Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Hardy Boys Adventures #16 Stolen Identity

In Hardy Boys Adventures #16, Stolen Identity, an original Sherlock Holmes manuscript is on display at the Bayport Museum.  Frank and Joe's friend, Hector, works at the museum.  Hector invites the Hardys to come see the manuscript after hours at the museum the night before the opening of the manuscript exhibit.  Frank discovers that some pages are loose, then he realizes that the pages are copies.  Someone has stolen pages from the manuscript!

Even worse, in the coming days, the actual stolen pages begin to reappear—planted among the brothers' personal possessions.  And someone is tipping off the police that the boys might have the pages.  Someone is trying to frame the brothers!  Frank and Joe are certain that the culprit is someone from a past case, but who?

After the disaster of Nancy Drew Diaries #16, The Haunting on Heliotrope Lane, I was a bit leery about reading this latest Hardy Boys Adventures book.  I read the first chapter.  Wow.  The boys are not scared, but they do realize that the acting police chief is out to get them.  The boys act like they are supposed to act, meaning normal, while Nancy Drew acts like she has been taken over by an alien in Heliotrope Lane.

Since at least 50 pages of The Haunting on Heliotrope Lane portray Nancy Drew in a negative fashion, I read carefully for anything that would portray Frank and Joe in a negative fashion.  There really isn't anything.  The acting police chief is not respectful to the boys, but she has a valid reason, which is a newspaper article that makes it sound like the boys solve mysteries that the police can't solve.  That certainly doesn't make the Hardys look bad; rather, it makes the police look bad and the Hardys look good.  I can see why the acting police chief doesn't like the brothers.

Frank and Joe don't jump around in fear, shake, panic, or feel their hearts flutter like Nancy Drew does in Heliotrope Lane.

Pee is seldom mentioned in the Hardy Boys Adventures, but it is a hallmark of the Nancy Drew Diaries series.  The book does mention pee on page 39, so the pee is beginning to seep out of the Nancy Drew Diaries series and into this one.

On page 76, Frank gets in a smirk at Joe.  "Smirk" is another word I track in the Nancy Drew Diaries series, simply because it annoys me.

In The Haunting on Heliotrope Lane, the book contains the following quote:  "That sounds funny.  It's like one of those old mystery stories—do you remember that series with the yellow covers, Geo—."  I commented that the remark pulled me out of the story, due to the oddness of it.  A Nancy Drew book should not be mentioning the old yellow Nancy Drew books.  In Nancy Drew's world, Nancy Drew is real.  The books about her would not exist in her world.  I could not appreciate the reference due to how bizarre it sounds.

I mention the quote from Heliotrope Lane because of the especially sly reference to Nancy Drew that appears in this latest Hardy Boys Adventures book.  The reference is so sly and clever that I missed it at first, then when I realized it, I made an exclamation of pleasure.  It thrilled me.  Everything that is executed poorly in the Nancy Drew Diaries series is done right in the Hardy Boys Adventures series.

I'm going to tell you what the sly reference is, so skip the next paragraph if you would rather have the pleasure of reading the book for yourself and discovering it on your own.

Frank and Joe ask some younger skateboarding boys to help them out on the case.  On page 63, the reader is introduced to Drew, who "flipped his auburn bangs away from his eyes."  That went right over my head until pages later when I realized that the name Drew is not just a first name but a surname known all too well to me.  I went back to page 63 and noticed the auburn hair.  I was delighted.

This Hardy Boys Adventures book is excellent and has the same tone of the early books in the series, which I love.  It also should be noted that the story is not sabotage, unless one wants to argue that the story is about sabotaging the Hardy Boys.  I consider the story to be creative revenge, not sabotage.

Now I have to get in my obligatory rant about the Nancy Drew Diaries series.

I knew as I read and enjoyed this latest Hardy Boys Adventures book that I would be very angry by the time I finished.  And so I am.  I am angry that Nancy Drew is being treated like an idiot and like an obnoxious child who is scared 100% of the time.  In contrast, the Hardy Boys are treated about the same as always.  They solve mysteries better than the police and don't get scared.  What else could we want?

On November 20, 2016, I wrote about gender inequality in the Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys series, particularly in the Nancy Drew Diaries as compared to the Hardy Boys Adventures.
Oddly, Simon and Schuster is giving all the creative plots to the Hardy Boys, and I can't figure out why, unless they want to destroy Nancy Drew.  Surely they don't, because that wouldn't make sense.

For whatever reason, Simon and Schuster is treating the two series in a sexist fashion and is slighting Nancy Drew as a result.
Volume 16 in each series shows how sexist the treatment of Nancy Drew is.  The Hardy Boys act just like always in volume 16 of their series, as in not scared to death, yet Nancy Drew is scared for most of volume 16 of her series.  So, Nancy Drew is being portrayed as a scared little girl who doesn't like solving mysteries, while the Hardy Boys truly are "hardy boys," who bravely solve dangerous mysteries.

In the quote I included from my previous blog, I stated that I did not understand why Nancy Drew is being treated so badly, "unless they want to destroy Nancy Drew."  With each Nancy Drew Diaries book I read, I more strongly believe just that.  I am now close to convincing myself that the person in charge of Nancy Drew at Simon and Schuster is seeking to destroy her out of some sort of vendetta.  If not that, then perhaps the person in charge of both series hates women and wants to destroy Nancy Drew for that reason.  I know I sound like a wingnut, but I fail to understand any logical reason why, in 2018 when females are supposed to be portrayed as strong, that Simon and Schuster is doing the exact opposite with the Nancy Drew franchise.

I plan to keep purchasing and reading the Hardy Boys Adventures.  Most of the books have been very good to excellent.  I greatly enjoy them.  I have given up all hope for the Nancy Drew Diaries series.  However, I will keep purchasing the Nancy Drew Diaries books, but only because I enjoy tearing each one apart here in this blog.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

As a long-time series book fan, Nancy Drew is a favourite of mine; at least, the Nancy Drew in her classic incarnation. I also liked her in the "Files" and "Notebooks" series, the "Super Mysteries" with the Hardy Boys. I even tolerated her in the "On Campus" series.

With the first book in the "Girl Detective" series, I thought it was a joke! The plot involved Nancy's quest to find the person who vandalized a vegetable garden! Smashed zucchini! Why would any reader care? Still the series last a few years and 40+ books, to my surprise!

After book #1, the "Girl Detective" series became worse! Nancy went to pee in a pickle jar! Apparently, she was imprisoned at the time, but did the reader really need to know this? Maybe the series should have been called "Girl Defective?"

I feel the first person writing style of this series (and subsequent ones) featuring Nancy Drew work against the series which was very successful for decades written in the third person. Also the shorter plots and reduced vocabulary do not help the quality of the stories.

The first two books of the "Diaries" series turned me off because they read like recycled "Girl Detective" books.

Like other collectors, I also think Simon and Schuster doesn't care about Nancy Drew. Emphasis given in the latest books to all the qualities that non-Nancy Drew fans of the classic series didn't like: Nancy's perfectionism, Nancy's being an instant expert, Nancy's vast knowledge, Nancy's gracious manners, Nancy's cleverness and Nancy's dedication to investigating. The publisher is ignoring the numerous fans who actually liked these qualities in the stories!

When I read the first two books of the "Hardy Boys Adventures," I actually liked them! I chose not to read them and would not recommend them to children because they reader is encouraged, by the heroes' actions to ignore their parents and the law, and they use some unacceptable (swear words) language that people, especially children, shouldn't use. The values of the books from yesteryear are missing.

I also agree with Jennifer W.; it doesn't make sense that Simon and Schuster is sabotaging the Nancy Drew series, but apparently that is their only plot thread for the new books! This plot gets boring fast!

I also don't want support (read: give my money to) the publishers of these new Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys books. I know I am among the minority in the series collectors' community, but I would rather the series go out-of-print than continue with the poor quality books that have been published in the 21st century.

The Nancy Drew series needs someone like Harriet Stratemeyer Adams who cared about it. Despite criticism of some of Mrs. Adams's practices and actions, even her detractors must agree that she was passionate about the Stratemeyer Syndicate properties.