Who Wrote It?: Franklin W. Dixon
C’mon, Who Really Wrote it?: Leslie McFarlane in 1927
Was It Revised?: Yes, in 1959 by Harriet S. Adams
Cover: Pretty classic, really. Frank and Joe looking at a threatening situation, nice use of color, but otherwise generic.
Where’s Fenton This Time?: At home, of all places!
Which Chums Show Up?: Chet, Callie, Iola, Jerry, Biff, Tony, Phil — pretty much the whole gang right at the start.
Aunt Gertrude’s Dessert: She doesn’t appear until book three, so I’m afraid the boys went hungry.
Plot: Hurd Applegate and his sister Adelia live in a old mansion on the outskirts of Bayport. They suffer a burglary and suspect their caretaker. The Hardy Boys take on their first case by trying to find who really stole the jewels and securities.
Review: In some ways this is primitive proto-Hardy Boys, in other ways Mr. McFarlane set in motion the complete package right from the start (or maybe Ms. Adams did the trick in 1959, I’m not sure). Either way, this is basic Hardy Boys, but the foundation is laid.
The classic suspenseful moment to end each chapter is not quite in place yet – some of the chapter endings are hardly enough to raise an eyebrow in concern – but that approach is being attempted.
Chet is in place already, and Callie and Iola get tentative steps toward their personalities, but the other chums are there by name only.
The mystery is four-part:
- Who stole Chet’s jalopy?
- Oh, solved that, but who stole the jewels?
- Oh, solved that, but where are the jewels?
- Oh, so THAT’S the old tower being referred to
So as a start, it’s a good foundation. As a standalone entry in the canon, it’s lesser Hardy.