Who Wrote It?: Franklin W. Dixon
C’mon, Who Really Wrote it?: Leslie McFarlane in 1933
Was It Revised?: Yes, in 1965 by David Grambs, one of four he did and the first since The Shore Road Mystery
Cover: Rudy Nappi, red and yellow as is typical. Plus green foliage and tan roof. Frank and Joe and Chet face down a gang of desperadoes who don’t need no steekin’ badges! Oh sorry, so many South American cliches in this book I got carried away.
Setting: Bayport and an island off the coast of South America
Where’s Fenton This Time?: Gone until the very end, at which point he performs his usual job and SAVES HIS SON’S LIVES. Again.
Which Chums Show Up?: Chet, Tony, Iola and Callie. But other than Iola getting a bag of hers stolen, not much goes on with the others except for Chet who might as well be the honorary third Hardy boy in this book he does so much. And Jack Wayne shows up prominently to fly them back and forth to South America.
What’s Chet’s Hobby This Time?: Weather forecasting. What? It’s a hobby!
Aunt Gertrude’s Dessert: No sweets described, just some delicious meals the reader cannot share because they aren’t described. Bad David Grambs!
Plot: Top-secret microfilm is at risk, and tourists from South America are having their bags stolen, and a laundry gets into the plot, and footsteps are seen under some windows, and Fenton is off doing who knows what. And tell me this isn’t EXACTLY a line from Scooby Doo: “You catch on fast,” [SPOILER] said mockingly. “The warning sign I put up here and the ghost legend helped keep people away — But not you nosy kids.” Heh, you can’t tell me the Scooby Doo writers weren’t Hardy Boy fans when they were young!
Review: Just OK. Lots of investigating which gets interrupted by a trip to South America where they encounter a dictator’s gang (so 1960s!), fly back, get locked in a tomb (!) and have a race to the finish when things look bad. But the Coast Guard is made to look like an unstoppable force when they show up.