The Mystery of the Aztec Warrior
The handwritten will of a deceased world-traveler is strange and mysterious. Its cryptic instructions are to deliver 'the valuable Aztec warrior to the rightful owner, a descendant of an Aztec warrior.' What is the valuable object and where is it? What is the name of the owner and where is he? Frank and Joe Hardy have only one slim clue to work with: the name of a complete stranger who can help find the answers.
Reviewed on 22nd December 2020
The forty-third novel in the original Hardy Boys series was marketed in the UK as book one - and so every time I’ve read this before (as a child without Wikipedia) I had assumed it to be the first book.
Reading it now, in the correct place in the publication order, it feels like it makes more sense here. The plot, taking the boys and Chet to Mexico (again) fit much more with a late series entry (indeed there’s been too much of them going on holiday throughout the middle of the series) than an introductory one.
It was interesting to note that this time the boys do have to comply with immigration rules, unlike two of their other recent international trips. However there remain dated narrative elements in the presentation of Mexican culture and people, and the way they place Americans on a pedestal, that feels like an unrealistic view of the world when the book was written as much as it would be today.
I remembered nothing of this book from my earlier readings, although there is one very minor fact that it gives which I realise I must have acquired from reading it years ago and internalised without source attribution. Overall probably one of the better adventures, though not at the top.