Who Wrote It?: Franklin W. Dixon
C’mon, Who Really Wrote it?: Andrew E. Svenson in 1969. One of many he wrote, including my favorite.
Was It Revised?: No.
Cover: Rudy Nappi. Yellow with the plane, red with the gloves and hats, white for the snow and bear; it’s a good-looking cover. Not purely literal, and polar bears (who don’t live in Iceland, but it’s explained) don’t grow that big, so there’s symbolism there. But Frank and Joe really do have a scene like this.
Setting: Bayport and Iceland. Mostly Iceland. As I write this post in mid-2014, people from 43 different countries have read this site, but Iceland is not among those 43 countries. Let’s see if we can fix this with this review!
Where’s Fenton This Time?: On the big part of the case. This being 1969, the space program was on everyone’s minds, so Fenton is working for the U.S. government to stop saboteurs from wrecking the space program. Meanwhile Frank and Joe work on finding a guy in Iceland who is due to inherit some money. Will both cases collide? Heh, see you in Chapter XIX, dude.
Which Chums Show Up?: Biff, Tony, Chet, Callie and Iola. Biff and Chet actually go to Iceland with the boys. It pays to be friends with Frank and Joe for you get all-expense-paid trips all over the world. Unless you are Callie and Iola, of course, who are almost always left behind pining for their boyfriends.
What’s Chet’s Hobby This Time?: Kiai! He’s learning karate. Yes, it gets used. Once. Now in other books he knows judo. And football scrimmage moves. But here’s it’s a chop with his hands.
Aunt Gertrude’s Dessert: A “large wedge” of rhubarb pie. Couldn’t you just go for that right about now?
Plot: As mentioned, off to Iceland to find someone they just know by name. If it weren’t for those pesky bad guys continually trying to harm the boys, the plot would consist of them sightseeing around Iceland looking for a guy who could be anywhere.
Review: You know, this is a great one. It was amazingly topical in 1969 with the moon landing that year, but it holds up. In fact, this feels like a wholly modern spy mystery that involves spies trying to stop a space program. Astronauts are part of the story, the bad guys have realistic motives, and they play for keeps.
The Icelandic scenes are terrific. This is a great introduction to Iceland for kids. Guarantee they will want to visit someday. Having been to that beautiful and fascinating island myself, I can say it is well worth a visit. I look forward to returning.
So, good writing (I like my Svenson Hardy Boys), good plot, good local characters, good suspense, very modern feel, but classic Hardy Boys cast of characters and ways of acting, all combine to make this a fun book to read.
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