Nancy Drew #66

Race Against Time

Basic Plot Summary: Ned is making a film to enter in a contest and is borrowing Grimsby Mansion as the setting for his vampire spoof. There has also been a recent rash of robberies in the area, and the thieves have been using the mansion as a hideout. Lastly, Nancy is asked to investigate the mysterious disappearance of prize race horse.

Chapter by chapter synopsis will be coming soon.

This book should not be confused with the one very similarly entitled A Race Against Time, released in 2004, the second in the Nancy Drew, Girl Detective series. That version is about a bicycle race and has absolutely no connection to this one - it appears that the folks at Simon & Schuster were unaware that there was already a Nancy Drew story called Race Against Time.


area around Brookvale Forest, near River Heights; primarily at Grimsby Mansion

Recurring Characters

Bess Marvin, George Fayne, Carson Drew, Hannah Gruen, Ned Nickerson, Chief McGinnis

Characters and Suspects


Westmoor University summer film club

  • Lenny Arthur
  • Gwen Jethro - his girlfriend
  • Mike Jordan - props manager
  • Denise
  • Professor Walter Barnes - faculty adviser
  • Sara White - makeup and costumes
  • Jane Logan - camera operator
  • Jack Billings - electrician
  • Ernie Gibson - actor 

Other characters and suspects

  • Mr. Ullman - realtor
  • Roger Harlow - owner of Rainbow Ranch, horse breeding farm, and Shooting Star
  • Tina - Harlow's 7-year-old granddaughter by his daughter Zona
  • Tony Traynor - famour cinematographer and director
  • Marty Martin - Tony's assistant
  • Monsieur Philippe makeup artist
  • Dr. Frieda Davis - computer specialist at the University
  • Detective Phil Hart
  • Alf Sanchez - stablehand
  • Lou Yelvey - stablehand
  • Pepper Nash - jockey
  • Velma Deene - gallery owner
  • Judd Bruce - sportsman, part-owner of Minaret, a competing racehorse
  • Howard Ainslee - industriliast who once lost a bid to Harlow for control of Ludex Corp.
  • Cliff - spotty-faced youth from Burnside Tech. film club


  • Hugh Morston - Harlow's neighbor, ad exec, Bruce's silent partner
  • Kurt Ellum - horse trainer
  • Nate - Mortson's groom
  • Karp - trucker; Ellum's accomplice in robberies

Motivation: Morston's ad business is not doing well and he hopes to make up losses by gambling. After catching Ellum breaking into his house, Morston forces him to steal Shooting Star, the favorite to win the River Heights Handicap, so that Morston's own horse, Minaret will win and he can cash in on his bets.


Dust on Patches' paws leads Nancy and Tina to an abandoned mine where a thoroughbred is being kept. The allow the horse to walk home (Morston's) where they find Shooting Star in the horse's stall. Shooting Star's distinctive white markings have been covered up with paint.


horse chestnut planted under Stormy's saddle

smoke bomb scare

Nancy's talents

horseback riding
acting in movie
stars in series of 3 commercials for Venus beauty soap

Key clues

silver bud vase with "W" monogram 
Patches, the tortoise-shell cat (Shooting Star's best friend)
green fabric snagged on tree branch

Nancy's outfits

tailored shirt, jodhpurs, boots and brown scarf

simple yellow cotton dress

jeans, cotton print shirt

Hannah cooks

blueberry pie
chocolate mousse
chops, biscuits
quiche and green salad
shrimp casserole

items of interest

name of local paper is the River Heights Record

Emerson College is located in another state

Nancy's favorite charity is River Heights Animal Shelter

Nancy keeps a black horse named Black Prince

Restaurants in River Heights: Purple Parrot, The Hangout

Meaning of the title

Racehorses; trying to recover Shooting Star in time for the running of the Handicap

working title



Below is a gallery of all the covers I have found for Race Against Time. Below each picture is the artist's name, and a brief description of the scene depicted.

Wanderer "Arch" cover by Ruth Sanderson: page 30 - Nancy is returning from the dance, and finds the stables at Grimsby Mansion on fire

Wanderer "Checkerboard" cover by Hector Garrido - fantasy montage with Ned in his vampire costume (page 148) and Grimsby Mansion

Minstrel cover by Linda Thomas: page 101 - Stormy, a big black stallion, is rearing up on the set of a TV commerical; the English saddle is correct; Nancy does not get thrown off

Angus & Robertson cover by Peter Archer: more accurate depiction of scene in the Thomas cover.

Armada (UK) Format "C" cover by unknown artist: composition of elements from the story: burning stables, fireworks - Shooting Star was stolen on the 4th of July

Hachette (France) cover by Philippe Daure

Hachette (France) cover by Philippe Daure

Hachette (France) format "P" cover by Marguerite Sauvage: with Tina? Hachette (France) format "P" cover by Cécile Roubio: shy Tina

Forlagshuset (Norwegian) cover by unknown artist

Wahlströms (Sweden) cover by Ulla Urkio: same scene as Sanderson above.

Tammi (Finnish) cover by Pentti Ajanto: Lenny(?) is filming as part of the Westmoor film club project

Tammi (Finnish) cover by Pentti Kareinen: artistic rendition of Nancy with Stormy and the Grimsby Mansion in the background

Indira (Indonesian) cover; recycles Sanderson artwork Fargoes (Malay) cover - unconfirmed as title, but does show the horse; the translation of the title  refers to "spots" which could be Shooting Star's distinctive marks


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/yellow on medium blue/2.75,42373-8,+
bl/pwt/bl/tp+/cp/tc/bl//Fan ad (wb)/ND#57-68, LC#1-6/bl

1st (General Publishing Ltd.)
Sanderson/W1/yellow on medium blue/42373-8,GPC,+
bl/pwt/bl/tp+/cp/tc/bl//Fan ad (wb)/ND#57-68, LC#1-6/bl

Sanderson/W1/yellow on medium blue/3.50,42373-8,+
bl/pwt/bl/tp+/cp/tc/bl//ND#57-75 ao of/bl/bl

Garrido/W2/two-toned blue/3.50, +, 62476-8
bl/pwt/bl/tp+/cp/tc/bl//ND#57-78ao of/HB#59-85 ao of/bl

Garrido/W2/two-toned blue/3.50,+,62476-8
bl/pwt/bl/tp+/cp/tc/bl//ND#57-78ao of/NDCF#1/bl

1st Minstrel
Garrido/M1/two-toned blue/3.50,+,62476-8
bl/pwt/bl/tp+/cp/tc/bl//ND#57-79 ao of/HB#59-86 ao of/bl

2nd Minstrel
Thomas/M1/very dark teal, 350/pic, 69485-5
bl UPC/exc/ND#57-92/tp/cp+/pwt/bl/tc/bl//ND#57-92, g1 of/HB#59-99, g of/
NewBT#1-15 of/LCA (11) of/ JG (7) of/BF#1-6 of/bl



Foreign Title

Title's translation


Kitty och filmmysteriet

Nancy and the film mystery


Neiti etsivä ja kadonnut kilpahevonen

Nancy and the missing race-horse


Detektiv Nancy Drew og veddeløpssvindelen

Nancy and the race-track fraud


Alice et le cheval volé

Nancy and the stolen horse

Indonesian Rahasia Rumah Tua
Malay Misteri Kuda Bintang (unconfirmed)
Mystery of the horse with spots

Race Against Time, artwork by Ruth Sanderson © 1982 by Simon & Schuster, New York.
Race Against Time, artwork by Hector Garrido © 1986 by Simon & Schuster, New York.
Race Against Time, artwork by Linda Thomas © by Simon & Schuster, New York.
Race Against Time, artwork by Peter Archer © 1983 by Angus & Robertson, Sydney.
Race Against Time, artwork unattributed © 1983 by Fontana Paperbacks, London.
Alice at le cheval volé, artwork by Philippe Daure © 1987 by Hachette, Paris.
Alice at le cheval volé, artwork by Philippe Daure © 1995 by Hachette, Paris.
Alice at le cheval volé, artwork by Marguerite Sauvage © 2008 by Hachette, Paris.
Alice at le cheval volé, artwork by Cécile Roubio © 2015 by Hachette, Paris.
Detektiv Nancy Drew og veddeløpssvindelen, artwork unattributed © by A/S Forlagshuset , Oslo.
Kitty och filmmysteriet, artwork by Ulla Urkio © 1983 by B. Wahlströms Bokförlag, Stockholm.
Neiti Etsivä ja kadonnut kilpahevonen, artwork by Pentti Kareinen © 1994 by Tammi, Helsinki.
Neiti Etsivä ja kadonnut kilpahevonen, artwork by Pentti Ajanto © 1983 by Tammi, Helsinki.
Rahasia Rumah Tua,
artwork by Ruth Sanderson © 1982 by Simon & Schuster, New York.
Misteri Kuda Bintang, artwork © 2001 by Fargoes, Kuala Lumpur.


© 2002, 2004, 2008, 2016 Lea Shangraw Fox