C’mon, Who Really Wrote it?: Leslie McFarlane in 1928
Was It Revised?: Yes, in 1959 by Harriet S. Adams
Cover: Rudy Nappi, a bit too much brown and yellow for my taste, but nice action scene that accurately pictures not only the plot but the title too.
Setting: Bayport again.
Where’s Fenton This Time?: Still at home, the slacker, though he does have the good taste to get himself kidnapped for a good long stretch. This is truly the boy’s show now.
Which Chums Show Up?: Chet, Biff, Tony, Phil, Callie, Iola, Jerry
Aunt Gertrude’s Dessert: I told you, she ain’t showing up until book three, but Chet did get a nice slice of lemon meringue pie from a farmer and his wife. Frank and Joe are getting hungry.
Plot: Smugglers, an abandoned house overlooking the water, and hey, bet there’s a connection between the two!
Review: This is where the Hardy Boys really get going. Fenton gets kidnapped and is out of the picture for half of the book, so it’s Frank and Joe’s time to shine, and shine they do. They use clues to figure out where the hiding place is, and where their father is prisoner, and then they show great courage to rescue him. Chet and Biff get to help by going for the Coast Guard, and this division of labor is a standard part of Hardy Boys plots.
The bad guy seems awfully contrite at the end, but it is interesting to get the criminal’s perspective for once. McFarlane wrote a good story that, though aimed at kids, is fairly sophisticated about crime and law enforcement.
The franchise is now set up and we are ready to roll.