Sunday, June 19, 2016

Hardy Boys #134 Cross-Country Crime, #135 Hypersonic Secret, and #136 Cold Cash Caper

In Hardy Boys #134, Cross-Country Crime, Frank and Joe are taking a cross-country run across the Canadian Rockies.  The boys stumble upon a mystery in a remote town.  The town's bank has been robbed, and the boys' host may be the culprit!

This is an excellent book from the very first page.  It caught my attention quickly.

The way the boys encounter the mystery is interesting and unnerving.  They have found a man in the snow who has amnesia.  They help him into his cabin, and they turn on the radio.  The news begins, reporting a bank robbery and describing the suspect.  The boys' host matches the description, causing them to fear for their safety.

This book is outstanding.

In Hardy Boys #135, The Hypersonic Secret, Jamal Hawkins' father has vanished!  Mr. Hawkins was piloting a charter flight carrying millionaire Ian Fairbanks when the plan vanishing from radar.  Frank and Joe help Jamal look for the plane and the missing men.

This book introduces the Hardys' new friend, Jamal Hawkins, who becomes a recurring character in the series.  Jamal is pictured on the front cover.

The next two paragraphs spoil the identity of one of the culprits, although I think the author makes it so obvious that my spoiler doesn't matter much.

Sometimes authors make big mistakes when they try to drop clues to the culprit's identity, while trying not to make the culprit obvious.  The boys had learned Ken McCafferty's history with the air force that resulted in a dishonorable discharge.  On page 73, McCafferty makes a bitter remark about the air force.  Frank notices the bitter remark and asks himself, "What could that be about?"

This was a mistake, because the reader already knows why McCafferty is bitter.  Frank knows the story as well, but he plays dumb.  I concluded that McCafferty is the culprit.  It would have been far better for Frank to think, "Boy, he sure is bitter about being discharged!"

The ending of the story is quite improbable.  It's quite impossible for Jamal to show up when he does and how he does in order to rescue the Hardys at the precise moment they need to be rescued.  The police and two fighter jets also arrive at the same moment!

This is an excellent book. 

In Hardy Boys #136, The Cold Cash Caper, Frank and Joe are helping with security at the Bayport Winter Festival.  Several thefts of money raised occur, and Chet is framed.  Frank and Joe must clear their friend's name and keep the festival from being a failure.

On page 31, Joe asks, "But if he wants us off the case so badly, why would he draw attention to himself by throwing the rock?"  I've asked myself that same question in book after book.  The criminals are so stupid in Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys books!

I had trouble enjoying this book because the boys play into the obvious criminal's hands.  They give the money bag directly to him, never considering that he could be a potential suspect.  Even though the police aren't around at that moment, the money bag should have been kept and given directly to them.  Later, the boys give other evidence to the same man.  It's no surprise that the police never find fingerprints on any of these items, since they were given to someone else first.

The boys don't figure out the motive until page 119, when I knew the motive and culprit since very early in the book.  This book has no real mystery, since the solution is so obvious.

On page 147, Joe realizes "that every step of the way, he and Frank had helped [name withheld] keep tabs on them."  I'm glad he finally figured it out!

This book is a bit bland.

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