The Hidden Staircase: Nancy Drew Mystery Stories No. 2

Book review by
Pam Gelman, Common Sense Media
The Hidden Staircase: Nancy Drew Mystery Stories No. 2 Book Poster Image
Predictable yet appealing Nancy Drew classic.
Popular with kidsParents recommend

Parents say

age 8+
Based on 6 reviews

Kids say

age 8+
Based on 15 reviews

A lot or a little?

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

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
Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What 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.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
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
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
Kid, 11 years old April 9, 2008

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 suspici... Continue reading
Kid, 11 years old April 9, 2008

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 hap... 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 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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