The Clue in the Embers
In solving the mystery of two medallions missing from an inherited curio collection, the Hardys wind up in a desolate area of Guatemala at the mercy of dangerous thugs.
Reviewed on 8th June 2020
This is one of those Hardy Boys stories that I know I had a child, because my copy has my name in the front in shaky youthful handwriting - and yet I didn’t remember it at all.
It seemed to start fairly well - a friend’s interesting inheritance that somebody wanted to buy on the quiet, and a story of potentially valuable medallions. And yet then it descended into some of the most absurd racism of the series so far.
I don’t really want to go into the detail because that’s spoilers, but suffice to say the boys break all sense of realism in their attempts at disguise, which is not only ridiculous but clearly offensive, while also trampling all over indigenous cultures and participating in a particularly notable act of profiling.
It was a bad week for racism when I re-read this novel, but I don’t think that made it stand out any more than it would have. It’s particularly surprising how these editions which are meant to have been rewritten in the 1960s to remove the racism have ended up still being so bad.