Who Wrote It?: Franklin W. Dixon
C’mon, Who Really Wrote it?: Leslie McFarlane in 1936
Was It Revised?: Yes, in 1968 by Tom Mulvey, one of five he revised and the first since The Mark On The Door.
Cover: Rudy Nappi, red and yellow but this time Frank is wearing blue. What a great cover this is! Frank and Joe are dodging a classic looking sports car that is falling apart because of the sinister signpost. Great action depiction that is like a Hollywood movie poster in that it shows something that is thematically correct while at the same time showing a scene that never occurs in the story.
Setting: Bayport and Maryland for a little horse farm subplot and Vermont for a brief side story, but mostly the region around Bayport.
Where’s Fenton This Time?: By the phone. Seriously. At every turn of the story, Fenton suggests Frank and Joe go out into action while he waits by the phone in case the police call or the crooks call or his bookie calls — OK, not that last one. Mr. Deus Ex Fenton doesn’t even fulfill that role. Instead he gets his sorry butt captured and it’s up to Joe to be heroic and save the day, with a big assist from Chet.
Which Chums Show Up?: Chet a lot, and Biff and Tony for a brief scene.
What’s Chet’s Hobby This Time?: Bicycle with rockets. Yes, you read that right. No, I’m not kidding. Yes, of course it comes into the story.
Aunt Gertrude’s Dessert: Coconut-custard pie, and later on an apple pie.
Plot: A factory making experimental motors (and man, does Bayport have a lot of experimental, top-secret factories around town) is the victim of information being leaked somehow. Plus race cars get their windshields clouded by some sort of device installed in street signs. And Aunt Gertrude inherits a horse farm in Maryland that is not as irrelevant to the plot as you might think.
Review: I like this one. From its top-notch (pun intended, if you’ve read the book) cover, to its Bayport setting, and lots of flights by Jack Wayne who never seems to mind being asked to do anything, this one has a lot going for it. A good mystery that needs to be solved, subplots that tie into the main plot, twins, car racing, it’s fun.
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