Who Wrote It?: Franklin W. Dixon
C’mon, Who Really Wrote it?: John Button in 1940, the third of his five books in a row.
Cover: John Leone, his third and last cover with Rudy Nappi taking over again for the rest of the series. As usual, Frank and Joe are wearing red and yellow (in fact, Joe is himself wearing red and yellow — way to take one for the team, Joe!). Night scene, old house, ghostly figure approaching — yup, still in Scooby Doo territory here. I’m telling you, Scooby Doo owes a debt to the Hardy Boys. Let’s see, if Chet is Shaggy, and Frank is Fred, and Callie and Iola are . . . naaah, it’s not THAT much of a pattern.
Setting: Bayport, nothing but Bayport and its surroundings. Why go anywhere else when major international criminal enterprises decide Bayport is a happening place?
Where’s Fenton This Time?: Chicago mostly, waiting for a break in the case that never comes. Even when he makes his usual Chapter XX appearance, this time he doesn’t save the day. Frank and Joe have it all wrapped up by then.
Which Chums Show Up?: Chet, Callie and Iola, Tony.
What’s Chet’s Hobby This Time?: Nuttin’. Well, being scared, but willing to help.
Aunt Gertrude’s Dessert: Lemon pie. But Gerty is described as making other pies that the boys are too busy to eat, so who knows, maybe the author would have described more pies if they had stuck around.
Plot: Jewel thieves in Bayport. I know! As if there could be any jewels left in town by this point! Plus an old house in the middle of nowhere that has a floor that disappears. Plus blood-curdling (I believe that would be the appropriate cliche) screams in the night, a dog that growls, someone whose dying words talk about “…the floor,” yes, it’s a humdinger of a Scooby Doo mystery here.
Review: I like this one. Good mysteries involving a laughably elaborate plan to fool someone into going to the 6th floor of a building instead of the 5th floor (think Mission Impossible – Ghost Protocol – see folks, all of modern fiction derives from the Hardy Boys), a floor that appears and then disappears, suitably tough jewel thieves, high stakes action, a mysterious message from Jack Wayne as he seems to be flying for the bad guys, and it’s all in Bayport with Chet around to get spooked by the ghost. Oh, right, that ghost. You don’t really think it’s a ghost, do you? Remember, Scooby Doo territory here!