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Any ideas much appreciated!
Some of the Usherwood / Red Rooster Collection fonts seem to be getting close, any other clues out there?
I'm guessing handlettering, based on the evidence of slight variations in the letterforms (e.g., the T in locket is wider than the other Ts). Cheltenham has a similar feel, though you'd have to modify it to get the cockeyed O and the high-waisted K.
This example was foil stamped, not printed, so the binder would have had to make a stamping die. In the 1930s this could have been done photographically, so it would have been just as easy to make it from handlettering as from a repro proof of type. Book titles were commonly handlettered in those days when there were far fewer typefaces available in the large sizes needed for book covers and jackets.
I agree with PublishingMojo that it's hand-lettered, as were almost all book covers from the era, and with his explanation.
Still, the lettering is interesting. I adjusted the geometric distortion and improved the contrast so we can better see what we are trying to match:
Thanks for the ideas and knowledge, I suspected this might be a hand-lettered quirk, quite like the effect of the reversed 'O'!
I am assuming the lettering is from the first edition, 1933.
The Nancy Drew books began in 1930. This one is number 11. Five more in the 1930s. If the publisher, Grosset & Dunlap, was seeking some consistency in the series, the lettering on at least some of the other 1930s books might in the same style. The lettering would probably be sufficient for a font designer to make a titling font that would have this particular retro flavor. IMHO there is no shortage of people able to use modern font-making tools who are looking for interesting material.