Tag Archives: Treasure

44: THE HAUNTED FORT

 

44

Who Wrote It?: Franklin W. Dixon

C’mon, Who Really Wrote it?: David Grambs in 1965.  The year before he revised 6: THE SHORE ROAD MYSTERY, then in the same 1965 he revised 12: FOOTPRINTS UNDER THE WINDOW, the next year he revised 27: THE SECRET OF SKULL MOUNTAIN, and finally in 1968 he revised 29: THE SECRET OF THE LOST TUNNEL.  So with this, his only original, we say good bye to Mr. Grambs.  Up until now his revisions have scored either a 6 or a 9.  Let’s see how an original does.

Was It Revised?: No.

Cover: Rudy Nappi.  A lot of blue with only Joe bringing the usual red.  A very nice nighttime scene with Frank and Joe typically staring at something scary.  Is that really a ghost?  Is the fort really haunted?  Remember your Scooby Doo, boys and girls, and you meddling kids will solve the mystery in no time at all.

Setting: Bayport and then New England.     

Where’s Fenton This Time?: He does not appear at all in this one.

Which Chums Show Up?: Chet.  Cameos by Callie and Iola.

What’s Chet’s Hobby This Time?: He’s an artist. Good thing they are headed to an art school.

Aunt Gertrude’s Dessert: She also does not appear in the book, evidently on a retreat to learn new pie techniques.

Plot: Chet’s uncle is an instructor at a summer art school in New England, and he asks Chet and his friends to solve a mystery.  Art work is being stolen, there is a mysterious Revolutionary War fort nearby, and there is gold treasure to be found.

Review:  Other than the silly Scooby Doo ghost, this is a decent mystery.  The bad guys play rough, and in chapter XIX the bad guys sure talk a mile a minute about who did what through the book.  It’s in a bucolic setting, with lots of red herring characters, and there are clues in paintings.  But it’s not a great one either.  Just OK.

Score: 7

43: THE MYSTERY OF THE AZTEC WARRIOR

43

 

Who Wrote It?: Franklin W. Dixon

C’mon, Who Really Wrote it?: Harriet S. Adams in 1964.  In 1946 Ms. Adams wrote 25: THE SECRET PANEL, which got revised in 1969.  Then in 1959 she revised the first two Hardy Boys books.  Five years later she wrote this one.  I thought The Secret Panel was a great book.  What do I think of this one?

Was It Revised?: No.

Cover: Rudy Nappi.  Reddish-brown as the dominant color, and Frank and Joe doing some investigating.  True to the book, not my favorite color selection.

Setting: Bayport and then Mexico.  In the early days it was all Bayport, all the time, that bastion of criminal nefariousness.  But in recent books it seems to be Frank and Joe Do [Insert colorful location].  We had Alaska, and the Northwest Territories in Canada, and the desert southwest, and now Mexico.  Man, Bayport must be crawling with pickpockets by this time.    

Where’s Fenton This Time?: On the phone getting updates from the boys down Mexico way.

Which Chums Show Up?: Chet.  Señor Morton does a good job.

What’s Chet’s Hobby This Time?: Nothing.  Seems to be in a bit of a hobby slump.

Aunt Gertrude’s Dessert: “Famous strawberry shortcake topped with a sea of whipped cream.”  She had me at “famous.”

Plot: This is a humdinger of a plot.  A wealthy man dies but names the Hardys in his will, stating they must solve a mystery before any relatives get paid.  The mystery is to find “the Aztec Warrior.”  That’s it.  Go ahead, you figure out how you’re going to solve that one.

Review:  The boys soon head down to Mexico to find that Aztec culture with nothing more than the idea that a ceremonial weapon is involved in the mystery and a couple of names of people.  Imagine showing up in Times Square in New York City and asking people if they know a “Tom Smith.”  Think you’d get far?  Nope.  But the Hardys are nothing if not persistent, and eventually they get some leads.

Plus kids are introduced to a somewhat out-of-date look at Mexico tourism. You do get a flavor of life south of the border that would make the Mexican Culture Minister proud.  If nothing else, you’ll want some enchiladas by the time this book is done.  Fortunately Aunt Gertrude has some strawberry shortcake to finish the meal.

Look, this is not a typical mystery.  This one is about finding a man, whoever he might be.  And yes, you’ll never guess who or what the “Aztec warrior” turns out to be.  It’s a fun ride.

Score: 8

42: THE VIKING SYMBOL MYSTERY

 

42

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

39: THE MYSTERY OF THE CHINESE JUNK

39

 

Who Wrote It?: Franklin W. Dixon

C’mon, Who Really Wrote it?: James D. Lawrence in 1960.  His third of three in a row.

Was It Revised?: No.  There will be no more revisions from here on out.  When we reach 1960, we reach the final versions of these classic tales.

Cover: Rudy Nappi.  A realism cover with classic red and yellow.  Frank and Joe are staring at a junk.  It’s OK, not my favorite.

Setting: Bayport, with a brief sojourn to Staten Island, New York to buy the junk.  

Where’s Fenton This Time?: California.  With the missus.  He never shows up.

Which Chums Show Up?: Chet, Tony, Callie, Iola . . . and Biff!  Mr. Lawrence does like Biff after all!

What’s Chet’s Hobby This Time?: Spelunking.  You know, exploring caves.  No, no matter how often Chet will wind up in a cave throughout the rest of the series, rest assured his knowledge of spelunking will be ignored.  

Aunt Gertrude’s Dessert: Wow!  We hit the jackpot here.  Angel cake on one occasion.  Then strawberry shortcake.  Then chocolate pies.  Finally on the last occasion we get ice cream.  It’s as if Mr. Lawrence tried to make up for his lack of Aunt Gertrude cooking by shoving every dessert in the world in this book.  Ol’ Gerty is cooking up a storm in this book.

Plot: The boys have a chance to buy a Chinese Junk, and they decide that this would be a great way to spend their summer by ferrying passengers around the Bay and making some bucks.  But the moment they buy the ship, everyone else suddenly needs that ship for some unknown reason.  Death threats follow.

Review:  An OK story that takes place in Bayport with the usual gang.  The bad guys do the usual rough stuff, and the goal is the usual treasure that is treated like a MacGuffin.  And there is increasing awareness of cultural sensitivity.  In the old days this first sentence would not have been followed by this second sentence:

“Welcome aboard, honored guys,” Joe said solemnly, bowing low in Oriental manner.

The Chinese-American lad chuckled.  “Boy, that’s corny enough for a Grade D movie about China!”

OK, they are trying.

Score: 6