Tag Archives: Jerry Gilroy

6: THE SHORE ROAD MYSTERY

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Who Wrote It?: Franklin W. Dixon

C’mon, Who Really Wrote it?: Leslie McFarlane in 1928

Was It Revised?: Yes, in 1964 by David Grambs

Cover: Rudy Nappi, yellow and red yet again With some blue on Joe.  The usual trope: the boys looking on in amazement at something dangerous and/or sinister.  Cool depiction of the human spider.  Their bikes look dated however.

Setting: Back in Bayport, that hotbed of criminal mischief.

Where’s Fenton This Time?: New York City investigating a weapons smuggling case.  Don’t worry, he shows up at the end.

Which Chums Show Up?: Chet, Tony, Biff, Jerry, Iola, Callie.  Chet gets the big action, as usual.

What’s Chet’s Hobby This Time?: Wilderness survival, aka vegetarianism.  Yup, rock, meet hard place.

Aunt Gertrude’s Dessert: Ah, a chocolate fudge cake that she has Chet deliver to a neighbor since he is on a diet and thus won’t touch it.  A hilarious scene results that is very well written.  Hint: never entrust a cake to Chet Morton.

Plot: A gang is stealing cars near Bayport, and how they do it is the key part of the plot since this is a particularly clever gang.  Lots of folks involved and moving parts.  Oh yeah, and foreign weapons.  Oh, and a long-lost treasure (the Hardy Boys find so much treasure in their career, they should be billionaires by now).

Review: I like this one a lot.  All the pieces are in place with the chums, Chet’s hobby, Aunt Gertrude, Fenton off somewhere but performing the cavalry role in the end, Bayport continuing its amazing streak of criminal behavior, clever crooks, this one has it all.

Score: 9

4: THE MISSING CHUMS

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Who Wrote It?: Franklin W. Dixon

C’mon, Who Really Wrote it?: Leslie McFarlane in 1928

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

Cover: Rudy Nappi, a rough night on the bay, Frank and Joe providing classic bright red and yellow contrasts to the dark sky and water.

Setting: Bayport again!  My, still lots of crooks in this town.

Where’s Fenton This Time?: Bayport again, but busy working on his case (would you believe it intersects with the boys’ case?) so he is mostly out of the picture.

Which Chums Show Up?: Chet, Callie, Iola, Tony, Biff, Jerry — Hey, they’re in the title, so they might as well show up.

What’s Chet’s Hobby This Time?: Getting kidnapped…

Aunt Gertrude’s Dessert: Nothing!  They eat, but Gertrude doesn’t make them anything.  What was she thinking?

Plot: Bank robbers, costume parties, mistaken identities, hermits, shantytown dwellers. Chet and Biff get kidnapped, and thus the title.

Review: Pretty good.  A serious situation with their best friends getting kidnapped, and this leads to some very good detective work.  A more realistic tale.  This story moves nicely.

Score: 7

2: THE HOUSE ON THE CLIFF

2Who Wrote It?: Franklin W. Dixon

C’mon, Who Really Wrote it?: Leslie McFarlane in 1928

Was It Revised?: Yes, in 1959 by Harriet S. Adams

Cover: Rudy Nappi, a bit too much brown and yellow for my taste, but nice action scene that accurately pictures not only the plot but the title too.

Setting: Bayport again.

Where’s Fenton This Time?: Still at home, the slacker, though he does have the good taste to get himself kidnapped for a good long stretch.  This is truly the boy’s show now.

Which Chums Show Up?: Chet, Biff, Tony, Phil, Callie, Iola, Jerry

Aunt Gertrude’s Dessert: I told you, she ain’t showing up until book three, but Chet did get a nice slice of lemon meringue pie from a farmer and his wife.  Frank and Joe are getting hungry.

Plot: Smugglers, an abandoned house overlooking the water, and hey, bet there’s a connection between the two!

Review: This is where the Hardy Boys really get going.  Fenton gets kidnapped and is out of the picture for half of the book, so it’s Frank and Joe’s time to shine, and shine they do.  They use clues to figure out where the hiding place is, and where their father is prisoner, and then they show great courage to rescue him.  Chet and Biff get to help by going for the Coast Guard, and this division of labor is a standard part of Hardy Boys plots.

The bad guy seems awfully contrite at the end, but it is interesting to get the criminal’s perspective for once.  McFarlane wrote a good story that, though aimed at kids, is fairly sophisticated about crime and law enforcement.

The franchise is now set up and we are ready to roll.

Score: 6

1: THE TOWER TREASURE

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Who Wrote It?: Franklin W. Dixon

C’mon, Who Really Wrote it?: Leslie McFarlane in 1927

Was It Revised?: Yes, in 1959 by Harriet S. Adams

Cover: Pretty classic, really.  Frank and Joe looking at a threatening situation, nice use of color, but otherwise generic.

Setting: Bayport

Where’s Fenton This Time?: At home, of all places!

Which Chums Show Up?: Chet, Callie, Iola, Jerry, Biff, Tony, Phil — pretty much the whole gang right at the start.

Aunt Gertrude’s Dessert: She doesn’t appear until book three, so I’m afraid the boys went hungry.

Plot: Hurd Applegate and his sister Adelia live in a old mansion on the outskirts of Bayport.  They suffer a burglary and suspect their caretaker.  The Hardy Boys take on their first case by trying to find who really stole the jewels and securities.

Review: In some ways this is primitive proto-Hardy Boys, in other ways Mr. McFarlane set in motion the complete package right from the start (or maybe Ms. Adams did the trick in 1959, I’m not sure).  Either way, this is basic Hardy Boys, but the foundation is laid.

The classic suspenseful moment to end each chapter is not quite in place yet – some of the chapter endings are hardly enough to raise an eyebrow in concern – but that approach is being attempted.

Chet is in place already, and Callie and Iola get tentative steps toward their personalities, but the other chums are there by name only.

The mystery is four-part:

  1. Who stole Chet’s jalopy?
  2. Oh, solved that, but who stole the jewels?
  3. Oh, solved that, but where are the jewels?
  4. Oh, so THAT’S the old tower being referred to

The end.

So as a start, it’s a good foundation.  As a standalone entry in the canon, it’s lesser Hardy.

Score: 5