the hardy boys unofficial home page

The
Hardy Boys
Webzine
The Bayport Times, The Hardy Boys Webzine - Editor: Robert W. Finnan
Issue # 33    December 2001    Editor: Bob Finnan
The Unofficial
Hardy Boys
Home Page

Bayport Beat
SEASON'S GREETINGS!
SEASON'S GREETINGS!
SEASON'S GREETINGS!

Welcome to the Bayport Times.

   This issue featuring another look at The Haunted Fort, new collectible discoveries, letters, the Mike Humbert Department and more!

Fourth Anniversary
   This issue marks the fourth anniversary of The Bayport Times. Since that first issue in November of 1997, the Hardy Boys have seen many changes, all faithfully reported here. Hopefully, there will still be Hardy Boys stories being released four years from now but, if there is or if there isn't, you'll still be getting all the Hardy Boys news here!

On The Move
   As you may have noticed, the Unofficial Hardy Boys Home Page (and, of course, The Bayport Times) has moved from Geocities over here to Tripod. Those of you who have bookmarked the old locations should update them now. The domain name www.Hardy-Boys.net is still valid and will direct you to the proper URL.

Applewood Books
   A source at Applewood Boooks informed me that the release their latest Hardy Boys book, The Mark On The Door (#13), has been delayed till late November. So, those of you who have ordered through my Amazon.com links (thanks!) should be receiving your copies soon. If you haven't ordered your copy yet, what are you waiting for? Just click on the link above!

Bye-Bye Minstrel!
   Noted Hardyholic Bob Nelson reports that forthcoming Digests will no longer be released under the Minstrel imprint. Beginning with volume 171, all new books will be issued under the Aladdin Books imprint. Additionally, the size of the books will be different. Volume 172, Trouble In Warp Space, will be released in June instead of March as originally planned. After that, new books will be released every 2 months.

Simon & Schuster
   I strongly urge all fans to write, either by regular or e-mail, to the powers that be at Simon & Schuster (1230 Avenue Of The Americas, New York, NY 10021) and urge them to celebrate the upcoming Hardy Boys 75th anniversary.

Simon & Schuster E-Mails:
Brenda Bowen (VP Children's Div.): brenda.bowen@simonandschuster.com
Anne Greenberg (Editor): anne.greenberg@simonandschuster.com
Most people at S&S can be emailed by using their first and last names like so: FirstName.LastName@simonandschuster.com

Hardy Boys Discussion Group
The Hardy Boys e-mail discussion group is still going strong with over 300 members.
It's easy to join too! If you are a Yahoo members just go to http://groups.yahoo.com/group/HardyBoys and click on Join This Group. Non-Yahoo members (and Yahoo members too!) can subscribe by sending an e-mail to hardyboys-subscribe@yahoogroups.com.

This Just In
Harry Tanwick is still dead!
   When questioned at police headquarters, Detective Oscar Smuff reported "I guess he's still dead. I mean he hasn't moved or anything since we found him and he sure does smell bad. If none of his relatives show up soon, we're gonna have to dump him in the bay."

Books Make Great Gifts!
   Just about everyone appreciates getting a book as a gift. Ordering now will ensure delivery in time for Christmas gift giving. Check out the New On The Shelves section for the latest Hardy Boys stories or visit my Amazon Sales Page for a huge selection of Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew, Tom Swift, Chip Hilton, Judy Bolton, Horatio Alger, Harry Potter, Bowery Boys, 3 Stooges and other books, CD-ROMs, videos and DVDs - all discount priced.

Check it out!
MY USED BOOK SALES PAGE

Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew, Tom Swift + MORE!

Articles Needed
   The Bayport Times always needs new Hardy Boys related articles, humor, book reviews or collectible discoveries. If you would like to become immortalized on the web, please E-Mail me at fwdixon@yahoo.com.

Thanks
   Last but not least, special thanks and a tip of the Hardy cap to my brother Elk, Steve Servello, for all his help in keeping the Bayport Times going.


New Collectible Discoveries

 

Homemade Hardy Boys Clock
Hardy Boys Wall Clock
Probably unlicensed - looks homemade
Seen on eBay.
10/78 Dynamic Teen Heroes Magazine
Dynamic Teen Heroes Magazine
October 1978 issue

 

Miniature Hardy Boys Books
Miniature Hardy Boys Books
Homemade - Seen on eBay.

 

British Hardy Boys Casefile
British Casefile
Example of the current Casefile series issued by Simon & Schuster in Great Britain.

New On The Shelves
Recent additions to the Hardy canon
All These Titles Are Available For Sale From Amazon.com - Just Click!
ORDER NOW FOR CHRISTMAS GIFT GIVING!
Hardy Boys Digest #166
Digests
NEW: Test Case (#171)
Kickoff To Danger (#170)
Ghost Of A Chance (#169)
The Castle Conundrum (#168)
Trouble Times Two (#167)
Upcoming: Trouble In Warp Space (#172)
    
Casefiles
Line Of Fire (#16)
Amazon says this is due to be reprinted but
I'm beginning to have my doubts.
Click Here To Buy Hardy Boys - the Mark On The Door
Applewood Books
NEW: The Mark On The Door (#13)
Footprints Under The Window (#12)
While The Clock Ticked (#11)
What Happened At Midnight (#10)
The Great Airport Mystery (#9)
The Mystery Of Cabin Island (#8)

Click Here To Buy Me!Yats In Movieland
by Michael F. Russo Satirical fiction about a man who buys the movie rights to the Hardy Boys. Mature themes, not for children.

A NEW HARDY BOYS E-BOOK !!!
#168 - The Castle Conundrum     For Microsoft Reader
Complete list of all available Hardy Boys and other books, videos, CD-ROMs and DVDs on
My Amazon.com Page

Nancy Drew, Tom Swift, Chip Hilton, Harry Potter, The Bowery Boys, The 3 Stooges & More
PLUS
Visit My Used Book Sales Page

Many Collectible Series Books - Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew, Tom Swift & More!

Hardys In Review
This Month: The Haunted Fort
Number 44 in the original series
Published in 1965
Written by David Grambs
Reviewed by Stephen J. Servello

Editor: In issue 22 of The Bayport Times, I gave The Haunted Fort a rather uncomplimentary review, herewith is a rebuttal:

Hardy Boys - The Haunted Fort

I was asked to review "The Haunted Fort" in a friendly "put up or shut up" manner. This was done good naturedly of course, but the core sentiment remains. Bob Finnan has said on several occasions that he finds this particular Hardy Boy book to be just awful (my words). [Editor: Actually, I find the story to be moronic. ;{)] I must admit that I have taken some delight in teasing Bob by expounding its virtues, in a general way. Nothing specific mind you. But now I've been called to task and do so with relish! I have done my best to cleanse my mind of all the good vibes I have when I recall the numerous times I have re-read "Haunted Fort" and will proceed with this review/summary as I progress with the read, as opposed to one overall review. My last read of this book was about ten years ago. Perhaps only certain parts will shine for me. Maybe only the cover art...

I mention the cover art specifically, because I believe that this Rudy Nappi cover is the best in the entire series! Except for Joe's dull red shirt, almost the entire illustration is in shades of gray. In the foreground Frank is crouched on all fours, gazing in wonder at the ghostly apparition seemingly skimming across the surface of Lake Senega! Joe, equally stunned, points out the obvious from a standing position. Despite only side views of the Hardy's faces, they look exactly as I have always envisioned them to be: mature looking in their late teens, handsome (but not pretty boys), yet rugged, able to fend for themselves (pages 135 & 136). The battlements of Fort Senangaga loom menacingly in the night of the full moon while a tree, bereft of foliage, reaches out over the startled Hardy Boys and ghost, to the fort. Dark clouds and even murkier lake complete this vividly drawn cover by Nappi. Now, on to see if the story itself can live up to the superiority of its cover!

I believe that this was one of the first Hardy Boys books to have white endpapers and I remember wondering if this change in format would constitute a change in textual style as well. I had apparently been blissfully unaware of the reduction in chapters and therefore pages. I guess all I cared about was if the book was a good read or not, back then. Along with the white endpapers, there was now a half page introduction or synopsis immediately following. I thought this a grand idea and still do. I try to recall when events mentioned here actually occur in the book proper. The frontispiece, also by Nappi illustrates graphically a scene from page 45. Frank, Joe, Chet, Mr. Davenport and Uncle Jim strive to avert the falling masonry from atop the fort's battlements. Pretty basic but pretty effective too.

The story begins with the Hardy's, Chet, "pretty and vivacious Iola Morton" (no longer plump it seems), and "slim blonde Callie Shaw" (who I thought was usually the vivacious one), about to start a hootenanny. This doesn't happen, as the Hardy Boys are more interested in Chet's invitation to a mystery, one that included a haunted fort no less.

After the obligatory references to their previous cases, "Tower Treasure" and "Aztec Warrior," the boys gather some of the pertinent facts from "stocky Chet Morton." His Uncle Jim (Kenyon) is the chief painting instructor at Millwood. It is an art school sponsored by Jefferson Davenport, an eccentric millionaire. Although said to be located on Crown Lake in New England, the feel is more upper state New York. The mystery is that paintings by the Prisoner-Painter are being stolen from that summer art school. More on this situation later. But there is a hint from Chet, who off-handedly mentions a nearby haunted fort. Before he can go in detail concerning this, Callie screams, for it appears that a scalp has been tossed on the Morton lawn. In fact it is a paper mache replica. Nappi does a phenomenal job illustrating this scene on page 4 but the editor creates a false sense of sensationalism with the following text underneath: "It's a scalp!" Frank exclaimed." He is holding it while Chet and Joe look on. Callie is pointing at the scalp while Iola covers her eyes from the hideous sight. But in fact, the text (top of page 6) actually reads: "It's a scalp all right-- made of paper mache!" Attached is a message which reads: "Use your heads, stay away from Crown Lake." Well now, if the Hardy's had any idea of not going to Millwood, forget it now, for they have been warned and as we all know, these sort of things only steel their resolve.

Hearing that the warning will not be heeded (at least by the Hardy's), Chet swallows in fear and later on manifests other forms of this, like gulping, shivering, stuttering and quavering. I must confess that these scenes do get on my nerves, no matter that Chet usually does conquer his fears and plays key roles in solving some of the mysteries. Brace up Chet, from the get go!

After assuring Iola and Callie that they would be careful (the hootenanny is forgotten), Frank and Joe return to their home at the corner of High and Elm Streets. There they "secure permission from their parents for the trip to Crown Lake." No naming of Laura or Fenton. I was disappointed in this admittedly small thing, as it could signify a less than desired tie-in with previous books in the series, of which this is the 44th.

To do a little research on the Prisoner-Painter, the Hardy Boys head for the Bayport Museum and run into a "pug-faced man" exiting the place. They soon find out that he had just stolen the only fort painting by the artist in the museum. Villainesque stereotyping this time but thankfully, not later on.

Then it's back home and preparations are made for the journey to New England. It is agreed that the three chums will do it in Chet's Queen. As the trip begins the trio spot the art thief on the highway just outside Bayport and give chase. But they are thwarted by the "old rag in the toll basket trick" and he makes his getaway while the state trooper investigates the boys' non-payment of tolls. I was profoundly impressed by the villain's ingenuity. Looks like a worthy foe, the best kind!

I have endeavored to ascertain the locality of Bayport by paying careful attention to the details of the trip from their hometown to New England. Most of the information is garnered from page 14. From near Bayport they travel three exits up the thruway before pulling in behind the same trooper who had stopped them before. Shortly thereafter the Hardy's and Chet stop for lunch and then the countryside changes, with green hills taking over from the flat countryside. An hour after that they leave the thruway and pass through several towns before finally arriving at the Millwood Art School on Crown Lake. While far from precise, I did come away with a sense that the trip took about 3 1/2 hours. If Millwood was in say southern Vermont, this time spent traveling might indicate a northern New Jersey or coastal (Long Island perhaps?) New York origin for Bayport. This seems like a popular spot, what with Brentwood and Spindrift Island both in this area as well.

Cedartown is the nearest village and it is there that the brothers promise to further investigate the strange goings on. The action picks up from the get go! Immediately after being introduced to Uncle Jim, the Queen starts rolling down an incline, toward students painting. Only the heroics of Joe prevented a serious injury or even death. Soon after that the trio (especially Chet) have their first run-in with Ronnie Rush, a student with a chip on his shoulder and maybe more ... Perhaps it was he who eavesdropped on the Hardy's and Mr. Davenport's conversation, concerning the stolen paintings? But equally so, the haunting of Fort Senandaga featured prominently in that conversation. The last custodian of the fort quit because of masonry falling near him. For reasons I don't fathom, Mr. Davenport did not lend much credence to those claims.

The characters to be involved in one way or another with either the mystery of the haunted fort or the stolen paintings are: Jefferson Davenport, the owner of both Millwood and Fort Senandaga, Alex, the chauffer/gardener of Mr. Davenport, Myles Warren, owner of Cedarwood's hunting equipment shop and a part-time painter at Millwood, Chauncy Gilman, the sour dispositioned art critic who disliked Mr. Davenport immensely, Rene Follett, the French sculpting instructor at Millwood and Lloyd Everett, the so-called English hermit who lived on Turtle Island.

The specifics of the Prisoner-Painter are revealed by Mr. Davenport who is his ancestor. Jason Davenport was a Confederate General who penetrated too far behind Union lines during a battle near the Potomac River, and thus was captured. He was then of the incarcerated at Fort Senandaga for the remainder of the Civil War, dieing shortly afterwards. While a prisoner in New England, he painted seventeen canvases of the fort, three of which had been recently stolen. Rumor had it that Jason had discovered an old French treasure in the fort and had left a clue to its whereabouts in one of his paintings or frames. The treasure is referred to as the "chain d'or," a chain of solid gold!

Fourteen paintings remain at Wildwood with the other three in the possession of Lloyd Everett (the English hermit), Chauncy Gilman (the art critic) and Rene Follett (the Frenchman).

Deciding to investigate the crime scene, the Hardy's look for a clue, as local police seem to always miss something. And sure enough, a smear of red oil paint is discovered on one of the frames. A slim lead at best, but something to go on at least. While reporting their initial findings to Uncle Jim, the conference room they were in is shot at with a shotgun blast! In alizarin crimson paint (the same type found at the crime scene), a note attached to the spent shell warns the Hardy's out of Millwood, or they will die, to paraphrase. So, this makes two written warnings now. But the boys dig in their heels and press onward. Perhaps reeling from the taste of their mortality, Frank and Joe "attended the quaint little church in town" (page 36).

The next day, after observing their religious service, Mr. Warren is paid a visit at his Cedar Sport Store and questioned about the alizarin crimson, which he sells lots of. In fact he is the major distributor of all paint in Cedartown. So, a dead-end there. But as luck would have it, as Chet and the Hardy's exit the store, they are met by the cries of "Help! Thief! Help!" The owner of an antique shop across the way is responsible for the anguished cries and he points to the escaping thief, the very same pug-faced man that had robbed the Bayport Museum! Naturally he has stolen another fort painting and again makes a clean getaway. It is assumed by this time that a gang is looking for the concealed clue to the "chain d'or."

But another and almost as fascinating a mystery reveals itself, as Joe and Frank get to meet the various characters involved: Who were the last to hold the ramparts of Fort Senandaga, the French or the British? Presumably, whichever force did so is the victor, at least as far as this particular engagement goes. The answer is hotly debated.

Finally the fort is reached. The first of several such during the course of the investigation. Chet, looking out on Crown Lake, observes and thinks on the fact that these peaceful waters once were the scene of warring canoes and attacking fleets (page 45). I found this a refreshing and personally contemplative line of thought. As the three lads, Uncle Jim and Jefferson Davenport circle the walls; the scene ably drawn on the frontispiece takes place. Someone pushes masonry from the ramparts on the group, but severe injury is avoided by quick reactions.

Following their harrowing escape, the group returns to Millwood where Joe, ever the impetuous one, questions Ronnie Rush, to little satisfaction, and then it's across the lake for a visit with Chauncy Gilman, the arch foe of Mr. Davenport. Little is gained here but Chet does manage to knock over a suit of armor, as Nappi illustrates on page 55. I think there was great attention paid to detail in this picture.

Leaving Gilman, the threesome begins to return to Millwood but on the lake they hear the ominous thump of drumbeats, emanating from the ramparts of the apparently haunted fort. Knowing nothing could be done at that time, they return to Millwood, just in time to almost capture the elusive intruder again. Strike three for the Hardy's in chasing down the bad guys.

Then a visit to Rene Follet, the school's sculptor instructor. He refers to the Fort as "Fort du Lac," the second of three names we will eventually learn. Further, the Frenchman relates how Lord Craig of the British had attacked Le Marquis de Chambord ensconced in the fort. His version goes that Craig forced the French out initially but was then driven out himself shortly after. Lloyd Everett later calls the fort, "Fort Royal," the third and last name. When the Hardy's leave after visiting him on Turtle Island, they note his boat has been used recently though he denied it. Sabotage strikes again as the bottom of the Hardy's canoe gives way and they founder. Again though, no major damage done and they are picked up soon by a passing motorboat.

Soon it is obvious that Chet is up to something and that Uncle Jim is privy to it. Finally it is revealed that he will enter the annual art exhibit at Millwood. As the brothers look at Chet's work, they silently take in its splendor. It is left for Joe to comment finally (page 72), "What's it going to be?" I found this simple statement hilarious!

There seemed to be more knock outs among the characters in this book than in most Hardy Boys books. The first victim is Joe who is assaulted in his room and wakes up feeling scalped, as he put it. The attacker had come for and taken the map of the fort, supplied by Mr. Davenport. Apparently treasure hunt related. But fortunately the eccentric millionaire has a photostat copy in his safe. He states his view on who last held the fort by saying the answer was probably somewhere in between what Follet and Everett believe. Plus, he noted that both commanders died shortly after that battle, to further muddy the waters

And then it's off to the fort for a second visit but this one doesn't count as the three chums never arrive. Right after hearing the mysterious drums again, the Queen is the victim of a fake detour and ends up in the drink (Crown Lake). Fortunately, not far from shore. By days end the situation is well in hand but the youths return to Millwood where Uncle Jim reports the theft of the remaining twelve paintings. Now this figure confuses me, there were supposed to be 17 original paintings. Mr. Davenport states that three were stolen (page 26). I take this to mean that all three were stolen from Millwood and that the one in Bayport is really a fourth stolen fort painting.

Later, the painting in Cedarwood would be number five. Now five from seventeen does leave twelve, but there were the other three additional paintings, now belonging to: Everett, Gilman and Follett. So, I don't think the math adds up, unless I'm looking at this all wrong. And then, to screw up the count again, Mr. Davenport shows yet another fort painting stashed away, that he considered "different" in style from the others, almost somber. From Frank's description (page 89), the painting sounds very similar to Nappi's cover art.

Deciding that further sleuthing at the fort was in order, the boys prepare to do so but first run into Myles Warren, painting for the weekend. Pleasant fellow, that one. This time there are no traps and the Hardy's arrive safely, only to find the old French flag waving atop a flagpole on the southeast rampart. Before they can speculate on this they notice smoke rising from Millwood and hurry back, to see the dock area burned down and an accelerant (kerosene) had been used. Ronnie Rush refuses to help with the cleanup and Chet mutters, "He may not have burned the docks, but he sure burns me up!" Nice touch, that.

Heading over to the Cedartown police headquarters, Frank, Chet and Joe are shown the photo of the elusive art thief and it is one Adrian Copler. A man with a history of stealing art, but not as an arsonist ... An accomplice or two perhaps?

Back at Wildwood, the three are used as guinea pigs by Mr. Davenport and Mr. Ashback, the Cedartown carpenter. They had devised a fake but real looking sea serpent to rise out of Crown Lake. The ultimate purpose of this is unknown but Nappi captures the atmosphere of this scene most incredibly on page 103.

After recovering from their scare, they are soon studying the last remaining fort painting at Millwood and soon note a tomahawk, entwined by a chain, taking shape when the painting is looked at in a certain way. It's significance is not yet readily apparent but soon an incident will occur that will help the Hardy Boys see the light (and the gold chain!)

It is Frank that finally starts a line of reasoning that will lead to the final answer as to who last controlled the fort. On page 106 he wonders if the Indians fought at Senandaga. Mr. Davenport replies that they did indeed participate in the Lake Crown campaigns, but their role at the fort itself was unknown. He then states that despite studying the battle for years, he feels there is a piece missing and he is totally impartial in the issue of "who won." OK, so we know that something is missing that could tie up the loose ends of the battle for the fort and the role of the Indians is a mystery. All this is contained in one paragraph and Mr. Davenport just can't put two and two together! Ah well, I guess that's because the book is not even two thirds through yet.

Naturally Follett gives the Hardy's his own book on "The Final French Victory at Fort du Lac" that now becomes a companion novel to the English Hermit's "The True Story of Fort Royal." Which is the true account? As a young eleven year old, back in 1965, I did not know yet, that neither was.

While traveling by bateau (Mr. Ashbach's) to the fort, the boys are again denied their goal when they happen upon a ferry accident, beautifully illustrated on pages 112 & 113. Frank is the hero this time, but was this incident a coincidence? Undeterred, they return, without incident, the next day for their third successful foray to the fort. This time, the British Union Jack is flying! I wonder who was responsible for first the old French flag and now the British, atop the ramparts? While there, the Hardy's prepare the fort for the expected public showing and a dangerous hole is covered, to that end. More on this seemingly trivial act later.

It soon becomes apparent that as the day of the exhibition draws closer, that Chet is being set up for a big fall. Things are going to well and the chunky monkey is way too happy. Sure enough, it seems that Ronnie Rush has knocked over Chet's painting and perhaps ruined it. But give him credit. He rallies his spirits and decides to salvage as best he can. Most perfectionists would have simply quit.

Finally the day of the art competition arrives, but first the Hardy's act as guides at the fort (successful trip # 3). Things run smoothly until a toddler is seen waddling over to the previously covered well, but that is now a gaping hole. Again, it is Frank who saves the day, but is left to wonder at the why of it. But such thoughts must be put aside for now as their chum needs them for support back at Millwood. Chet has successfully turned a mess into a quasi-masterpiece. So good in fact that his "Still Life of a Watermelon in a Basket" wins first prize for "original work in all categories." Naturally Ronnie is resentful at Chet and storms off, a very poor loser. To top the day off, Chauncy Gilman arrives by boat to critique the paintings and as usual makes an utter ass of himself. But the cause of justice is served and served like a cold dish of revenge. The man-made sea serpent rises from the depths of Crown Lake, causing Gilman to panic and tumble into the drink. As a bonus, the written notes of the critic were lost to the waters of the lakes, as was any shred of pride that idiot may have possessed. It was unfortunate that his innocent pilot, Rogers, had to share his master's fate.

The fun for the day done with and the sun setting, the lads decide to camp out on the grounds of the fort, making their fourth and my personal favorite, trip to the haunted fort. While stocking up in Cedarwood, they learn that Mr. Warren is not in town. Again the trip is done by bateau and soon the three are combing the outer perimeter of the fort, looking for clues. They note immediately that no flag is flying at all now. While doing so they spot Ronnie spying on them but pay him no heed as he fades back into the woods upon discovery. Continuing their sleuthing the brothers come across clues that point to the involvement of Follet as well as Everett. That's a surprise ...

But nothing substantial is really discovered and camp is set up and watches set. As soon as the boys settle down they "hear a hollow, echoing, breath like sound from the fort!" Chet again upsets me with not just his fear but his superstitions he mutters, "I know what it is--a ghost breathing!" As if that wasn't enough, the darkness of night had cloaked the environs of the fort and the drumbeats start up again. This time from over the lake. But wait, there was more yet to come! "A hooded black figure was gliding toward shore!" Or as Joe then gasps, "It's a g-ghost-- walking on the water." Definitely his best Chet Morton imitation yet. But I really can't fault the seventeen year old Hardy, since he really did see "The black, billowing figure gliding over the moonlit lake, its wind-blown shroud trailing a shimmering shadow." Check out the cover. I'd be scared if I saw what the trio did and Rudy Nappi illustrated. After a brief search of where the specter reached shore, the boys are defeated yet again and head back to Millwood in the morning.

Though depressed by their previous nights endeavors, their wits are at least not affected as Frank saves Uncle Jim from immersing his hands in (sulphuric) acid instead of turpentine. Yet another of the myriad of threats against further sleuthing, but the gang should have known better by now, the Hardy's just won't quit!

Thinking that further talks with two of the principals seems in order, in view of recent events, Joe and Chet head over to Turtle Island while Frank goes it alone to Gilman's. Big mistake as Frank is knocked out (KO # 2). Now, this is not your every day knockout where you wake up, rub your aching head, and then go about your business. Oh no. This turns out to be a far more serious affair. Frank wakes up sealed in a steel barrel that is sinking in the middle of Crown Lake! By only the narrowest of margins was the elder Hardy Boy able to avert an appointment with the grim reaper. Mad as all hell, Frank makes his way ashore and returns to Gilman's with police officers Bilton and Turner. They discover the missing frames from the fort paintings in the critic's boathouse. Despite his frantic denials, he is told to stay at his house, pending further investigation. Personally, I thought the rude critic was "framed."

Meeting back at Millwood again with Chet and Joe (who had found Everett's place empty and his boat gone), they decide to comb the interior of the fort on this their fifth and penultimate visit. This discounts the two failed excursions there. Arriving on the grounds, the youths are both stunned and amused to see Follet and Everett engaged in a violent battle of fisticuffs. Each claimed the other had knocked him out (# 's 3 & 4). Breaking up the fight it is learned that (surprise), they were indeed the culprits who had raised the French and British flags over the crumbled ramparts of Fort Senandaga. Joe "bets a cracker" that Adrian Copler is responsible for the violence described.

With still no fresh clues unearthed, it is back to Millwood where Alex, the driver/gardener of Mr. Davenport, reports his boss missing. After searching unsuccessfully at Gilman's, Millwood and Cedartown, the desperate hunt moves to the fort for the sixth and last time. While removing rocks and debris in their search for Mr. Davenport, a hatchet is hurled at the boys but again misses. This quaint scene is aptly shown on page 155. The hooded ghost fades from view as the almost victims turn to look. Amazingly, it is this very weapon that provides the final clue to the whereabouts of the Prison-Painters old cell and ultimately the "chain d'or."

The clues reveal a secret tunnel, which the three investigators are quick to follow. Apparently so does Ronnie Rush who causes a cave-in by his clumsy actions. Faced with his impending doom, the art student confesses to stealing the original map to the fort, but not to knocking Joe out. Additionally he admitted to eavesdropping on them at Mr. Davenports and attempting to ruin Chet's painting. He followed his complete confession with an apology, especially to Chet and it came from the heart. Ronnie was not evil, simply misguided and greedy (he wanted the gold chain).

After an ingenious escape from the caved-in tunnel the four lads run into Alex who pleads with them to come with him as he claims to have found the injured Mr. Davenport. Indeed he had, but this state was partially due to the turncoat driver. He is in league with Adrian Copler and Myles Warren. An injured Davenport is there, but as a prisoner of the gang who proceed to boast of all their accomplishments, seeing as they had the situation well in hand. Don't they always? Can't help it I guess. Most loose ends are resolved if not in all that satisfactory a manner. Davenport pulls the "old fake illness in a cell routine" and Copler (their lone jailer at this time) is overpowered and knocked out (# 5).

Leaving Ronnie behind to guard Copler the other three search through the tunnels (infiltration and escape type) for Warren and Alex. During this exploration, the "chain d'or" is discovered as well as the other two unsuspecting thieves. Soon they too are knocked out (# 's 6 & 7) and then the cavalry arrives (Uncle Jim and the police.) At least they could escort the three prisoners away for justice (after they wake up that is).

The book ends with Mr. Davenport perusing the log of Chambourd, found in the same cell as the gold chain. Finally the truth of who last manned the ramparts of Fort Senandaga during the Crown Lake campaign is revealed.. It was Iroquois disguised as French soldiers that held that dubious honor, possibly to loot the fort after the British retired from it. Ready to celebrate with hearty Southern repast, Chet remarks that he "could use some real fortification!" Clever, that.

My final thoughts on "The Haunted Fort" by David Grambs are mixed. I enjoyed the action that took place near the fort and surprisingly felt at ease with the grounds of Millwood. Cedartown was not developed in depth but I feel I could relax and idle away a few days there. I must admit that the book didn't impress me as much as I had thought it did, but I would certainly not refer to it as one of the worst. After all, Aunt Gertrude was not in it for even a moment! I do believe as I hinted at, during the opening comments of this review/summary, that my remembrance may have been swayed by the incredible artwork of Rudy Nappi, cover and interior. So be it! While definitely not on par with "House on the Cliff," "Cabin Island," "Flickering Torch," "Screeching Owl" or "Spiral Bridge," it is far superior to several mediocre books (which I won't name) in the Hardy Boys Series. There were several phrases that caught my fancy and some scenes were described that seemed almost aimed at a more adult oriented audience.

The book was decent romp and I would rate it a solid 7 out of a possible 10.

Brave souls can buy The Haunted Fort from Amazon.com.

How It All Started (maybe)...
by Stephen W. Austen

Long shadows stretched over the rolling countryside of upstate New York while the clouds of an early winter storm gathered overhead. The colors of the autumn-dappled trees faded as the purple hues of twilight descended. A cold, brisk wind swept from the nearby Atlantic coastline.

It was a good night to be indoors, a good night for friends to dine, then visit by a glowing hearth.

The crushed gravel drive led up to the stately three-story farmhouse and around to the old barn-like garage. Yellow light shone through the house windows, warm and friendly. The local Police Chief, a long-time family friend and colleague, crunched up the graveled walk for dinner with Franklin W. Dixon.

Dixon, a widower, had retired some years earlier to the life of a country gentleman. His first career had been that of an internationally famous crime reporter in a big Eastern Seaboard city. In later years, he'd put his experiences to the profitable pursuit of writing popular fiction. This provided support for himself and an education for his beloved son, Joseph. Dixon now earned a comfortable living from a number of series penned under various "nom-de-plume", all crime- and mystery-related, of course.

The dinner was a hearty country meal served family-style. Roast beef and chicken, great lashings of whipped potatos, garden vegetables with fresh baked rolls and creamery butter. A delicious dessert of home baked apple pie, hand-churned ice cream, and draughts of cold fresh milk topped it all off.

"I can barely move!" groaned Chief Collig as they walked to the wingback chairs by the living room fireplace. As custom the houseman, who was now helping the housekeeper to clear the dining room, had set a silver coffee service, a decanter of brandy and humidor of cigars.

"As I was saying, Franklin, my grandson Chet does nothing but talk about those newfangled dime novels! You know, the ones where some hearty lads and a friend or two have some kind of contemporary adventure; get lost in a cave, explore a tower for a treasure, hunt for hidden gold, chase counterfeiters or smugglers, solve some mystery or such-like..."

Later, the Chief gulped the last of his brandy, but kept his cigar. He donned his dark blue greatcoat; brass buttons and gold badge twinkling. "Well, I must be off Franklin, before the storm. Next week at my home for dinner?"

Yes, Chief I look forward to it," Dixon answered. "Be careful on the Shore Road along the cliff, down by the bay!"

Dixon bade his friend a last good night and swung the heavy door shut. Padding down the carpeted hall, he caught the eye of the houseman. "Would you set the fireplace in the study and leave a carafe of coffee? Then that will be all, Fenton. Also, please thank Laura for the wonderful dinner!"

Dixon was now thinking of the night ahead, the time that he did his best writing.

Later in the upstairs study the rest of the house was quiet and Dixon sipped his coffee reflectively. Outside, thunder boomed and lightning flashed. Waves of rain and tree branches lashed against the window. While the clock ticked then chimed the midnight hour, Dixon rolled paper into his trusty typewriter.

"Where to begin?" Franklin W. Dixon mused.

Bayport Mail Bag

From Robert Crawford
I can't tell you how impressed I am with your HB site. I especially like the authoritative information you provide about editions, authors, etc. I am glad to see good use made of the Stratemeyer archives in the NY Public Library. The cover art pages have been a special joy. This brings me to ask a favor: would it be possible for you to provide me with a book-sized color copy of the Gretta cover for "While the Clock Ticked"? It is such a striking cover, and I would like to frame it for my den. I would be happy to pay mailing costs, etc. Many thanks for your efforts; you've done a great job!
Editor: Robert Crawford is the author of "The Lost Hardys - A Concordance". If anyone can provide the cover print Robert is looking for, please e-mail me here at the Bayport Times.

From: Gary Gregg
I enjoy your Hardy Boys site and the Bayport Times very much. I read the Hardy Boys when I was young and now my son enjoys them too. It's a shame that the author of the New York Times article (which was reprinted in our local paper by the way) didn't see fit to acknowledge your assistance, he should be ashamed of himself.

From: Anthony Ajemian
I don't blame you for being upset by your treatment at the hands of David Kirkpatrick (author of the NY Times article). It was shameful and shows that the author is a literary low-life. At any rate, your Hardy Boys site is the best on the Internet and you should be very proud of it. Thanks for all your hard work.

From: Sally Merrick
This is a great website. I just happened to stumble across it while searching for something on Google. One of my favorite things is the information provided next to each Hardy Boys book, including how much or how little the revision of each book changed the original story. Thanks for the website. It's very fun!

Readers - This is your forum to tell the world your thoughts on the Hardys!
Letters may be edited for content, spelling etc. but, then again, maybe not!

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Editorial

Pricing Madness
   In October, a copy of an alleged first edition of volume 11, While the Clock Ticked, sold for more than $5000.00! It's my opinion that bidding of this type is a detriment the hobby, making life miserable for the rest of the collectors. Such extravagant prices for books makes the average collector feel that he will never be able to complete his set, thereby causing him to give up interest in the series all together. The hobby would be far better off if these bidders would turn their attention to attempting to corner the gold market. The winning bidder is well known for his extravagant bidding on Hardy Boys books and has been taken to task here at the Bayport Times before. This selfish, self-important braggart of dubious antecedants and questionable progeny has even had the temerity to threaten me should I continue to denounce his profligate, hobby destroying ways. Of course, I scoff at any threats issued by such a recreant bag of wind and will continue to report the news as I see fit. People have the right to spend their money as they see fit but this wild, reckless, irresponsible bidding certainly proves the old adage of some people having more money than brains.

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