Nancy Drew #69

Clue in the Ancient Disguise

Basic Plot: In searching through his recently deceased grandfather's effects, Pierre finds a letter from Louise Duval. Louise died only a short while after writing the letter, so Nancy tries to reconstruct what she had discovered. Click here for chapter by chapter synopsis of the action.


River Heights, Fall

Recurring Characters

Bess Marvin, George Fayne, Carson Drew, Hannah Gruen, Chief McGinnis, Miss Hanson, Togo (this time he is a bull terrier)


  • Pierre Michaud - handsome French electronics engineer
  • Louise Duval - descendent of Paul & Yvette Duval, deceased
  • Lisa Thorpe - her socialite grandniece
  • Norton Thorpe - Lisa's domineering father. wealthy business man
  • S Nyra Betz - Pierre's secretary, friend of Lisa's
  • Emily Owsler - Louise's maid
  • S Andre Freneau - French detective, poses as Henri Grison, attorney
  • Mr. Gregory - museum curator (museum endowed by the Duvals)
  • Jonas Becker - Louise's attorney, deceased
  • Maxwell Fleen - attorney
  • S Lee Talbot - smug artist (male)
  • Aaron Locke - Lee's attorney
  • Peter Worden - arts & entertainment reporter with Record
  • Marston Parker - computer company representative
  • George Teakin - secretary of the River Heights Historical Society
  • Mr. Baxter - museum nightwatchman
  • Booker - Thorpe's valet
  • Rick - mechanic at Bill's garage
  • Mrs. Leon Ferbury - effusive bridge player friend of Louise's
  • Professor Crawford - research man for Louise, Westmoor - specialist in French Revolution and Napoleonic Wars, deceased
  • Jane Heron - museum staff assistant
  • Professor Schmidt - associate of Crawford's
  • Mrs. Grale, nee Crawford - professor's daughter
  • tow truck serviceman
  • 2 RHPD detectives and 3 officers

    Historical characters (circa time of French Revolution)

  • Yvette Duval - mysterious ancestor
  • Paul Duval - her husband
  • Charlotte - Yvette's sister
  • Philippe Vernet - Comte d'Auvergne
  • Antoine Grivet - portrait painter


  • Etienne Vernet - posing as Mr. Varney, financier and sponsor of Pierre's invention
  • Louie Bousha - apelike companion

Motivation: conceal Pierre's ancestry so that Etienne can continue to pose as Comte d'Auvergne


Nancy finds Professor Crawford's research notes at his country house (a renovated gristmill) which describes that Yvette's son from her 1st marriage to Vernet was left in France during the Revolution under the care of local clergyman, Michaud. Louise had been able to trace the family down to Pierre's grandfather, showing the hereditary right of Pierre to the title of Comte d'Auvergne.

Nancy's Mis-adventures

knight swings halberd at her - knocks walkie-talkie out of her hand
computer demo booby trapped - explodes
followed by driverless British red car
power steering hose cut - car goes off road and down hillside in the rain

Key clues

wedding ring engraved "Yvette & Philippe, 1789"
cleft chin shared by Pierre, Comte, baby in portrait
cigarette butts
enamel miniature portrait of 5-year old boy

Nancy's talents

understands French

Hannah Cooks

lamb chops, minted peas, flaky crusted blueberry pie
seafood quiche and green salad
sausage & pancakes

Nancy's outfits

beige raincoat

Meaning of the title

A miniature portrait of a boy that was sewn into the hem of the peasant dress "disguise" used by Yvette to escape during the Reign of Terror

Red herrings

  • Nyra is enamored of Pierre and sabotages Nancy out of jealousy
  • Lee (inadvertantly) copied a painting from the museum - could be motivation for the breakins


Look of happiness on Lisa's face, since Nancy was able to make it possible for her to marry Pierre

items of interest

Nancy carries a tiny purse camera
The Drews keep a TV set on the kitchen counter
Bess works at the River Heights Thrift Shop
Hannah volunteers one day a week at the River Heights Hospital
River Heights restaurants: Mario's Italian Restaurant, Jake's Ice Cream Parlor


Below is a gallery of all the covers I have found for Clue in the Ancient Disguise. Below each picture is the artist's name, and a brief description of the scene depicted.

Wanderer "Arch" cover by Ruth Sanderson: pg. 131 - Nancy is holding up the peasant dress disguise in Lisa's attic (there is no man watching them during this scene - there was an intruder earlier in the night, but he is gone when they find the dress); Lisa should be with Nancy.

Wanderer "Checkerboard" cover by Garin Baker: pg. 87 - In the basement of the museum, a man in suit of armor wields halberd (spearlike weapon with broad ax) in his gauntleted fist, then knocks a walkie talkie out of Nancy's hand. Bess and George are present in this scene.

Minstrel cover by Linda Thomas - moments before scene in Baker above; some of the paintings in the storage area of the museum are visible, including the portrait of Philippe Vernet, which is not really located until later in the story.

Armada (UK) Format "C" cover by unknown artist: composition of elements from the story: knight from scene (Baker) above and the red car with the phantom driver

Wahlströms (Swedish) cover by Ulla Urkio: Nancy with the portrait of Philippe Vernet, Comte d'Auvergne which hangs at the museum; portrait is of an 18th century man with a cleft chin.

Tammi (Finnish) cover: uses 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:  1982
author:  Sherry Lemmon or James Lawrence
editor:  Nancy Axelrad

Sanderson/W1/orange on plum/2.75,45552-4,+
bl/tp+/cp/tc/bl//Fan ad (wb)/ND#57-69, LC#1-7/bl

Sanderson/W1/orange on plum/2.95,45552-4,+
bl/tp+/cp/tc/bl//Fan ad (nb)/ND#57-72 ao, LC#1-9 of/bl

Sanderson/W1/orange on plum/3.50,45552-4,+
bl/tp+/cp/tc/bl//ND#57-78 ao of/HB#59-85 ao of/bl

Sanderson/W1/orange on plum/3.50,45552-4,+
bl/tp+/cp/tc/bl//ND#57-78 ao of/NDCF#1/bl

Baker/W2/two-toned pink/3.50,pic,+,64279-0
bl/exc/ND#57-78/tp/cp/tc/bl//ND#57-78 ao of/RHts CCF/HB#59-85 ao of/DrG#1-6/
   S+S (16) of/PSc#1-6/bl

1st Minstrel
Thomas/M/purple, 350/pic, 64279-0
bl UPC/exc/ND#57-89/tp/cp+/tc/bl//ND#57-78 ao of/RHts CCF/HB#59-85 ao of/DrG#1-6/
   S+S (16) of/PSc#1-6/bl



Foreign Title

Title's translation


Kitty och det gamla porträttet

Nancy and the old portrait


Neiti etsivä ja valepuvun arvoitus

Nancy and the puzzle of the disguise

Clue in the Ancient Disguise, artwork by Ruth Sanderson © 1982 by Simon & Schuster, New York. 
Clue in the Ancient Disguise, artwork by Garin Baker © 1986 by Simon & Schuster, New York. 
Clue in the Ancient Disguise, artwork by Linda Thomas © 1989 by Simon & Schuster, New York. 
Clue in the Ancient Disguise, artwork unattributed © 1984 by Fontana Paperbacks, London. 
Kitty och det gamla porträttet, artwork by Ulla Urkio © 1981 by B. Wahlströms Bokförlag, Stockholm.
Neiti etsivä ja valepuvun arvoitus, artwork by Ruth Sanderson © 1982 by Simon & Schuster, New York.

© 2001, 2002 Lea Shangraw Fox