Who Wrote It?: Franklin W. Dixon
C’mon, Who Really Wrote it?: Andrew E. Svenson in 1974. The second of three in a row he wrote, among others.
Was It Revised?: No.
Cover: Rudy Nappi. Another symbolic cover, this time without the usual red and yellow, but a beautiful blue and green motif. The elements are all there, the dragon, balloons, chess pieces. Very nice cover.
Setting: Bayport, nearby, Hong Kong.
Where’s Fenton This Time?: Back in the States. It’s up to the Hong Kong police to show up in Chapter XX this time.
Which Chums Show Up?: All of them. Svenson likes to bring them all in. So we have Chet, Biff, Tony, Phil, Callie, Iola in one scene or another. But it’s Chet who does the heavy lifting, and no, that was not a weight reference, why do you ask?
What’s Chet’s Hobby This Time?: Ballooning. Of course.
Aunt Gertrude’s Dessert: Lovely wedges of apple pie after some roast-beef sandwiches. Now we’re cookin’!
Plot: It’s 1974, chess was quite the rage since the Bobby Fischer world championships a couple of years before. So a valuable chess piece is in danger of being stolen, and the boys are hired to help. Who can they trust? What are the crooks after?
Review: This one felt odd to me. It’s a Svenson, and he has written some great ones. But this one felt disjointed. If you told me a new writer was assigned this one, I’d believe it.
I kept losing track of the plot. And pieces of the plot seemed to be brought in almost randomly. A dragon-shaped balloon? OK, we got one of those, but now what? It doesn’t really have much to do with anything.
We get some 70s dialog:
“We flush out vagrants now and then. Mostly junkies.”
The travel to Hong Kong at the end is nice. On the whole though, not a great one.