Nancy Drew #60

The Greek Symbol Mystery

Basic plot:  Mrs. Thompson is worried that the Papadapoulos family is not receiving her sponsorship money - the coordinating agency has suddenly gone out of business.  Carson is looking for Helen Nicholas’ cousin Constantine to settle the estate of their uncle.  Nancy is sent to Greece to locate the previous attorney Mr Vatis.  A mask that is stolen from the museum is slipped into Nancy’s purchases from a jewelry shop; there is a gold colored sticker with the Phi doodle on it.  Nancy brings it to the Archaeological Museum where she is told it has been stolen (it should be on loan to a US museum).  Try to track Constantine at Nikos Shipping Agency as he has disappeared and there are rumors that he has been hanging out with the wrong sort of people and has lost a lot of money.  

Click here for chapter by chapter synopsis of the action.

Publisher's summary:  Nancy has two mysteries to solve, and the answers lie in the beautiful and exotic country of Greece. Money intended to help a needy village family disappears, and the New York agency responsible for the money closes suddenly. Nancy is asked to fly to Greece to investigate. When she is told that a large inheritance from a Greek tycoon, meant for her friend, Helen Nicholas, was stolen, she agrees to find the culprit. Bess and George join her on this dangerous mission. A poisonous snake in a basket of apples and a strange symbol stamped on a rare Byzantine mask are the clues. They lead Nancy and her friends to a ring of art smugglers and to the secret of the Greek symbol. 


Athens and Corfu, Greece (also NYC), month of June

Recurring Characters

primarily Bess Marvin, George Fayne; also Carson Drew, Hannah Gruen, Ned Nickerson, Burt Eddleton, Dave Evans


and Suspects

  • Jeannette Thompson – Drew neighbor, sponsor to the Papadapoulos family
  •  Papadapoulos family (Mr/Mrs, children Maria (age 9), Michali and Anna)
  •  Helen Nicholas - Nikos Shipping Co.
  •  Constantine Nicholas - her bad boy cousin
  •  Lineos Nicholas – uncle to Helen and Constantine (deceased)
  •  Mr. Diakos - Photini Agency, Athens
  •  Mr. Mousiadis – friend of Carson’s (loans a car)
  •  Alexis Hios – lifeguard at Loutraki beach
  •  Stella Anagnost - jewelry shop employee, Costa’s girlfriend
  •  Peter Scourles - former Vitas employee
  •  Fotis – white banded freighter’s captain
  •  Flight attendant and co-pilot for Olympic Airways
  •  Porter at Hotel Skyros
  •  Receptionist at attorney’s office
  •  Small boy who steals Bess’s wallet
  •  Another boy – mistakenly identified as thief
  •  Guard at Herodotus Atticus
  •  2 dock workers in Piraeus
  •  2 sailors (one Greek, one Swedish)
  •  family in village, including daughter Zoe
  •  curator and secretary and guard at Archaeological Museum
  •  grizzly detective
  •  shopkeeper at chrysoteque in Monastiraki
  •   Irum – fake freelancing reporter
  •  Taxi driver
  •  Police in Corfu


  • Dmitri Georgiou aka Dmitri “Mimi” Vatis - Photini Agency, NY, brother of attorney Vatis
  • Mr. Isakos – smuggler, chauvinist
  • Mr. Vitas – attorney at Vatis & Vatis

Motivation: stealing Nicholas inheritance and smuggling ancient artifacts


Find Constantine at Ayiou Markou monastery.  Vatis had forged Constantine’s signature to steal his inheritance.  Constantine paid his legal fees with stolen bracelet – had hooked up with bad guys briefly but now is repentant.  Vitas and his brother Dmitri link up with smugglers and are caught by Interpol.

Nancy's Mis-adventures

  • Bess stung by jellyfish
  • snake in basket of apples
  • trussed up and placed in barrel at monastery
  • Nikos freighter leaves berth with girls aboard
  • wrangle with strikers
  • accused of stealing mask from museum
  • forced off narrow road into ditch by oncoming truck
  • soda knocked over by cat
  • shoved by Vatis while on rocky precipice
  • pushed into traffic by Isakos

Key clues

  • letterhead with Greek Symbol (serpent twisted on itself in the shape of Greek letter phi)
  • Ayiou Markou - St. Mark’s monastery
  • Metal stamp with serpentine symbol
  • Silver money clip with D.V. monogram
  • DG initials on wall with serpent figure surrounding it
  • Note dropped by Isakos on plane
  • Dimitri’s signature

Nancy's outfits

pretty turquoise skirt and blouse

Bess shops

gold pin of mask and bagsful of other items from monastiraki
gold filagree bracelet
embroidered dress (already sold)

Meaning of the title

Greek Symbol (a Phi with body of snake) is the stamp which identified the real artifacts from fake ones being shipped overseas - found on back of mask, metal stamp and cuff bracelet


Helen christens her new yacht the Nancy Drew (a very high honor from a Greek shipping family)

items of interest

Bess is not of Swedish ancestry, that she knows of

Bess wears tea rose perfume

The six sleuths call themselves The Sleuth Snoops


Wanderer "Arch" cover by Ruth Sanderson: fantasy combination of Nancy holding stolen mask at the Acropolis

Wanderer "Checkerboard" cover by Garin Baker: page 23 - snake planted in anonymous gift basket of yellow apples; George takes an apple and Nancy removes snake with an umbrella

Minstrel cover and Wahlströms (Sweden) cover by Linda Thomas: page 29 - gold mask removed from window in the market
Armada (UK) Format "C" cover by Peter Archer - Nancy struggles with Mr Vatis on the cliffs in Corfu
Hachette (France) Format "J" and Format "K" cover by Jean Parmentier

Vergara (Argentine) cover - utilizes Ruth Sanderson artwork

Fernández (Mexican) cover by copyist: although it is hard to see in the scan above, the Mexican cover has been carefully redrawn based on the Thomas original.

Tammi (Finnish) artwork by Pentti Ajanto: similar scene to Baker

Tammi (Finnish) artwork by Pentti Kareinen: similar scene to Sanderson

Wahlströms (Swedish) cover by Ulla Urkio: similar to Sanderson
Forlagshuset (Norwegian) artwork by unknown artist: similar scene to Sanderson
Indira (Indonesian) cover - utilizes Ruth Sanderson artwork (Malay) cover: similar to Baker


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
authors: Nancy Axelrad
plot outline: Harriet Adams, Nancy Axelrad

Sanderson/W1/cream on light orange/2.50,42298-7,+
bl/pwt/bl/tp+/cp/tc/bl//bl/Fan ad (wb)/bl/ND#57-60, LC#1-4/bl/bl

Sanderson/W1/cream on light orange/2.75,42298-7,+
bl/pwt/bl/tp+/cp/tc/bl//bl/Fan ad (wb)/bl/ND#57-68, LC#1-6/bl/bl

Sanderson/W1/cream on light orange/2.95,42298-7,+
bl/pwt/bl/tp+/cp/tc/bl//bl/Fan ad 9wb)/bl/ND#57-72 ao, LC#1-9 of/bl/bl

Sanderson/W1/cream on light orange/2.95,42298-7,+
bl/pwt/bl/tp+/cp/tc/bl//bl/ND#57-75 ao of/bl/N#57-72 ao, LC#1-9 of/bl/bl


Baker/W2/two-toned purple/3.50,pic,+,63891-2
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/SIArch (4)/bl

1st Min
Thomas/M/dark green/67457-9 (decal)/bl
UPC/exc/ND#57-87/tp/cp+/tc/bl//HB#59-94 ao of/ND#57-87 ao of/LCA (3) of/MyL (4) of/BF#1-4 of/Min (14)/Min (17) of/bl



Foreign Title

Title's translation


Alice et le symbole grec

Nancy and the greek symbol


Kitty och det gåtfulla ansiktet

Nancy and the mysterious personnage


Detektiv Nancy Drew og det greske mysteriet

Nancy and the greek mystery


Neiti etsivä ja salaperäinen kultanaamio

Nancy and the mysterious gold mask


Nancy og griska leynitákniồ

Nancy and Greek secret symbol

Spanish (Argentine ed.)

El misterio del simbolo griego

The mystery of the greek symbol

Spanish (Mexican ed.) El misterio del símbolo griego The mystery of the greek symbol


Misteri Lambang Greek

The greek symbol

Indonesian Misteri Simbol Yunani The Greek symbol mystery

The Greek Symbol Mystery, artwork by Ruth Sanderson © 1981 by Simon & Schuster, New York.
The Greek Symbol Mystery, artwork by Garin Baker © 1986 by Simon & Schuster, New York.
The Greek Symbol Mystery, artwork by Linda Thomas © 1989 by Simon & Schuster, New York.
The Greek Symbo Mystery, artwork by Peter Archer © 1982 by Angus & Robertson, Sydney.
Alice at le symbole grec, artwork by Jean Parmentier © 1983 by Hachette, Paris.
Kitty och det gåtfulla ansiktet, artwork by Ulla Urkio © 1982 by B. Wahlströms Bokförlag, Stockholm.
Kitty och det gåtfulla ansiktet, artwork by Linda Thomas © 1989 by Simon & Schuster, New York.
El misterio del simbolo griego, artwork by Ruth Sanderson © 1981 by Simon & Schuster, New York.
El misterio del simbolo griego, artwork unattributed © 1993 by Fernández Editories, Mexico City.
Neiti Etsivä ja salaperäinen kultanaamio, artwork by Pentti Kareinen © 1994 by Tammi, Helsinki.
Neiti Etsivä ja salaperäinen kultanaamio, artwork by Pentti Ajanto © 1983 by Tammi, Helsinki.
Detektiv Nancy Drew och det greske mysteriet, artwork unattributed © by Forlagshuset A/S, Oslo.
Misteri Lambang Greek, artwork unattributed © 1987 by Hasratpelajar, Kuala Lumpur.
Misteri Simbol Yunani,
artwork by Ruth Sanderson © 1981 by Simon & Schuster, New York.


© 2002, 2003, 2012 Lea Shangraw Fox