Nancy Drew #70

The Broken Anchor

The Broken Anchor is a fan favorite, due to the fabulous tropical setting, and the fact that Nancy and her chums are cut off from their usual resources back home (such as the police, the boys from Emerson, Hannah's good cooking). It reminds me a lot of two of my favorite TV series: Survivor and LOST. Mr. Drew is prominently featured in this one, for you Carson fans.

Basic Plot: Bess and George disappear on Anchor Island while claiming an unsolicited prize that was sent to Nancy. In the mean time, Nancy is called to Florida regarding an abandoned boat (the Polka Dot) which contained only clippings regarding Nancy's sleuthing successes. Nancy and Carson investigate and find a medallion in a hidey hole, then they fly on to the resort. Penny was supposed to meet her grandparents at the resort, but they are not around and the phones and electricity are down. Penny recognizes the medallion as one from a Spanish galleon about which her grandfather used to tell stories. The markings end up being a "map" to the underground cavern on the island, where they find the DeFoes and Bess being held captive. Click here for chapter by chapter synopsis of the action.

In 2009, Her Interactive will be developing this title as their 20th game: Ransom of Seven Ships.


Miami and Palm Cove FL, but primarily Sweet Springs Resort on Anchor Island in the Bahamas (after May)

Recurring Characters

Bess Marvin, George Fayne, Carson Drew, Hannah Gruen


  • Sherriff Boyd - beefy, grumpy sherriff of Palm Cove FL
  • deputy in Palm Cove PD
  • desk clerk at hotel in Miami
  • Jeff & Lena DeFoe - owners of Sweet Springs Resort
  • Avery Yates - jeweler
  • Old Jim - seaplane pilot
  • seaplane copilot
  • Mr. Perkins and Ben Graves - fellow travelers
  • Penny DeFoe - granddaughter of Jeff and Lena; age 20, redhead
  • legendary island-born pirate (original owner of the medallion)



  • Tom - posing as caretaker
  • Jack - treasure seeker

motivation: searching for legendary pirate's lost treasure


Nancy finds the pirate's treasure room by interpreting, and then following the secret map on the medallion

Nancy's Mis-adventures

  • out to sea in a sinking rowboat
  • electricity is cut
  • kidnapped and has to swim to shore

Hannah cooks

sandwiches, ice cream and brownies

Key clues

gold medallion from Spanish Galleon

blue triangle of cloth from one of Bess's favorite outfits

Nancy's outfits

deep coral dress

blue shorts & top

red & white print sundress

beach cover-up and thongs

pants suit

slacks and cotton shirt

light sweater

Meaning of the title

The emblem on the medallion shows a broken anchor, which reflects the shape of Anchor Island

Nancy's talents

catches fish for dinner

can row a boat


Below is a gallery of all the covers I have found for The Broken Anchor. Below each picture is the artist's name, and a brief description of the scene depicted.

Wanderer "Arch" cover by Ruth Sanderson: Nancy is inspecting the medallion on the beach while a man spies on her from some shrubbery; in the cove is ghostly galleon. This scene does not take place in the book - the villains only would have seen Nancy with the medallion when she was in the resort.

Wanderer "Checkerboard" cover by Garin Baker: page 180 - the culprits are chasing Nancy up the sheer cliff wall of the cove after she has decoyed them away from the Polka Dot; however, they never get close enough to her to grab her. One should have beard, and there should be debris from the storm the night before.

Minstrel cover by Aleta Jenks: Nancy is being grabbed while in the cavern with the medallion. This scene does not take place in the book. Nancy gets grabbed by Tom on page 140, but out by the beach. The only time Nancy goes into the cavern (via the Singing Rocks cave) she takes the rubbings with her, but not medallion itself.

Wahlströms (Sweden) cover: utilizes a close up from Ruth Sanderson's artwork

Armada (UK) Format "C" cover by unknown artist: page 139 - Nancy is grabbed from behind which trying to reach a motorboat to radio for help. Also included in the montage is tropical greenery, and the erroneous ghostly galleon.

Forlagshuset (Norwegian) cover by Svein Solem: appears to be based on Sanderson's cover, due to the repetition of the ghostly galleon, which never appears in the story

Masque Jeunesse (France) Format "J" and Hachette Format "O" cover by Philippe Daure (this artwork also featured on Formats K - background omitted on O only): Nancy is at the resort brushing her hair (which is never explicitly described in the text, but it is reasonable to assume that she does do so at least once during her stay at Sweet Springs). She is wearing the Spanish medallion, which she never does during the story.

Tammi (Finnish) cover - recycles Ruth Sanderson artwork Indira (Indonesian) cover - recycles Ruth Sanderson artwork


This chronological listing of printings mimics the identification system developed by David Farah for his guide on Nancy Drew. He has given me permission to replicate his system for the purpose of categorizing the paperbacks from this series. For those of you not familiar with his methods for identifying a printing, the first line describes the outside of the book (cover/spine/back cover) and the second line describes the internal pages (inside cover/pre-text pages/post-text pages/inside back cover).

Published:  1983
author: Sharon Wagner
editor: Nancy Axelrad

Sanderson/W1/orange on coral/2.95,46461-2,+
bl/pwt/bl/tp+/cp/tc/bl//Fan ad/ND#57-71, LC#1-8/bl/bl

1st (General Publishing Ltd.)
Sanderson/W1/orange on coral/46461-2,GPC,+
bl/pwt/bl/tp+/cp/tc/bl//Fan ad/ND#57-71, LC#1-8/bl/bl

Sanderson/W1/orange on coral/2.95,46461-2,+
bl/pwt/bl/tp+/cp/tc/bl//Fan ad/ND#57-72 ao, LC#1-9 of/bl/bl

3rd (details unknown)
Sanderson/W1/orange on coral/xx,46461-2,+
bl/pwt/bl/tp+/cp/tc/bl/Fan ad/ND#57-xx/bl/bl

Sanderson/W1/orange on coral/3.50,46461-2,+
bl/pwt/bl/tp+/cp/tc/bl//ND#57-78 ao of/NDF#1/NDF#2-3/bl

5th (copyright page indicates another 4th printing, but artwork has been revised)
Baker/W2/two-toned lavender/3.50, pic,+,64281-2
bl/exc/ND#57-78/tp/cp (10-2,10-4p)/tc/bl/pwt/bl//ND#57-78 ao of/RHts CCF/
HB#59-85 ao of/DrG#1-6/S+S (16) of/PSc#1-6/SIArch (4)/bl

1st Minstrel
Baker/M1/two-toned lavender, 350/pic, +,64281-2
bl UPC/exc/ND#57-89/tp/cp/tc/bl/pwt/bl//ND#57-89 ao of/HB#59-95 ao of/
LCA (6) of/MyL (4) of/Min (18) of/Min (3) of/SIArch (4)/bl

2nd Minstrel
Jenks/M1/blue green, 350/pic, 74228-0
BF#1-15/exc/ND#57-101/tp/cp/tc/bl/pwt/bl//ND#57-101,g1 of/HB#59-108, g of/
NewBT#1-24 of/blx4/NewBT ad



Foreign Title

Title's translation


Alice et l'ancre brisée

Nancy and the damaged anchor


Kitty och den spanska medaljongen

Nancy and the Spanish medallion


Detektiv Nancy Drew og mysteriet med gullskatten

Nancy and the mystery of the gold treasure


Neiti etsivä ja ankkurin arvoitus

Nancy and the puzzle of the anchor

Malay Jangkar Patah The anchor was broken

The Broken Anchor, artwork by Ruth Sanderson © 1983 by Simon & Schuster, New York.
The Broken Anchor, artwork by Hector Garrido © 1986 by Simon & Schuster, New York.
The Broken Anchor, artwork by Linda Thomas © by Simon & Schuster, New York.
The Broken Anchor, artwork unattributed © 1984 by Fontana Paperbacks, London.
Alice et l'ancre brisée, artwork by Philippe Daure © 1987 by Hachette, Paris.
Detektiv Nancy Drew og mysteriet med gullskatten, artwork by Svein Solem © by Forlagshuset A/S, Oslo.
Kitty och den spanska medaljongen, artwork by Ruth Sanderson © 1983 by Simon & Schuster, New York.
Neiti etsivä ja ankkurin arvoitus, artwork by Ruth Sanderson © 1983 by Simon & Schuster, New York.
Jangkar Patah, artwork by Ruth Sanderson © 1983 by Simon & Schuster, New York.

© 2002, 2008 Lea Shangraw Fox