This spot on the front page is often dedicated to celebrating birthdays and today I would like to celebrate a great one. This year, Nancy Drew turns 90. Yes, the Nancy Drew from the mystery books. I don’t know about any of you other ladies out there, but there was a time in my life when I most ardently wanted to grow up to be Nancy Drew.

I wanted to investigate mysteries and find the clues that solved the crimes. I wanted a best buddy who always had my back like Bess Marvin and George Fayne. I wanted to drive a roadster and dress up in fancy clothes while outsmarting the criminal element. When I actually became a teenager, I was very disappointed that I didn’t seem to be having nearly as much fun as Nancy did.

I will confess that after I burned through all of the Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys mysteries, I moved on to, unfortunately, Barbara Cartland novels. I read about every rakish Duke and every fair lass she invented. I read them so much, I could almost write one. Then about that time, a lady named Diana married a real life prince over in England, and we all got to watch on television. I was hooked.

But, back to Nancy Drew. When I was a tween and early teen, there was a television series that featured Pamela Sue Martin as Nancy Drewand — be still my heart — Shawn Cassidy as Joe Hardy. As devoted to the books as I was, I didn’t mind that those shows didn’t follow the books very closely as long as they continued to feature that Cassidy fellow singing every once in a while.

Though I would eventually go on to read all kinds of literature, I must confess that I still love mysteries most of all. And I love books in a series especially. My current favorites are the Women’s Murder Club series by James Patterson and the Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovich. I never really read the Rizzoli and Isles books by Tess Gerritsen until they made a series out of them. Then, I had to go back and start reading those.

And, it all started with Nancy Drew.