Nancy’s Mysterious Letter is the eighth volume in the Nancy Drew Mystery Stories series. It was first published in 1932 and was penned by Walter Karig, a replacement writer for Mildred Wirt Benson. Benson declined series work when the Depression forced a reduction in the contract fee provided to Stratemeyer Syndicate writers, so Karig, already an established Stratemeyer writer, took over the authorship. Due to Karig having died in 1956, the 1932 version passed into the public domain in Canada and other countries that have a life plus 50 policy, in 2007.
Summaries (original edition)
In the late autumn after returning from Red Gate Farm on a day trip, Nancy and her friends enjoy hot cocoa and a snack at teatime. Postman Ira Dixon, nearing retirement, is invited inside, and leaves his mailbag in the vestibule, where it is stolen.
Nancy is summoned by postal authorities, who accuse her of being involved in the theft, which threatens the postman’s pension and career.
In the meantime, she is invited to spend a weekend as a guest of Ned Nickerson at Emerson College, where a big football game will take place, and she prepares for the trip. Nancy encounters low-brow Mrs. “Sailor” Joe Skeets, who accuses her of wrongdoing due to her own missing letter containing money, stolen with the mailbag. Strangely, the letters are re-posted later.
Nancy receives a letter from British solicitors informing her of a Nancy Smith Drew, sought as the heiress of an estate there. Nancy has no middle name or initial and she searches for her namesake. The primary suspect becomes Edgar Dixon, the half brother of her mail carrier, a flashy man in a yellow coat.
Mrs. Skeets provides a clue, as does George Fayne, and Nancy discovers her counterpart is visiting faculty at Emerson. Ned performs well in the big game, during which Nancy sees the suspect in the stadium. Nancy tries to make contact with Nancy S. Drew. While she investigates during an unexpected layover, she and Ned discover a lonely-hearts mail racket where money is solicited for introduction services.
Nancy saves the day for Miss Drew, and helps her avoid marriage to a crook, the dodgy Edgar Dixon, while exonerating Ira Dixon.
Nancy Drew #8 Nancy’s Mysterious Letter 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|
|1932A-1||Glossy+||Nancy Drew #1-8||Nancy Drew #1-7/Outdoor Girls #1-21/Blythe Girls #1-11/For Her Majesty(21)/Lilian Garis(16)/Gary Grayson #1-9/Ted Scott Flying #1-15/Western Stories #1-10|
|1932B-2||Glossy+||Nancy Drew #1-8||Nancy Drew #1-8/Outdoor Girls #1-22/Blythe Girls #1-12/For Her Majesty(15)/Lilian Garis(16)/Gary Grayson #1-10/Ted Scott Flying #1-15/Western Stories #1-11|
|1932C-3||Glossy+||Nancy Drew #1-8||Nancy Drew #1-8/Judy Bolton #1-3/Blythe Girls #1-12/Outdoor Girls #1-22/For Her Majesty(15)/Lilian Garis(16)/Judy Bolton #1-5/Carolyn Wells Books(26)/Mary Jane #1-17|
|1932D-4||Glossy+||Nancy Drew #1-8||Nancy Drew #1-8/Blythe Girls #1-12/Outdoor Girls #1-22/For Her Majesty(15)/Lilian Garis(16)/Judy Bolton #1-5/Carolyn Wells Books(21)/Judy Bolton #1-3|
|1932E-5||Glossy+||Nancy Drew #1-8||Nancy Drew #1-8/Lilian Garis(16)/Outdoor Girls #1-22/Blythe Girls #1-12/Carolyn Wells Books(21)/Judy Bolton #1-4/For Her Majesty(15)/Elizabeth Ann #1-8/Judy Bolton #1-5|
Nancy Drew #8 Nancy’s Mysterious Letter First Edition Dust Jacket Identification Points
ao: Among other titles.
|Printing||Front Flap||Rear Cover||Rear Flap||Reverse/Inside||Format|
|1932A-1||Nancy Drew #1-6, 8||Nancy Drew #1-6, 8||Blythe Girls #1-12||Nancy Drew #1-7 ao||2|
|1932B-2||Nancy Drew #1-6, 8||Nancy Drew #1-6, 8||Blythe Girls #1-12||Nancy Drew #1-7 ao||3|
|1932C-3||Nancy Drew #1-6, 8||Nancy Drew #1-6, 8||Blythe Girls #1-12||Nancy Drew #1-7 ao||3|
|1932D-4||Blythe Girls #1-12||Nancy Drew #1-6, 8||Outdoor Girls #1-22||Nancy Drew #1-7 ao||3|
|1932E-5||Blythe Girls #1-12||Nancy Drew #1-6, 8||Outdoor Girls #1-22||Nancy Drew #1-7 ao||3|
- Farah’s Guide to Nancy Drew, 12th printing