Who Wrote It?: Franklin W. Dixon
C’mon, Who Really Wrote it?: Andrew E. Svenson in 1971. One of many he wrote, including my favorite.
Was It Revised?: No.
Cover: Rudy Nappi. Green green green! Plus vampire bats. Frank and Joe look older than in the early days, so this is clearly the new house style for the boys. This is a striking symbolic cover, very distinctive for all you lovers of the color green.
Setting: Bayport and heading West. Seriously, this is basically one long road trip. The Hardy Boys Go Camping.
Where’s Fenton This Time?: He shows up in the first chapter, hands them this case, and then disappears other than to get occasional phone reports from the boys. No Chapter XX entrance for him this time.
Which Chums Show Up?: Biff, Tony, Phil, Chet, Callie and Iola. Biff and Chet actually go camping with the boys. Just like the last Svenson Hardy Boys book, he likes Biff and Chet but no one else. The others get mentioned as if on contract to be part of each book, then get dropped. If I ever wrote a classic Hardy Boys book I’d have Phil Cohen, Callie and Iola go around the world with Frank and Joe, with each of them doing something brave and smart. Biff, Chet and Tony can cool their heels back home for a change. Naaaah, who am I kidding? Chet has to come too.
What’s Chet’s Hobby This Time?: Not much of anything, really.
Aunt Gertrude’s Dessert: No direct scene, but a reference is made to her “fluffy meringue on top of her famous lemon pies.” I wonder how far her fame went?
Plot: In 1971 credit cards were not all that common, and so this plot is about crooks using bad credit cards. Oh, there’s a side plot about sapphires, but it’s not that important. In fact, the credit card stuff is what merely gets the story going, but the book itself is about Frank and Joe camping and the trouble that happens along the way. What about vampires? Forget it, kid. Not happening.
Review: Considering it’s a Svenson Hardy Boys, it’s surprising how atypical this one is. It’s a camping tale. Not particularly interesting or memorable.