Franklin W Dixon - Shastrix Books

Franklin W Dixon

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The Secret Panel

The Secret Panel

Franklin W Dixon

27th October 2019

The twenty-fifth Hardy Boys novel sees the brothers encounter a dead man, sunken treasure, a mysterious key, a kidnapping, and much much more.

It’s a tale with interesting ideas, but not quite put together in the most compelling way. The narrative feels bitty - almost like there were too many good ideas and they all got mushed together into one story when they didn’t really need to be. I feel like the boys didn’t solve the mystery by being detectives, but just by living in a world of coincidences - which isn’t the Hardy Boys experience I remember.

Speaking of memory - I’m fairly sure this is one of the novels I didn’t read as a child - I certainly didn’t own a copy, and don’t recall the story (not that it’s one of the notable ones). Perhaps somehow it’s lack of interest led it to avoid my childhood hands.

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The Short-Wave Mystery

The Short-Wave Mystery

Franklin W Dixon, Leslie McFarlane & David Grambs

27th October 2019

Book 24 and I’m well into the run of the original Hardy Boys novels. I remember this one quite a lot from reading it as a child - or at least the opening chapters.

It’s a good mystery, involving a lot of clues that gradually unwind themselves. But it does almost feel like a marketing tool for radio sets - the Hardys have bought them for their home, car and boat, and use them all the time in this story - although despite that the connection to the plot only becomes clear very late on. I wondered a bit if this is a product of the 1960s/70s rewrite that changed things up a lot in some of the books.

So while the story has dated from the use of technology which no longer is used, the tale remains good - including a bunch of supporting characters who help to flesh things out, and the ever present new hobby for achey Morton. The narrative over uses the word ‘cinch’, which doesn’t feel like a word anyone uses in real life any more, and I wondered if new audiences would enjoy it less than I did.

Finally there almost seem to be hints of subtle feminism making their way into the plot, with Aunt Gertrude seemingly making a bit more of herself than she might first appear.

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The Mystery of the Melted Coins

The Mystery of the Melted Coins

Franklin W Dixon, Leslie McFarlane & Andrew E Svenson

29th July 2019

This mystery is a classic of the Hardy Boys - seeing the brothers investigating several different mysteries which come along at the same time - a man with a missing memory, some counterfeit coins, and hidden treasure - but the greatest mystery might be the secret that Aunt Gertrude is keeping.

It contains all the key elements, cliffhangers, captures, Chet - that make the Hardy Boys books a pleasure to read - though a great deal of this is likely nostalgia value from reading them when I was younger.

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The Flickering Torch Mystery

The Flickering Torch Mystery

Franklin W Dixon

22nd July 2019

The twenty-second of the original Hardy Boys series is one that I never read as a child. The brothers head off for some work experience at a local science farm, while investigating a mystery of some stolen butterflies at the place next door.

One thing that came up that surprised me was that they meant a torch in the US sense - for years I’ve been seeing the title on the list of novels and assumed it was what I would call a torch - what in the US is referred to as a flashlight. Not only disconcerting, but somewhat old fashioned I felt, given that I’ve never actually seen anyone wielding this sort of torch, whereas the other sort I could read out and grab from where I’m sat typing this.

As Hardy Boys novels go, this one was simple but classic. It contains all the top elements, along with a huge dose of coincidence. I enjoyed this quick adventure.

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The Clue of the Broken Blade

The Clue of the Broken Blade

Franklin W Dixon, John Button & Richard Deming

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

Franklin W Dixon

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

Franklin W Dixon, John Button & James D Lawrence

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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Other reviewed books

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
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
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
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 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 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 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 Shattered Helmet
The Sign of the Crooked Arrow
The Sky Blue Frame
The Sting of the Scorpion
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

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