Nancy Clue, Cherry Aimless & The Hardly Boys

Created by Mabel Maney


I‘m not even sure how to fit this series in. The heroes of it are not private eyes. They’re not even parodies of private eyes. What they are are shrewd, dead-on lampoons of some of the most popular mystery series ever to be marketed to kids.

Except these parodies are definitely not aimed at kids.

When the series kicked off, the author was happy enough to simply take the piss out of beloved girl detectives Nancy Drew and Cherry Ames, two of the mainstays of the Stratemeyer Syndicate. The Case of the Not-So-Nice Nurse (1993) was a riot, a hilarious, pitch-perfect, sexed-up send-up of girls’ fiction of the past, but squarely aimed at adult readers, with recent nursing school graduate CHERRY AIMLESS enlisting the aid of courageous and plucky NANCY CLUE to investigate the disappearance of a beautiful patient from the hospital psych ward. Soon enough, the two girl detectives are wrapped up in mysterious nuns, kidnappers, drag queens, ticking timebombs and each other.

Oh, I didn’t mention Nancy and Cherry are now lesbians?

The even more campy sequel, The Case of the Good-for-Nothing Girlfriend (1994), was another sly and lusty lampoon, with the two dyke dicks rushing home to River Depths, Illinois to investigate the murder of attorney Carson Clue, Nancy’s father, apparently done in by his maid of thirty-odd years.

But by now the author realized she had struck comedic gold, and re-adjusted her sights. The third queer caper in the series, A Ghost in the Closet (1995) introduced THE HARDLY BOYS (a parody of The Hardy Boys, of course). Sleuthing brothers Frank and Joe, from Feyport, Illinois, team up with Nancy and Cherry to rescue their parents, world famous sleuth Fennel Hardy and their mother, Mrs. Hardy, from kidnappers.

And so it goes…

More recently, the author has writing about a female spy. The character’s name? Bond. Jane Bond.


Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.

One thought on “Nancy Clue, Cherry Aimless & The Hardly Boys

  1. I read these when they first came out and can indeed attest that they are fun and funny. Though I haven’t read them in a bit I’m sure the humour holds up because it was **supposed** to be dated. The mix of characters who are obviously queer with characters who couldn’t recognize queerness if it bit them on the bum is part of the fun. Heterosexism, in this world, doesn’t exist in any malicious variety. There are simply characters too dense to notice that some people in their midst are queer and in love. Don’t expect, then, that there is some horribly straight villain. The world of Mabel Maney doesn’t work like that. Instead kick your shoes off and enjoy a world where you are slyly in on the jokes that most of the characters will never themselves get. It’s hard to express how truly delightful the experience is.

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