The Hardy Boys’ series of books was my choice of reading material. The books chosen were Rigged for Revenge (Hardy Boys Casefiles) and Hunting for Hidden Gold (Hardy Boys revised a hardback book). These books are very similar because they are both mysteries, have a lot of the same characters, and plot Developments of investigative work by the Hardy brothers. The author (Franklin W. Dixon [Leslie McFarlane]) and the series of books, on the other hand, has an interesting story behind them. The stories were created in 1927 by Edward Stratemeyer, who also created Nancy Drew, Tom Swift, the Rover Boys, and dozens of other memorable characters.
The Hardy Boys remain popular today with well over 250 titles published. Their adventure continues in three series of paperback books (The Hardy Boys, The Hardy Boys Casefiles, Frank & Joe Hardy: The Clues Brothers) as well as the revised hardcover books published by Grosset & Dunlap and the original unrevised stories reprinted by Applewood. Starting in 1959, the first 38 stories were revised. The series has been published the world over in many languages. The Hardy Boys is the all-time best-selling series of books for boys. In 1927, the first three “breeder” volumes of the Hardy Boys were released. The stories were written by Canadian newspaper writer, Leslie McFarlane, who was hired by Edward Stratemeyer to ghostwrite the stories from Stratemeyer’s outlines. McFarlane continued to write the stories, with brief interruption, for 20 years.
Leslie McFarlane eventually wrote the original texts for most of the first 26 volumes in the series. After the late 1940’s, the Stratemeyer Syndicate (then run by Harriet S. Adams) hired a variety of other writers to work on The Hardy Boys. Few of them had McFarlane’s gift for detail and humor, and the later volumes are less fun to read. The fun was further squeezed out of the books in 1959, when Adams decided her series needed updating and recruiting.
She was correct in some ways; the early Hardy Boys, Nancy Drews, etc. had not been written with the knowledge that they would still be in print thirty years later. By then, times had changed so much that many details in the original stories were too old-fashioned, and risked alienating young readers. The obvious racism of the earlier books was insulting to adults, who sent angry letters to Adams, protesting her books’ chilling portrayals of Blacks, Asians, and Latinos. Wanting her books to remain welcome , Adams set about a massive revision project which lasted for several years. Each Hardy Boys book (and Nancy Drew, and Bobbsey Twins) was re-written. Some received entirely new plots.
The Hardys and Drews continued for another 20 years to be Gosset & Dunlap’s best-selling juveniles. The Stratemeyer Syndicate took full credit for the name (Franklin W. Dixon) . However, the origin of Franklin W. Dixon, came from Leslie McFarlane naming himself after two of his brothers (Frank- [Franklin], and Wilmot [also known as Dick] [both the W.
and the Dixon]). He also wrote some of Ted Scott’s books, and other series work (Dana’s, etc.). He once mentioned that he penned a couple of Nancy Drew’s books. This caused quite a furor in the NewsGroup, as the identities of the various Carolyn Keene’s over the years have had a certain cloud of mystery around them. There is really no proof that he did so, just a comment he made back in 1974, saying he did.
It has been said that he ghosted for another ghost, and never received credit The details of the author and book series was as much of a mystery as were the books. The protagonist of Rigged For Revenge was Dudley Baker. Baker is the President of Lone Star Oil Company, Headquarters based out in Texas. The company has oil rigs in the Gulf of Mexico that are threatened to close down because of sabotaged efforts of an unknown enemy. Several attempts of planned incidents almost puts the multi-million dollar company out of business. Dudley hires the Hardy brothers and their father to investigate, and find the saboteur.
The antagonist of the story was Clem Maxwell, the Chief Operating Officer of the oil rig. Although he is employed by the oil company, he was out for revenge for the death of his son that was killed 20 years earlier on an oil rig. His son’s death was caused by a bomb that was planted by the FOE “Federation of the environment” ( a radical environmental group. Their mission is to stop corporations from polluting the earth). Maxwell made his attempts of revenge, while making it appear to be the work of the FOE. Bob Dodge (really Bart Dawson) is the protagonist in Hunting For Hidden Gold.
Bob Dodge hires Fenton Hardy and his two sons Frank and Joe to investigate the robbery of his armored truck that left two drivers dead, and the loss of a large sum of money. He wanted the people responsible for this crime off the streets. Dodge, who later becomes known as Bart Dawson, suffered memory loss caused from a plane crash that happened 25 years before. Dodge and three close buddies were mining for gold, and struck it rich. Their discovery became known by a dishonest man called Black Pepper and his gang members.
They tried to rob and kill the four men of their gold. Dawson and friends managed to escape, but were split up and went in different directions. Dawson tried to escape with the gold on a plane, when the crash happened. He was never seen again by his buddies. The antagonists are Big Al and his gang.
They were responsible for the armored truck robbery. After the investigation moved along, it was also discovered that Big Al and gang were the same people that tried to steal the gold 25 years earlier. In the book Rigged For Revenge, Lopez, a Mexican worker on the rig acted honorably by holding his head up and keeping his pride. He was subject to ridicule by other workers on the job. Some accused him of the ploy because Mexicans were not too fond of the Americans being in their territory making big money from their turf.
Lopez helped Joe and Frank Hardy solve the mystery. In the book Hunting For Hidden Gold, Big Al let greed overcome his better judgement of right and wrong. He shamefully committed murder and robbery. . The two novels were similar due to the fact the Hardy family is involved in both stories.
Their lives were at stake during the investigative work in both stories. The two novels were different in locations of settings. Rigged For Revenge basically took place in the Gulf of Mexico on an oil rig. The novel Hunting For Hidden Gold had several locations for the setting. I found the two books to be very suspenseful and interesting.
The characters in the books were described so uniquely that you could envision their facial features. The adventure that was encountered, made me feel like I was a part of the story. I would recommend these books to anyone (male or female) for casual reading entertainment.