There are two recurring characters in the Nancy Drew Mystery Stories who always make an entrance together.
Bess and George? Sure. But this time, I’m talking about Ned’s friends, Burt and Dave.
“Here we are!” husky, blond Burt Eddleton exclaimed with a grin. “The world’s greatest camp counselors!” He was George’s special friend.
Dave Evans was a rangy boy with fair hair and green eyes. (Password to Larkspur Lane)
You just can’t have one without the other. Whenever Burt makes an entrance, so does Dave. And so does a very memorable Nancy Drew-ism. Did you spot it? Try again.
Burt was of medium height, husky and blond, while Dave was tall and rangy, with green eyes.
(Clue of the Broken Locket)
Yes, “rangy” is one of my favorite Nancy Drew-isms. In fact, Nancy Drew Mystery Stories are the ONLY places that I have ever seen that word used. I know now that “rangy” means “slender and long-limbed.” But since “rangy” was always mentioned in the same sentence as Dave’s hair, I thought as a child that “rangy” was another word for blond. Kind of like “sandy.”
That made perfect sense to me, except in those two books where author Carolyn Keene temporarily lost her mind.
“Wait until you taste Mrs. Glick’s cooking,” George remarked to Dave, a rangy, dark-haired young man with green eyes. “You boys will have to go into training to make the football team after you leave here.” (Witch Tree Symbol)
Dave Evans, who dated Bess, was behind Ned. The young man had a rangy build, dark hair, and flashing green eyes. George’s favorite escort, Burt Eddleton, was blond. He was a little shorter and heavier than the other two. (Hidden Window Mystery)
But never fear. Carolyn Keene gets back on track and Dave turns blond again for the rest of the series.
When Keene added more description to “rangy,” it helped me to figure out the word in context.
Ned, tall and attractive-looking, was first. Behind him was Dave, blond and with a rangy build. Back of him came Burt, blond, short and husky. (Secret of Mirror Bay)
Dave Evans was blond, green-eyed, and of rangy build. He gazed at Bess fondly. “You look stunning in that new suit,” he remarked. “I like that fur collar. What is it–squirrel?” (Nancy’s Mysterious Letter)
Good old Burt and Dave. Or perhaps I should say, short old Burt and rangy old Dave. Yep. You just don’t see one without the other.
But wait a minute! I don’t see Burt anywhere in this passage from The Secret of Shadow Ranch:
With a grin the tall, rangy cowboy swung down from the truck cab. Quickly Bess introduced him to Nancy.
Dave’s handsome face grew stern when Bess and George explained what had happened. He pushed his hat to the back of his head, hooked his thumbs in his belt, and said, “Just what I figured. Three little dudes stuck high and dry.”
Oh, wait a minute. That was a different Dave. Dave the cowboy.
I guess in Nancy Drew books, all Daves are rangy.