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It’s A Mystery

James Mathewuse, Very Deadly Yours, 1986, pastel on velour paper.

The Brush Uncovers Teenage Supersleuths
By Taryn Plumb
It’s the 1930s. Three stately women in chic slim-fit dresses, heels and finger wave bobs stand clustered at the edge of a lake, inspecting a piece of jewelry.

Flash-forward roughly 30 years, and the same three women are depicted as decidedly younger, more confident and casual, even tomboy-ish — they walk barefoot in the water, button-down shirts tucked into rolled-up jeans.

In the intervening decades, the trio, featured on the cover of the classic Nancy Drew mystery, “The Clue of the Broken Locket,” goes through at least two other transformations that reflect changes in society, values and fashion.

When many of us pick up a book, the cover art is somewhat of an afterthought (even if it’s what initially drew our eye); it’s the goodies inside that we’re after.

But in the upcoming exhibit, “Book Illustration: Nancy Drew and The Hardy Boys,” at The Brush Art Gallery and Studios in Lowell, cover art takes its rightful place at the forefront. On display from August 8 to
September 12, the show will feature more than 40 images that have served as the first glimpses into the adventures of the world’s most beloved youth detectives.

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