Franklin W Dixon - Shastrix Books

Franklin W Dixon

Recently reviewed

The Clue of the Broken Blade

The Clue of the Broken Blade

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28th April 2019

Another original (well, in the case of my copy, updated original) Hardy Boys story, which sees the brothers become involved in a particularly complicated case focussed on a story of inheritance.

There are the usual twists and turns, though some elements did seem rather too much of a coincidence, and others obvious from fairly early on.

So not one of the best, but still a nice quick relaxing revisit.

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The Mystery of the Flying Express

The Mystery of the Flying Express

18th November 2017

Book 20 in the original Hardy Boys series (albeit rewritten in 1970) sees the brothers investigating for the owner of a new commuter hydrofoil who is scared that his competition are out to scupper his plans.

It’s a classic Hardy Boys novel, and one which I’m now reading for the first time. All the ingredients are there - mysterious hoodlums, the tie-in with Dad’s case, Chet’s weird obsessions (which played a big part in this one), and ending chapters by being knocked unconscious.

It’s a good Hardy Boys novel which I enjoyed discovering. A nice quick read which survives the test of time.

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The Disappearing Floor

The Disappearing Floor

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28th May 2017

The nineteenth original Hardy Boys book (or at least my UK edition of the 1964 re-write) sees the brothers investigating a series of jewellery thefts, as well as a strange house which appears to be haunted, and not just one but several instances of floors that disappear.

The narrative is the usual, simplistic but engaging - perhaps more so than some of its predecessors, as I read though in just a couple of sittings (maybe just over an hour in total). However the plot is messy - in places not making much sense, and feeling more like a string of coincidences than an actual investigation.

I suspect that this book was heavily butchered in the re-writing process, as its focus is one on technology I think the original plot has been radically ‘updated’ and in the process some of the sense has been lost, leading to a slightly unsatisfying story that doesn’t hold up to too much thinking about.

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The Twisted Claw

The Twisted Claw

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6th July 2016

The eighteenth story in the original Hardy Boys series (noting that my copy is of the 1960s re-write) surprised me by surpassing the quality of the immediately previous adventures by being an excellent story and a good mystery that I really enjoyed.

There are a number of tropes that recur from earlier stories, but something about this story, which kicks off with the boys being asked to keep an eye on a suspicious ship, comes together into a story which flows at a good speed, survives the test of time without being offensive or silly, and makes for a mystery that seems completely plausible.

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Buy book: UK
The Secret Warning

The Secret Warning

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26th May 2016

The seventeenth book in the original Hardy Boys series, in its revised form, tells the tale of the brothers on the trail of an island inhabiting ghost, and a golden relic of ancient Egypt being imported too the United States for some sort of illegal sale (probably).

It feels like a bit of a mishmash of different plots, with many different mysteries tied together in a convoluted and unlikely web of intrigue. I'll admit to having taken a break from the story halfway (not through any specific fault of the book), but I didn't think this structure made it easy to keep up with everything that was going on.

Overall, fairly typical entry in the series. Didn't do anything special or notable and would probably have better served as a single sitting read.

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A Figure in Hiding

A Figure in Hiding

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6th January 2016

The sixteenth novel in the original Hardy Boys series (in the 1965 rewrite edition) sees the brothers up against a mysterious glass eye which they discover when one of their acquaintances' boat goes for a test run. It features a number of the tropes of the stories that I've recognised over the course of my re-read so far, including experimental modes of transport, car chases, car crashes, gangs, mystery faces at windows, Chet having a weird new hobby, and so on.

While the first ten books feel comfortably as if they have had some effort to make them varied and interesting in different ways, since then the series has gone downhill, repeating similar situations and almost seeming to follow a formula rather than putting in a reasonable amount of imagination.

As such, it's becoming harder for the stories to grip my attention as I go on. Now admittedly this might be because I am not part of the target audience of young teens in the 1960s, but I think the change in my response since reading the earliest books again is to the change in quality of storytelling.

In this particular example the mystery is really wrapped up in a page of exposition right at the end rather than being uncovered as part of the drama, with the story feeling much more a thriller than a proper detective tale. Overall a fairly weak entry in the early original series and not one that I'd put on a must read list.

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The Sinister Signpost

The Sinister Signpost

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22nd September 2015

The fifteenth book in the original Hardy Boys series, and the point where I ran out of steam in my massive re-read. My copy is the 1960s re-draft, and sees the Hardys brought I. To investigate the possible theft of a new design of engine.

It's not a book I remember from reading when I was younger, and I wonder whether the word 'sinister' in the title put me off it then? I know there are books in the Three Investigators series that I wouldn't re-read at the same age because they were too creepy. However it's not sinister at all. The 'suspicious' signpost might have been a more precise title for the book I read.

I did park the book for a few months at about chapter fifteen, so it clearly didn't grip me. It's surprisingly sci-fi in some respects, and didn't particularly fit with the other books earlier, which felt much more dated.

Nothing special here then, as the series goes, and not one I'd pick out as a must-read.

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Other reviewed books

The Hidden Harbour Mystery
The Mark on the Door
Footprints Under the Window
While the Clock Ticked
What Happened At Midnight
The Great Airport Mystery
The Mystery of Cabin Island
The Secret of the Caves
The Shore Road Mystery
Hunting for Hidden Gold
The Missing Chums
The Secret of the Old Mill
The House on the Cliff
The Tower Treasure

Unreviewed books

A Killing in the Market
Acting Up
Bad Chemistry
Beyond the Law
Blood Relations
Blood Sport
Blown Away
Brother Against Brother
Castle Fear
Cave Trap
Choke Hold
Clean Sweep
Cliffhanger
Cold Sweat
Competitive Edge
Countdown to Terror
Crime in the Kennel
Crusade of the Flaming Sword
Cult of Crime
Dead on Target
Deadfall
Deep Trouble
Diplomatic Deceit
Dirty Deeds
Disaster for Hire
Edge of Destruction
Endangered Species
Evil Incorporated
Final Cut
Final Gambit
Flesh and Blood
Flight into Danger
Foul Play
Fright Wave
Grave Danger
High-Speed Showdown
Hostages of Hate
Lethal Cargo
Martial Law
Maximum Challenge
Mayhem in Motion
Moment of Truth
Murder at the Mall
Mystery of the Whale Tattoo
Night of the Werewolf
No Mercy
Open Season
Perfect Getaway
Power Play
Programme for Destruction
Rigged for Revenge
Rock 'n' Revenge
Rough Riding
Scene of the Crime
See No Evil
Sidetracked to Danger
Sky High
Sky Sabotage
Slam Dunk Sabotage
Spiked!
Terror on Track
The Alaskan Adventure
The Apeman's Secret
The Arctic Patrol Mystery
The Blackwing Puzzle
The Borgia Dagger
The Clue in the Embers
The Clue of the Screeching Owl
The Cold Cash Caper
The Crisscross Shadow
The Crowning Terror
The Dead Season
The Firebird Rocket
The Flickering Torch Mystery
The Genius Thieves
The Ghost at Skeleton Rock
The Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew meet Dracula and other stories
The Haunted Fort
The Hooded Hawk Mystery
The Hypersonic Secret
The Jungle Pyramid
The Last Laugh
The Last Leap
The Lazarus Plot
The Masked Monkey
The Mummy Case
The Mystery at Devil's Paw
The Mystery of Smugglers Cove
The Mystery of the Aztec Warrior
The Mystery of the Chinese Junk
The Mystery of the Desert Giant
The Mystery of the Melted Coins
The Mystery of the Samurai Sword
The Mystery of the Silver Star
The Mystery of the Spiral Bridge
The Number File
The Outlaw's Silver
The Pentagon Spy
The Phantom Freighter
The Phoenix Equation
The Search for the Snow Leopard
The Secret Agent on Flight 101
The Secret of Pirates' Hill
The Secret of Wildcat Swamp
The Short-Wave Mystery
The Sign of the Crooked Arrow
The Sky Blue Frame
The Stone Idol
The Vanishing Thieves
The Viking Symbol Mystery
The Wailing Siren Mystery
The Yellow Feather Mystery
Thick as Thieves
Uncivil War
Web of Horror
Without a Trace
Witness to Murder

Top books

  1. The Twisted Claw
  2. While the Clock Ticked
  3. The Tower Treasure
  4. The Mystery of the Flying Express
  5. The Disappearing Floor
  6. The Missing Chums
  7. The Clue of the Broken Blade