The Mystery At Lilac Inn is the fourth volume in the Nancy Drew Mystery Stories series. It was first published in 1930 under the pseudonym Carolyn Keene. Mildred Wirt Benson was the ghostwriter for the 1930 edition.
In 1961, Harriet Stratemeyer Adams extensively revised the novel, creating a completely different story. The original omitted the lead characters from much of the action, the titular inn was only a place where a crime was committed with minor investigatory follow-up, and a domestic help sub-plot was out-of-place in 1961. Ethnic slurs and opinions were removed.
Summaries (original edition)
The story involves Nancy Drew helping her friend Emily Crandall find out who stole her heirloom jewels. Emily’s guardian, Mrs. Jane Willoughby, unwisely removes them from a safe deposit box and carries them with her while lunching at Lilac Inn, only to have her handbag stolen while the diners are distracted by a car crash. In the meantime, Nancy must hire a temporary maid in the absence of Mrs. Gruen, her housekeeper.
Nancy uncovers the thief, Mary Mason, one of the applicants for the position, on the staff at Lilac Inn. Nancy finds the hideout of the crooks, but is caught. She is bound and gagged and left aboard the gang’s sinking cabin cruiser to die, but is rescued by the river patrol. In the end, Nancy captures the jewel thief, exonerates the guardian, and returns her orphaned friend’s fortune to her.
Nancy Drew #4 The Mystery at Lilac Inn 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.
|Printing||Frontis||Copyright Page||Rear Book Ads|
|1930A-1||Glossy+||Nancy Drew #1-4||Hardy Boys #1-9/Outdoor Girls #1-20/Blythe Girls #1-10|
|1930B-2||Glossy+||Nancy Drew #1-4||Hardy Boys #1-9/Outdoor Girls #1-20/Blythe Girls #1-10|
|1930C-3||Glossy+||Nancy Drew #1-4||Hardy Boys #1-9/Outdoor Girls #1-20/Blythe Girls #1-10|
Nancy Drew #4 The Mystery at Lilac Inn First Edition Dust Jacket Identification Points
ao: Among other titles.
|Printing||Front Flap||Rear Cover||Rear Flap||Reverse/Inside||Format|
|1930A-1||Nancy Drew #1-4||Amy Bell Marlowe(10)||Blythe Girls #1-10||List of G&D fiction||1|
|1930B-2||Nancy Drew #1-4||Amy Bell Marlowe(10)||Blythe Girls #1-10||Nancy Drew #1-3 ao||1|
|1930C-3||Nancy Drew #1-5||Amy Bell Marlowe(10)||Blythe Girls #1-10||Nancy Drew #1-3 ao||1|
- Farah’s Guide to Nancy Drew, 12th printing