February 2017 Update

Bayport Beat
Greetings and welcome to the February edition of The Hardy Boys News.
The big news this month is that volumes 5 thru 8 of the original series are getting brand new cover art this October! Unfortunately, no pictures are available yet.

New This Month
14: Attack of the Bayport Beast – 02/17
For Sale: PaperbackHardcoverKindleAudio CD

Hardy Boys Adventure #14Brother detectives Frank and Joe come face to face with.a sasquatch.in the fourteenth book in the thrilling Hardy Boys Adventures series.
The legend of the Bayport Beast has haunted the town for almost a century. Each summer brings rumors of a gigantic sasquatch creature roaming the nearby woods.
However, this summer brings more sightings than usual, causing all kinds of people to flock to town, including a few UFO enthusiasts who are convinced the beast could be some kind of stranded alien. More than that, the sightings cause a media blitz!
Frank and Joe have never believed in the Bayport Beast, but when Frank catches a glimpse of a furry creature running through the woods, he changes his mind fast. And when reports surface of the beast attacking people-including a few friends-the Hardy brothers are on the case!
After Frank and Joe are cornered by not one but three fearsome creatures, they have to wonder: is the Bayport Beast real after all? And is it multiplying?
Upcoming Releases
Nancy Drew - Hardy Boys Big LieNancy Drew And The Hardy Boys: The Big Lie #1For Sale
March 2017
When the teenage brothers Frank and Joe Hardy are accused of the murder of their father – a detective in the small resort town of Bayport – they must team up with the femme fatale Nancy Drew to prove their innocence (and find the real guilty party in the process) in a twisting, hard-boiled tale, complete
with double-crosses, deceit and dames. Inspired by new crime classics like Ed Brubaker’s Fatale and Darwyn Cooke’s Parker series, writer Anthony del Col (Assassin’s Creed, Kill Shakespeare) and artist Werther Dell’edera (Batman: Detective Comics, House of Mystery) bring the iconic teen detectives into the modern age, and redefine noir for a new generation of readers!
 

Hardy Boys Adventures Graphic Novel #4 – November 2017 – For Sale
Scott Lobdell (Author), Paulo Henrique Marcondes, Daniel Rendon, Lea Hernandez (Illustrators)
 

Adventures #15 Con Artist in Paris – September 2017 – For Sale
 
Clue Book #5

5: Scavenger Hunt Heist – 04/17
For Sale: PaperbackHardcoverKindle
Detective brothers Frank and Joe must solve another intriguing mystery in the fifth book in the interactive Hardy Boys Clue Book series.

Frank and Joe are excited for the class trip to Bayport Bear Park. When they arrive, the entire class is greeted with a beautiful sight: a pile of prizes and goodies in the middle of the room! Their guide, Marnie, explains that they will be split into teams to complete a scavenger hunt through the park. Whoever solves the clues the fastest will win all of the prizes.

But after they come back from solving the first few clues, the entire pile of prizes has been destroyed, with half of the loot completely missing! Can Frank and Joe figure out who the Treat Thief is and save the trip?
 
New Cover Art For 2017
Hunting for Hidden Gold   The Shore Road Mystery   The Secret Of Caves   The Mystery of Cabin Island
 

December 2016 – January 2017 Update

Bayport Beat
Season’s Greetings and welcome to the December-January edition of The Hardy Boys News.
This month there is a review of “The Clue of the Screeching Owl” as well as the new releases and Spotlite Book “The Clue of the Screeching Owl”.
Visit The Hardy Boys Unofficial Home Page’s Facebook Page for your daily fix of Hardy Boys news & trivia! If you’re not a Facebook member, you can see all the postings on The Hardy Boys Unofficial Home Page.
I’ve recently added a Series Book Sales Page to my SeriesBooks.info site with dozens of series both old and new listed. Check it out!

 

Spotlite Book
41: The Clue Of The Screeching OwlCollectible Editions For Sale
1962 James Buechler (177 pages) – For Sale
Art: Rudy Nappi
The Hardy Boys and Chet are in the Pocono Mountains to locate Mr. Hardy’s missing friend, a retired police captain, and solve the mystery of spooky Black Hollow.

Description of current edition from Amazon.com: When dogs and men suddenly disappear, and strange screams fill the night, fantastic stories of vengeful ghosts are almost believable. It is these strange happenings which bring Frank and Joe Hardy to the Pocono Mountains to help their father’s friendsolve the mystery of Black Hollow. But when the Hardy boys and Chet Morton arrive at Captain Thomas Maguire’s cabin on the edge of the hollow, he has disappeared. Frank and Joe are determined to find the captain, despite Chet’s misgivings after a night of weird and terrifying screams. Strangely, it is a small puppy that discloses a most unusual and surprising set of circumstances, involving a mute boy, an elusive hermit, and a fearless puma trainer.

 

New Releases
4: Talent Show Tricks – 12/16
For Sale: PaperbackHardcoverKindle

Detective brothers Frank and Joe must figure out who is sabotaging their school talent show in the fourth book in an all-new, interactive Hardy Boys chapter book mystery series.

Frank and Joe Hardy are excited to compete in the annual Bayport Elementary Talent Show. Frank is going to work behind the scenes, and Joe wants to show off his sweet juggling skills.

But during the first rehearsal, strange things start to happen—their friend’s trumpet is filled with bubbles, someone’s backing track is switched to croaking frogs, and a strategically placed batch of hair dye gives one of their classmates a bad hair day to remember. Can Frank and Joe figure out how to stop the pranks before the curtain falls early on the show?

 

Box Set #1 – 12/16
For Sale: Paperback
Illustrated by Matt David

Join detective brothers Frank and Joe as they solve exciting mysteries with the first four books in the brand-new interactive Hardy Boys Clue Book series, now available in a collectible boxed set!
Get to the bottom of Bayport’s biggest mysteries with expert kid detectives, Frank and Joe Hardy! Follow the clues to find the totally awesome-and mysteriously missing-video game system, figure out what happened to their baseball team’s top secret playbook, track down Joe’s water-skis, and uncover the talent show prankster with the first four books in the fun and engaging Hardy Boys Clue Book mystery series!
 

 

Hardys In Review

The Clue of the Screeching Owl
Review by Steve Servello
Spoiler Alert!

I have recently finished reading The Clue of the Screeching Owl at work (during lunch and breaks). This re-reading confirmed my belief that not all the good Hardy Boy books were written early on. This book is one of the better books and was released during the height of my Hardy Boy reading (1962-1968).

The first thing that attracted me to this book was the incredible artwork on this 4th “Picture Cover” (PC) edition. For the most part, I did not like those PC’s (especially starting with Whale Tattoo and Arctic Patrol ) that showed a single dominating thing or character with smaller add-ons to flesh the picture out. I’m not really sure that I explained precisely what I meant, that is one of my shortcomings in posting. Anyway, I think this cover does an incredible job of capturing the “feel” of Black Hollow and environs. The dominating “thing” in this case is the head of a screech owl looking down with brooding menace on the Hardy Boys as they gaze backwards in fear while fleeing its baleful stare. The owls visage takes up half the night sky and the dark woods of Black Hollow are an effective backdrop between it and the terrified brothers. While it is true that this is not an actual scene from the book, it does intrigue a prospective reader and in no manner misrepresents the story line or its atmosphere.

The story itself opens with Frank, Joe, and Chet driving through the Amish countryside, en route to the Pocono Mountains. There they plan to meet up with one of Fenton’s old friends, retired police Captain Thomas McGuire. He lives in a cabin at the edge of Black Hollow. The name itself fascinates me. How much more sinister the word “hollow” is, compared to say, “valley”. The captain was concerned about the revival of a witches hex in the hollow, abetted by the tell-tale abduction of neighborhood dogs and the terrifying screams of the vengeance seeking witch herself. Fenton Hardy could not respond to his friends request for help as he was busy on another (was it another) case, in nearby New Jersey, involving smugglers. . The last book I read in this series was smuggler related too (“The House on the Cliff”, a comparison of the original and revised versions). What was slightly unusual here is that the boy’s father does not inform them in person of his latest case. The Hardy’s reflect back on this as the story begins.

Naturally Fenton’s case and the Hardy’s will end up coinciding. No complaint here, it’s part of the series formula and no matter how far fetched, I enjoy it! I note that there is a range of mountains known by different names on either side of the Pennsylvania/New Jersey border. Pocono Mountains in PA and (I forget) in NJ. They are both part and parcel of the mid Appalachian range. As they are contiguous, it has always bothered me that they needed separate names. This is a personal thing and I apologize for bringing it up here…

The 3 youths arrive to find the captain’s cabin empty and under mysterious circumstances (what other kind are there )? Of course meeting Colonel Thunder the wildcat trainer en route (pages 7 & 8), adds a teaser to the plot.

Not only is the good captain missing, but so is Bobby Thompson’s dog, “Skippy”. So down into Black Hollow go our three intrepid sleuths. I kept track of the number of trips made down into the dark bowels of Black Hollow : First : chapter 2 Second : chapters 3 & 4 Third : chapters 7 – 9 Fourth : chapters 13 & 14 Fifth : chapters 17 & 18 Sixth : chapters 18 & 19 I divided the story into two parts : those in or at the edge of Black Hollow and those parts elsewhere (like stranded in their underwear at the outskirts of town). When down in the hollow, one feels like they are detached from the real world and entered into a realm bordering on fantasy. At least I do. I mean there is even a wildcat on the loose and a wild boy. Shades of Bomba!

The only mention of The Hardys’ previous cases is when Joe mentions “The Desert Giant Mystery” (page 17). Getting off topic for a moment, I remember buying that book at the local 5 & 10 store, crossing the square to a place where one could race motorized model cars, and sat in one of the chairs provided for those who like to watch such goings on (like me). I stayed the entire afternoon, hardly lifting my engrossed head, and read the entire book. It is one of those memories that I have carried and wish I could somehow recapture the magic of such moments. Alas … The various screams heard within Black Hollow bear some scrutiny. They are heard in variation on pages 19, 116, and 138 (maybe once or twice more). Some are said to be barn owls, screech owls, witches, wildcats, or human. As it turns out, the smugglers were utilizing the scream or wail of the two owls as signals, in their smuggling operation. There was a scream of a puma (not really wild, but sold to Walter Donner by his brother Bill, the wildcat trainer). It was too vicious for the carnival act. Bill Donner calls himself Colonel Bill Thunder. When Frank and Joe realize that “donner” was the German word for “thunder”, and saw that both Bill and Walter looked identical, they put two and two together and deduced they were brothers (page 90). I guess when I was 8 years old that kind of deductive reasoning struck me as pretty inventive. I’m afraid that at the ripe old age of 45, I think it excessively silly. That along with overhearing Walter Donner and the shifty-eyed lawyer, Wyckoff Webber talk about “attending to the boys” (page 114) and wondering if they were the boys being discussed. Those two incidents are the only negatives I saw in this book. In retrospect, that’s a drop in the bucket, but I thought worth bringing up. I didn’t want you all to think that everything is rosy to me. I do have a discerning eye .

I was surprised that it was Joe who figures out that the Witch of Black Hollow legend was being revived for nefarious reasons (page 37). Usually Frank is the brains of this tandem. One of the most horrifying scenes from this book is when The Hardys believe Chet is dead (pages 167 & 168), in a car crash on the edge of Black Hollow. The calamitous reactions to this news is starkly evidenced on their faces and in their minds. I disagree with Joe’s remark that the Barn Owl is the natural enemy of puppies (page 57). While it is certainly capable of making a meal from small pets or puppies, I don’t believe they are a part of its steady diet. That minor disagreement is more than made up with the follow-up discussion of the differences between Barn and Screech Owls. Very informative. On page 126 Frank retrieves “a bill” from its hiding place in the car, to be utilized in an emergency. This certainly was, as Captain McGuire’s cabin had just burned down and the 3 youths had barely escaped with their lives. This “bill” was used to procure new clothes and lasted them until the end of the adventure. Wyckoff Webber set the fire by the way. I was wondering exactly what denomination that “bill” was. Captain McGuire finally appears on page 159. The title is used on page 162 and Fenton Hardy puts in his inevitable appearance on page 174. In typical Hardy fashion, the two cases are solved as one and all questions are answered. Even the puma is saved from destruction! The wild boy gets a chance at a normal life and Bobby gets Skippy back. I hope Elizabeth Donner doesn’t put up too much of a fight about that. Oh yeah, I hope Captain McGuire had fire insurance! On a scale of one to ten, with ten being the best, I rate The Clue of the Screeching Owl a rock solid 8.5! What do you think?

 

This review originally appeared in Issue #22 of The Bayport Times.

 

“The Clue Of The Screeching Owl” is available from Amazon.com.

 

If you would like to write a Hardy Boys related review or article for inclusion here, email: fwdixon@yahoo.com

 

November 2016 Update

Bayport Beat
Welcome to the November 2016 edition of The Hardy Boys News.
This month there is my review of “The Haunted Fort” as well as the new releases and Spotlite Book “Mystery Of The Desert Giant”.
Visit The Hardy Boys Unofficial Home Page’s Facebook Page for your daily fix of Hardy Boys news & trivia! If you’re not a Facebook member, you can see all the postings on The Hardy Boys Unofficial Home Page.
I’ve recently added a Series Book Sales Page to my SeriesBooks.info site with dozens of series both old and new listed. Check it out!

 

Spotlite Book
“Mystery Of The Desert Giant”
Comments and reviews are welcome.
Yahoo Fan ForumFacebook Fan Forum
All Editions For Sale
1961 James Buechler (182 pages) – For Sale
Art: Rudy Nappi
Notes: Last DJ edition. All subsequent titles released in PC format.
The Hardy Boys and Chet search on the California desert for missing industrialist, Willard Grafton, and break up a gang of criminals intent on defrauding the US government.

Description of current edition from Amazon.com: In a search for the missing Willard Grafton, Frank Hardy and younger brother Joe, encounter a gang of criminals intent on defrauding the US government, and are lead across California and even into Mexico.

 

New Releases
Hardy Boys Adventure Graphic Novel #1 – 11/16
Paperback
New graphic novel series for the Hardy Boys.
Contains “To Die or Not To Die” plus three other adventures.

 

Just Announced
Hardy Boys Adventure Graphic Novel #3 – 08/17
Paperback
New graphic novel series for the Hardy Boys.
Contains “Chaos At 30,000 Feet” plus three other adventures.

Hardys In Review

The Haunted Fort
Spoiler Alert!
Synopsis: A long-distance telephone call from Chet Morton’s uncle summons Frank and Joe Hardy and their staunch pal Chet to a summer art school, located near old Fort Senandadga which is reputed to be inhabited by a ghost. The young detectives assignment: recover two famous oil paintings stolen from the valuable Prisoner-Painter collection owned by Jefferson Davenport.
Mr. Davenport, millionaire sponsor of the Millwood Art School, reveals that one of the famous Fort Senandaga pictures painted by his artist ancestor, General Jason Davenport, contains a clue to the hiding place of a priceless chain of gold.
Vicious threats and deadly traps beset Frank, Joe and Chet as they search for clues to the stolen paintings and the gold treasure–a search that is complicated by a stormy fued between a proud Englishman and an equally proud Frenchman over the military history of the ancient fort.
Comments: This story originally appeared a couple of years after I had given up reading the Hardy Boys for more typical teenage pursuits. At the time, I little realized just how lucky I was! The mid-60’s was a low point for the Hardys and this story (along with The Secret Agent On Flight 101) represents the series’ nadir. It’s almost as if the Syndicate was deliberately trying to destroy the series.
There are just too many characters running around in this book and the author doesn’t know how to handle them very well (actually, not at all!). The characters rush to and fro in a purposeless frenzy, there are numerous pointless scenes and many acts of senseless violence. Even in the few rare scenes that do somehow contribute to the plot, it’s clear the author simply does not know how to write. Really, he doesn’t have a clue! His ham-handed approach to exposition and characterization and his apparent tin ear to dialog is laughably bad. It’s clear who the culprit is early into the book, despite the antics of obvious red herring, Ronnie Rush. There is more suspense in wondering if the sun will rise in the morning than there is in this entire story.
Although the basic premise of the story (lost treasure in old fort/clue in painting) is a pretty good one (and frankly, the only halfway decent thing in this whole abortion), the execution is abysmal. Furthermore, the idea of the treasure being a gigantic solid gold chain is simply ludicrous. In the first place, what type of imbecile would make such a thing during a war then haul it up to the middle of nowhere and hide it? The treasure could just as easily have been a far more sensible cache of gold coins or bullion. Can anyone tell me why a Civil War prisoner would be held captive in an upstate New York pre-Revolutionary fort? And why would he be allowed almost free run of the place? Why, despite the fact that everyone knows his name, is he invariably referred to as “the Prisoner-Painter”? Stupid, Stupid, Stupid with a capital “S”!
Some of the scenes are so absurdly idiotic that they border on the surreal. Can anyone imagine a full grown man being so terrified of a rubber sea serpent that he would jump out of his boat? Or that anyone would seal a boy in a steel drum, throw him in the middle of a lake and NOT expect him to die? Or how about Frank and Joe being completely conversant in the esoteric terms used to describe the various parts of an 18th century fort? Then there’s Chet winning an art contest with a painting he’s forced to revamp at the last minute after a vandal smears paint on it! Furthermore, if I never hear or read the word bateau again, it will be bateau goldarn soon for me!
If this story were to made into a movie, only the demented directorial talents of the immortal Ed Wood Jr. (who made Plan 9 From Outer Space, Glen Or Glenda and countless other grade Z epics) would be able to do justice to it’s complete imbecilic lunacy. Fortunately for all concerned, Ed is dead, so the chances of this horror reaching the silver screen are thankfully nil.
According to the archives in the NY Public Library, this story was heavily edited by the staff at the Syndicate. This is hardly surprising, since author David Grambs clearly is unfit to write even a coherent grocery list! Grambs first work on the Hardy’s was his abominable revision of The Shore Road Mystery in 1964 and he continued to display his startling ineptitude in his revisions of Footprints Under The Window in 1965, The Secret Of Skull Mountain in 1966, finally culminating in the odious The Secret Of The Lost Tunnel in 1968. At that point, apparently someone at the Syndicate came out of a coma long enough to realize that Grambs was either an idiot, apathetic or incompetent (or maybe all three) and informed him that his services would no longer be required. The rumour that the Syndicate sued him for taking money under false pretenses is undoubtedly false but they certainly would have been well within their rights in doing so. His work on the series is so atrocious that I’ve often wondered if English was Grambs’ primary (or even secondary) language or if he was somehow related to the Stratemeyer family.
Enough! It would be child’s play to go on skewering all the idiotic things that occur in this story or to continue lambasting the author’s total incompetence but why go on beating this poor, dead horse? Suffice it to say that this story ranks among the worst in the Hardy canon, surpassed only by the unreadable and totally meritless The Secret Agent On Flight 101 (which, by the way, will NEVER be reviewed here!).
Rating: F
Suitable only for masochists, long-suffering reviewers or diehard Hardy fans who have read every other story (twice)!

This review originally appeared in Issue #22 of The Bayport Times.

 

“The Haunted Fort” is available from Amazon.com.

 

If you would like to write a Hardy Boys related review or article for inclusion here, email: fwdixon@yahoo.com

 

The latest news, reviews & articles for fans of Franklin W. Dixon's Hardy Boys mystery books since 2005.