Who Wrote It?: Franklin W. Dixon
C’mon, Who Really Wrote it?: Andrew E. Svenson in 1951. The third of three-in-a-row that he did in the late 40s/early 50s. And the last one he did until he writes what, for me, is one of the highlights of the entire series (you’ll see).
Was It Revised?: Yes, in 1968 by Pricilla Baker-Carr, and it’s Ms. Baker-Carr the rest of the way until we hit 1960 and the original stories stand alone at last.
Cover: Rudy Nappi. Not much red or yellow, it’s all shades of green and blue. But what a great cover this is! Unlike the recent abstract covers, this one is almost a photograph. I think I like the night covers in the rain a lot (see my raving over What Happened at Midnight). And unlike other covers that spoil the endings, this one is basically chapter one. That’s the actual scene from the book, and it’s portrayed exactly as written. If you don’t want to know why that helicopter is flying in the rain to meet that yacht, you don’t deserve to read Hardy Boys books. I mean, Frank and Joe would see that scene and leap to figure it out…
Setting: Bayport and the woods north of there.
Where’s Fenton This Time?: Back and forth to Washington, showing up at times to help, and then making one of the most dashing Chapter XX Deus Ex Helicopter entrances ever.
Which Chums Show Up?: Chet, Biff, Tony, Callie, Iola. It’s more or less a camping trip for the boys.
What’s Chet’s Hobby This Time?: None.
Aunt Gertrude’s Dessert: None. I’m hungry.
Plot: See the cover? What’s that all about? Well, that’s the plot, trying to figure out what’s going on. Oh, OK, I’ll tell you it involves crooks doing some gunrunning, thefts, wolves in the woods ready to rip people’s throats out (what? That’s what the book says, so don’t yell at me if your 10-year-old just complained I got too graphic).
Review: This one is OK, not great. You know, that cover is funny because of course Frank and Joe would just happen to be there while this event is going on. If they don’t take the Sleuth out for a spin, they don’t see that scene. If they don’t see that scene, they have no idea anything is happening. Well, Fenton is working the D.C. angle, so he would eventually figure it out, but man, the crooks pick Bayport as their base of operations again?! Have they not read books 1-29?
And Frank and Joe stumble into so many mysteries by being in the right place at the right time I’m surprised there isn’t a series of historical Hardy Boys books: The Mystery of Ford’s Theater, for instance, when Frank and Joe happen to have tickets to see a show in 1865 when … well, you know.
And what’s with the wailing siren of the title? It keeps going off, and the only ones who seem to care are Frank and Joe. Huh? If you hear a massive siren going off from the woods, don’t you think someone would figure out what’s going on? The police would, if no one else, simply to stop all the citizens calling in to complain about that noise going off again. Seriously, if this is the method chosen by the crooks to signal their moves, they are genuine idiots.