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Nancy Drew Mystery Stories: The Witch Tree Symbol

Friday, October 27, 2017

Happy Literary Friday, My Lovelies!  Today is the last Friday in October, so it's also the last Nancy Drew Mystery Story I'll be sharing (until next year, perhaps).  I've enjoyed getting in touch with my inner sleuth, and I hope you have, too.

Today's mystery is The Witch Tree Symbol.  I saved it for last because it reminds me of Halloween with the photo on the cover and its title.

This mystery takes Nancy, Bess, and George to Pennsylvania Amish Country in search of an antiques thief who stole from an estate near Nancy's hometown.  Some of the furniture stolen once belonged to George Washington: One of the items was his desk that's rumored to contain a hidden drawer with a mysterious gypsy letter describing where to find treasure.  The perp knows that Nancy is on the case and on his trail, so he does everything to sabotage her from trying to run over her cute little terrier to accusing her of being a witch to the Amish community.  Bess makes this mystery story more scary than it is because she's convinced that someone has hexed them.

Re-reading this as an adult, Nancy lets down the sisterhood when she says to Ned: "'I can sure use a man's help.  I hope you've brought us some luck.'"  The modern woman that I am now is convinced that Nancy is saying this ironically because this is mystery number 33 and Ned hasn't solved one.  Single.  Case....

In spite of the girls' injuries, Amish superstition, and Bess's constant whining ( almost deserved your fat shaming in this book), Nancy solves the mystery and encourages an Amish teenage runaway girl to return home.  

Now a little bit about the title:  The witch tree is a tree that has the witch's broom fungus, like in the photo on the cover:

Here's a photo of a tree with this fungus:

The symbol refers to hex or witch symbols often seen on the side of Amish barns.  There is a tie-in with the symbol and the witch's tree in the book.

There are two schools of thoughts about the origins of these signs.  One believes them to be a talisman for luck, and the other professes them to be just for show or decoration.  But their name certainly belies the "just for show" theory as the word hex is related to witchcraft.

In case you missed any of the Nancy Drew Mystery Story Literary Fridays, below you'll find links to the posts as well as the Nancy Drew Tea Party Post.

I hope y'all have a great weekend filled with fun activities and engaging mystery stories!

Until next time...

Happy reading!
Ricki Jill


  1. I had to laugh at your modern take on this old story...I would like to believe that Nancy was asking Ned for help in a good old Southern, "bless your heart you incompetent man" way! Interesting stuff about the symbol and I've never heard of witch's broom fungus! Such a great name! Thanks for the fun today!

  2. In my youth I devoured Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys series. I imagine these would feel quite dated. I love that you shared the symbols and tie ins.

  3. Brings back such great memories for me. I had the whole collection of Nancy Drew and loved reading and re reading them. Happy Friday.

  4. Oh how I loved Nancy Drew as a child.

  5. I've really enjoyed your Nancy Drew series, though I think with this one I'd moved on to other books by the time it came out. The photos you shared of the fungus tree and symbols really help amplify it!

  6. I had so much fun with this!! Thank you for doing this series. Also for the inside information and trivia.


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Hello, Lovelies!

I'm Ricki Jill. Welcome! I'm honored that you're reading my blog. I enjoy sharing my creative lifestyle @ The Bookish Dilettante. For more information about my blog, please read the Start Here page. Thank-you for stopping by, and I hope you'll consider following me via email.


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