Sunday, January 24, 2016

Hardy Boys #20 Flying Express and #21 Broken Blade

In the original text of Hardy Boys #20, The Mystery of the Flying Express, Frank and Joe are tasked with helping their father find a secret training camp for spies.  Later, the boys learn about a missing professor, Morse, whose disappearance turns out to be connected to the training camp for spies.

Harriet Adams outlined this book.  Thank goodness!  The books I just read were "crazy Edna" outlines, and I had grown tired of them.

The boys follow a man who picked up a package.  They believe it went in the water, so they search for it.  On page 38, a bundle of newspapers is found in the water right where the package was dropped.  Joe astutely notes, "There must have been some reason why that fellow was so eager to get [the package]."  You think?  Frank says that they should "take the package along, just for luck."  The boys go to that much trouble to find the package, then Frank says they will take it "just for luck."  Has Frank lost some brain cells?

This book has numerous choppy transitions.  On page 125, the text specifies that the "two brothers" left the others to check on a vehicle.  When the boys remark about the vehicle, Kelly answers, but he didn't go with them. On page 184, the boys use a vine ladder to climb into the spies' camp, but no mention is made about them hiding the ladder.  Later, the boys leave via the vine ladder.  Did they really leave it hanging over the wall so that anyone could have spotted it?

On 189, why would the two foreign spies speak in English while alone and discussing their plans?

Despite several flaws, I greatly enjoyed this story, and it was a relief to read it after having read through several mediocre stories.

In the original text of Hardy Boys #21, The Clue of the Broken Blade, Mr. Hardy requests the boys' assistance in his latest case, which is to apprehend a group of thieves that steals valuable cargo from ships that have just docked.  The boys also learn about a stolen sword and another sword with a broken blade.  They take on that case as well.  Of course, both cases turn out to be the same case.  And not only that, but the boys find a missing man who is also connected to the case.

I found it strange that the boys are asked to join an acrobat act in the circus.  With a small amount of practice, they are ready to perform on the trapeze.  I was reminded of when Nancy Drew performs her trick riding in the circus in The Ringmaster's Secret.

I also found it strange that Moe Gordon carries around the broken blade and keeps leaving pieces of it behind.  His strange habit certainly proves to be helpful to the Hardys!

I greatly enjoyed this story.

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