Who Wrote It?: Franklin W. Dixon
C’mon, Who Really Wrote it?: Charles S. Strong in 1954. His one and only Hardy Boys book. We’re going through a string of one-offs, but that will soon end.
Was It Revised?: Yes, in 1971 by Pricilla Baker-Carr.
Cover: Rudy Nappi. Heavy on the yellow, and a bit of red. Symbolism and realism in one painting. Nice bird.
Setting: Bayport and nearby. Basically as far as a homing pigeon flies.
Where’s Fenton This Time?: Once again working on the same case, at times working with the boys, and at times he gets called urgently to Washington. But he gets the most important Chapter XX Deus Ex Fenton call since the boys were almost blown up by that clock!
Which Chums Show Up?: Chet, Biff, Tony, Callie, Iola.
What’s Chet’s Hobby This Time?: None. These one-off authors don’t quite know what to do with Chet. Typically no hobby, but also quite brave in action. How can Chet be the Scooby Doo character of the series if he keeps being written as brave?
Aunt Gertrude’s Dessert: The boys go hungry.
Plot: Someone sends Frank and Joe a peregrine hawk — wait, what? That’s right. Then pigeons get killed by the hawk and were found to be carrying rubies and messages from point somewhere to other point who knows where. Then a young man from India gets kidnapped and must be found. Bombings and poisoning death threats follow.
Review: First of all, let me welcome my readers from India! Did you know you folks represent the second-most popular country for reading this site? Welcome! This is your book!
India achieved independence in 1947. Seven years later it was time to introduce young boys and girls to the fine people of that distant land. Honestly, that’s how this book reads. Some mighty noble characters get introduced, if they aren’t on the other side and then quite devilish. Still, mid-century American attempts at multi-culturalism aside, this is a pretty good mystery. Basically all they have to go on is what that hawk turns up, plus that nice Indian merchant downtown who hates to see anything besmirch the reputation of his country.
In the end this has suspense, a vicious bombing that literally destroys half of the Hardy’s house, and death by poison at the end until Fenton decides maybe Washington can wait. And boy does Sam Radley get the most thankless job in the entire series in this book. But in the end, this has some good stuff in it. See, readers from India, this one is decent! Like Frank and Joe, I look forward to visiting your country too.