Who Wrote It?: Franklin W. Dixon
C’mon, Who Really Wrote it?: Andrew E. Svenson in 1950. The second of three-in-a-row that he did in the late 40s/early 50s.
Was It Revised?: Yes, in 1968 by David Grambs, the last of his four revisions after 6: The Shore Road Mystery, 12: Footprints Under the Window and very recently 27: The Secret of Skull Mountain. That represents two 9 ratings and one 6. Which will his fourth revision get, the 9 end or the 6 end?
Cover: Rudy Nappi. There’s yellow, there’s red, got some blue, and a lot of brown. Instead of the boys peering at danger, they are investigating the secret of the lost tunnel. Yes, a massive spoiler is placed right on the cover…
Setting: Bayport and then Virginia. This is another Frank and Joe Down South story.
Where’s Fenton This Time?: Testifying in Washington. Until Chapter XX, of course. Saves the boys’ life. Of course.
Which Chums Show Up?: Chet. Appearing to send them off down south are Callie, Iola and Helen Osborne (who?).
What’s Chet’s Hobby This Time?: Photography. Yup, gets used. But I have an official complaint: In 22: The Flickering Torch Mystery, Chet’s hobby is building airplanes from parts. Yet in this story, Chet says at one point, “I’d sure like to learn to fly these things.” Are you kidding me? Seven books ago he’s building an airplane, yet he can’t even fly the things?!
Aunt Gertrude’s Dessert: Apple pie, the basic staple of pies. Then it’s off down south for the rest of the tale.
Plot: Military general wants to hire Fenton to find some gold his ancestor was said to have buried, but reluctantly hires Frank and Joe when Fenton is called away to Washington. Frank and Joe go down south, start sniffing around, and go figure, a gang of crooks is looking for the same gold. Threats and knocks on the head ensue.
Review: Not my favorite. It’s almost a by the numbers attempt to get in the elements of a Hardy Boys book, but it doesn’t fly. It’s a simple treasure hunt, if said hunt was accompanied by homicidal maniacs willing to kill you to get to the treasure first. So actually, yeah, a simple treasure hunt. It just doesn’t work as well as it should. Goodbye Mr. Grambs, thank you for the two 9s you gave us, sorry about the two 6s.