Who Wrote It?: Franklin W. Dixon
C’mon, Who Really Wrote it?: John Button in 1942, the fifth of his five books in a row. Mr. Button is now done with the Hardy Boys.
Was It Revised?: Yes, in 1969 by Richard Deming, the only one he did. Mr. Deming, this is your book.
Cover: Rudy Nappi. Is there red and yellow? Not really. We seem to be going into the abstract period now, and this one is blue, blue, blue. Frank and Joe fence, someone stares at them behind a mask, and a broken blade reminds us of the title. It’s OK, well made. I’m not as big a fan of the abstract ones.
Setting: Bayport, and California, this is Frank and Joe go to Hollywood, sorta, which is nothing like Frankie Goes to Hollywood. Just sayin’.
Where’s Fenton This Time?: Oh, he goes on vacation with the missus until they both show up in the most unlikeliest of places. Fans of Laura Hardy — this is your book. She actually gets to help. Briefly. Then the Hardy Boys syndicate shuts her down real quick and we get back to normal.
Which Chums Show Up?: Chet (honorary Hardy Boy at this stage), Callie and Iola, Biff and Tony. Only Chet gets the big part, and no, I’m not making fun of his weight, which is more than I can say for Frank and Joe for whom no occasion is so solemn as to prevent them from making fun of Chet’s weight. Way to show empathy, boys…
What’s Chet’s Hobby This Time?: Fencing, as is also the hobby of Frank and Joe and Biff and Tony, not one of whom ever fences again, but they are expert enough in this book to get hired on the spot as fencers and trusted enough to run a fencing school by themselves. Mr. Deming, we figured out your interest in life, and you crammed it into the plot. Still, if you have a kid who likes the idea of fencing, this is his book! But don’t turn your back on that kid…
Aunt Gertrude’s Dessert: “Pieces” of rhubarb pie, three of them for Chet. Aunt Gertrude never made fun of Chet…
Plot: An inheritance inscribed on a blade, but the blade has been missing for decades. Wanna bet the boys find it by chapter XX? Hey, Frank and Joe, we never found Jimmy Hoffa, wanna take a crack at it? Anyway, the clues lead to Hollywood, an odd screenwriter, a movie being made, and enough crooks running around to baffle anyone trying to make sense why this case is that important. Mostly everyone fences. Yeah, we get it, Mr. Deming, fencing is cool, or something.
Review: Eh. I’m a little tired of the boys getting on a case involving, say, broccoli, and then suddenly every crook in town is suddenly into broccoli, and willing to kill to keep you from discovering they like broccoli. Hey, I think I smell a new Hardy Boy mystery: The Clue of the Overcooked Broccoli.