She is not as finicky as Poirot and nor is she as condescending as Sherlock. But just like her fellow detectives, she has a fine brain under her well-coiffed locks and will always hold a special place in my long-buried girlish heart. When I came across an ancient, dog-eared, much-doodled Nancy Drew mystery at my library, I couldn’t resist picking it up.

In The Mystery of the 99 Steps , Nancy Drew is working on a dual case with her father, eminent lawyer Carson Drew. A lady called Mrs. Josette Blair is troubled by a recurring nightmare : being blindfolded and falling down a long flight of stairs as someone whispers, ‘99 Steps’ .By itself, that's a pretty tedious dream to interpret but when Mrs. Blair receives a mysterious letter from Paris saying " Tell no one about the 99 Steps. Monsieur Neuf. ", things turn decidedly eerie.

Add to that, Carson Drew’s case involves a frightened financier who is secretively drawing large sums of money and threatening to shut down his factory. Somehow, the two cases seem to be interlinked and Nancy Drew has her work cut out.

Will our young sleuth save the day and also manage to enjoy the many beauties of Paris (where most of the plot is located) is what this tale is all about.

I enjoyed the book. It was wholesome, smart and redolent with school time memories for me. Sure, it’s predictable at places and there are too many quick escapes from tight spots to be realistic. But therein lies the charm. Nancy gets together with her two trusty friends, tomboy George and curvy Bess and the trio have a ball of a time as they catch dastardly villains and uncover devious plots. It’s as simplistic as that. And as endearing.

I come away with a fond smile on my face.