August 2019 Update

bayport beat
Welcome to the August edition of The Hardy Boys News with a look at upcoming releases and the book of the month, “The Secret Panel”.

coming soon

Graphic Novel;Nancy Drew and The Hardy Boys: The Mystery of the Missing AdultsFor Sale
Hardcover Graphic Novel – September 2019
by Scott Bryan Wilson (Author), Bob Solanovicz (Artist)

Eating candy nonstop and watching TV all day sounds great . . . until you actually do it, as the kids of Bayport High find out when all the adults vanish, and the world’s greatest (high school) detectives–the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew!–have to team up to solve the mystery! Whether it’s going under cover, sneaking out at night, chasing weird buses, or following a strange smell, they know it’ll take all their wits and smarts to get their parents and teachers back . . . that is, if Joe and Frank don’t kill each other first. Oh, and there’s also the matter of the skeleton that can walk. And a major feud with a rival high school. And a koala-in-a-diaper costume. And lawlessness in the hallways. And an unrequited crush . . .

Written by Scott Bryan Wilson (Batman Annual, Star Trek: Waypoint) and drawn by Bob Solanovicz (Mister Meow), NANCY DREW AND THE HARDY BOYS: THE MYSTERY OF THE MISSING ADULTS! is a high-octane, nonstop comedic romp full of action, excitement, mystery, and friendship. And mayhem. Lots of mayhem.

Clue Book #910: The Great Pumpkin Smash – 09/19
For Sale: Paperback – Hardcover
Illustrated by Santy Gutierrez

Detective brothers Frank and Joe investigate a crime of smashin’ in the tenth book in the interactive Hardy Boys Clue Book series.
Frank, Joe, and their best friend Chet are attending Bayport Zoo’s annual Halloween carnival. Frank and Joe have a routine planned for Scaryoke, and Chet has entered the pumpkin pie-eating contest-he even brought his own whipped cream!

After their performance, Frank and Joe go to check out the painted pumpkins on display. But when the brothers enter the tent, they see their Scaryoke song wasn’t the only smash hit at the carnival. The floor is littered with bits of pulverized pumpkins! What’s worse, the organizer says that unless the culprits are caught by the end of the day, this will be the last Boo at the Zoo.forever!

Can Frank and Joe find out what happened before it’s too late? Or is this pumpkin crime unpatchable?
Hardy Boys Adventures #1819: Dungeons & Detectives – 10/19
For Sale: PaperbackHardcoverKindleAudio CD
Brother detectives Frank and Joe search a hidden castle for clues to help them find a missing comic book in the nineteenth book in the thrilling Hardy Boys Adventures series.

Frank and Joe have been hanging out at Sir Robert’s Comic Kingdom, the local comic and gaming shop, and got the exclusive invite to this year’s Halloween costume ball at Bayport’s one and only castle. Sir Robert plans to use the big event to unveil his most prized possession, a super rare comic that is rumored to contain a map to buried treasure.

Sir Robert agrees to show his store regulars-who now include Frank and Joe-a sneak preview of the comic before the party. But when he goes to unlock the fireproof casing, he finds the book is gone.

It will take all of Frank and Joe’s recently acquired LARPing skills to solve this case. Anything can happen in a castle full of dungeons and deception. Can the Hardy boys keep up?
Hardy Boys Adventures #2020: Return to Black Bear Mountain – 02/20
For Sale: PaperbackHardcoverKindleAudio CD
Brother detectives Frank and Joe face the dangers of Black Bear Mountain once again in the twentieth book in the thrilling Hardy Boys Adventures series.

Frank and Joe are back on Black Bear Mountain, the scene of a previous wilderness adventure and mind-bending mystery. This time, the brothers are checking in on Dr. K, a friend they made during their first trip. Dr. K is a fan of living off the grid, but he’s been MIA long enough to cause worry in the small mountain town. And so the teenage detectives Black Bear Mountain relied on before have been called in to help once again.

It’s not a good start to the investigation when Frank and Joe’s ATV is put out of commission by a falling tree. Then their camp, including their radio – their only way to contact the outside world – is destroyed by wildlife searching for food. And when they finally reach Dr. K’s research station, they find his cabin has been cleaned out and abandoned – the only current resident is an angry skunk.

Frank and Joe may have been better prepared for their second Black Bear Mountain adventure, but they’re not having any more luck this time around. In fact, they’ve been downright unlucky. Is someone trying to sabotage their mission? And if they are, how can the brothers stop this invisible foe?
Clue Book #11

11: Bug-Napped – 04/20

For Sale: PaperbackHardcover

Illustrated by Santy Gutierrez

Detective brothers Frank and Joe search for a very special beetle in the eleventh book in the interactive Hardy Boys Clue Book series.

Frank and Joe are taking care of their friend’s super cool pet stag beetle named Izumi for the weekend. Not only is this bug fun to watch, but he is also supposed to bring you luck!

The first night with Izumi, Joe learns that stag beetles like to hiss and chirp.a lot. So, Joe decides to leave Izumi on the front stoop so he can get some sleep. But when Joe goes to get Izumi the next morning, he discovers that his lucky friend isn’t so lucky after all. Because Izumi has gone missing! Izumi’s cage is gone so the boys know he didn’t escape on his own. Did Aki’s pet get bug-napped?

Can the brothers find this special bug before the weekend is over? It’s up to Frank and Joe-and you-to solve the mystery of the missing beetle!
Midnight is Coming! The Hardy Boys Return!

The HerInteractive Nancy Drew: Midnight in Salem game will officially release on November 19th, 2019.

Returning to help Nancy on another case, the Hardy Boys hone in on unexplained occurrences and aide in the hunt for the arsonist of the Hathorne House. With Frank’s practical sensibilities and Joe’s unbridled enthusiasm, they make an excellent team in search of the truth. The Hardy Boys will provide great insights and vital information regarding the investigation. You, as Nancy Drew, can depend on Frank and Joe’s assistance to shed light on the motivations of suspects and those that might be influenced by Salem’s dark past.

Book of the Month: The Secret Panel

Hardy Boys

25: The Secret Panel – Collectible Editions For Sale
Cover Art & Edition Information
Original: 1946 Harriet Stratemeyer Adams (212 pages)
Outline: Harriet Adams
Revised: 1969 Priscilla Baker-Carr (177 pages) – For Sale
Outline: None – Baker-Carr edited the original manuscript.
Revision: Altered
Art: 1946 Russell Tandy
Art: 1969 Rudy Nappi
Notes: In a letter to the Syndicate dated 4/2/45, Leslie McFarlane turned down writing this story due to other work.
Harriet S. Adams also signed a release form for the revised edition.
The Hardy Boys solve a kidnapping mystery at the weird Mead House, which lacks both door knobs and hinges.
Description of current edition: Another exciting mystery begins for Frank and Joe when they help a stranger who has had an accident with his car. The man introduces himself as John Mead, owner of a nearby estate. But when the Hardy boys find an odd-looking house key and try to return it, they realize that John Mead died five years ago! They are even more amazed when they find that the intricately carved doors in the deserted mansion have no visible knobs or keylocks. What happens when Frank and Joe discover that there is a link between their father’s case of thieves and the mysterious Mead mansion will keep the reader on edge with thrills and suspense.

Hardys In Review  

This Month: The Secret Panel
#25 in the series – 1946 – Text by Leslie McFarlane

Reviewed by Stew Thornley

The Plot: The first day’s adventures introduce a number of mysteries which, of course, all turn out to be related. Frank and Joe encounter a man named John Mead on the road. Mead is headed out of town and gives the Hardys a key to his mansion on the north shore of Barmet Bay with a request for them to turn out a light he left on. The mystery deepens when Chief Collig tells the boys that John Mead is dead and a visit to the Mead property reveals a house with no visible knobs, locks, or keyholes on the doors. (It’s later explained that the deceased John Mead–the uncle of the man the Hardys met on the road–was a locksmith who so tired of looking at locks and keyholes that he built a home with all such hardware hidden.)

When Frank and Joe get home, they find a man, Mike Matton, apparently trying to break into their house. Matton satisfies the boys with the explanation that he works for Ben Whittaker, the local locksmith, and had been changing a lock at Laura Hardy’s request. Frank and Joe later learn that their mother made no such request and that Matton, who by this time has disappeared, has stolen expensive hardware off the doors of other Bayport residents. Meanwhile, Chet has purchased a dory, which he names The Bloodhound, that proves to be unseaworthy and sinks on its first trip into the Barmet Bay. Fenton tells Frank and Joe about his latest case, tracking down museum thieves who are using innovative methods to overcome sophisticated locks and burglar alarms. The busy first day concludes with a midnight visit from Fanny Stryker, who seeks Fenton’s help in finding her son, Lenny, who had phoned her that evening to say he had been shot in the leg and was being held behind a secret panel.

Fenton is reluctant to help Mrs. Stryker but reconsiders when Dr. Lyall shows up at the Hardy home the next morning with news that he had been kidnaped the night before and forced to treat a young man with a gunshot wound in his leg. Fenton wonders if this is connected with the museum thieves, a gang he believes is headed by Whitey Masco. Dr. Lyall leaves the Hardys with a valuable clue, that 10 minutes before arriving at the destination, the car he was being held in had stopped at a traffic light that appeared to hum.

Before Frank and Joe can leave to search for humming traffic lights, Aunt Gertrude arrives for an extended visit (unannounced, of course), in a worse mood than usual since her house keys had been stolen on the bus trip to the Hardys. Frank, Joe, and Chet find a humming traffic light at 4th and Upton and follow the roads 10 minutes in different directions, resulting in a series of adventures but no leads as to the location of the secret panel.

Later that day, Frank and Joe find a way into the Mead mansion and explore its interior. On the way home, they come across another humming traffic light. Following the road to the north, they pass the Mead property and end up after 10 minutes at a garage, where they find a book stolen from the Hamilton Museum, one of the museums that had been robbed. The book had been dropped by a recent customer to the garage. Before the day concludes, Frank and Joe get caught up in an encounter with the man who had sold Chet the dory. The man had summoned Chet to a house at 47 Packer Street. Upon learning that the dory had sunk, the man attacked Chet and later Frank and Joe, who arrived in search of Chet.

The next day starts with a visit from another doctor who was kidnaped and forced to treat a young man with a gunshot wound in his leg. The day ends with an intruder entering the Hardy home and stealing one of Fenton’s files. While in the house, he learns that Martha Johnson, an old family friend who stopped by for a visit with Laura and Aunt Gertrude, is a nurse. The man waits outside and kidnaps Miss Johnson when she leaves so she can administer aid to the young man with the gunshot wound in his leg. Unlike the two doctors kidnaped for the same reason, Miss Johnson is not released.

The activities pick up on the fourth day. At a county fair in Harlington, Frank and Joe become suspicious of a man who is able to win money at one of the carnival exhibits by picking a lock. Frank and Joe strike up a conversation with the lock picker, who runs away when he learns who the boys are. The Hardys later return to Harlington and spot the lock picker in a drug store buying first aid supplies. Frank purchases a disguise and hops in the lock picker’s car, hiding on the floor behind the front seat. He learns the lock picker’s name is Jeff when Jeff picks up Griff, the man who had sold Chet the boat and ambushed the Hardys at the house on Packer Street. Griff and Jeff discover Frank in the back of the car and order him out as Frank puts on an act as a moron who just likes to ride in the back of people’s cars. In their own car, Frank and Joe trail Griff and Jeff to a public dock and ferry crossing. Afraid that Griff and Jeff had gotten on the ferry, the discouraged brothers return home.

The Hardys and Chet go back the next day to investigate the area around the public dock. En route, they come across another humming traffic light. After arriving at the dock and ferry crossing, they continue down a road along the water’s edge, which, after a total of 10 minutes of driving from the humming traffic light, puts them at the Mead mansion. They enter, find the secret panel, and discover Miss Johnson and Lenny Stryker behind it; however, they are captured by Griff and Jeff and locked behind the panel.

When the boys don’t return home that evening, Laura and Aunt Gertrude become frantic. Fenton investigates and ends up at the Mead mansion. John Mead then arrives at the Hardy home to pick up the key he had lent to Frank and Joe. Eventually everyone–Mead, Laura, Aunt Gertrude, and a Bayport police officer–meet Fenton and his operatives at the mansion. Inside, Fenton finds the secret panel. Before it can be opened, Mike Matton arrives and is captured by Fenton. Matton, as it turns out, was there only to try to sell stolen hardware to Masco and knows nothing about the secret panel.

After Matton is taken away, Fenton opens the panel, releasing the captives. They then stake out the inside of the house and capture Whitey Masco when he shows up soon after. Over the next week, the rest of the gang is captured, and the entire story is revealed: Whitey Masco is Lenny Stryker’s uncle, half-brother of his father. Masco had tricked Lenny into accompanying the gang on a robbery, and Lenny was shot in the leg by a guard. Before being imprisoned behind the secret panel, Lenny was able to call his mother from the mansion.

Masco, who had befriended the now-deceased John Mead some years before, had been using one of Mead’s inventions to bypass sophisticated locks on museums and silence burglar alarms.

Chet’s dory had come from the Mead boathouse. Griff had sold it to Chet, then needed to get it back when he found that the dory contained a box with some of the Masco’s loot in it.
It was a heretofore unnamed character named Bondy who stole Fenton’s file and then kidnaped Miss Johnson.

Comments: This has always been my favorite book in the series. That may be in part because it was the first one that I read–as a nine-year-old in 1964–but it’s consistent with my enjoyment of other titles in the series that deal with mysterious homes such as the Mead mansion. The clue of the humming traffic light was a good one, leading to all sorts of interesting developments as the Hardys went off in different directions in search of the secret panel. However, Frank and Joe should have considered the Mead home as the possible site of the secret panel long before they discovered that the mansion was 10 minutes from one of the humming traffic lights.

A number of strange occurrences had happened at the mansion. Once, Frank heard a voice inside the house that he thought was Joe’s but later learned it wasn’t; the same thing happened later when Joe heard a groan he thought was from Frank, who had received a shock from an electrical panel. By this time, the Hardys had also found that there was a connection between Chet’s dory and the Mead mansion. Fenton displayed greater perspicacity with his decision to go to the Mead mansion when Frank and Joe ended up missing–even though Fenton did not know that the house was 10 minutes from a humming traffic light.

The 1969 revised version of the book sticks pretty much to the same story, with some slight changes in characters and character names. Also, the thieves Fenton is tracking have been stealing televisions and stereo equipment rather than robbing museums. The condensing of the book from 25 to 20 chapters brought about a loss of much of the original version’s abundant detail by Leslie McFarlane. However, part of the condensing merely did away with some redundancies, such as the second visit from a kidnaped doctor; a couple of cliffhangers, such as the cave-in the Hardys get caught in on a construction site that is 10 minutes away from one of the humming traffic lights; and some extraneous features, such as the submarines being built as pleasure craft by a friend of Fenton’s.

There are other changes that are common in the revised version, most notably the toning down of the negative portrayal of the Bayport Police Department. Collig comes across as genial and competent in the original, but Policeman Riley appears with his usual buffoonishness. In the revised version, Riley actually seems competent (or, at the very least, not incompetent). My biggest lament with the revision is that is was done after a new cover-art style was introduced in 1966. Titles revised before this time retained their existing cover art, but The Secret Panel, along with others, got the new art, which is vastly inferior. Gone was the picture of Frank and Joe opening the secret panel, with the detailed ornamentation on the woodwork evident, revealing Miss Johnson and Lenny Stryker behind the panel. The new cover shows Whitey Masco in front of a plain paneled wall threatening Frank and Joe with a cutting torch (an event which did not even take place in the original version).

Some interesting features from The Secret Panel: There is virtually no involvement with other members of the gang, even though the entire adventure takes place in the Bayport area. The only encounter with other chums comes when Tony Prito enters the drug store in Harlington and fails to recognized the disguised Frank. Helen Osborne makes an appearance as a girl Chet likes. (In the revised version, Helen is referred to as ” chet’s “girl” and is part of a triple-date involving the Hardys, Chet, Iola, & Callie.

Robert Crawford, in The Lost Hardys: A Concordance, is unable to specifically site the Mead mansion on the map he has drawn of the Bayport area. Although it’s clear that the mansion was on the north shore of Barmet Bay, Crawford is puzzled, with good reason, as to why the Shore Road is not mentioned. Crawford thinks the Mead mansion– despite two references to the north shore–may actually be on the south shore because of its proximity to Harlington, which Crawford places on the southwest corner of Barmet Bay. I’m not sure how he determined that placement for Harlington, since I can’t recall any details that indicated its location. Also, the Hardys passed the Mead mansion while traveling north from the second humming traffic light. It would seem, despite the absence of the Shore Road, that the Mead mansion was on the north side of Barmet Bay. Please note that my mention of this conundrum is in no way intended as a criticism of Crawford’s book, which I think is terrific and should be purchased by every Hardy Boys’ fan.

Rating: I give the original version an A, although I admit to being a bit prejudiced since this was my first Hardy Boys book. Even though the revised version follows the same story line, the loss of the rich prose drops the grade to C+.
This review initially appeared in The Bayport Times #15

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