Tag Archives: Forrest




Who Wrote It?: Franklin W. Dixon

C’mon, Who Really Wrote it?: Alistair Hunter in 1963.  His only original Hardy Boys book, but written in the same year he revised 5: HUNTING FOR HIDDEN GOLD and the year after he revised 3: THE SECRET OF THE OLD MILL.  I gave #5 a rating of 5 and #3 a rating of 6.  Can Mr. Hunter get a 7 at last?

Was It Revised?: No.

Cover: Rudy Nappi.  Red and yellow, with a mostly realistic setting.  Good, classic look.

Setting: Bayport and then Canada.  Edmonton and Great Slave Lake in the Northwest Territories.  Come see Canada!     

Where’s Fenton This Time?: He incites the action by getting Tony and Biff to go one way, and the boys and Chet to go another way, and then he joins in midway through and continues with the gang.

Which Chums Show Up?: Chet, Biff, Tony, but it must be said that Tony disappears and Biff is used sparingly.  But at this stage Mr. Hardy is using them all as cheap labor.

What’s Chet’s Hobby This Time?: Nothing.

Aunt Gertrude’s Dessert: Chocolate cake, not to mention “juicy, tender roast beef, buttered baked potatoes, fresh asparagus” before that.  Aunty is on her game in this one.

Plot: An old slab of rock goes missing that, wouldn’t you know, tells how to find a missing treasure if you can only read the Viking symbols.  A gang is trying to read it, and the Boys have to stop them.

Review:  Not bad, though I never want to hear “Bon tonnerre!” ever again.  But hey, Caribou Caron is a stand up guy, so I’ll forgive him for that.

This one has an awful lot of flying back and forth between the lake and Edmonton.  And they are constantly catching members of the gang and locking them up, until the whole book seems like a catch-the-next-guy story.  But it has nice adventure, with bears and salmon and pesky insects, so readers will get a feel for the Canadian wilderness.  And the story has enough suspense to keep you interested along the way.

Score: 7




Who Wrote It?: Franklin W. Dixon

C’mon, Who Really Wrote it?: James Beuchler in 1962.  The second of two originals in a row he would write, but we’ve seen Mr. Beuchler’s work before in 11: WHILE THE CLOCK TICKED and in 14: THE HIDDEN HARBOR MYSTERY, both of which he revised in the same years as he was writing his two originals.  I gave #11 a rating of 8 and #14 a rating of 6.  Then I gave his first original a rating of 7.  Lemme see, what number is missing in the sequence…

Was It Revised?: No.

Cover: Rudy Nappi.  Classic combination of realistic and symbolic cover art.  We have the red and yellow color, and a realistic setting, and we have a symbolic owl looking down on the action.  Well, it’s a real owl, but its size is symbolic.  And once you read the book, you’ll see how the symbolism is appropriate.  Hint.

Setting: The Poconos.  For my readers from around the world, these are a small mountain range in eastern Pennsylvania.  And if you read this book, you’ll never want to visit.  The Poconos Chamber of Commerce should sue.    

Where’s Fenton This Time?: Chapter XX, baby!  Here comes the Fenton-cavalry! 

Which Chums Show Up?: Chet.  Mr. Beuchler liked Chet a lot, and boy does Chet do great in this book.  Oh, Callie and Iola get mentioned in a phone conversation with Mrs. Hardy, but they don’t actually appear in the book.  Sorry, Callie Shaw & Iola Morton Fan Club.

What’s Chet’s Hobby This Time?: No hobby.  But let me rant for a moment.  In the last book — BY THE SAME AUTHOR ONE YEAR EARLIER — Chet says, “You know I can’t cook worth anything.  Eating is what I’m good at.”  Now in this book, again, same author, Chet is described this way: “Chet Morton busied himself getting supper . . . Chad had outdone himself to produce a meal of steak, friend potatoes, and hot vegetables.”  Later on he makes more meals, and does a great job.  So I’m sorry, that’s really, really poor form by Mr. Beuchler.

Aunt Gertrude’s Dessert: Who?  She doesn’t appear in the book.  The book does not take place in Bayport, so no doubt she made a lovely strawberry-rhubarb pie that Mrs. Hardy ate with her while they thought about their missing household inhabitants.

Plot: Another missing person story.  The boys and Chet go to the mountains and try to find him.  Lots of atmospheric doings go on while they do.  Plus a beagle puppy!

Review:  Don’t let the simple description fool ya, this is a great story.  Suspenseful, gripping, interesting characters, it’s a great mystery.  Yes, the clue of the screeching owl is significant, but it’s misdirection, and fun at that.

This is another one of those Scooby Doo plots, with hints of the supernatural that, of course, have a perfectly normal explanation.  As Joe correctly says:

“That’s how these stories get started.  Something mysterious happens, and instead of looking for a sensible explanation, superstitious people think of spells and witches right away.”

Well said, Joe.  And the bad guy would have gotten away with it too if it hadn’t been for you meddling kids.

Score: 9 (that’s 8 for the gripping story, and 1 for the cute puppy)