Learn about the secret of the 25 chapters in Nancy Drew books, including which books in the series used to feature the 25 chapters and why they all feature 20 chapters now.
My wife and I love books. Our house is filled with them in every room. But my wife's favorite is the Nancy Drew mystery stories. And when we hit used bookstores and thrift stores, she searches for a specific type of Nancy Drew mystery—one that has 25 chapters.
The first 34 books in the series were originally published with 25 chapters, though the standard length is now 20 chapters. In fact, the original 34 books all went through a revision process beginning in 1959 that turned all the 25-chapter books into 20-chapter books. For instance, we have two copies of Nancy's Mysterious Letter (the 8th book in the series): one copy has 25 chapters; another features 20.
Below, I've listed the titles of the books in the series that originally had 25 chapters. Amateur sleuths are encouraged to hunt for them in their local used bookstores.
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Nancy Drew Books With 25 Chapters
Remember, this is a list of books that were originally published with 25 chapters, but they're currently published with 20 chapters. So don't just pick up an old looking copy and assume it has 25 chapters; open it up and make sure.
- The Secret of the Old Clock
- The Hidden Staircase
- The Bungalow Mystery
- The Mystery at Lilac Inn
- The Secret at Shadow Ranch
- The Secret of Red Gate Farm
- The Clue in the Diary
- Nancy's Mysterious Letter
- The Sign of the Twisted Candles
- The Password to Larkspur Lane
- The Clue of the Broken Locket
- The Message in the Hollow Oak
- The Mystery of the Ivory Charm
- The Whispering Statue
- The Haunted Bridge
- The Clue of the Tapping Heels
- The Mystery of the Brass Bound Trunk
- The Mystery at the Moss-Covered Mansion
- The Quest of the Missing Map
- The Clue in the Jewel Box
- The Secret in the Old Attic
- The Clue in the Crumbling Wall
- The Mystery of the Tolling Bell
- The Clue in the Old Album
- The Ghost of Blackwood Hall
- The Clue of the Leaning Chimney
- The Secret of the Wooden Lady
- The Clue of the Black Keys
- The Mystery at the Ski Jump
- The Clue of the Velvet Mask
- The Ringmaster's Secret
- The Scarlet Slipper Mystery
- The Witch Tree Symbol
- The Hidden Window Mystery
But Why Do They Feature 20 Chapters Now?
Many sources claim the 1959 revisions prompted by publisher Grosset & Dunlap were intended to modernize the series and remove racial stereotypes. But the main reason may have been financial—significantly shortening the books to save on printing costs.
When I hold our 25-chapter copies against the the 20-chapter copies, the difference in thickness is easy to see.
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