Who Wrote It?: Franklin W. Dixon
C’mon, Who Really Wrote it?: Leslie McFarlane in 1932
Was It Revised?: Yes, in 1962 by James Beuchler
Cover: Rudy Nappi, red and yellow as is typical. What is not typical is this cover is a massive spoiler! One of the two key mysteries of this book is solved for you right on the cover. Oh, Mr. Nappi, it’s a good thing you didn’t paint this cover in the 21st-century — Twitter would have been all over you for doing this. But back to the cover, it’s a solid entry. The boys are not just staring at trouble as usual, this time they are in the middle of trouble, and oh what trouble it is (see below)!
Where’s Fenton This Time?: He and the missus are off somewhere and don’t show up at all. The one time we really need Fenton to ride to the rescue, he’s AWOL. Fenton, you had one job…
Which Chums Show Up?: Chet, Biff, Jerry, Tony, Iola and Callie. Chet gets the big role.
What’s Chet’s Hobby This Time?: Doing criminal voices again, I guess. He hasn’t had any hobbies for a couple of books now. Maybe Iola teased him too much.
Aunt Gertrude’s Dessert: A whole fudge pie, and then later some apple pie, and a big feast at the end. If you don’t get hungry reading Hardy Boys books, you’re doing it wrong.
Plot: More jewel thieves in town (it’s a wonder any woman in Bayport has so much as an earring left). Hurd Applegate shows up again (see The Tower Treasure), and again, his jade gets stolen. It’s called a safe, Hurd, look into it. Meanwhile an abandoned house is purchased and the new owner hires Frank and Joe to solve the mystery of how someone is able to leave threatening notes in the middle of a completely sealed room.
Review: The ending of this one makes your hair stand on end. It’s an are-you-kidding-me moment where you cannot believe what you just read. Usually the boys get beat up, or threatened to get dumped in the ocean or something. But look at that cover. This is at the end when the boys are tied up and a bomb is set to go off and kill them. Obliterate them! And there is NOTHING they can do about it. They cannot get untied, they cannot reach the bomb, they know it will go off at 3am and all they can do is watch that clock tick to their doom. Blow up the Hardy Boys? Was Mr. McFarlane so sick of writing these books that he indulged in a little fantasy here? You read this ending and you are shocked at the potential violence here. And the bad guy is really, really spiteful! No confession at the end for this jerk. Even after he’s caught, good luck finding the stolen jewels. Phew! This one’s intense.