Nancy Drew #62

The Kachina Doll Mystery

Basic Plot: Nancy is called to AZ to investigate the haunting of the resort by a Kachina spirit. Legend has it that the builder of Kachina House, Big Jake Harris, was scared to death by the local Hopi who had put a curse on him after he had stolen something of value from them. There is also a secondary plot that Mr. Henry is prospecting for the gold on the McGuires part of Leaning Tree Ravine; Ngyun witnesses them one day, so they try to frame the boy by committing small crimes in hopes that he will be sent away. Click here for a chapter-by-chapter summary of the action.


Kachina Health Resort, near Apache Junction AZ and the Superstition Mountains; in springtime

Recurring Characters

Hannah Gruen, Bess Marvin, George Fayne

Characters & Suspects

  • Heather McGuire - former River Hts. resident, orphaned 17-year old redhead
  • Chuck McGuire - her older brother
  • Grandfather McGuire
  • Maria Tomiche - housekeeper and dietician
  • Ward Tomiche - Maria's husband, teacher
  • Ngyun Little Feather - Maria's nephew, age 12
  • Su Lin - Ngyun's absent Vietnamese mother
  • Kyle Little Feather - Ngyun's father - deceased (Maria's brother)
  • Campfire friends: Diana, Floyd Jerrett, Tim, Paul, Jerry Blake
  • The Bascombs - burglarized neighbors
  • local Sheriff
  • Horses: Cochise (pinto), Dancer (chestnut), Pepper Pot (grey)

    Historical Figures

  • Big Jake Harris - original owner of Kachina House
  • Deer Slayer - Hopi chief
  • Winslow - ruthless collector of Kachina dolls


Mr. Henry - neighbor on the Circle H Ranch

Sam & Joe - henchmen posing as Henry's sons

Motivation: Looking for gold washed out of the Lost Dutchman Mine mountains during spring floods


1) sabotage: after escaping from the culprits' cabin, Nancy hides and the sherriff & the gang arrive and round up Mr. Henry, Sam and Joe.

2) mystery: The Cloud Kachina spirit directs Nancy to a hidden painting of Hilili, a witch Kachina who is guarding the secret of the burying place of the chest of Kachina Dolls. Pages from the diary prove that Harris was friend of the Hopi

Nancy's Mis-adventures

  • Run off road in station wagon
  • scorpion planted in suitcase
  • missed by falling scorched saguaro cactus
  • horse scared by rattlesnake's disembodied rattle (runs away, slides into a ravine)
  • arrow shot at her
  • nearly washed away in flood
  • caught in cabin

Key clues

blackened cactus

painted Kachinas in the hall - one holding a pen

piece of red cloth caught in mesquite bush

Jake's journal

Nancy's outfits

jeans & bright plaid Western shirt

bright blue and yellow print cotton dress

blue & white gingham peasant dress will full skirt, square neck, ruffles and blue sash, with white sandals and white crocheted shawl

Bess Shops

silver & turquoise belt buckle for Dave

Meaning of the title

Kachina "ghost" helps Nancy find a treasure trove of valuable antique dolls


feather from the ghost Kachina's headdress

items of interest

p. 49 - in describing the Kachina spirit, Nancy thinks that this is "something she'd never encountered before." The helpful spirit that points out the clues to Nancy is never explained and is assumed to be a supernatural aiding force.


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

Wanderer "Checkerboard" cover by Ruth Sanderson: page 159 - during the barn dance, Nancy slips away and sees the Kachina spirit dancing on the ridge, beckoning to her. Clothing is very accurate (outfit #3 above)

Wanderer "Checkerboard" cover by Hector Garrido: page 138 - Nancy has escaped from the cabin and is hiding in a hole behind a rock formation (should be crouching); the men are scrambling to get torches to pursue her. They can be seen over the rocks in the original painting.

Minstrel cover by Linda Thomas and Fernandez (Mexican) cover by copyist: same as Sanderson cover above, except Nancy's clothes are not accurate. Note: Mexican cover has been carefully redrawn based on the Thomas original

Armada (UK) cover by unattributed artist: fantasy montage of Nancy with saguaro cactus, Ngyun on horseback, "ghost" Kachina, scorpion and the McGuires' Jeep

Hachette (France) Format "F" cover by Jean-Louis Mercier: page 71 - probably depicts the second time Nancy sees the ghost, as it beckons to her an points out a particular Kachina on the mural in the hallway.


Hachette (France) Format "L" and "O" covers by Philippe Daure: generic cover of Nancy with saguaro cactus in background and Kachina doll in foreground

Wahlströms (Swedish) cover by Ulla Urkio: same as Sanderson cover above

Wahlströms (Swedish) cover by Linda Thomas

Angus & Robertson (Australia) cover by Peter Archer: possibly same scene as Sanderson above, although Kachina is mad, Nancy appears apprehensive, and her outfit is wrong.

Abril (Portuguese) cover by Linda Thomas - see Minstrel cover above

Tammi (Finnish) cover by Pentti Ajanto - same scene as Hachette/Mercier above Forlagshuset (Norwegian) cover by unattributed artist: page 88 - one of the guest cottages at the resort is on fire and Nancy quickly puts a sweater and jeans over her jammies (inaccurate above). There is no mention of the Kachina spirit appearing at this time; it should also be night-time.

Hasratpelagar (Malay) cover by unknown artist - same scene as Hachette/Mercier above

Fargoes (Malay) cover by Amy: chapter 16 - Nancy attacks Mr. Henry in the cabin (seems like Nancy might be fighting kinda dirty....)

Vergara (Argentine) cover by Ruth Sanderson - see Wanderer edition above

Indira (Indonesian) cover by Ruth Sanderson

Saesonyeon Four (Korean) cover by unknown artist - loosely based on UKC composition (cactus, ghost kachina and rider)


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:  1981
author: Sharon Wagner
editor: Nancy Axelrad

Sanderson/W1/pink on burgundy/2.50,42347-9,+
bl/pwt/bl/tp+/cp/tc/bl//bl/Fan ad (wb)/bl/ND#57-64, LC#1-5/bl/bl

Sanderson/W1/pink on burgundy/2.75,42347-9,+
bl/pwt/bl/tp+/cp/tc/bl//bl/Fan ad (wb)/bl/ND#57-69, LC#1-7/bl/bl

3rd - details unknown
Sanderson or Garrido/W1/pink on burgundy/xx,42347-9,+
bl/pwt/bl/tp+/cp/tc/bl/bl/Fan ad (wb)/bl/ND#57-xx/bl/bl

Garrido/W2/two-toned pistachio green/3.50,pic,+,62474-1
bl/pwt/bl/tp+/cp (10-4p 10-1)/tc/bl//ND#57-78 ao of/NQH#1/NQH#2-3/NQH robot/Sweepstakes entry form/bl

1st Minstrel
Thomas/M/dark rust red, 350/pic, 67220-7
bl UPC/exc/ND#57-85/tp/cp/tc/bl/pwt/bl//ND#57-85 ao of/HB#59-92 ao of/MyL (2) of/LCA(3) of/Min (18) of/JG (5) of/SS#1-4 of/Min (15)/Min (15) of/bl

2nd Minstrel
Thomas/M/dark rust red, 399/pic, 67220-7
BF#1-15/exc/ND#57-106/tp/cp/tc/bl/pwt/bl//ND#57-107, g1 of/HB#59-114, g of/MyL (5) of/TSw#1-9 of/Min (22) of/JGil (11) of/MinChill (14) of/S&S (18) of/Min (19)/NewBT ad

3rd Minstrel
Thomas/M/dark rust red, 399/pic, 67220-7
HB ad/exc/ND#57-120/tp/cp/tc/bl/pwt/bl//HB (49) 128 of/ND (53) 121 of/Big Help/DCo (6)/JG (11)/BWa (11) of/ PKe (5) of/bl/bl/STNG#5, STDS9#3



Foreign Title

Title's translation


Alice et le poupée indienne

Nancy and the Indian doll


Kitty vid Andarnas berg

Nancy and the Andes Mountains


Detektiv Nancy Drew og mysteriet med indianerdukkene

Nancy and the mystery of the Indian dolls


Neiti etsivä ja intiaaninuken arvoitus

Nancy and the Indian doll


Nancy og Kachina-brúdan

Nancy and the Kachina doll?

Spanish (Argentine ed.)

El misterio del muñeco

The mystery of the doll

Spanish (Mexican ed.)

El enigma de la muñeca Kachina

The mystery of the Kachina doll

Portuguese O mistério das bonecas Kachina The mystery of the Kachina doll
Malay (Siri Nancy Drew) Misteri patung Kachina Kachina doll mystery

Malay (Siri Salma)

Misteri lembaga kanchina

Mystery of a kachina phantom

Indonesian Misteri patung kachina The kachina doll mystery
카치나 인형의 비밀
Kachina doll mystery

The Kachina Doll Mystery, artwork by Ruth Sanderson © 1981 by Simon & Schuster, New York.
The Kachina Doll Mystery, artwork by Hector Garrido © 1986 by Simon & Schuster, New York.
The Kachina Doll Mystery, artwork by Linda Thomas © 1988 by Simon & Schuster, New York.
El enigma de la muñeca Kachina, artwork unattributed © 1993 Fernández Editores, Mexico City.
The Kachina Doll Mystery, artwork unattributed © 1983 by Fontana Paperbacks, London.
Alice et la poupée indienne, artwork by Jean-Louis Mercier © 1984 by Hachette, Paris.
Alice et la poupée indienne, artwork by Philippe Daure © 1995 by Hachette, Paris.
Detektiv Nancy Drew og mysteriet med indianerdukkene, artwork unattributed © 1987 by A/S Forlagshuset, Oslo.
The Kachina Doll Mystery, artwork by Peter Archer © 1982 by Angus & Robertson, Sydney.
Kitty vid Andarnas berg, artwork by Ulla Urkio © 1985 by B. Wahlströms Bokforlag, Stockholm.
El misterio del muñeco, artwork by Ruth Sanderson © 1981 by Simon & Schuster, New York.
Misteri lembaga kanchina, artwork by Amy © 2003 by Penerbitan Fargoes, Kuala Lumpur.
Neiti etsivä ja intiaaninuken arvoitus, artwork by Pentti Ajanto © 1983 by Tammi, Helsinki.
Misteri patung Kachina, artwork unknown © 1987 Hasratpelagar, Kuala Lumpur.
Misteri patung Kachina, artwork by Ruth Sanderson © 1981 by Simon & Schuster, New York.
O misterio das bonecas Kachina artwork by Linda Thomas © 1988 by Simon & Schuster, New York.
카치나 인형의 비밀, artwork by unknown artist © 1984 by saesonyeon four
© 2001, 2003, 2007, 2013, 2016 Lea Shangraw Fox