Bayport Beat Greetings and welcome to the August edition of The Hardy Boys News with upcoming releases, my review of “The Tower Treasure” and look at Early Hardy Boys Plot Outlines.
Con Artist in Paris – September 2017 – For Sale
Brother detectives Frank and Joe follow a crooked trail of artistic deception in the fifteenth book in the thrilling Hardy Boys Adventures series.
The Hardy Boys are visiting Paris! Joe is excited to check out all the street art he’s heard about. And Frank can’t wait to go to all the museums he’s researched.
On their very first day in the city, the brothers are woken up early in the morning by fireworks. But these are no ordinary fireworks. They are a part of elaborate cover for the heist of a priceless artifact. What’s worse, the theft seems to have been orchestrated by Joe’s favorite street artist, an unidentified outlaw and activist that goes only by the name Le Stylo. Everyone seems sure that it’s him, but the Hardys are suspicious. From everything they know about Le Stylo, the crime is out of character. Sure, he makes a habit of provoking the authorities, but he’s an activist; not a thief. Could the artist known for his mystique have been framed? Frank and Joe are determined to find out.
A race to find the real thief has Frank and Joe following clues that lead them all over Paris, where they hobnob with rich art patrons, travel in a car that can only be described as a small Batmobile, and explore the extensive Catacombs under the city. Deep in the world of artistic deception, the boys have to wonder, are they in over their heads?
A criminal that seems to be straight out of a Sherlock Holmes novel is out to get brother detectives Frank and Joe in the sixteenth book in the thrilling Hardy Boys Adventures series.
An original Sherlock Holmes manuscript was stolen from the Bayport Museum and now pages keep showing up in Frank and Joe’s things: their lockers, menus, even the backseat of their car. It’s clear someone is out to frame them. But who could it be?
The boys try their usual means of deduction, but everything leads to a dead end. They just keep finding unsuspecting people who were paid to hide the pages by a mysterious third party. Frank recognizes this tactic-it’s exactly what Moriarty would do to throw off Sherlock Holmes. So the brothers decide to use one of Sherlock’s signature ideas: The Baker Street Irregulars. Though instead of street kids, Frank and Joe use a group of skateboarding tweens to keep their eyes and ears open around town.
It’s a battle of wits as the brother detectives try to clear their name. But this Moriarty wannabe always seems to be one step ahead. Can the Hardy boys find the real culprit before it’s too late?
Clue Books #6
A Skateboard Cat-astrophe – 11/17
For Sale: Paperback – Hardcover – Kindle
Illustrated by Matt David
Detective brothers Frank and Joe must figure out who sabotaged Skeeter the Skateboarding Cat in the sixth book in the interactive Hardy Boys Clue Book series.
Everyone in Bayport is talking about the first annual skateboard contest. The winner gets free mac and cheese balls from The Easy Cheesy food truck for the whole year! Frank and Joe just wish there was someone to beat the school’s biggest bully, and best skateboarder, Diesel Diffendorfer. Then their best friend Chet shows them a video of Skeeter the skateboarding cat.a cat that happens to belong to the new kid in town, Carlos Martinez. Suddenly, a plan is hatched.
Carlos agrees to enter Skeeter, in the contest. Who wouldn’t want free mac and cheese for a year? But just when Skeeter hits his final trick, a mouse runs across his path! Distracted, Skeeter hops off his skateboard and chases after his furry foe. When Frank and Joe run to catch him, they discover the mouse was a toy. Could someone have sabotaged Skeeter’s big day? It’s up to the Hardy Boys-and you-to find out!
Clue Books #7
The Pirate Ghost – 04/18
For Sale: Paperback – Hardcover
Illustrated by Santy Gutierrez
Detective brothers Frank and Joe work to uncover a pirate ghost hoax in the seventh book in the interactive Hardy Boys Clue Book series.
The Hardy Boys are super excited when their friend Jason Wang wins the “Talk Like a Pirate Contest” at Bayport’s annual Pirate Palooza. Jason’s prize is a map to the legendary pirate, Captain Scurvydog’s buried treasure. Expert detectives Frank and Joe offer to help him find it.
But the next day, Jason tells the brothers that he won’t be doing any treasure hunting. He says the ghost of Captain Scurvydog has been haunting him; his parrot is singing pirate songs he’s never been taught, pirate coins appeared on his windowsill, and there’s a mysterious note in a bottle warning Jason to stay away from buried treasure. To Jason, the message is clear: stay away from Captain Scurvydog’s booty! Frank and Joe don’t believe in ghosts. They’re sure someone is tricking Jason so they can dig up the buried treasure themselves. The only question is, who?
Hardy Boys Adventures Graphic Novel #4 – November 2017 – For Sale
Scott Lobdell (Author), Paulo Henrique Marcondes, Daniel Rendon, Lea Hernandez (Illustrators)
Joe and Frank Hardy, the Undercover Brothers, must devise a “Deadly Strategy” to save A.T.A.C. (American Teens Against Crime)! Plus, the young detectives must defeat the dangerous Hangman at…a spelling bee? And they face a case of “Identity Theft” when they meet a young girl living someone else’s life! Action! Thrills! And over 300 pages of mystery!
Hardy Boys Adventures Graphic Novel #5 – March 2018 – For Sale
Scott Lobdell (Author), Paulo Henrique Marcondes (Illustrator)
Nancy Drew and The Hardy Boys: The New Case Files – December 2018 – For Sale
by Stefan Petrucha (Author), Sarah Kinney (Author), Gerry Conway (Author), Sho Murase (Illustrator), Paulo Henrique (Illustrator)
Some of literature’s most famous detectives team-up in a feature length story! Plus zombies, vampires, this one’s got everything! Five thrilling graphic novels are collected here featuring world famous teen sleuths Nancy Drew and Frank and Joe Hardy. First, see them like you’ve never seen them before-teaming up! Plus, Nancy Drew is off slaying vampires and the Hardy Boys call it quits…after crawling with zombies.
Nancy Drew And The Hardy Boys: The Big Lie Paperback Omnibus – November 2017 – For Sale
A Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys mystery unlike any other you’ve ever read! 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 Nancy Drew to prove their innocence (and find the real guilty party in the process) in a twisting noir tale, complete with double-crosses, deceit, and dames. 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!
New Cover Art For October 2017
Hunting for Hidden Gold
Now with a brand-new look, this is an edition that collectors won’t want to miss! In Hunting for Hidden Gold, the fifth book in the incredibly popular, long-running series, Frank and Joe Hardy pursue a notorious gang responsible for a payroll robbery. A special treat for Hardy Boys fans and any reader who’s new to the series!
The Shore Road Mystery
Now with a brand-new look, this is an edition that collectors won’t want to miss! In The Shore Road Mystery, the sixth book in the incredibly popular, long-running series, Frank and Joe Hardy encounter a perplexing set of mysteries when they agree to help their friend Jack Dodd and his father locate a family treasure. A special treat for Hardy Boys fans and any reader who’s new to the series!
The Secret Of Caves
Now with a brand-new look, this is an edition that collectors won’t want to miss! In The Secret of the Caves, the seventh book in the incredibly popular, long-running series, Frank and Joe Hardy discover the secret of the Honeycomb Caves while searching for a missing professor. A special treat for Hardy Boys fans and any reader who’s new to the series!
The Mystery of Cabin Island
Now with a brand-new look, this is an edition that collectors won’t want to miss! In The Mystery of Cabin Island, the eighth book in the incredibly popular, long-running series, Frank and Joe Hardy encounter several dangerous setbacks as they search for Johnny Jefferson and some antique stolen medals. A special treat for Hardy Boys fans and any reader who’s new to the series!
The Tower Treasure
#1 in the series – 1927
Written by Leslie McFarlane
The Plot: One sunny day, Frank & Joe are out motorcycling on the Shore Road, having a pleasant conversation, when they are nearly run off the road by a red-headed speed-demon in a touring car! They then head over to the Morton farm and find their buddy Chet in a highly agitated state. Seems some no good rat had made off with Chet’s pride and joy, his yellow roadster. The boys immediately launch an investigation and have a humorous encounter with some local hayseeds.
They go to report the theft to the dopey Bayport cops and find out that steamboat office has been held up by a man driving a yellow roadster! It seems no one is sure if the thief had red hair or not.
That weekend, the Boys go on a picnic with their chums and find Chet’s roadster hidden in some bushes. While reporting their find to the police, they are informed that the Tower Mansion of eccentric stamp collector Hurd Applegate has been robbed of jewels and securities! To make matters worse, Henry Robinson, Applegate’s caretaker and father of the Boy’s pal Slim, has been arrested for the crime. Seems Mr. Robinson suddenly came up with 900 bucks and stubbornly won’t explain whence it came.
The Boys vow to investigate and commence by locating a red wig in the wreck of the touring car that nearly drove them off the road in Chapter 1. They enlist Fenton’s aid and he goes to New York and discovers the wig was stolen from an actor by the nefarious Red Jackley.
Fenton persues Jackley but Red is badly injured in a smash up and is hospitilized, unable to talk. Later Fenton gets a call informing him that Red is about to croak but, if he hurries, he may be able to question him. The Bayport cops also are determined to question Jackley and it’s up to the Boys and their chums to delay the coppers. They do this by planting a purported Black Hand “bomb” in the pushcart of an Italian fruit seller. This leads to one of the funniest scenes in all Hardy literature and succeeds in delaying the cops.
Fenton discovers that Jackley had, indeed, robbed the Tower Mansion and hidden the loot in “the old tower”. The scene shifts to the Applegate mansion and the Boys launch a thorough investigation of both towers but discover nothing. Baffled, the Boys mope around for a week and then decide to take a ride in the country on their motorcycles. They discover an old railroad water tower and, knowing Jackley once worked for the railroad, decide to investigate. They find the treasure, Mr. Robinson is cleared, the Boys get a reward and a big dinner party for them and their chums at Applegate’s mansion.
Comments: Since it’s the first book in the series, this is probably the most read Hardy Boys story. Everyone seems to know the basic plot (Sure, why not? It was recounted in chapter 2 of just about every one of the next 57 books!) Nevertheless, this is the book that launched a dynasty. Nancy Drew, Rick Brant and every other juvenile hero that followed owes something to this book and this series. Of course, the Hardy Boys owe a debt to the paripatetic and socially maladjusted Rover Boys but I digress.
There’s plenty of action and plenty of laughs to be found here. Who can forget the “time bomb” in Rocco’s fruitstand? The Bayport PD is hilariously portrayed as a group of bumbling incompetents, a depiction that would be toned down considerably in future volumes. It’s no wonder, with such a police force, that Bayport is beset with crime of every type! This story is further improved by the lack of the obnoxious Aunt Gertrude. The Boys do some decent detecting and Fenton lends a big hand. Of course, their finding of the lost treasure is, as usual, pretty much a matter of dumb luck.
According to Leslie McFarlane’s autobiography, Ghost of the Hardy Boys, he poured all his not inconsiderable talent into this story and it shows. The plot moves right along, the characters seem fairly realistic and the dialog is pretty snappy.
I’ve often wondered why, after all the trouble old man Applegate caused him, Mr. Robinson went back to work for the old geezer instead of slapping him with a wrongful arrest suit and maybe even giving the old coot a well deserved sock on the jaw! Then again, based upon his actions, Mr. Robinson is hardly the brightest candle on the birthday cake!
The plot of the revised text version of this story sticks pretty close to the original but the prose seems hurried and lacks the charm of the original.
Rating: A+ Revised text: C+
Recently, I’ve obtained copies of the original Syndicate outlines for the first 20 volumes of the Hardy Boys series from the archives of the NY Public Library.
They vary in length, with the later outlines generally being longer and more detailed:
Vol. 1: 2 pages – Vol. 2: 2 pages – Vol. 3: 2 pages – Vol. 4: 4 pages – Vol. 5: 2 pages – Vol. 6: 2 pages
Vol. 7: 3 pages – Vol. 8: 4 pages – Vol. 9: 4 pages – Vol. 10: 5 pages – Vol. 11: 5 pages – Vol. 12: 6 pages
Vol. 13: 8 pages – Vol. 14: 10 pages – Vol. 15: 10 pages – Vol. 16: 7 pages – Vol. 17: 10 pages – Vol. 18: 8 pages
Vol. 19: 10 pages – Vol. 20: 12 pages
Some outlines also included descriptions of the standard characters and places in the stories, these pages are not included in the page count.
In the early outlines (1-12) specific chapter divisions were not specifically mentioned but are clearly alluded to by the various paragraph breaks. In volumes 2-12, only the end of chapter 1 (aka “The Cliffhanger”) was specified. In the later outlines (13-20), the chapter breaks are explicity stated.
Edward Stratemeyer wrote the outlines for volumes 1-9. His daughter, Edna, wrote the outlines for volumes 10, 11, 12, 14, 16, 17 and 19. His other daughter, Harriet, wrote the outlines for volumes 13, 15, 18 and 20.
Let’s examine the outlines for chapter 1 in volumes 1 and 13:
Volume 1 – The Tower Treasure
Joe and Frank Hardy are on their motorcycles on an errand for their father, Fenton Hardy, the famous detective. It is Saturday, a holiday from the Bayport High School which they attend, springtime. They talk of their father’s work on a forgery case and how they suggested something that led to a clue. Would like to be detectives too when they grow up, even though Mrs. Laura Hardy, the mother, wanted them to be lawyers or doctors. The shore road, the rocks below — the racing auto — will it hit them?
Volume 13 – The Mark On The Door
CHAPTER I. “Hey, look out!” Just in time to avoid a bad collision in a storm on the water, Frank Hardy pulls his motorboat around, but it is clipped by a speeding craft piloted by a swarthy, handsome, but unpleasant looking man. Boys yell at him but he does not stop, and though they give chase he reaches the Bayport dock many minutes ahead of them Chet meets them and says, “Let’s go to the Federal Court. My father’s on the jury, and there’s an exciting case going on.” Joe stops to inquire who the owner of the fast boat may be, and learns the man is some kind of foreigner who hired the launch two days before for an important errand. Boys find the courtroom bristling with agitation – men are being questioned in connection with fraudulent transactions carried on in Bayport in oil stock – (The wells are in Mexico) – A note is handed to the district attorney, who asks that the case be postponed as his star witness is strangely missing. Just then Frank spies the man who damaged the boys’ motorboat, and as the crowd files out, tries to get to him.
As you can see, in volume 1 the writer is given pretty much a free hand in creating the dialog and exposition. In volume 13 this is gone, with the writer being given fairly specific instructions and some actual dialog.
Depending on the writer, the results of these detailed outlines varies wildly. Old pro Leslie McFarlane was still able to inject some enthusiasm and excitement into the stories, even while laboring under the stricter guidelines. On the other hand, a hack like John Button merely fleshed out the outline, rendering the stories dry as dust. This phenomenon reached it’s nadir in the execrable The Disappearing Floor, which was taken directly from the outline and is universally derided as the worst story in the original text canon.
This is a copy of the original outline sent to Leslie McFarlane, dated 11/26/26.
Note the “125” written on the right border of page 1 – it’s what McFarlane was paid to create this immortal story.
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