Nancy Drew #72

The Haunted Carousel

Basic Plot: The Wonderland Gallop carousel in Riverside Park has been lighting up and playing music in the middle of the night with no explanation.  Jason challenges Nancy to solve the mystery.  Novak had set up a radio delay to activate the carousel in hopes that the stint would attract the attention of Joy, who he knows owns the original lead horse.  Before his later fame, the artist Kruse had carved this original lead horse, which was later bought by Mr Trent for Joy and renamed Glory.  Fingers had convinced his buddy Kruse to hide stolen diamonds in the horse, which Fingers would pick up once he was released from prison.  When Mr. Trent converted Glory into a rocking horse he discovered the stash and left clues for Joy to find . 

You may also click here for a synopsis of this story by Todd Latoski, from the April 2006 edition of the online Nancy Drew fanzine, The Sleuth.

This story was adapted by Her Interactive as a computer game.  Their teaser: The merry-go-round at Captain’s Cove seems to have a mind of its own. Late at night, when the park is deserted, it takes off on a bizarre riderless journey. Will you be able to unravel the mysterious happenings surrounding this beautiful antique carousel?


River Heights, especially Riverside Park

Recurring Characters

Bess Marvin, George Fayne, Carson Drew, Hannah Gruen, Ned Nickerson, Chief McGinnis

Characters & Suspects

  • Custer children:  Billy (youngest), Janet (age 7) and Gary (age 8); Mr. Custer is an uncle to B&G
  • Rick Jason - reporter from the River Heights News
  • Konrad & Trudi Trompel - Swiss tourists (accidentally called Judi)
  • Joy Trent - orphaned daughter of John Trent, business executive and his wife Iris
  • Officer Doyle
  • Detective Mike Norris - St. Louis PD
  • Arno Franz - insurance investigator posing as amusement park buff
  • Neil Sawyer - electrical engineering student
  • Selma Trent Yawley - Joy’s aunt and guardian
  • Fred Trimble - Trent family lawyer
  • Vic Marsh - gas station operator
  • Rose Harrod - Iris Trent’s twin sister
  • Miss Blandish - River Heights Day Care
  • Professor Jenner - art history
  • Walter Kruse - painter and sculptor of Western scenes (deceased?)
  • Nina Ogden - Kruse’s girlfriend and daughter of carousel’s original owner


  • Leo Novak - carousel operator
  • Fingers Malone - pickpocket
  • Baldy Krebs - overage hippie

Motivation: recover diamonds hidden in the carousel horse


??  Capture crooks at the River Heights Day Care Center where Glory had been living.  Rose reveals herself as Joy’s aunt; Iris’s parents has agreed to pay for a life saving operation if she left Trent, of whom her parents disapproved; Trent’s real name was Tobin. 

Nancy's Mis-adventures

sent adrift in houseboat at night

Hannah cooks

shrimp cocktail

Key clues

Trent’s dying note:  Iris = ? = Old Glory
 picture of horse with frog riding on back

Nancy's outfits

blue & white checkered skirt, red bandana
blue jeans & pale blue knit pullover top
pale yellow linen dress and white dress sandals

Nancy's talents

ridden in a few horse shows

Meaning of the title

The carousel seems to be coming to life on its own


items of interest

RHts restaurants: Rustler’s Inn, Limehouse Tavern (British), Romany Tea Room, La Cuiller d’Argent


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

Wanderer "Arch" cover by Ruth Sanderson:  p. 58 - in the cellar of the haunted house at Riverside Park

Wanderer "Checkerboard" cover by Bob Berran

Minstrel cover by Aleta Jenks: the lead horse is black

Armada (UK) cover by unknown artist

Wahlströms (Swedish) cover by Ruth Sanderson

Forlagshuset (Norwegian) cover by Bob Berran

Tammi (Finnish) cover by Ruth Sanderson


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
authors: James Lawrence
editor: Nancy Axelrad

Sanderson/W1/cream on red/2.95,47555-X,+
bl/pwt/bl/tp+/cp/tc/bl//Fan ad (wb)/ND#57-72 ao, LC#1-9 of/bl

cream on red/2.95,47555-X,+
 bl/pwt/bl/tp+/cp/tc/bl//Fan ad (wb)/ND#57-74 ao of/bl

cream on red/3.50,47555-X,+
bl/pwt/bl/tp+/cp/tc/bl//ND#57-78 ao of/HB#59-85 ao of/bl

1st Minstrel
Sanderson/M1/cream on red/3.50,47555-X,+
bl/pwt/bl/tp+/cp/tc/bl//ND#57-78 ao of/RHts CCF/bl
1st Minstrel (2 versions of 1st Minstrel)
Berran/M1/orange/pic, 66227-9
bl UPC/exc/ND#57-82/tp/cp+/tc/bl/pwt/bl//blx6/bl

2nd Minstrel
Jenks/M1/light pink/66227-9
BF#1-16/exc/ND#57-103/tp/cp+/tc/bl/pwt/bl//HB#59-110, g of/NewBT#1-26 of/ND#57-103, g1 of/BF#1-16 of/CHH (3) of/bl/NewBT ad

3rd Minstrel
Jenks/M1/light pink/pic, 3.99, 66227-9
ND ad/exc/ND#57-120/tp/cp+/tc/bl/pwt/bl//ND (52) 120 of/HB (50) 127 of/ND&HB SS (19) of/SpBr#1-3 of/BigH (3)/bl/HB ad

4th Minstrel
Jenks/M1/light pink/pic, 3.99, 66227-9
ad/exc/ND#57-131/tp/cp+/tc/bl/pwt/bl//ND (49) 129 of/HB (56) 138 of/FrSt#1-8 of/Spkvle#1-8 of/Alien Adv (3)/NickMag of/AM (6)



Foreign Title

Title's translation


Kitty och jakten i skräckhuset

Nancy and the hunt in the scary house


Detektiv Nancy Drew og spøkelseskarusellen

Nancy and the haunted carousel


Neiti etsivä ja kummituskaruselli

Nancy and the haunted carousel

The Haunted Carousel, artwork by Ruth Sanderson © 1983 by Simon & Schuster, New York.
The Haunted Carousel, artwork by Bob Berran © 1988 by Simon & Schuster, New York.
The Haunted Carousel, artwork by Aleta Jenks © by Simon & Schuster, New York.
The Haunted Carousel, artwork unattributed © 1984 by Fontana Paperbacks, London.
Kitty och jakten i skräckhuset, artwork by Ruth Sanderson © 1983 by Simon & Schuster, New York.
Detektiv Nancy Drew og spøgelses-karusellen, artwork by Bob Berran © 1988 by Simon & Schuster, New York.
Neiti Etsivä ja kummituskaruselli, artwork by Ruth Sanderson © 1983 by Simon & Schuster, New York.

© 2002, 2008, 2016 Lea Shangraw Fox