The Hidden Staircase: Nancy Drew Mystery Stories No. 2

Common Sense Media says

Predictable yet appealing Nancy Drew classic.

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Using common sense, following intuition, asking for help all helped Nancy to solve this mystery.

Violence

Father is drugged and kidnapped. A truck veers toward Nancy and father and they jump to "escape death." A man pretends to be ghost to frighten two women. Some threats made to teens, father, and a taxi driver.

Sex

Goes on car date with Ned Nickerson. Comments from men on Nancy's attractiveness.

Language
Not applicable
Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this classic Nancy Drew mystery -- the best-selling of the whole series -- includes scenes of Nancy's father being drugged and kidnapped, a truck purposely running Nancy and her father off the road, and threats made to many characters. Today's readers may find Nancy dated in terms of dress, language, and lack of high-tech gizmos, but her pluckiness, problem-solving tenacity, and fearlessness make her a timeless heroine. The version of this book you'll usually find for sale was updated in the '50s from an edition first published in 1930.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

When Nancy's friend Helen tells her about a ghost haunting her great-aunt's mansion, she's determined to check it out. But she's sidetracked when a suspicious character tells her that her father is in danger. Sure enough, her father is kidnapped and as she rushes to find him she also finds a connection between her father and the ghost.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Nancy Drew, a name synonymous with female-teen sleuthiness, provides a model for young readers of determination, courage, and problem solving. She makes friends easily, garners the admiration of the chief of police, gets confessions out of criminals without breaking a sweat, and most of all, she's her father's daughter. These mysteries, in circulation since the 1930s, are each page-turners, where Nancy naturally comes out on top. They're predictable and sometimes repetitive, but when Nancy gets herself into a dangerous situation, the reader will follow along with nail-biting interest. The syndicate behind author Carolyn Keene has figured out a formula that works and has stood the test of time.

The scary scenes -- like when a truck chases Nancy down, or when Nancy confronts a criminal -- are less frightening than anything found in a Harry Potter book. So tween mystery buffs should definitely consider working some classic Nancy Drew into their libraries.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the difference in lifestyles of today's teens compared with characters found in these books. How do Nancy and her family and friends communicate with each other without cell phones, computers, text messages, etc.? How has technology improved detective work?

Book details

Author:Carolyn Keene
Genre:Mystery
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Grosset & Dunlap
Publication date:December 31, 1969
Number of pages:192
Publisher's recommended age(s):9 - 12
Read aloud:9
Read alone:9

This review of The Hidden Staircase: Nancy Drew Mystery Stories No. 2 was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

Find out more

Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

About our buy links

When you use our links to make a purchase, Common Sense Media earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes. As a nonprofit organization, these funds help us continue providing independent, ad-free services for educators, families, and kids while the price you pay remains the same. Thank you for your support.

See more about how we rate and review.

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Kid, 11 years old Written byElla6 April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age
QUALITY
 

I LOVE Nancy Drew Mysteries!!

I have read almost all of the Nancy Drew books. They are all exciting and spine tingling!! I love the way Carolyn Keene leaves each chapter ending in a suspicious thrill. I would recommend this series to kids around my age but not too young because some of the situations that Nancy gets herself into are scary for young children. I am a NANCY DREW fan!!

Kid, 10 years old Written bysuzi April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age
QUALITY
 

I liked it!

I liked the book but i thought so people woudl not injoy it because it had violence in it like when someone took Nancy to the hidden elevator and they drugged her. I'm not sure if some parents would appreciate it. But i thought it was a really good book!

Kid, 11 years old Written byPurpleKat April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age
QUALITY
 

Best of all the books.

This is my favourite book of all the Nancy Drew novels I have read. Unlike "The Secret of the Old Clock" you can't guess what's going to happen half way through the book. But also unlike the "The Bungalow Mystery" it gives you enough information to keep you guessing and interested.

There is a bit more violence in this particular book than in some of the others, however I think the book would would be quite boring with a bit of danger. There's no blood or gore, no sexuality and no alcohol. Drugs are in the book but it's not as if Nancy does drugs. Characters are drugged and gagged but seems how this is a 1930's story for girls they make it out alright.

I recommend this particular book and all the Nancy Drew Novels to any girl from eight to eighty-one.

Poll

Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?

Top Kids' Movies: An Essential Guide for Families