Andrew E Svenson - Shastrix Books

Andrew E Svenson

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The Arctic Patrol Mystery

The Arctic Patrol Mystery

Franklin W Dixon & Andrew E Svenson

27th December 2020

It’s the end of the 1960s for the Hardy Boys and this cements the idea that the series has taken a change in direction - as the space age is upon them, as well as the age of proper international air travel.

The level of peril is again heightened as the detective brothers travel to Iceland to help their father with a couple of very secret cases. This is probably the best version of the Hardy’s go on holiday trope so far - the author takes a lot of effort to depict Iceland with realism.

The dated elements of previous novels have been much toned down. There is a slightly expanded role for some of the female characters, and they are finally described explicitly rather than euphemistically as the boys girlfriends, and the treatment of the people of Iceland is respectful. Obviously it is still a fifty year old work and so aspects still feel old fashioned, but less so.

A good adventure, and it seems clear why the UK publishers would have chosen to release it early as book two in their numbering system.

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The Mystery of the Spiral Bridge

The Mystery of the Spiral Bridge

Franklin W Dixon & Andrew E Svenson

24th December 2020

Book forty-five of the original Hardy Boys series finds disaster as the boys’ father is returned injured from a case helping one of their friends’ dads, who is trying to build a bridge.

It’s more violent than a lot of the earlier books - and the gang feels more competent, better motivated, and more realistic than some that the team have met before. It’s definitely taking an edgier tone with the level of peril.

The characters almost seem like they are having the mickey taken out of them by the author. There’s a whole thing about them attempting to use criminal slang, which is comically terrible, but feels again quite different from the norm. Similarly the brothers are presented as particularly classist, looking down on pretty much everyone they meet from a different background to them - including New Yorkers, rural residents, and the working classes.

An interesting diversion from the baseline of the series.

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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 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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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 Secret of the Caves

The Secret of the Caves

Franklin W Dixon, Leslie McFarlane & Andrew E Svenson

8th November 2014

The seventh book in the original Hardy Boys series (actually, my copy is the Anglicised version of the 1964 rewrite) depicts the brother detectives helping their dad in another case and going hunting for treasure with their friend's new metal detector.

Although the plot feels quite coincidental in its structure, by this point the stories seem to be moulding themselves into more of a traditional detective story structure and the two boys are becoming more independent.

I enjoyed this mystery for the most part, although I thought it was very clear where some of the story had been dramatically updated for the 1960s version and probably didn't match the original.

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Top books

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  4. The Mystery of the Spiral Bridge
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  6. The Arctic Patrol Mystery
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  8. The Mystery of the Melted Coins
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  10. The Sign of the Crooked Arrow
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  12. The Wailing Siren Mystery