Introduction On Racism Epigraphs A History of the Pulps A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
Glossary and Character Taxonomy Breakdown by Country of Origin Bibliography Table of Contents The Best of the Encyclopedia
Drew, Valerie. Valerie Drew was created by “Adelie Ascott,” the pseudonym of John William Bobin (Derrick Brent, Don Darrel, Lila Lisle, Sylvia Silence, Top-Gear Tempest), and appeared in over 200 stories and story serials in several story papers from 1933 to 1940, beginning with “That Amazing Room of Clocks” (Schoolgirls’ Weekly, Jan. 7 1933).
Valerie Drew is a schoolgirl detective modeled on Nancy Drew. Valerie Drew is slim, pretty, and red-haired, and is the daughter of a former Chief Commissioner of Scotland Yard. Drew is stylish and wears slit skirts and slacks. She begins as a girlish amateur detective but eventually becomes a sophisticated and skill crime-solver who pilots her own airplane and owns an apartment on Park Lane. She has whatever skills are required for her by each story, from sign-language to piloting yachts. Her arch-enemy is the French Lupin Marcelle Dauphine, but Drew helps reform Dauphine and she becomes Drew’s friend and ally. Drew also encounters a teenaged female Jungle Hero, a Yellow Peril, air pirates, supposedly haunted houses, a doppelganger, a whispering painting, a crime conspiracy called the League of the Golden Mask, the Hunchback of Tahiti, and a modern day Robin Hood. Drew is assisted by her abnormally clever Alsatian, Flash.
* I've included Valerie Drew in the Best of the Encyclopedia category because she is archetypal--far more in Britain than in the U.S., admittedly. Nancy Drew preceded Valerie Drew; Nancy Drew outlived Valerie Drew; Nancy Drew appeared in books, while Valerie Drew was stuck in British story papers. But there's one thing that Valerie Drew has over her far more famous surname-sake counterpart, and that's quality. The Valerie Drew stories were simply better than the Nancy Drew novels--more stylish, more adult, more imaginative, better-written. Nancy Drew sprang out of the children's book tradition of the Hardy Boys and before them the dime novels for children. Valerie Drew sprang out of the comparatively more sophisticated story-papers-for-girls tradition. The result for Valerie Drew was that her stories were an able combination of schoolgirl detective crime solving and Sexton Blake-ish Rogues Gallery. The combination may sound bizarre, but it works wonderfully, and makes the Valerie Drew stories (and there are more of them than there are Nancy Drew novels) the superior to the Nancy Drew novels.
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