Thursday, March 3, 2016

Hardy Boys #46 Secret Agent on Flight 101 and #47 Whale Tattoo

In Hardy Boys #46, The Secret Agent on Flight 101, Frank and Joe are shocked when the Incredible Hexton makes Fenton Hardy disappear during a magic act—and he doesn't reappear!  As the Hardy boys search for their father, they join forces with the secret agents of SKOOL as they seek to uncover evidence against a spy organization, UGLI.

This book is from 1967 when the spy craze was all the rage.  1967 is also the year that Grosset and Dunlap launched the Christopher Cool TEEN Agent series.  An ad for the Christopher Cool series is present in the back of this book.

I recall reading this book 20 years ago.  At that time, I had never read a Ken Holt book.  Now that I have read Ken Holt, two things stood out as I read the first two chapters.  Someone vanishes during a magic act performed in a school auditorium, which occurred in one Ken Holt book.  A mirror is used to reflect headlights, which occurred in another Ken Holt book.

Mr. Hardy leaves a long series of numbers as a clue written on a wall.  The boys interpret the numbers as latitude and longitude.  I find it rather strange that Fenton somehow knew his exact latitude and longitude while imprisoned.  This was in 1967, and he wouldn't have had a GPS on him. 

It's quite hard to believe that Frank could cling to the wing of a plane while flying in midair, use a screwdriver to open the fasteners of an engine, and extract a bomb from inside the engine.  The engine was running, so the blades were moving, and the engine was hot.  This is not feasible, but this type of scene is typical of spy stories.

I found the book interesting for the first 100 to 110 pages.  While implausible, the story kept me interested.  After that point, the story began to lose me, and I skimmed it towards the end.  Overall, this story is okay.

In Hardy Boys #47, Mystery of the Whale Tattoo, Frank and Joe are hired to find the pickpockets who keep stealing from the patrons of Solo's Super Carnival.  Meanwhile, the boys' friends purchase a stuffed whale that was unearthed in Bayport.  When the stuffed whale is stolen, Frank and Joe try to find it, ultimately learning that the stuffed whale holds the key to their father's latest case.

On page 127, the police officer recites the history of tattooing to the boys as he takes them to view photos of tattoos.  This is a rather blatant way to add education to the plot.

I find it hard to believe that the radio announcer would interrupt regular programming to inform the people of Bayport that the Hardys have not found the stuffed whale yet.

Most everything about this story is implausible.  Nevertheless, I still found it to be a decent story.

No comments: