The Hardy Boys British Editions

Harold Hill - Sampson Low - MacDonald - Collins - Angus & Robertson - Paperbacks
British Cover Art Gallery

British Hardy Boys Back Cover

A History Of Hardy Boys Books Published In Great Britain

Research & Text by Jon Preddle
Editing, Graphics & Design by Robert Finnan
(Revised and Updated - June 2001)

Jon Preddle & Ian Regan's Updated UK Hardy Boys Site
A great new web site with detailed information on UK Hardy Boys editions!


The first regular title in the main Hardy Boys series was published in Great Britain in hardback in 1950. The 87th - and last - main series title was published in paperback only in 1991. The last four titles have appeared in paperback only, while one title and several of the revised text editions have never been published in Britain.

But it's not as simple as that. The history of The Hardy Boys published in Britain has been difficult to chronicle but I have done the best that I can using what information there is available. My research has been greatly assisted by reference to the British National Bibliography, which is released on an annual basis, and gives details of books -both new and some reprints - published in any given year.

    All Hardy Boys books published from 1950 to 1969 were Hardback with dust-jacket. Picture Cover-style (PC) bound books were first introduced in 1971 and continued until 1986 when the last Hardback edition was published. From that year on all new Hardy Boys titles were issued in paperback only.

British Hardy Boys Cover Art

The first publishers were Harold Hill & Sons Ltd of Newcastle Upon Tyne. The first book was The Secret Of The Lost Tunnel, a single volume released in the same year as the American edition (1950). It would appear that this title was published simply to test the UK market. Sales were obviously sufficient to warrant other titles being published the following year. The first three books utilised the same dust-jacket artwork as the American editions but with yellow spines instead of the wrap-around art. The subsequent 14 titles had new artwork, by Frank Varty, who also painted the cover for the 1957 reprint of Lost Tunnel.

The back of the dust-jackets for the 14 Varty covers feature a brief synopsis accompanied by four small pictures illustrating exciting scenes advertising the next book. Although The Sinister Sign post would eventually be published by another company, the back of The Hidden Harbour Mystery advertises this next book. Also, the series listings on the inside dust-jacket flap has the titles of all the books published in America at the time, even though the other volumes had not yet been published in Britain.

The bindings of the Harold Hill books were dark blue for the 1950 and 1951 printings, and cream for the 1953 printings. For later books and reprints, the colour of the cover cloth appears to be whatever was available at the time rather than by any specific planning. Brown was used on What Happened At Midnight only, with orange for the remaining four titles. Some later reprints of the books were in different colours (for instance I have both an orange and a green Footprints Under The Window, and a The Secret Of The Caves and The Shore Road Mystery that is blood red). On the cover and spine for The Mark On The Door, the first "The" is missed off. Interestingly, some of the orange covers omit the name Harold Hill at the bottom. The books all feature the black silhouette of the two boys on the cover, with the Gretta orange 'tree' endpapers.

The frontispieces were generally the same as the American editions but some 1951 titles, i.e. The Great Airport Mystery, feature a brand new drawing. There are no internal illustrations in the Harold Hill editions. The texts were generally Anglicised (eg Harbor changed to Harbour) meaning that the books had to be totally re-type-set from the Grosset & Dunlap printing plates.

The books are listed below in the order based on the books' serial number (S/N).

The Secret Of The Lost Tunnel12154GilliesBoys in tunnel figure at back
The Sign Of The Crooked Arrow2464TandyBoys by arrow rock/archer by tree
The Phantom Freighter3831TandyBoys approach freighter/searchlight
The House On The Cliff6237VartyFist fight in cave hideout
The Tower Treasure8081VartyBoys see crashed motorcar in gully
The Secret of The Old Mill8386VartyRescue boy from mill stream
The Missing Chums10775VartyBoys and men fight by Sleuth on beach
Hunting For Hidden Gold12180VartyBoys in cave with wolves
The Secret Of The Caves7224VartyBoys rescue Captain Royal from sea
The Shore Road Mystery7225VartyBoys see two men tied up on beach
The Great Airport Mystery15135VartyBoys approach crashed plane, angry pilot
The Mystery Of Cabin Island15136    
What Happened At Midnight6876    
While The Clock Ticked6877VartyBoys tied up by clock, Amos Wandy in doorway
Footprints Under The Window4359VartyBoys fight men in Chinese laundry
The Mark On The Door4360VartyBoys in cave, bandits standing outside
The Hidden Harbour Mystery16423VartyBoys help old man off sinking ship
The Secret Of The Lost Tunnel (reprint) VartyBoys look inside tunnel watched by two men


For reasons unknown, Harold Hill lost their publishing rights to the books in 1958 despite apparent plans to publish The Sinister Sign Post, as seen on the back cover of The Hidden Harbour Mystery. The new publisher, Sampson Low of London, bought the rights and released the next 26 titles. As before, all the books were Anglicised and the text was fully type-set again, but the dust-covers and frontispieces were the same as the American editions, i.e. The Secret Warning does not have a frontispiece. From 1963 onwards the books contained internal illustrations for the very first time in any British edition. These were generally the same drawings as in the American editions or, in a few cases (i.e. The Ghost At Skeleton Rock), very close recreations.

The cover boards of all the Sampson Low books were red with the black silhouette of the boys. There are a couple of printing errors with the titles: The Secret of Pirate's Hill and The Ghost At Skeleton Rock appear on the front and spine bindings of those books, but the correct spellings appear elsewhere. The end papers are blank for the first three years but from 1963 the orange Gretta 'tree' scene was used.

As with their American counterparts, the spine on the first SL books was plain yellow, and for the 1961 and 1962 editions the spine was yellow with a blue and white stripe. The Sinister Sign Post is the only exception; this had the wrap-around Gillies cover, the only British printing to use this dust-jacket format. From 1963 the blue spines and cover art were the same as the later blue American Picture Cover editions, but in dust-jacket format. All titles were original text editions. At least one title, The Short-Wave Mystery, is known to be the revised text version. All the SL books have a number at the base of the spine. On the yellow spines, this number reflects the US numbering, but on the blue spines, the number bears no association to the ususal numbering, or the ISBNs. The numbers, where known, are indicated below.

British Hardy Boys Cover ArtBritish Hardy Boys Cover Art
1959 A Figure In Hiding 15297 Laune (boy on tree branch by window)
The Secret Warning 15298 Laune (boys startle intruder in corridor)
The Sinister Sign Post 15299 Gillies (boys watch men at boat on beach)
The Twisted Claw 15300 Laune (boys menaced by man in suit of armour)
1961 The Disappearing Floor 11019 Laune (boys see ghostly figure by house)
The Mystery Of The Flying Express 11020 Laune (Frank on cycle chasing train)
1962 The Clue Of The Broken Blade 3002 Laune (boys study sword by open safe)
The Flickering Torch Mystery 3003 Laune (boys in canoe watch figure with torch on cliff)
1963 The Mystery At Devil's Paw 17430 Nappi (boys by totem pole / Paw in background)
The Mystery Of The Chinese Junk 17431 Nappi (boys in Sleuth approach Junk)
The Clue Of The Screeching Owl Nappi (boys and giant owl)
Mystery Of The Desert Giant Nappi (boys watch men collect package)
1964The Ghost At Skeleton Rock 14943 Nappi (boys in burning plane)
The Secret Of Pirate's Hill 14944 Nappi (boys in scuba gear by wreck)
The Mystery Of The Aztec Warrior 20201 Nappi (boys study rock slab)
The Viking Symbol Mystery 20202 Nappi (boys find rune stone at camp)
1965The Crisscross Shadow 19676 Nappi (boys by tent, moonlit cross on ground)
The Hooded Hawk Mystery 19678 Nappi (boys with hawk / Indian at back)
The Clue In The Embers 19766 Nappi (boys threatened by lava flow by volcano)
The Yellow Feather Mystery 19769 Nappi (boys see Chet tied up in cabin)
1966The Haunted Fort 5310 Nappi (boys see ghost walking on lake)
The Secret Of Skull Mountain 5311 Tandy (boys see smoke coming from cliff)
The Secret Of Wildcat Swamp 5312 Gillies (three men and a wildcat)
The Wailing Siren Mystery 5313 Gillies (boys fight man on the Sleuth)
1967 The Melted Coins 7696 Gillies (boys pull boy from pit)
The Mystery Of The Spiral Bridge 7697 Nappi (boys observe stone bridge)
The Secret Panel 7698 Tandy (boys open secret panel)
The Short-Wave Mystery (revised) 7699 Leone (boys by snow cabin with radio)
Mystery Of the Desert Giant was also published, year unknown.


In 1968 Sampson Low became MacDonald and continued to release Hardy Boys in the same blue dust-jacket and binding format where the SL editions left off. Titles below marked with "(rev)" are known to be revised text editions. The book numbered #1 in this series is The Sinister Sign Post. Oddly, although the MacDonald edition has the Nappi reprint cover with the racing car, it is in fact the original text. Since The Sinister Sign Post was the "first" book published by Sampson Low, it is named as the boys' first adventure in some of the books. Like the Sampson Low books, the MacDonald editions are numbered on the bottom of the spine.

1968 A Figure In Hiding (rev) 18500 Leone (boy on tree branch by window)
The Clue of The Broken Blade 18501 Nappi (boys study sword by open safe)
The Secret Warning (rev) 18502 Leone (boys in Sleuth see red light on lighthouse)
The Twisted Claw 18503 Leone (boys menaced by man in suit of armour)
1969 The Sinister Sign Post 28244 Nappi (boys in danger from racing car)
The Clue Of The Screeching Owl 29308 Nappi (boys and giant owl)
The Secret Agent On Flight 101 29309 Nappi (three figures running at airfield)
The Secret Of The Lost Tunnel (rev) 29310 Nappi (boys see pile of cannonballs in tunnel)
(NOTE: The Secret Of The Lost Tunnel is not only the very first Hardy Boys published in dust-jacket, it is also one of the last!)

British Hardy Boys

In 1970, following the success of Malcolm Saville's Lone Pine Adventures series, The Three Investigators and Tom Swift Jr. hardback titles published in the late 1960s and early 1970s, William Collins Sons and Co Ltd, London and Glasgow, bought the rights to the Hardy Boys and began to release titles from 1971.

The order of the books was completely changed; I have tried to work out a pattern to this new numbering system but it seems to have been done purely at random. This has resulted in some odd continuity: the boys don't get the Sleuth until book #16 and yet they use her in book #14.

With the exception of five titles - The Melted Coins, The Secret Of Pirate's Hill, The Flickering Torch Mystery, The Clue In The Embers and The Mystery At Devil's Paw, all the Collins editions are revised text versions. This is odd considering that the revised texts for all five were available in America at the time. The revised texts of these five titles have never been published in Britain.

All the books were completely re-type-set. The texts were also edited, Anglicised and modified by Collins in order to remove Americanisms and out-of-date concepts. For example, in the original The Mystery At Devil's Paw the purpose of the missing rocket was to explore the moon, but for the Collins edition, the rocket was for the exploration of "the outer planets". In The Flickering Torch Mystery, a whole paragraph in chapter 7 - in which the San Francisco earthquake is discussed - has been deleted. Further minor changes were made to the text to alter the reference to the previous and next books in the series to reflect the new book order.

The books had Picture Cover-type bindings with brand new cover art (by Peter Archer for the first 48 titles) and, in the case of 16 books, they had internal illustrations. The internal illustrations and frontispieces for the first 12 books and volume #26 were based on the same drawings in the American editions, but redrawn by another artist. The style of artwork differs from book to book indicating that various, but unidentified, artists were responsible (although many do match Peter Archer's recognisable style). The title headings on the covers were printed in a variety of fonts and sizes. Most of the books featured plot-descriptions on the first page, usually direct copies of the original American texts.

The spines of the first 48 Collins books feature a single illustration from the story (also by Archer). Each book's spine and back cover is a different colour dependant on the dominant colour used in the cover artwork. Except for three titles noted below, all titles feature a blue box at the top of the spines with the title "The Hardy Boys Series" followed by the volume number. This text is in white lettering. However, for the first edition hardbacks of The Mystery Of The Aztec Warrior and The Haunted Fort, the box is pink with black writing, and for the first edition of The Arctic Patrol Mystery the box is yellow. Editions of The Disappearing Floor also exist with black lettering in the blue box. The box is blue on subsequent reprints of these three titles.

The back covers of the books feature a boxed painting of the boys in profile, then a list of the other titles in the series. The books appear to have been published in batches of eight. First edition copies (and some of the second reprints) are recognisable for having blue edging on the tops of the pages. Also, the number of available titles listed on the back indicates what reprint edition it is: first editions of #1-#12 would list 1-12; #13-#18 would have 1-18; #19-#24 would have 1-24. Later reprints of these early titles list all 36 books, and all subsequent printings of the first 36 titles have 1-42. It is only on volumes #43-48 that all 48 titles are listed.

In 1973 a two-in-one was published, with Hunting For Hidden Gold and The Mystery Of Cabin Island in one double volume. The cover was that from Hunting For Hidden Gold, and the cover header says "Introducing The Hardy Boys" which suggests it was intended as the first book published by Collins, but the copyright date belies this.

The 1959 version of The Hardy Boys Detective Handbook was published in 1979 by Collins, and The Hardy Boys Survival Handbook in 1981, both being straight reprinting from the American print-plates. The Hardy Boys Campfire Stories was apparently published in hardback in 1986.

The final eight titles published by Collins in 1980 were different to the previous 48 titles in that they were straight printings from the revised text Grosset & Dunlap Picture Cover editions. The books were in fact printed in the United States (as is noted on the copyright page) and then shipped to England. The reason for the books being published in this manner is apparently due to the recent change of publishers in America: it was easier for Collins to publish existing editions than type-set the books from scratch; especially since Collins stood to lose the rights (which is what ultimately happened when Angus & Robertson took over). The last eight books are identical to the American editions, the only differences being the numbering order printed on the back being the new British order (#1-56), and the publisher's name on the title page and copyright page is Collins. In the case of The Witchmaster's Key and The Sting Of The Scorpion, the 'boxed' number appearing on the front cover was "blocked" out because of the different book order. Likewise, the number on the spine was changed. (Oddly enough, The Witchmaster's Key did not need the number on the cover blocked out because coincidentally it was the same as in the American order!)

KEY TO LIST: the first 48 covers were all by Peter Archer. Volumes 49-56 use the American PC format. "(ot)" indicates original text; "(Int)" indicates internal illustrations. The illustration on the spine is listed after the cover description.

British Hardy Boys Cover Art
First Format
British Hardy Boys Cover Art
Second Format
British Hardy Boys Cover Art
2 In 1 Format
British Hardy Boys Cover Art
Spine Art
1971 1 The Mystery Of The Aztec (Int.) (Frank and Chet fall down pyramid steps / Frank threatened by man with dagger)
2 The Arctic Patrol Mystery (Int.) (boys on horse, explosion behind them / Frank tackles man with gun)
3 The Haunted Fort (Int.) (boys see ghost walking on lake / wall topples on boys)
4 The Mystery Of The Whale Tattoo (Int.) (a blind-folded Joe in danger on top of ferris wheel / Joe tackles Varney)
5 The Disappearing Floor (Int.) (boys drag Jack from burning plane / diver attacks Joe)
6 Mystery Of The Desert Giant (Int.) (boys see men collect parcel on parachute / Frank fights off rattlesnake)
19727 The Melted Coins (ot)(Int.) (Joe threatened by Blackbeard / boys chase man, who climbs over wall)
8 The Mystery Of The Spiral Bridge (Int.) (boys fight monkeyman on stairs / Biff falls into covered pit)
9 The Clue Of The Screeching Owl (Int.) (Frank wards off puma with torch / Simon holds rock over Frank's head)
10 While The Clock Ticked (Int.) (gagged boys watch clock and bomb / Joe grabs Wandy as he topples off roof)
11 The Twisted Claw (Int.) (Frank in raft attacked by shark / Frank fights armoured man)
12 TheWailing Siren Mystery (Int.) (boys attacked by charging wolf / Joe tackles man)
13 The Secret Of The Caves (Frank shot by Wilson in cave / boys see hand emerging from pit)
14 The Secret Of Pirate's Hill(ot) (Napoli bombed, boys thrown into water / Joe sees cutlass stuck in ground)
15 The Flickering Torch Mystery(ot) (Charlie attacks hooded figure on cliff / Frank holds rearing horse)
16 The Secret Of The Old Mill (Frank swims to drowning boy in mill stream / Frank sees arrow imbedded in ground)
17 The Shore Road Mystery (Joe crashes motorcycle into net / man with piton lunges at Joe)
18 The Great Airport Mystery (Joe fights crooks in a cave hangar / Frank grabs masked man)
19 The Sign Of The Crooked Arrow (Frank in danger from charging bull / boys on horse chased by pack of dogs)
20 The Clue In The Embers(ot) (Boys attacked by Indians in temple / Frank falls through trap-door)
21 What Happened At Midnight (Int.) (Frank jumps from bi-plane / anchor flies toward boys)
22 The Sinister Signpost (Int.) (boys ride horse through villains / boys choked by tear gas grenade)
23 Footprints Under the Window (boys find skeleton under tree / boys watch as tomb door opens)
24 The Crisscross Shadow (Frank falls from cliff as his rope is cut / man hits Joe)
1973 25 Hunting For Hidden Gold (boys shot at by hooded figure / Frank rushes towards man with gun)
26 The Mystery Of Cabin Island (Int.) (boys crash ice-boat / Joe shines light on man trapped under tree)
27 The Mark On The Door (Int.) (boys escape in cart, shot at by bandits / Joe backs away from branding-iron)
28 The Yellow Feather Mystery (boys rush towards boy who has fallen through ice / Joe on skis)
29 The Hooded Hawk Mystery (Joe lassoed while vaulting wire / boys chase masked man with falcon)
30 The Secret Agent On Flight 101 (Frank clings to tail of plane / sand-bag drops towards boys)
1974 31 The Tower Treasure (Joe topples over Tower balcony / boys hold treasure)
32 The Missing Chums (Frank fights man as lantern burns / hermit with rifle)
33 The Viking Symbol Mystery (boys run from stampeding buffalo / wolf runs towards Chet)
34 The Mystery Of The Chinese Junk (boys fight villains on junk / figure in closet throttles Frank)
35 The Mystery At Devil's Paw (ot) (boys attacked by grizzly bear / Joe grabs Chet as he topples down cliff)
36 The Ghost At Skeleton Rock (boys see ghostly face rising / man with dummy hold guns on boys)
197737 The Clue Of The Broken Blade (boys fight - pirate figure holds broken sword / Joe faces rattlesnake)
38 The Secret Of Wildcat Swamp (wildcat leaps at Frank / Frank punches masked man)
39 The Phantom Freighter (Frank topples from freighter / Frank grabbed by two sailors)
40 The Secret Of Skull Mountain (boys attacked by hermit with axe / boys see skull rolling down mountainside)
41 The Mysterious Caravan (boys menaced by figure with dagger / Joe reaches for death mask in water)
42 Danger On Vampire Trail (boys running from vampire-like figure / swarm of bats flies over boys)
1979 43 The Bombay Boomerang (boys throw boomerangs at plane / ?)
44 The Masked Monkey (boys fight/ huge monkey looms over / Joe swings on rope)
45 The Shattered Helmet (boys menaced by rattle-snake / boys, holding helmet, threatened by gun)
46 The Clue Of The Hissing Serpent (boys dive from path of truck / boys find Sam unconscious)
47 The Jungle Pyramid (boys fight man on pyramid steps / man with wrench threatens boys)
48 The Firebird Rocket (boys try to hold rearing horse / helicopter chases boys)
1980 49 A Figure In Hiding (Int.) Leone (boy on tree branch by window)
50 The Secret Warning (Int.) Nappi (boys in Sleuth see red light on lighthouse)
51 The Mystery Of The Flying Express (Int.) Nappi (boys, hydrofoil and zodiac)
52 The Short-Wave Mystery (Int.) Leone (boys by snow cabin with radio)
53 The Secret Panel (Int.) Nappi (boys menaced by man with cutter torch)
54 The Secret Of The Lost Tunnel (Int.) Nappi (boys see cannonball pile in tunnel)
55 The Witchmaster's Key (Int.) Nappi (boys by stone circle - Witchmaster above)
56 The Sting Of The Scorpion (Int.) Nappi (boys on Scorpio symbol - elephant)

12 Collins editions, volumes #37-48, were later reissued by Collins in the mid-1980s at the time that Angus & Robertson were the publishers of the Hardy Boys Hardbacks. The actual year of publication is unknown as the books still retain the original publication dates on the copyright page. While the original editions were printed in England, these books were printed in Italy by Imago/Sagdos. The paper stock used is much thinner making the dimensions of the books smaller. The cover artwork was the same as the original Collins editions, but the spines (minus the small illustration) and back covers were blood red on all volumes. The backs simply listed the titles, saying these books are now "back in print in twelve hardback adventures".

    In 1979, the American publishing rights of the series moved to Simon and Schuster. As a result, the publishing rights to the British editions moved from Collins to Angus & Robertson, an international company that was based in the UK but had distribution offices in Australia, Manila and Singapore. Collins, however, retained the rights to publish all future books in paperback only under their Armada Books imprint.

The Angus & Robertson Hardbacks were printed directly off the type-plates made for the American Wanderer/ Minstrel paperback editions, with the same internal illustrations. The dimensions of the cover bindings of the Angus & Robertson books is vastly different to Collins. Plot descriptions now featured on the back cover, which featured a head and shoulders illustration (by Peter Archer) of the boys. For the first time, the cover artist was credited. British artists Peter Archer and Dave Godfrey provided new cover art, while the existing American covers by Derek James and Richard Williams appeared on the last few volumes.

It appears that volumes 77 and 78 were not published. This is based on the fact that later volumes do not include these two titles in their 'also available' lists, plus I have been unable to locate a copy.

1980 Night Of The Werewolf 57 Archer (boys fight wolf-like figure)
Mystery Of The Samurai Sword 58 Archer (boys menaced by Samurai figure)
1981 The Pentagon Spy 59 Archer (boys chased by charging bull)
The Apeman's Secret 60 Archer (boys menaced by ape-like figure)
The Mummy Case 61 Archer (Joe in bed attacked by mummy)
Mystery Of Smugglers Cove 62 Archer (Joe climbs tree to escape alligator)
1982 The Stone Idol 63 Archer (boys fall from broken rope bridge)
The Vanishing Thieves 64 Archer (Joe thrown into water with anchor tied to him)
The Outlaw's Silver 65 Archer (boys see ghost of Jersey Devil)
The Submarine Caper 66 Archer (submarine passes coral reef)
1983 The Four-Headed Dragon 67 ?
The Infinity Clue 68 Archer (boys in radiation suits)
Track Of The Zombie 69 Archer (boys in tomb by sarcophagus)
The Voodoo Plot 70 Archer (boys study voodoo dolls and paraphernalia)
The Billion Dollar Ransom 71 Archer (boys see theatre ghost on gallery)
Tic-Tac-Terror 72 Archer (boys run from exploding car)
1984 Trapped At Sea 73 Godfrey (boys hide from figure in ship hold)
Game Plan For Disaster 74 Godfrey (Joe helps man from falling off stairs)
The Crimson Flame 75 Archer (boys attacked by leaping tiger)
Cave-In 76 Archer (boys attacked by man with pick-axe)
1985 The Demon's Den 79 James (boys menaced by hooded figure in woods)
The Blackwing Puzzle 80 James (boys menaced by bat-like creature)
The Swamp Monster 81 Williams (boys attacked by alligator in swamp)
Revenge Of The Desert Phantom 82 Williams (boys in jeep firing machine gun)
1986 The Skyfire Puzzle 83 Williams (boys in space capsule, figure outside)
Note: The last five Angus & Robertson books use the same cover artwork as that used on the original Wanderer/Minstrel US paperback editions. Angus & Robertson apparently also published a hardback edition of the first Supersleuths book in 1982.



While Collins is the hardback publishing body of William Collins & Sons Ltd (today called HarperCollins Publishing Group), the group has several imprints in charge of specialised publishing. Fontana Paperbacks is the main division in charge of paperbacks, which in turn is divided up into sub-divisions which deal with specific categories. Armada is the branch of Fontana in charge of children's books. Armada is the division that published the Hardy Boys in paperback. British Hardy Boys Cover Art

The publishing history of the UK Hardy Boys paperback editions is very complex. And given the apparent randomness in which the books were published by Armada, and the numerous styles of cover layout and artists used during the period of 1974 to 1993, it is hard to determine exactly how many titles were reprinted in each format. I have written to the publishers asking for help with this but they were unable (unwilling?) to comply. The following guide is therefore very much a work-in-progress.

Some early titles have four different covers, while some have only the one. Only two titles, The Melted Coins and While The Clock Ticked, are known to have been published with five different cover formats.

All the Collins and Angus & Robertson hardback editions - volumes #1-76, #79-83 - have been published by Armada. There are however 87 titles in the UK series; with Sky Sabotage (#77), The Roaring River Mystery (#78), The Mystery Of The Silver Star (#84), Programme For Destruction (#85), The Sky Blue Frame (#86), and Danger On The Diamond (#87) making up the other titles to complete the set of 87 books. The numerical anomaly when compared to the American numbering is that three titles, The House On The Cliff and The Hidden Harbour Mystery and the new book Tricky Business (US#88) have never been published by Collins or Armada.

The existing type-plates from the hardback volumes #1-48 and #57-83 were used for all the paperbacks. When it came to volumes #49-56, which were taken from the American Grosset & Dunlap Picture Cover editions, the books had to be type-set again from scratch, and as such there are no frontispieces or internal illustrations.

The order in which the books were published in paperback was variable. Volumes #1-9 were published first, followed by #19-22, then #11-12, and back and forth between numbers. The numbers then jumped to #57-64, then back to #29, then back to #65, and so on, on a random basis, until all 83 hardback titles had been published in paperback form. The reason for the jump from #28 to #57 was for contractual reasons between Armada and Angus & Robertson; Armada was obligated to publish the more recent titles first, and the re-setting of titles 49-56 obviously delayed those books. British Hardy Boys Cover Art

The first paperback editions for #1-32 (but not 10) and #57-64 used the same cover artwork by Peter Archer as on the Collins hardbacks, but for all the other titles brand new artwork was commissioned. The names of these other artists are not known. Danger On The Diamond is the last paperback in the series published by Armada.

In 1983, at least 21 titles were issued with new ISBN codes. It is not readily clear as to why this was done, as new ISBNs are usually only adopted when a book is modified in some way other than just a new cover design. The known books with new ISBNs are volumes 1, 5, 7, 8, 9, 10, 12, 13, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 29, 30.

There have been some changes to the paperback titles, with #5 being renamed The Mystery Of The Disappearing Floor, #7 is The Mystery Of The Melted Coins, and #32 is The Mystery Of The Missing Friends ("Chums" being deemed an American term); and #72 is now The Tic-Tac Terror. Programme For Destruction is an Anglicised version of the title. Other titles have an extra "THE" added to them, such as The Mystery Of The Whale Tattoo, and The Mystery Of The Desert Giant.


A (1974-1982)

The logo on these editions is a white or black rounded upper case font, left-justified. The logo on The Mystery Of The Whale Tattoo is, however, right-justified. For new editions from 1980, starting with The Hooded Hawk Mystery, the font was altered slightly, and is thinner than the original.

The same artwork by Peter Archer from the Collins Picture cover hardback editions was used, with one exception - The Disappearing Floor. It is clear that although the scene is the same, brand new artwork copying the hardback art has been used for the paperback. In fact, on very close examination of the paperbacks, it is clear that the publishers did not have access to the original artwork, and so they simply painted over the hardback covers to block out the titles. This is most evident on The Secret Of The Caves and The Clue In The Embers in which parts of the original title can still be seen 'under' the new paint on the top third of the illustration. All the paperbacks to some degree have 'new detail' in this area. British Hardy Boys Cover Art

The first 32 volumes, but not #10 (see below), were published from 1974 to 1982, and volumes #57-64 from 1981 to 1982.

In 1978, reprints of earlier titles first appeared with a number on the spine. In 1980, volume #29, The Hooded Hawk Mystery was the first new title paperback to feature a numbered spine (the number appears on the back of all editions as well), and from 1980 all subsequent books (new and reprints) have a numbered spine. Some books have had three printings under this format. The first paperback editions of Footprints Under The Window and The Crisscross Shadow were published with the incorrect volume number on the back: Footprints Under The Window with 24 instead of 23, and The Crisscross Shadow with 23 instead of 24. The numbers appear only to have been corrected on the 1980 reprints.

While The Clock Ticked does not appear to have been published in this format (in over 20 years of collecting I have never seen a copy), so its first paperback edition would be Format F.

B (1983-1984)

This format has a logo that is set over a red down-wards pointing 'triangle'. The covers were white, with a squared illustration in the centre that in some cases consisted of a number of images rather than one specific dramatic scene from the book as previously (and latterly) used. The spines and back covers were also white. The airbrushed artwork, all by the same artist whose name is unknown, is very flat and cartoonish in its approach. There were 10 first editions (33,34, 65-72) during 1983 and 1984. Nine of the first 32 volumes are known to have been reprinted in this style, starting in 1983: 7,9,10,18,19,20,22,25,27. (Volume 23 might have been also reprinted in this format, but I cannot confirm this - see Format C.) British Hardy Boys Cover Art

C (1984-1987)

This cover style uses the same font and logo as Format B, but with the cover borders and spines in colour instead of plain white. The first edition titles published under Format C were volumes 73-83 (1984-1987), and volumes 35-40 (1984-1985). A new artist (name unknown) did all the first edition covers in this format.

This new artist also produced covers for reprints of earlier titles during 1984 and 1985: 1,3,4,6,8,12,13,17,26,29,30.

Several of the Format B covers were reprinted during 1984 and 1985 using the existing artwork, but with a colour border or background replacing the white: known recoloured volumes are 7,10,20,25,33,34,65,71,72 - these are indicated with a (C) in brackets in the list below.

Volume 23 exists in Format C - but I am not sure if it originally appeared as a Format B cover as well but now with a coloured border (the Format B artist painted the cover). If it does exist in Format B then it would be a Format (C) edition. (Apparently volumes 5,15,21 also exist in this format, but I have not seen these editions.)

D (1987-1991)

The logo for this range is a 'neon-sign' style font over a shield coloured like the American flag. There were 16 paperback first editions from 1987-1991, plus several reprints of earlier titles during 1987 and 1988. British Hardy Boys Cover Art

The work of two artists appeared on these covers, again their names are not known. Artist A, whose style is very ugly - did the first editions for #41-44; Artist B - who is probably the same person who did Format C - did 45-56,84,85. Both also handled artwork for reprints of older titles in this format: Artist A did reprints of 1,3,4,5,7. Artist B did 2,9,10,11,21,22,31,32,57,58. (Apparently volumes 14,16,37,38 also exist in Format D, but I have been unable to confirm this.)

Volumes 6 and 8 also appear in Format D, but the artwork used is the same as that on Format C.

Due to an initial printing error, The Arctic Patrol Mystery and first appeared with the other's cover artwork. These were corrected for later Format D reprints. Interestingly, Danger On Vampire trail is titled Danger On The Vampire trailon the title page.

E (1991-1993)

The fifth and final artwork cover style features a logo at the top of a coloured strip, which runs down the left half of the cover which is 'torn' across the middle. There were only two firsts in this style in 1991 (volumes 86 and 87), the others books being reprints of earlier titles. The one artist, name not known, painted all the covers that appeared in this format.

Known reprints from 1993 are: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 24, 25, 26, 29, 30, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38. (Apparently volume 23 exists in this format, but I have been unable to confirm this.) British Hardy Boys Cover Art

F (1979)

Only two titles, While The Clock Ticked and The Wailing Siren Mystery, appear with a photographic cover featuring publicity shots of Parker Stevenson and Shaun Cassidy from Universal's Hardy Boys / Nancy Drew Mysteries television series. While The Wailing Siren Mystery is a reprint, I'm pretty certain that While The Clock Ticked makes its paperback debut in this format; although the copyright page on later Format editions of this title gives its first date of publication as 1974, others give the date as 1979. (The novelisation The Hardy Boys And Nancy Drew Meet Dracula And Other Stories also features a photographic cover.)

    The following is a quick reference guide to the book cover formats on a per volume basis. Please note, the guide only lists whether or not the book exists in this cover format; it does not list all multi-printings of the same cover format. For instance, I have not listed the post-1980 Format A reprints with the volume number added to the spine. And some Format C first editions have a bottom corner flash that reads "New In Paperback", which is replaced with "An Exciting Adventure" on subsequent Format C reprints of the same title.

This list is only a work-in-progress, and is not yet a definitive guide - although I don't have copies of all the editions, I have seen or have photos or photocopies of the covers. If you know of any titles that appear under a certain format but which have not been listed here, please get in touch with me at:

Note: all the titles listed here are given exactly as it appears on the cover / spine / titlepage, including extra "THE"s or alternative spellings.

01 The Mystery Of The Aztec Warrior
A - same as hardback 1974
C - boys chased by charging bull
D - boys chased by charging bull
E - shadow of two men falls on boys tied up

02 The Arctic Patrol Mystery
A - same as hardback 1974
Dx - boys in raft attacked by shark (cover from Twisted Claw)
D - boys on raft being rescued by patrol boat
E - Joe pulls Frank from open fissure

03 The Haunted Fort
A - same as hardback 1974
C - boys by camp fire see ghost on lake
D - ghost looms up behind the boys
E - boys attacked by lake monster

04 The Mystery Of The Whale Tattoo
A - same as hardback 1974
C - blindfolded Joe on ferris wheel
D - blindfolded Joe on ferris wheel
E - boys fight men by house

05 The Mystery Of The Disappearing Floor
A - same as hardback 1974
C - boys carry Jack Wayne from plane crash
D - wave sweeps over the boys in water
E - boys carry Jack Wayne from plane crash

06 The Mystery Of The Desert Giant
A - same as hardback 1974
C - boys rush towards plane as dust devil approaches
D - same artwork as Format C
E - boys run from plane flying overhead

07 The Mystery Of The Melted Coins
A - same as hardback 1974
B - Joe threatened by Blackbeard
(C) - same as Format B - red border
D - Joe threatened by Blackbeard
E - Joe threatened by Blackbeard

08 The Mystery Of The Spiral Bridge
A - same as hardback 1974
C - Frank leaps from bulldozer
D - same artwork as Format C
E - boys threatened by grizzly bear

09 The Clue Of The Screeching Owl
A - same as hardback 1974
B - Frank with torch fights off puma
D - boys run from burning house / puma's face
E - Frank carries boy from lake

10 While The Clock Ticked
F - photo of Cassidy and Stevenson (white border) 1979
B - boys in Sleuth, house in background
(C) - same as Format
B - dark grey border
D - boys outside house, clock face
E - boys climbing on roof top

11 The Twisted Claw
A - same as hardback 1974
Dx - boys on raft being rescued by patrol boat (cover from Arctic Patrol)
D - boys in raft attacked by shark
E - Frank climbs from path of rolling logs

12 The Wailing Siren Mystery
A - same as hardback 1977
F - photo of Cassidy and Stevenson by tree (red border)
C - boys in Sleuth shot at by man in boat
E - man and wolf threaten boys

13 Th e Secret Of The Caves
A - same as hardback 1977
C - Wilson fires gun at boys in cave

14 The Secret Of Pirate's Hill
A - same as hardback 1979

15 The Flickering Torch Mystery
A - same as hardback 1979
E - boys examine scarecrow

16 The Secret of The Old Mill
A - same as hardback 1979?
E - boys in car, boat house explodes behind them

17 The Shore Road Mystery
A - same as hardback 1980
C - boys run from forest fire
E - grenade thrown through window towards boys

18 The Great Airport Mystery
A - same as hardback 1980
B - boy fights man, helicopter in foreground
E - boys open crate, man hiding behind door

19 The Sign Of The Crooked Arrow
A - same as hardback 1975
B - Joe on bucking horse, barn on fire in background
E - Joe on bucking horse

20 The Clue In The Embers
A - same as hardback 1975
B - Frank throttled from behind by Indian, burrows in background
(C) - same as Format
B - green border
E - boys with skeleton (Mr Bones)

21 What Happened At Midnight
A - same as hardback 1975
D - boys running in front of train in tunnel

22 The Sinister Signpost
A - same as hardback 1975
B - racing car
D - boys run from burning car

23 Footprints Under The Window
A - same as hardback 1976
B/(C)? - boys find skeleton under tree
E? -

24 The Crisscross Shadow
A - same as hardback 1976
E - Frank climbs rope, hand with knife

25 Hunting For Hidden Gold
A - same as hardback 1976
B - Joe with torch, boys menaced by wolves
(C) - same as B, with purple border
E - boys in cave shine light on gold

26 The Mystery Of Cabin Island
A - same as hardback 1976
C - boys in ice-boat
E - boys carry man in snow storm

27 The Mark On The Door
A - same as hardback 1977
B - boys swim away from submarine
(C) - same as Format B - light blue borde

28 The Yellow Feather Mystery
A - same as hardback 1977

29 The Hooded Hawk Mystery
A - same as hardback 1980
C - boys in Sleuth, boat house exploding
E - man slaps boy tied to chair

30 The Secret Agent On Flight 101
A - same as hardback 1981
C - Frank clings to plane wing
E - Frank clings to plane wing

31 The Tower treasure
A - same as hardback 1982
D - boys on motorbikes chased by car

32 The Mystery Of The Missing Friends
A - same as hardback 1982
D - Joe reaches for Frank who has fallen over cliff

33 The Viking Symbol Mystery
B - boys in canoe, bear behind them 1983
(C) - same as Format
B - blue border
E - boys in path of stampeding bison

34 The Mystery Of The Chinese Junk
B - Joe with camera, Junk behind 1983
(C) - same as Format B - yellow border
E - boys swim away from Junk

35 The Mystery At Devil's Paw
C - boys in river, grizzly bear behind them 1984
E - boys in water tied to pier support

36 The Ghost At Skeleton Rock
C - boys at airport shot at by marksman 1984
E - boys in water, shark swimming past

37 The Clue Of The Broken Blade
C - Frank fights with man in fencing gear 1985
E - boys leap from cable-car

38 The Secret Of Wildcat Swamp
C - wildcat advances towards boys 1985
E - boys run from path of rolling boulder

39 The Phantom Freighter
C - Frank topples from freighter 1985

40 The Secret Of Skull Mountain
C - boys find skull in cave 1985

41 The Mysterious Caravan
D - three boys in a cave 1987

42 Danger On Vampire Trail
D - avalanche of rocks falls on boys 1987

43 The Bombay Boomerang
D - boys look down circular shaft 1987

44 The Masked Monkey
D - face of large monkey behind boys 1987

45 The Shattered Helmet
D - boys find helmet in broken boat

46 The Clue Of The Hissing Serpent
D - boys in plane in storm

47 The Jungle Pyramid
D - boys in pyramid, shine light on statue 1989

48 The Firebird Rocket
D - boys chased by helicopter

49 A Figure In Hiding
D - boys run towards over-turned car

50 The Secret Warning
D - Oil drum drops towards Joe

51 The Mystery Of The Flying Express
D - bulldozer smashes through wall behind boys

52 The Short-Wave Mystery
D - ?

53 The Secret Panel
D - boys sneak up behind man with cutting-torch

54 The Secret Of The Lost Tunnel
D - boys hide from men with flashlights 1990

55 The Witchmaster's Key
D - boys swim from sinking ship

56 The Sting Of The Scorpion
D - Boys in cave mouth shining torch 1991

57 Night Of The Werewolf
A - same as hardback 1981
D - boys run through fire

58 Mystery Of The Samurai Sword
A - same as hardback 1981
D - boys chased by masked riders

59 The Pentagon Spy
A - same as hardback 1981

60 The Apeman's Secret
A - same as hardback 1981

61 The Mummy Case
A - same as hardback 1982

62 The Mystery Of Smugglers Cove
A - same as hardback 1982

63 The Stone Idol
A - same as hardback 1982

64 The Vanishing Thieves
A - same as hardback 1982

65 The Outlaw's Silver
B - boys running, motorcyclist, parachutes 1983
(C) - same as Format B - dark grey border

66 The Submarine Caper
B - boys with flashlight / submarine 1983

67 The Four-Headed Dragon
B - Joe on motorcycle, men by car behind 1983

68 The Infinity Clue
B - boys threatened by Doberman 1983

69 Track Of The Zombie
B - boys in cave, face of zombie above them 1983

70 The Voodoo Plot
B - Frank looks at alligator 1983

71 The Billion Dollar Ransom
B - boys untie President who is tied to a chair 1984
(C) - same as Format B - green border

72 The Tic-Tac-Terror
B - boys in car, Sleuth explodes behind 1984
(C) - same as Format B - green border

73 Trapped At Sea
C - boy fights man with gun on ship deck 1984

74 Game Plan For Disaster
C - boys in woods with radio 1984

75 The Crimson Flame
C - boys fight man with sword 1984

76 Cave-In
C - boys climb along cable car cable 1984

77 Sky Sabotage
C - Frank pulls Joe away from jaws of shark 1985

78 The Roaring River Mystery
C - three boys in raft, one boy in water 1985

79 The Roaring River Mystery
C - Frank tied to log-cutter, Joe tied to pole 1986

80 The Blackwing Puzzle
C - boys in raft shot at by air-borne glider 1986

81 The Swamp Monster
C - alligator smashes canoe as Joe leaps out 1986

82 Revenge Of The Desert Phantom
C - boys and Niki in water near waterfall 1987

83 The Skyfire Puzzle C - boys in spacecraft cockpit 1987

84 The Mystery Of The Silver Star
D - Frank on bike chased by car 1991

85 Programme For Destruction
D - boys wrestle with robotic-arm 1991

86 The Sky Blue Frame
E - boys in path of car 1991

87 Danger On The Diamond
E - boys run from exploding truck 1991


Other books released by Armada were The Hardy Boys And Nancy Drew Meet Dracula And Other Stories (featuring novelisations of three TV stories: "…Meet Dracula", "The Haunted House" and "The Flickering Torch Mystery"). This had a photographic montage cover featuring Shaun Cassidy, Parker Stevenson and Pamela Sue Martin and the house from 'Psycho'. Collins published the Hardy Boys Adventure Activity Book by Tony Tellarico in paperback 1977, together with a large format colouring-in book.

The same print-plates as the American versions were used for The Hardy Boys Survival Handbook (which was published simultaneously with the hardback in 1981); Supersleuths (which was published in paperback in 1983); The Hardy Boys Ghost Stories (1984); and the six Be-A-Detective books (1985-1986). The Hardy Boys Campfire Stories was published in 1986. A paperback edition of Supersleuths 2 was scheduled for 1986 (but since I have not been able to locate a copy, I am not sure if it was ever published). The cover artist of Supersleuths and the first three Be-A-Detective books was the same unidentified artist responsible for all the Format B covers.


Several of the paperback titles have been published in 2-in-1 and 3-in-1 volumes. The initial covers were 'cut and paste' affairs utlising various elements from the covers of the named titles, with Format A and Format B/C logos. From 1986, the Format B/C logos were used but brand new cover artwork featured. Format E logos and artwork appeared from 1993.

1982 Arctic Patrol Mystery/Twisted Claw/Secret Of Pirates Hill (Format A logo)
1983 Melted Coins/Sinsister Signpost/Footprints Under The Window
1984 Aztec Warrior/Disappearing Floor/Wailing Siren (cover: white, heads in circles, Format B/C logo)
1985 Whale Tattoo/Desert Giant/Flickering Torch
1986 Night Of the Werewolf/Samurai Sword/Pentagon Spy (cover: Format B/C logo, boys fight wolf)
1987 Apeman's Secret/Mummy Case/Smugglers Cove
1988 Stone Idol/Silver Star/Vanishing Thieves
1990 Infinity Clue/Submarine Caper/Four-Headed Dragon
1991 Shore Road/Great Airport/Crooked Arrow (Cover: Format B/C logo, boys on horse in path of wave)
1993 Viking Symbol/Chinese Junk/Devil's Paw (cover: Format E logo?)
1994 Haunted Fort/Whale Tattoo (cover: Fort Format E logo)
1994 Aztec Warrior/Arctic Patrol (cover: Aztec Format E logo)
1995 Crooked Arrow/Clue in The Embers
199? Footprints Under The Window/Crisscross Shadow
199? Screeching Owl/While The Clock Ticked
199? Devil's Paw/Ghost At Skeleton Rock
199? Shore Road/Great Airport
199? Viking Symbol/Chinese Junk
199? Disappearing Floor/Desert Giant
199? Melted Coins/Spiral Bridge
199? Hooed Hawk/Secret Agent On Flight 101
1996 Mystery Of The Silver Star/Programme For Destruction /Sky Blue Frame

The Hardy Boys Case Files(1989-1994?)

There are three different formats for the CASEFILES series in the UK.


As far as I can ascertain, only the first 10 titles were published under the Armada banner. These books were direct printings from the original US plates, but with cropped versions of the American cover artwork incorporating new logos and title captions.


From volume #11 (I think), all subsequent titles were published by the London-based division of Simon & Schuster Ltd, under their Archway imprint. The cover artist was Richard Jones (although I do not know how many covers he provided). The US artwork was used from book #61 onwards. A top left corner flash on some volumes announced these books to be "THE NEW SERIES". It is unclear when this series ceased to be published by Armada; reports seem to indicatd that there were only 70 titles in this series.


From June 1999, the first of a series of 11 reprints of the CASEFILES appeared under the UK Archway imprint. There was no cover art apart from a psychedelic swirl of colours and black shapes. Four books were released in the first month, with one title each subsequent month, with the last in January 2000. These 11 books contain a "Case Code Clue", which after being decoded gives the reader the answer required to enter into a prize-draw in January 2000 when the last title was released. The 11 titles are Darkness Falls, The Dead Season, Line Of Fire, Disaster For Hire, Scene Of The Crime, Dirty Deeds, Height Of Danger, Real Horroe, Perfect Getaway, Choke Hold and Sabotage At Sea.



The last set of hardbacks was published in 1985 through Swift Books, a children's books imprint of Chivers Publishing, owned by Firecrest Publishing Ltd (of Bath, England), who published at least the first four Nancy Drew And The Hardy Boys Be-A-Detective puzzle stories in hardback. The American printing-plates were used, but with new cover art. The artist's name is not known. The logo of these books is based on the American editions, complete with the symbol of the three faces in silhouette. Chivers apparently also published Supersleuths 2 in hardback in 1986.


Granddreams published the popular range of Christmas Gift Books and Annuals based on popular television shows. Two annuals based on the Hardy Boys / Nancy drew Mysteries TV series were published, the first in 1979, the second in 1980. The Annuals each contain a mixture of strip stories, games, puzzles, pin-ups and profiles of the actors, illustrated with photos from the TV series.