Nancy Drew #71

The Silver Cobweb

Plot:  involves golf pros, opera stars, jewelry designers, and webs and spiders.  Kim Vernon suddenly withdraws from the Charleston Cup Tournament and red spiders start appearing.

Click here for a synopsis and review of this story by Todd Latoski; this article was originally released in the February 2006 edition of the Nancy Drew fanzine The Sleuth.


Oceanview (seaside town), River Hts Country Club, Moonlight Island

Recurring Characters

Bess Marvin, George Fayne, Carson Drew, Hannah Gruen, Ned Nickerson, Dave Evans

Characters and Suspects

  • Tad Farr - young man who asks Nancy's assistance
  • Kim Vernon - young upcoming golf star
  • Russ Chaffee - Kim’s coach
  • Buzz Hammond - golf pro
  • Mrs. Maggie Farr - former dresser of Ms. Onides; recent victim of stroke
  • Madame Arachne Onides - deceased opera star; died in a plane crash (3 years previous)
  • Simon Shand - loud, notorious businessman; recently purchased ruby spider
  • Jack Vernon - Kim’s brother, local politician running for mayor of Bradley; engaged to Senator Hawthorn’s daughter
  • Brett Hulme - Kim’s erstwhile boyfriend, jewelry designer
  • Renzo Scaglia - world famous tenor
  • Hamilton & Margo Spencer - directors of Oceanview Festival
  • Judge Drake - opera buff
  • Paul Taggart - arachnologist
  • Oscar LaRue
  • Howard Emmett - attorney for LaRue’s estate


  • Eugene Horvath - widower of Arachne; poses as squinty-eyed, crooked beaky nosed Sweeney Flint
  • Sandor - Horvath’s manservant-chauffeur-valet

Motvation:  covering up Arachne’s insurance fraud


Jack had been duped into “stealing” Arachne’s famous ruby spider as part of an insurance fraud but is captured on film.  Later, his sister Kim is blackmailed into withdrawing from the golf tournament or the picture will be released and ruin Jack’s political career.  Prior to insurance fraud, Arachne had already sold the brooch to Oscar LaRue to cover her debts.  Maggie knew of this duplicity and also of the framing of Jack, so when she sees on TV that Kim has withdrawn from the tournament, she knows why.  Unfortunately the surprise causes her to have a stroke.  The spider which has recently been purchased by Shand is actually the fake stolen by Jack years ago.

Nancy's Mis-adventures

locked in deserted warehouse
deadly spider planted in car
black widow in hotel room bed

Key clues

drawing by Mrs. Farr of circular shape with curly lines
Arachne means spider in Greek

Nancy's outfits

Hannah Cooks

Nancy's talents

Meaning of the title

Brett is creating a silver cobweb on which to hang the prized ruby spider for Simon Shand; however the cobweb necklace is never completed and is not particularly important to the plot; more likely the title refers to the (cob)web of intrigue


items of interest

dines at her favorite Chinese Restaurant - the Golden Pavilion

Wanderer "Arch" cover by Ruth Sanderson: Nancy visits Brett and sees him making the cobweb, but she never handles it

Wanderer "Checkerboard" cover by Steven Stroud:  pp 119-122 - Nancy is lured into a deserted warehouse and is trapped inside; there is no mention of any dynamite, although she does climb on some boxes to set off the fire alarm so that someone will come to her rescue.  [NB: Nancy looks like an ugly boy in this scene, and this painting may have been painted for some other story then quickly revised and recycled]

Minstrel cover by Linda Thomas: While Nancy is at Brett’s, a rock is thrown through the window; Nancy shoves Brett out of the way, so she should be standing closer to him.  Notably, the spider mentioned throughout the book is prominently described a ruby, and should certainly not be green

Armada (UK) Format "C" cover by unknown artist: composition of elements from the story

Tammi (Finnish) cover - artwork probably by Pentti Ajanto
Tammi (Finnish) cover by Kaarina Hanström: elements from the story - spider and Kim golfing
Forlagshuset (Norwegian) cover by Steven Stroud
Swedish (Wahlstroms) cover by Ulla Urkio: Nancy in her golfing outfit (including rad '80s headband!)


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).

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

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

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

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

5th (stated 4th)
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/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


Kitty och golfmysteriet

Nancy and the golf mystery


Detektiv Nancy Drew og den røde edderkopp

Nancy and the red spider

Finnish Neiti etsivä ja hopeaverkon vanki Nancy and the prisoner of the silver web

The Silver Cobweb,
artwork by Ruth Sanderson © 1983 by Simon & Schuster, New York.
The Silver Cobweb, artwork by Steven Stroud © by Simon & Schuster, New York.
The Silver Cobweb, artwork by Linda Thomas © 1989 by Simon & Schuster, New York.
The Silver Cobweb, artwork unattributed © 1984 by Fontana Paperbacks, London.
Neiti Etsivä ja hopeaverkon vanki, artwork unattributed © 1984 by Tammi, Helsinki.
Neiti Etsivä ja hopeaverkon vanki, artwork by Kaarina Hanström © 1993 by Tammi, Helsinki.
Detektiv Nancy Drew ogden røde edderkopp, artwork by Steven Stroud © by Simon & Schuster, New York.
Kitty och golfmysteriet, artwork by Ulla Urkio © 1988 by Wahlstroms, Stockholm.


© 2002, 2008 Lea Shangraw Fox