Thursday, January 8, 2009

Mystery stories as mass media

Thursday, January 8, 2008

I started reading mystery stories because I read The Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew.

I didn't know it at the time but I was taking part in what may have been one of the early examples of mass media. It was years later when I learned that Nancy Drew and the gang were really written by many writers. Created by Edward Stratemeyer, Nancy Drew and all kinds of other series characters were then farmed out to various writers who wrote the stories. Those writers sold all the rights to their writing to
Stratemeyer.

There was no Carolyn Keene. That was a pen name.

Stratemeyer also fathered The Bobbsey Twins, The Rover Boys and many others.

To me, that whole process seems so sad. It worked, of course. I read scads of Nancy Drew and The Hardy Boys. There were shelves of them in the library. But the real blessing of good writing is in its individuality.

As I kept on reading, I came to like writing which was the unique expression of a single writer. I am glad I had the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew, but I'm also thankful for the more unique writers I read today.



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