Nancy Drew #61

The Swami's Ring

Basic Plot: Swami's Ring is a tangled tale of three different mysteries which are vaguely connected.  In the first, Nancy is asked to investigate the identity of a man with amnesia, who has been found battered and bruised after a fall from a cliff.  He has a ring in his possession which Nancy uses to try and identify him, and discovers a link to the spiritual retreat of a swami.  In the second mystery, the River Heights Music Festival has been suffering from several setbacks and Mr. Drew is being blamed since he was involved in managing the negotiations.  The last mystery connects the other two - Nancy helps a harpist visiting for the music festival to find her runaway teenage sister who has also been drawn to the swami's retreat.  Click here for chapter by chapter synopsis of the action. 


River Heights

Recurring Characters

Bess Marvin, George Fayne, Carson Drew, Hannah Gruen, Ned Nickerson, Burt Eddleton, Dave Evans, Chief McGinnis, Miss Hanson

Characters and Suspects

  • Lisa Scotti - nurse at Rosemont Hospital, former schoolmate of Nancy’s
  • “Cliff” - amnesia patient found at the bottom of a cliff; real name Randy
  • Dr. Randolph - director of Rosemont Hospital
  • Tommy Johnson - Nancy’s neighbor, in the hospital after being hit by a car (by Mr. Flannery) while riding his bike – leg broken in 2 places
  • Mrs. Johnson – Tommy’s mother
  • Mr. Jhaveri - jeweler; cousin of Keshav Lal
  • Dr. DeNiro - professor at Oberon College, anthropologist; doing a government study on India
  • Angela Pruett - harp soloist
  • Phyllis Pruett - Angela’s 16-year-old runaway sister
  • Deli clerk at Green Pond
  • Motor lodge desk clerk
  • Ramaswami - spiritual leader who maintained a retreat for his followers near Swain Lake
  • Mr. Hillyer - manager of the River Heights Music Festival
  • Vince - sound and light technician at the RH Festival


  • Dev Singh - aka Prem Nath
  • Mr. Flannery - a burly bearded man who poses as Dr. DeNiro
  • Mrs. Flannery - owner of guest house where Phyllis was staying
  • Keshav Lal - employee at the Swain Lake Motor Lodge
Motvation:  As an assistant to the Ramaswami, Keshav Lal had been intercepting gifts from devotees and selling them through his cousin’s jewelry shop.  When Cliff overhears Lal plotting, he exposes the scheme to the swami.

Secondary Plot:  Brady Tilson - young man from Castleton with long hair; owns a silver hatchback


The retreat where Nancy, Phyllis and Cliff are being held is found and the culprits are subdued and arrested.

Nancy's Mis-adventures

grabbed on trail to retreat; chloroform
attacked by water snake while bound
kidnapped, tied to a chair, mouth stuffed with bread

Key clues

large gold ring, extremely ornate, large size - hidden in a secret pocket in Cliff’s knapsack
tan car with light side racing stripe on trunk with license 197 MAP
Ramaswami pamphlet

Nancy's outfits

summer skirt, puffed-sleeve blouse, white sandals

Hannah Cooks

peach pie, tarts

Nancy's talents hospital volunteer

Meaning of the title

Cliff/Randy's ring that he planned to donate to the swami is the catalyst for the mystery


Party to celebrate

items of interest

mention of titles of 59 and 60, like a Mildred Wirt teaser
Carson is on the board of the hospital
Castleton is to the south of River Heights
Swain Lake and Green Pond are on either side of a mountain ridge near the airport

Wanderer "Arch" cover by Ruth Sanderson: fantasy combination of a) pg. 188 - Cliff/Randy tells of being jumped by Lal & Singh after he had told the story of thievery to the swami; and b) pg. 36 - Nancy examining the ring

Wanderer "Checkerboard" cover by Steven Stroud: pg 81 - Nancy about to be knocked out on the trail.  It has stopped raining at this poin in this scene.  Nancy does not expect the attack and does not see the man coming.  Ned is with Nancy on the trail but is missing from the illustration.  The attacker is supposed to be East Indian. (trivia: this is a self-portrait of Steven Stroud)

Minstrel cover by Linda Thomas and Fernández (Mexican) cover by copyist: page 36 - Nancy examines ring with magnifying glass (Bess and George should be present)

Angus & Robertson (Australia) and Wahlströms (Swedish) covers by Peter Archer: page 85 - Nancy is laying bound in an old cabin near an old iron stove when she sees a venomous water snake moving in her direction, prepared to strike

Armada (UK) cover by unknown artist: fantasy montage of Nancy bound at the cabin, the water snake, Brady's silver hatchback, a couple running and possibly the Flannery house

Forlagshuset (Norwegian) cover by unknown artist: appears to be a take off on the Sanderson artwork, but the artist does not know the story and makes it appear that Nancy has just found the ring while she is out hiking with a couple of friends.

Hachette (France) Format "J" and Format "O" cover by Philippe Daure: Nancy holding the ring in the foreground, the man in the turban is either Keshav Lal or Prem Nath/Dev Singh, and the bewhiskered man is Mr. Flannery.  The cabin is probably the one where the hostages are being kept rather than the swami's retreat.

This artwork also appears on Format "K" and "L" covers , but in something like the "Case of the Disappearing Icons" only Nancy and the turbaned man appear on all covers; the house disappears after K and the bewshiskered man departs after L.

Tammi (Finnish) cover probably by Pentti Ajanto: page 11 - the bearded man (Mr. Flannery) is choking "Cliff," the man with amnesia and demanding to know where the ring is

Tammi (Finnish) cover by Kaarina Hanström:  Nancy appears to be sitting in a field inspecting the ring which she has just removed from the backpack, while "Cliff" lies unconscious.  This scene does not take place in the book, as Nancy first meets Cliff in the hospital after his fall, and the ring has been found in a secret pocket in the backpack by the staff.

Vergara (Argentine) cover: utilizes Sanderson artwork
Indira (Indonesian) cover: utilizes Sanderson artwork

Fargoes (Malay) cover by unknown artist: same scene as Angus & Robertson above; Nancy should still be bound whenthe snake is harrassing her


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:  Nancy Axelrad
plot outline:  Harriet Adams and Nancy Axelrad

Sanderson/W1/red on light blue/2.50,42345-2,+

Sanderson/W1/red on light blue/2.75,42345-2,+

Sanderson/W1/red on light blue/3.50,42345-2,+

Stroud/W2/two-toned lime green/3.50,pic,+,62467-9

1st Minstrel
Thomas/M1/red, 350/pic, 62467-9
bl UPC/exc/ND#57-88/tp/cp+/tc/bl/pwt/bl/ND#57-88 ao of/NewBT#1-10 (11) of/HB#59-95 ao of/BF#1-4 of/bl



Foreign Title

Title's translation


Alice et la bague du gourou

Nancy and the guru's ring


Kitty och den indiska ringen

Nancy and the indian ring


Detektiv Nancy Drew og mannen uten hukommelse

Nancy and the man without a memory


Neiti etsivä ja intialainen sormus

Nancy and the indian ring


Nancy og Swami-hringurinn

Nancy and the Swami-ring?

Spanish (Argentine ed.)

El anillo del swami

The ring of the swami

Spanish (Mexican ed.)

El anillo misterioso

The mysterious ring

Indonesian Misteri cincin ramaswami Mystery of the ramaswami's ring
Malay Misteri cincin ramasamy Mystery of the ramaswami's ring

The Swami's Ring, artwork by Ruth Sanderson © 1981 by Simon & Schuster, New York.
The Swami's Ring, artwork by Steven Stroud © 1986 by Simon & Schuster, New York.
The Swami's Ring, artwork by Linda Thomas © 1989 by Simon & Schuster, New York.
The Swami's Ring, artwork by Peter Archer © 1982 by Angus & Robertson, Sydney.
The Swami's Ring, artwork unattributed © 1983 by Fontana Paperbacks, London.
Alice at la bague du gourou, artwork by Philippe Daure © 1985 by Hachette, Paris.
Kitty och den indiska ringen, artwork by Peter Archer © 1982 by Angus & Robertson, Sydney.
Detektiv Nancy Drew og mannen uten hukommelse, artwork unattributed © Forlagshuset A/S, Oslo.
El anillo del swami, artwork by Ruth Sanderson © 1981 by Simon & Schuster, New York.
El anillo misterioso, artwork unattributed © 1993 Fernández Editores, Mexico City.
Neiti etsivä ja intialainen sormus, artwork unattributed © Tammi, Helsinki.
Neiti etsivä ja intialainen sormus, artwork by Kaarina Hasntröm © 1993 Tammi, Helsinki.
Misteri cincin ramaswami, artwork by Ruth Sanderson © 1981 by Simon & Schuster, New York.
Misteri cincin ramasamy, artwork unattributed © 2003 by Fargoes, Kuala Lumpur.

© 2002, 2005, 2007 Lea Shangraw Fox