the 1939 version was published by Applewood Books. As of 2006, this title is still in print.

Summaries (original edition)

Nancy Drew 16 Clue Of The Tapping Heels
Nancy Drew 16 – Clue of the Tapping Heels

Nancy and her friends Bess and George stumble across a Persian cat on the road. They return the cat to Annie Carter, an elderly woman who keeps twenty-five cats in her house. The girls befriend the kindly Miss Carter, but while at her house, they are disrupted by neighbors who are annoyed with the cats. It is here that Nancy uncovers her next mystery. Fred Bunce, one of the neighbors, had taken care of a boy named Gus Woonton, who was reportedly mentally and physically challenged. Miss Carter took a liking to the boy while he was with Fred Bunce and his wife, so she paid for him to live at the Riverside Institution, in hopes of Gus receiving proper care for his ailments. Miss Carter receives a telegram that Gus Woonton has died, and Fred Bunce seems quite eager to pay for funeral expenses, which makes Nancy suspicious.

Once the neighbors leave, Nancy meets a man in front of Miss Carter’s home asking for a Lady Violette. Nancy informs him that there is no such person at this address, only to be informed that Miss Carter, a former actress, played a character named Lady Violette in one of her past plays. Nancy quickly tracks down the man, Horace St. Will, and he and Miss Carter are happily reunited. Mr. St. Will tells Nancy that he used to know a Ralph Woonton, which was the name of Gus’s father.

Mr. St. Will gives Nancy and her father some old letters from Ralph Woonton, however he tells them that Ralph Woonton and his wife never had a son. Nancy believes that Gus Woonton received an inheritance in trust from his parents, which was stolen by Fred Bunce. Her suspicions grow stronger when she trails Bunce into a stock market firm, where she sees the considerable amount of money he has lost in faulty stocks. But soon after the episode, the Bunces mysteriously leave their apartment. Nancy, Bess and George investigate the vacated apartment, where they find two of Miss Carter’s Persian kittens, and returns them to her.

Miss Carter has very little money, as she sends regular checks to a young actress named Beverly Barrett in New York City. Miss Carter injured her leg when she first met Nancy, so the girl detective engages Mrs. Bealing, a cousin of Hannah Gruen’s, to take care of her and her cats. The action soon takes Nancy to New York and a cruise ship, where she meets further peril in her attempt to restore the child’s funds, and help restore Miss Carter’s financial position. Nancy’s tapping becomes the means by which she is rescued after being kidnapped, and leads to finding the missing child.

Nancy Drew #16 The Clue of the Tapping Heels First Edition Book Identification Points

Only the first few printings of the first/second year are included. Printings codes are based on the Farrah Guide, 12th printing. Please refer to the guide for later printings.

Note: Glossy+: Glossy frontis + 3 glossy internals.

How to Identify Nancy Drew - The Mystery of the Brass-Bound Trunk First Edition Guide
PrintingFrontisCopyright PageRear Book Ads
1940A-1GlossyNancy Drew #1-17None
1940B-2GlossyNancy Drew #1-17None
1940C-3GlossyNancy Drew #1-17None/Page 220 include next book

Nancy Drew #16 The Clue of the Tapping Heels First Edition Dust Jacket Identification Points

How to Identify Nancy Drew - The Clue of the Tapping Heels First Edition Dust Jacket
PrintingPriceFront FlapRear PanelRear FlapFormat
1939A-15050Nancy Drew #1-16Melody Lane #1-7Dana Girls #1-74
1939B-25050Nancy Drew #1-16Melody Lane #1-7Dana Girls #1-84
1939C-35050Nancy Drew #1-16Melody Lane #1-7Dana Girls #1-85
Nancy Drew 16 Clue Of The Tapping Heels 1939A-1
First edition Dust Jacket Identification Points for Nancy Drew 16 – Clue of the Tapping Heels 1939A-1


  • Wikipedia
  • Farah’s Guide to Nancy Drew, 12th printing

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