Franklin W Dixon - Shastrix Books

Franklin W Dixon

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The Hooded Hawk Mystery

The Hooded Hawk Mystery

Franklin W Dixon, Charles Strong & Priscilla Baker-Carr

24th May 2020

I’ve been rapidly making my way through the Hardy Boys original series during lockdown, and this one seemed like a solid entry.

The boys are mysteriously gifted a Peregrine Falcon, and of course find a way to make use of it to solve a mystery. It’s interesting that its them that gets a new hobby, as that has traditionally been the role of Chet through the series so far.

It’s much more of the classic vein, and partly that’s probably true in my head because it’s one that I read as a child - but it’s based in Bayport, involves lots of the common elements, and feels slightly educational too.

There are a couple of aspects that are a bit dated and likely wouldn’t be included in a novel aimed at the same target audience today, particularly around animals and hunting. There’s also some dated language that today would be correctly interpreted as racism - if not for the fact that the terms in question have died out and so many readers wouldn’t even understand what they meant.

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The Yellow Feather Mystery

The Yellow Feather Mystery

Franklin W Dixon, William Dougherty & Priscilla Baker-Carr

3rd May 2020

The Yellow Feature Mystery sticks in my head as one of those classic Hardy Boys titles. I must have read it in the listings hundreds of times as a child - and yet it wasn't one of the books I'd read, or which formed part of my collection. Until now.

The mystery begins when the teenage detectives are approached by a college student and asked to find his grandfather's will - which he believes will leave an entire school to him.

It actually proceeds to become a classic Hardy Boys story - with lots of sleuthing, solar plexus jabs, and suspects and friends all over the place. This all came as a pleasant surprise as preceeding entries in the series had become weaker and repetetive.

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Buy book: UK
The Crisscross Shadow

The Crisscross Shadow

Franklin W Dixon

1st May 2020

Continuing with my chronological re-read of the original Hardy Boys series, I came to this. I know it’s one I read as a child, as it’s got my name written in the front in wobbly young handwriting, but I didn’t find myself remembering much of the story, so it can’t have been one of my favourites.

It started well, with the Hardy’s organically drawn into a mystery free of some of the recent coincidence-heavy plotting, but then it moved back onto the going-on-holiday trope that’s been prevalent in too many of the books in this part of the series.

Overall though, pretty average - some dated references, but fairly well balanced I though with the characters expectations being upturned.

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The Secret of Wildcat Swamp

The Secret of Wildcat Swamp

Franklin W Dixon, William Dougherty & Priscilla Baker-Carr

25th April 2020

The ‘Hardy Boys Go On Holiday’ part of the series continues with this trip to the countryside to help someone find fossils in a swamp.

I’m again surprised at the prevalence of firearms - this wasn’t a feature of the books I remember from reading in childhood, and yet here Joe in particularly is totally happy wielding a gun. I’m don’t find this comfortable reading any more, although perhaps for the expected audience some fifty years ago that was an entirely normal experience.

I feel like the books have by this point hit upon a formula and they are sticking too closely to it. Every plot now has become the same, and the reliance of the coincidence as the Boys’ case and their father’s come together is breaking my ability to suspend disbelief.

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Buy book: UK
The Wailing Siren Mystery

The Wailing Siren Mystery

Franklin W Dixon, Andrew E Svenson & Priscilla Baker-Carr

18th April 2020

In book 30, the Hardy Boys head off camping again. It’s another of the weak middle era of the original series, where coincidence and cookie-cutter plots involving woods and helicopters lead our heroes round in circles for a bit.

It wasn’t the worst of the books that I’ve read recently, but is far from the best. Overall I think I’d describe it as ‘forgettable’ - I’m fairly sure I’ve read it before but unlike other books had no memory of any element of the plot, and even now just a couple of days after reading it again the events of the narrative are slipping out of my brain.

Not worth it I don’t think unless you are on some sort of completionist binge like me.

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Buy book: UK
The Secret of the Lost Tunnel

The Secret of the Lost Tunnel

Franklin W Dixon

18th April 2020

The 29th Hardy Boys novel feels firmly in the ‘The Hardys go on holiday for a mystery’ era, as I’m naming it. This time it’s off to an archaeological dig to find some treasure from the era of the American civil war.

I’m not surprised really that this book didn’t make much of an appearance during my childhood, as it has some well-dated references and terminology to refer to race, and while not the most racist thing I’ve ever read did feel uncomfortable, particularly in a children’s book.

The story was fairly bland, and felt disjointed and unreal. There was a bit too much violence, coincidence, and unbelievable freedom for two teenagers. It doesn’t really fit with my mental model of what a Hardy Boys adventure should be.

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The Sign of the Crooked Arrow

The Sign of the Crooked Arrow

Franklin W Dixon, Andrew E Svenson & Priscilla Baker-Carr

16th April 2020

Book twenty-eight sees the Hardy Boys dragged into one of their father’s cases - again. This time they are looking into some jewellery thefts that turn into something almost comically over complicated.

This is one of the worst plots so far - it relies almost entirely on coincidence to draw the teenage detectives into a plot which just happens to involve their own cousin in New Mexico. Nothing in this story seems to involve much detection - and too much of it relies on paying people and guns.

Frankly I was surprised by the amount of gun, violence, gore, and peril. It was not what I expected from a Hardy Boys novel - possibly the weakest in the series so far.

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Other reviewed books

The Secret of Skull Mountain
The Phantom Freighter
The Secret Panel
The Short-Wave Mystery
The Mystery of the Melted Coins
The Flickering Torch Mystery
The Clue of the Broken Blade
The Mystery of the Flying Express
The Disappearing Floor
The Twisted Claw
The Secret Warning
A Figure in Hiding
The Sinister Signpost
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
Danger on Vampire Trail
Dead on Target
Deadfall
Deathgame
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 Bombay Boomerang
The Borgia Dagger
The Clue in the Embers
The Clue of the Hissing Serpent
The Clue of the Screeching Owl
The Cold Cash Caper
The Crowning Terror
The Dead Season
The Firebird Rocket
The Genius Thieves
The Ghost at Skeleton Rock
The Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew meet Dracula and other stories
The Hardy Boys Detective Handbook
The Haunted Fort
The Hypersonic Secret
The Jungle Pyramid
The Last Laugh
The Last Leap
The Lazarus Plot
The Masked Monkey
The Mummy Case
The Mysterious Caravan
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 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 Phoenix Equation
The Search for the Snow Leopard
The Secret Agent on Flight 101
The Secret of Pirates' Hill
The Shattered Helmet
The Sky Blue Frame
The Sting of the Scorpion
The Stone Idol
The Vanishing Thieves
The Viking Symbol Mystery
Thick as Thieves
Uncivil War
Web of Horror
Without a Trace
Witness to Murder

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  6. The Secret of the Caves
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