The Hidden Staircase: Nancy Drew Mystery Stories #2

Book review by
Pam Gelman, Common Sense Media
The Hidden Staircase: Nancy Drew Mystery Stories #2 Book Poster Image
Popular with kidsParents recommend
Predictable yet appealing Nancy Drew classic.

Parents say

age 8+
Based on 6 reviews

Kids say

age 8+
Based on 19 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Shows some steps to take to solve a mystery. 

Positive Messages

Use common sense, follow your intuition, and ask for help when you need it. All these strategies help Nancy solve this mystery.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Nancy is brave, plucky, fearless, tenacious, and a good problem-solver, making her a timeless heroine. She's loyal to her dad, and her dad is a loving parent to her. 


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


Nancy goes on car date with Ned Nickerson. Men comment on Nancy's attractiveness.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Nancy's father is drugged in kidnapping.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Hidden Staircase: Nancy Drew Mystery Stories #2 is classic Nancy Drew mystery -- the best-selling of the original series. It 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. It was adpated for the film Nancy Drew and the Hidden Staircase, set for March 2019 release. 

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 7-year-old Written bymelodique May 31, 2011

Great series for kids

Great girls series. My 7 year old is an advanced reader and loves them. Not sure why people are saying sexual content and drinking and drugs are issues in thi... Continue reading
Parent of a 5 and 7-year-old Written bySaraWeber March 11, 2011

Great role model, and good clean literature

I love Nancy Drew. My 7 year old daughter is an advanced reader, and we struggle to find books that are on her reading lever, but also age appropriate. I'm... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written byrebma97 May 23, 2012

Predictable but entertaing

It was repetitive and predictable, but entertaining. Nancy is a good role model for girls because she's sympathetic, thoughtful, and friendly. This book is... Continue reading
Kid, 10 years old December 18, 2019


I love this book! I love all the Nancy Drew books! I couldn't find the general review for the whole series, so I'll do it in this review.

The Nancy... Continue reading

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?

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.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about what teen life looks like in 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

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