Affiliate disclosure: As an Amazon Associate, we may earn commissions from qualifying purchases from Amazon.
Small Town Girl. Big Time Adventure.
What is the Nancy Drew Diaries series about?
Nancy Drew is one of the most famous amateur detectives. She made her first appearance in the book The Secret of the Old Clock in 1930 and hadn’t stopped solving mysteries since then, in other books, but also in movies, video games, television series, and more.
If all Nancy Drew books are indicated to be written by Carolyn Keene, it is actually a pseudonym for the various writers hired to write the manuscripts. Behind Nancy Drew, there was first Mildred Wirt Benson, credited as the primary writer for the first Nancy Drew series and for defining Nancy Drew’s character. Margaret Wright, Amy Cloud, Fiona Simpson have served as editors on the Nancy Drew Diaries books, with Anna Parsons holding the position now.
From the publisher’s website: Nancy Drew and her friends Bess and George tackle everything from sabotage to kidnapping, using their impressive powers of deduction and reasoning to creatively crack cases and outsmart their enemies in the clever, contemporary, and delightfully suspenseful Nancy Drew Diaries.
How to read the Nancy Drew Diaries Books in Order?
- Curse of the Arctic Star — Nancy, Bess, and George are cruising dangerous waters on a tour of Alaska. Becca Wright, an old friend of Nancy’s, is the Assistant Cruise Director of the Arctic Star, a posh new ship. But Becca needs Nancy’s help when strange things keep happening aboard the opulent ocean liner: The swimming pool becomes a floating grave; a famous passenger is threatened; and even the seemingly innocent mini-golf course becomes a perilous playground.
- Strangers on a Train — Nancy’s Alaskan adventure continues as she, Bess, and George disembark the mystery-plagued Arctic Star cruise ship and explore the grand sites of the forty-ninth state: Skagway; the Yukon territory, and Denali National Park. It’s spectacular scenery, but things start to go wrong almost immediately, leading Nancy to believe that whoever was behind the unsolved mayhem aboard the ship has followed them onto dry land.
- Mystery of the Midnight Rider — At the prestigious—and competitive—River Heights Horse Show, the prizes, which range from money to possible placement on the Olympic Team, are so highly coveted that anyone from the riders to the owners will do anything to win…even drug the horses!
- Once Upon a Thriller — A rash of crimes in a neighboring town are eerily similar to the plots from famous mystery writer Lacey O’Brien’s popular books. So who’s behind the crimes? Could it be Lacey looking for publicity? One of Lacey’s superfans? Or maybe it’s Paige Samuels, owner of the bookstore that burned. Nancy, Bess, and George will have to read between the lines as they dig deep into a dangerous mystery.
- Sabotage at Willow Woods — Ever since George’s cousin Carrie Kim announced her candidacy for city council, along with her platform of building a new football field and a state-of-the-art sports complex, someone has been trying to sabotage the campaign! Nancy has to go undercover as a member of the Green Club when she suspects they may be behind all of the mischief. When Carrie starts getting threatening notes and even some more sinister warnings, Nancy knows she needs to crack the case before someone gets hurt!
- Secret at Mystic Lake — To celebrate her birthday, George is taking Nancy and Bess on a three-day bike tour around the scenic Mystic Lake. They can’t wait to spend time exploring the gorgeous landscape by day and camping under the stars at night. What they didn’t count on was sabotage! First someone steals food and supplies from their packs. Then tour guide Caitlin vanishes overnight, and the entire group finds their tires slashed to bits. Can Nancy track down the culprit before she and her friends are lost in the woods forever?
- The Phantom of Nantucket — Nancy, Bess, and George can’t wait to start their trip to Nantucket. The three girls are there to visit Bess’s family friend Jenna and go to the opening of an exhibit at the local whaling museum. Jenna’s been working on the exhibit for months, but when the girls get to the museum, a threatening banner has replaced the welcome sign. Nancy’s got plenty of potential suspects, but she’s worried she won’t be able to solve the case in time to save the opening.
- The Magician’s Secret — When she attends a performance by master illusionist Drake Lonestar, Nancy is skeptical. Lonestar is known for his razzle-dazzle wizardry, but can the magician really make the River Heights library disappear? As it turns out, he can—but that’s not the only thing that goes missing. Key evidence to an upcoming murder trial disappears in the midst of the trick. And one of the trial attorneys just happens to be Nancy’s father, Carson Drew, assisted by her boyfriend, Ned Nickerson. Nancy, Bess, and George are quick to jump on the case, but not quite quick enough: Lonestar has vanished, too, and not even his closest friends know his whereabouts. Magic is its own kind of mystery—but is this one Nancy can handle?
- The Clue at Black Creek Farm — Sam and Abby Heyworth run both Black Creek’s organic farm and the CSA, a program where people pay to receive fresh fruits and vegetables throughout the growing season. Buyers get local produce at a reasonable price; the farmers get money to run their farm. Everybody wins! But during a fundraising dinner showcasing the farm’s produce, several people become seriously ill, and tests reveal that the fruits and vegetables are contaminated with deadly E. coli bacteria. After the Heyworth’s greenhouse is trashed and their chickens are killed by an intruder, Nancy thinks all signs point to sabotage. Nancy, Bess, and George are on the case. But who would try to ruin a farm? And why?
- A Script for Danger —Nancy’s old friend—and former paralegal to Carson Drew—Alex Burgess is making a movie…and it’s filming in River Heights! On the first day of shooting, Alex invites Nancy, Bess, and George on set for a behind-the-scenes peek at how a movie is made. But right before the camera starts rolling there’s an explosion in the catering area. Turns out someone put firecrackers in the coffeemaker. Not too long after that, the actor’s costume is found streaked with blood. And threatening notes show up scrawled on the scripts: SHUT IT DOWN OR YOU’LL BE SORRY. Can Nancy track down the set saboteur before the film’s dangerous final scene? Or will the entire production go up in flames first?
- The Red Slippers — Nancy and Bess are excited when they run into their old friend Maggie Rogers in River Heights. Maggie is part of a ballet company made up of the most promising young dancers in the state, and the company is in town to perform Sleeping Beauty. This performance is especially important because the famous dance critic Oscar LaVigne will be in the audience. A good review could catapult Maggie’s career…but a bad one could ruin everything. In the days leading up to the big show, strange things start happening. First, someone tampers with Maggie’s phone, making her late to rehearsal. Then Maggie’s face is violently scratched out of all the official show posters, and she finds her dressing room completely destroyed. All signs point to sabotage, and Nancy is determined to find out who’s behind it.
- The Sign in the Smoke —When Bess asks Nancy and George to be counselors at her old camp, they’re a little wary. After all, running around after a bunch of little kids doesn’t exactly sound like fun! But Bess promises that the girls will get to enjoy nature, relax by the lake, and play some sports. Plus, it will give Nancy a much-needed break from solving mysteries. But trouble always finds Nancy Drew! After hearing the disturbing tale about a camper who had drowned in the lake years ago, Nancy dismisses it as a ghost story. But then something pulls her under water during a swim lesson—something eerily human, with long, silvery hair. And the next night her entire cabin’s sleeping bags disappear—only to show up at the lake, soaked. Now Nancy isn’t so sure if she believes in ghosts! All she knows is she has to do everything within her power to make sure her campers—and her friends—are safe. Which means she’d better get to the bottom of what’s happening at Camp Cedarbark.
- The Ghost of Grey Fox Inn — When Nancy and Bess accompany George to a cousin’s wedding in historic Charleston, South Carolina, they end up staying at an old inn near the family’s home with the rest of the guests. But when they begin hearing strange noises and witnessing unexplained phenomena at night—they soon discover that it’s one of Charleston’s most haunted hotels! When the wedding rings disappear during one of these spooky evenings, Nancy knows she’s got to get to the bottom of this ghostly mystery…before there isn’t a happily ever after.
- Riverboat Roulette —Bess’s mom is on the board of Pet Crusaders, a local rescue organization, and hosts the charity’s annual fundraising gala. Nancy, Bess, and George have attended the event ever since they were kids, and they’re excited for this year’s party, the theme of which is “A Night on a Riverboat.”The gala will feature blackjack, roulette, and a high-stakes poker tournament, and all proceeds will go to help stray animals. But when the charity money goes missing mid-event, Nancy has to track down the thief—before the ship docks.With three hours and over two hundred guests, Nancy faces one of her greatest mystery-solving challenges yet!
- The Professor and the Puzzle — Nancy, Bess, and George are excited to attend Oracle College’s annual Greek mythology themed gala. But the festive sprit turns troubled when a student falls from the balcony mid-speech. Nancy’s investigations quickly reveal this was a case of collegiate sabotage. Can she find the campus menace before someone else gets hurt?
- The Haunting on Heliotrope Lane —Nancy’s classmate, Willa, needs her help. Willa is convinced something is terribly wrong with her friend Izzy, but everyone has dismissed Willa’s concerns, saying it’s just teen angst. But Willa thinks it’s more than that; she thinks Izzy is possessed. It all started when Willa and Izzy snuck into an abandoned house with some of their friends. After running around and exploring, Willa went in to the basement and found Izzy staring into space. Izzy was conscious, but she was acting weird—she wouldn’t speak and she didn’t seem to recognize Willa. And when Izzy finally woke up from her trance, she had no memory of the previous few hours. Since then, Izzy’s continued to act strangely. She’s usually funny and easygoing, but now she’s high strung and has intense fits. Once she even threatened to hurt Willa. Nancy is sure there’s a rational explanation for all of this and has a feeling she’ll find it at the “haunted” house. But what she finds has her questioning her resolve. Could Willa be right? Is Izzy possessed by the ghost of Heliotrope Lane?
- A Nancy Drew Christmas — Nancy is spending her winter vacation at the most beautiful ski resort in Montana. Unfortunately, not all is as jolly as it seems. Things started to go wrong on her very first day; she hit a bad patch of ice on a run down the slopes and broke her leg in a couple of different places. Then a doctor decided she needed a giant cast and lots of bed rest. It’s been a week of unfortunate events for rest the resort too; there was a sabotaged opening dinner, multiple hotel room break-ins, and a dangerous trap was set for the star chef. And if she thought things couldn’t get any worse, a giant storm is heading her way and may just snow everyone in for days. Trapped in a hotel with someone bent on destruction? Cast or no cast, you know this sleuth is on the case.
- Famous Mistakes — Nancy’s boyfriend, Ned, has recently started his own podcast called NedTalks and he just got his big break. Up and coming comedian Brady Owens has agreed to sit down for an interview. And this isn’t just any interview; it’s the first interview Brady has given since a video of him lashing out at an audience member went viral. Nancy agrees to help out with the technical stuff so Ned can focus on the hard-hitting questions. But when they go to meet the interviewee they find Brady’s hotel room trashed—and no comedian in sight. Luckily, they find Brady unhurt and nothing of monetary value is missing from the room. Only his notebook of new material is gone. Complex social media charts, undercover outfits, and intense button study send Nancy, Bess, George, and Ned on a wild ride through River Heights to uncover the truth.
- The Stolen Show — With Bess and George, Nancy is helping out her Dad’s friend, Louise Alain, and her dog, Marge, at an upcoming dog show in Montreal. And soon enough, the three friends are investigating a crime! One of the show dogs was drugged and a giant wad of gum was matted into its hair. Louise asks Nancy to investigate and gives her a useful tip: look at the dogs—their temperaments and styles are often a good window into the hearts and minds of their owners. But instead of solving a case of competitor sabotage, Nancy discovers jewel thieves have been using the dog show circuit as a smuggling operation. Can Nancy discover the thieves’ identity and take home the trophy?
- Hidden Pictures —Nancy and her friends are spending the weekend in a small mountainside town called Shady Oaks. The local museum is displaying a never-before-seen collection from famous nature photographer, Christopher DeSantos. Newspapers all over the country have picked up the story of two visitors who went missing in Shady Oaks only to turn up in the old DeSantos photographs, seemingly frozen in time. What’s more, there was a rumor that DeSantos was cursed by his former partner after a disagreement. Now everyone is wondering if the legend is real. Nancy, Bess, and George are convinced that there is another explanation to be found. But it quickly becomes clear that someone is making sure they don’t find it. Can these three teenage sleuths solve this mystery before it’s too late?
- The Vanishing Statue —Nancy is beyond excited when she receives an invitation to an elite celebration of the arts hosted by the Duchess Strickland, a woman once renowned for her collection who hasn’t been seen in years. With Bess and George at her side, Nancy’s certain it will be an evening she’ll never forget. Then just days before the party, a priceless sculpture is stolen! Still, the Duchess vows the party will go on as planned—and Nancy is determined to use the opportunity to sniff out the thief. But on the big night, as creatives, collectors, and connoisseurs—all with their own motives—converge, it quickly becomes clear that crime, like art, is all about the illusion, and a stolen statue may be the least of Nancy’s troubles.
- Danger at the Iron Dragon —After a close call, Mr. Drew insists that if Nancy’s going to be an amateur detective, she needs to be able to defend herself. So Nancy, Bess, and George decide to check out a Jiu-Jitsu class at Iron Dragon MMA. The technique is hard, but before she knows it, Nancy’s having a lot of fun. And then, just as class ends, the students are shaken by a disturbing sight—someone’s left a dead rat on the front desk and spray-painted “traitor” on the wall. Nancy agrees to help the team get to the truth, but as her investigation takes some unexpected and increasingly dangerous turns, has River Heights’s finest sleuth been outmatched?
- A Capitol Crime — While Nancy’s dad is away at a conference in Washington, DC, she invites Bess and George over for a slumber party. The girls are having a great time until Nancy gets a call from a number she doesn’t recognize. Her dad never showed up for his panel and he isn’t in his room. No one’s seen him since the night before, and he isn’t answering his phone. Worried, Nancy and the gang hop the next flight to DC to investigate. The girls scour the hotel for clues with little luck until Nancy finds her dad’s cell phone in the hotel basement. She’s pretty sure he left her a message on the home screen, if only she could figure out what it means. The hunt takes them across the US capital, retracing Mr. Drew’s steps to figure out what went wrong or who might be out to do him harm. If they don’t solve this mystery, it may cost Mr. Drew his life.
- The Blue Lady of Coffin Hall — Nancy and Ned are visiting Coffin Hall, an estate turned rare books library, doing research on the library’s rumored ghost for an episode of the NedTalks podcast when a fire breaks out in the records room. One of the library’s security guards accuses Ned of arson—after all, he was the only one in the room when the fire started—but Ned swears it wasn’t him. He tells Nancy he saw a lady in blue right before the incident, and thinks it was Henrietta Coffin, the ghost of Coffin Hall! Nancy is confident her boyfriend is innocent, and she’s determined to identify the real culprit.
- Captain Stone’s Revenge — When a family friend, Grace, opens a sailing club on Lake Champlain at the former site of the Gemstone Islands Resort, Nancy, Bess, and George are invited to enjoy a few days of boating before the club’s official grand opening. But when they arrive, they learn there have been some strange things happening on the property, from missing items to holes dug all over the yard. Is someone trying to sabotage the club, and could it have anything to do with the fire that destroyed the old resort twenty years ago?
If you like Nancy Drew Diaries, you may also want to read Enola Holmes, or consult our guide to Jonathan Stroud’s Lockwood & Co series for mysteries with a touch of fantasy. Don’t hesitate to follow us on Twitter or Facebook to discover more book series.