The Nancys

The Nancys is adult crime fiction in the tradition of a whodunit murder mystery, except all the characters are completely out of control and pay no attention to any rules.

TIPPY CHAN is eleven and lives in Riverstone, a two pub town in South Otago, New Zealand. The same town her UNCLE PIKE escaped from when he was a teenager. Tippy loves her uncle’s old Nancy Drew books, especially the early versions where Nancy was sixteen and did whatever she wanted. She wants to be Nancy and is desperate to solve a real mystery.

Tippy’s chance comes when her mum goes on holiday, leaving Uncle Pike and his new boyfriend, DEVON, in charge. When her teacher turns up dead beside the small town’s only traffic light Tippy teams up with her babysitters to form The Nancys, a secret amateur detective club.

But what starts as a bonding and sightseeing adventure quickly morphs in to a risky investigation. A wrongful arrest, a close call with the killer, and an intervention from Tippy’s Mum all conspire against The Nancys. While the town grieves everyone believes the police have caught the killer, including Tippy’s mum. It is up to The Nancys to go against the flow, as well as questionable interior design and fashion choices, to solve the mystery before anyone else dies.

The Nancys is a book for anyone who’s ever felt outside looking in. At its heart it is about the family we make and the courage required to tell the truth, no matter what the cost.

Read an excerpt from The Nancys here on Scribd.


Nancy Business is the sequel to The Nancys and takes place four months later from when The Nancys finished. Can the Nancys get the band back together again? And when everyone is right, does that make you wrong?

Nancy Business is a book about family, love (bombs) and the courage to stand up for the truth, no matter the cost.

Published: : June 2019
ISBN: : 9781760527334
Imprint: : Allen & Unwin
Format: : Paperback - C format
Pages: : 400



Best First Novel – Ngaio Marsh Award 2020


Best First Crime Novel – The Ned Kelly Awards 2020, Best Novel - Ngaio Marsh Awards 2020


Unpublished Manuscript – Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards 2017

Available in print and e-book

A delight - moving and hilarious. I loved every minute I spent with these characters.

Paddy O'Reilly

How does The Nancys manage to be both sharp and blackly funny, but also uplifting and sweet?

Toni Jordan

Funny, dark and above all, heart-warming, The Nancys is a murder mystery set in small town New Zealand. Eleven year old Tippy Chan investigates and, in typical Nancy Drew fashion, tries to work out, who did it. But it’s not only murder she must grapple with; Tippy must also come to terms with the death of her father.

Katherine Collette, author of The Helpline

The Nancys is a celebration of what’s important in life - which is family, friendship and also: makeovers. R.W.R. McDonald’s novel is face-paced, clever and full of wit and repartee. McDonald pays homage to the novel’s namesake Nancy Drew, but adds elements of RuPaul and Shirley Barrett’s The Bus on Thursday. The result is a work of fiction that is smart, darkly comic and, in the very best of ways, completely bizarre.

Katherine Collette, author of The Helpline

… a riotous, delightful mess of a case, with beauty pageants, cranky child witnesses and bitter minor celebrities ... Cheerfully scattered, this glittering, occasionally grisly and highly original novel … stands proudly on its own.


Written with verve, humour and heart, [The Nancys] is a stunning debut, one of those very special books that enthrals from its opening, and leaves you with pangs of regret, desperate to spend more time with its characters.

Simon McDonald,

A gleeful crime fiction debut with a satisfying balance of campy warmth and murdery darkness…

Kate Adams, @kaddadams

This book is like a little cube of Turkish delight in a world of digestive biscuits. Get into it. Let it make you happy… It’s so funny and fun and feel-good.

Bri Lee, author of Eggshell Skull