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29: THE SECRET OF THE LOST TUNNEL

29

 

Who Wrote It?: Franklin W. Dixon

C’mon, Who Really Wrote it?: Andrew E. Svenson in 1950.  The second of three-in-a-row that he did in the late 40s/early 50s.

Was It Revised?: Yes, in 1968 by David Grambs, the last of his four revisions after 6: The Shore Road Mystery, 12: Footprints Under the Window and very recently 27: The Secret of Skull Mountain.  That represents two 9 ratings and one 6.  Which will his fourth revision get, the 9 end or the 6 end?

Cover: Rudy Nappi.  There’s yellow, there’s red, got some blue, and a lot of brown.  Instead of the boys peering at danger, they are investigating the secret of the lost tunnel.  Yes, a massive spoiler is placed right on the cover…

Setting: Bayport and then Virginia.  This is another Frank and Joe Down South story.  

Where’s Fenton This Time?: Testifying in Washington.  Until Chapter XX, of course.  Saves the boys’ life. Of course. 

Which Chums Show Up?: Chet.  Appearing to send them off down south are Callie, Iola and Helen Osborne (who?).

What’s Chet’s Hobby This Time?: Photography.  Yup, gets used.  But I have an official complaint: In 22: The Flickering Torch Mystery, Chet’s hobby is building airplanes from parts.  Yet in this story, Chet says at one point, “I’d sure like to learn to fly these things.”  Are you kidding me?  Seven books ago he’s building an airplane, yet he can’t even fly the things?!

Aunt Gertrude’s Dessert: Apple pie, the basic staple of pies.  Then it’s off down south for the rest of the tale.

Plot: Military general wants to hire Fenton to find some gold his ancestor was said to have buried, but reluctantly hires Frank and Joe when Fenton is called away to Washington.  Frank and Joe go down south, start sniffing around, and go figure, a gang of crooks is looking for the same gold.  Threats and knocks on the head ensue.

Review:  Not my favorite.  It’s almost a by the numbers attempt to get in the elements of a Hardy Boys book, but it doesn’t fly.  It’s a simple treasure hunt, if said hunt was accompanied by homicidal maniacs willing to kill you to get to the treasure first.  So actually, yeah, a simple treasure hunt.  It just doesn’t work as well as it should.  Goodbye Mr. Grambs, thank you for the two 9s you gave us, sorry about the two 6s.

Score: 6

11: WHILE THE CLOCK TICKED

11

Who Wrote It?: Franklin W. Dixon

C’mon, Who Really Wrote it?: Leslie McFarlane in 1932

Was It Revised?: Yes, in 1962 by James Beuchler

Cover: Rudy Nappi, red and yellow as is typical.  What is not typical is this cover is a massive spoiler!  One of the two key mysteries of this book is solved for you right on the cover.  Oh, Mr. Nappi, it’s a good thing you didn’t paint this cover in the 21st-century — Twitter would have been all over you for doing this.  But back to the cover, it’s a solid entry.  The boys are not just staring at trouble as usual, this time they are in the middle of trouble, and oh what trouble it is (see below)!

Setting: Bayport.

Where’s Fenton This Time?: He and the missus are off somewhere and don’t show up at all.  The one time we really need Fenton to ride to the rescue, he’s AWOL.  Fenton, you had one job…

Which Chums Show Up?: Chet, Biff, Jerry, Tony, Iola and Callie.  Chet gets the big role.

What’s Chet’s Hobby This Time?: Doing criminal voices again, I guess.  He hasn’t had any hobbies for a couple of books now.  Maybe Iola teased him too much.

Aunt Gertrude’s Dessert: A whole fudge pie, and then later some apple pie, and a big feast at the end.  If you don’t get hungry reading Hardy Boys books, you’re doing it wrong.

Plot: More jewel thieves in town (it’s a wonder any woman in Bayport has so much as an earring left).  Hurd Applegate shows up again (see The Tower Treasure), and again, his jade gets stolen.  It’s called a safe, Hurd, look into it.  Meanwhile an abandoned house is purchased and the new owner hires Frank and Joe to solve the mystery of how someone is able to leave threatening notes in the middle of a completely sealed room.

Review: The ending of this one makes your hair stand on end.  It’s an are-you-kidding-me moment where you cannot believe what you just read.  Usually the boys get beat up, or threatened to get dumped in the ocean or something.  But look at that cover.  This is at the end when the boys are tied up and a bomb is set to go off and kill them.  Obliterate them!  And there is NOTHING they can do about it.  They cannot get untied, they cannot reach the bomb, they know it will go off at 3am and all they can do is watch that clock tick to their doom.  Blow up the Hardy Boys?  Was Mr. McFarlane so sick of writing these books that he indulged in a little fantasy here?  You read this ending and you are shocked at the potential violence here.  And the bad guy is really, really spiteful!  No confession at the end for this jerk.  Even after he’s caught, good luck finding the stolen jewels.  Phew!  This one’s intense.

Score: 8