On the Alert
Posted on September 27, 2016

I think I fell in love with the “detective method” when I was given, as a gift, my very first Nancy Drew mystery story. It was the one entitled “The Password to Larkspur Lane”. In it I met Nancy, and her friends, Bess and George and Ned. Since my only methods of locomotion at that era were my roller skates and my bicycle, Nancy’s famous roadster was the height of wonder.

I was a fairly well-behaved youngster, but this Nancy who never saw a locked door that she couldn’t try to open and who poked into empty houses with cobwebby attics and damp cellars with great abandon was certainly someone to admire. She also had an amazing amount of freedom, I thought!

However, it was her curious mind that I most admired. From Nancy, I learned about “clues”. I realized that little things could be very important and that people could not be taken at face value. I was only about ten years old, but I was acquiring a tool that I have used ever since: follow an idea to its ultimate conclusion or trace the full meaning of a word. This holds for all of life and learning.

I have since become devoted to detective stories, for recreation, that are grownup versions of Ms. Drew. I have no leisure time for horror stories but a well-plotted detective yarn, where the main character follows clues to possible conclusions is the perfect relaxation. And the same technique works for Bible study. I love to see ideas grow and develop across its pages. There is always something new to find there.

In last weekend’s chaotic attempts at bombing in the New York area all this was exemplified. The eagle eyes of two searchers who found an unexploded bomb, a careless fingerprint, a person unsure of a sleeping vagrant, all coalesced to lead to an arrest and the thwarting of a terrorist moment.

I realize how far we have come from the peaceful town in which Nancy Drew lived to a world where one can learn bomb making on the internet, but those littles clues are still not to be ignored. They lead to the truth that so much of what we have learned stays with us to be used in new and valuable ways.

And so I salute Nancy Drew as having started me on something. Who did the same for you?


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