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Frank & Joe Hardy are the teenage sons of famous private detective Fenton Hardy & his wife Laura. Together, (& sometimes from help with family & friends) they investigate all sorts of crimes & strange occurences....
This was the 5th Hardy Boys book, first published in the US in 1928 & then revised in 1963. It was first published in the UK in 1973 & was numbered 25 in the series when published by Armada.
The book opens with Frank & Joe & some friends camping out in the woods. Their father, Fenton Hardy, has asked them to keep an eye out for a man called Mike Onslow who may be connected to a case that he's working on "out West".
The boys receive a message from Hank Shale in Lucky Lode telling them that their father needs their help. At this point they also meet Mike Onslow who tells them about a gold vein that he & three partners were working twenty five years previously. Unfortunately, an outlaw named Black Pepper & his gang found out about the gold & beseiged the cabin that Mike & his partners were in. Mike's partner, Bart Dawson managed to escape in his plane with the gold but he never appeared at the pre-arranged rendezvous.
The boys set off for Lucky Lode &, after some close shaves in Chicago, finally arrive. The book then all goes a bit "Scooby Doo" at this point as we're presented with something approaching a ghost town complete with ghostly piano playing and a mysterious blue light in the cemetery.
It transpires that Fenton Hardy has been working on a case involving an armoured car hijack & he's traced a villain named Big Al to Lucky Lode. The boys soon discover that Big Al & his gang are determined to stop them "interfering" & that there's a gang spy in town called "Slip Gun".
The rest of the book revolves around Big Al's attempts to rid himself of the boys whilst they're determined to catch him, unmask "Slip Gun" & find the gold that Mike Onslow told them about.
The book briefly features:-
+ Laura Hardy
+ Aunt Gertrude
+ Chet Morton
+ Biff Hooper
+ Tony Prito
in addition to an injured Fenton Hardy.
As a child this was always one of the Hardy Boys books that I was less keen on. I always felt that it didn't gel together that well & I wasn't overly keen on the setting.
Re-reading it now, I haven't changed those views. It's less enjoyable than The Tower Treasure, The Secret Of The Old Mill & The Mystery Of The Missing Friends aka The Missing Chums, but it does deserve some credit for taking the boys out of their home town of Bayport & away from the usual cast of supporting characters. It was obviously the first attempt to do something different with the series & even if it doesn't quite work some credit should be given for the attempt.
# Paperback: 160 pages
# Publisher: Armada; New Ed edition (12 Nov 1992)
# ISBN-10: 0006922074
# ISBN-13: 978-0006922070
For the 5th Hardy Boys book, Franklin W Dixon does what he did to the saga in his 4th book. Hunting For HIdden Treasure takes the brothers Frank and Joe Hardy out of their comfort zone and transports them away from home and gives them the task of treasure hunting instead of solving crimes with their supersleuth father Fenton Hardy.
The Hardy Boys books are aimed at young adults and ther are literally hundreds of them. The first and original series of books were penned by Franklin W Dixon (pen name for Leslie McFarlane) and the first ones were released in the 1920s. As a result, many of them seem outdated to the more modern reader, but they are still excellent stories.
In this book, Frank and Joe travel to the village of Lucky Lode to go treasure hunting after hearing a story about it. However, they are not the only ones looking for the gold, and they realise that there is a gang of villains led by Big Al, and that one of his men has been spying on them. As the treasure threatens ever closer, so do the villains and the danger heightens as the Hardy Boys seek to get rich quick!
In comparison to previous espionage and murderous Hardy Boys tales, this one seems rather lame. I like the way Dixon didn't ust want to throw the same story rehashed at us over and over again, but I felt that this one just didn't quite work as well as some of the others. The fact that it all boils down to treasure hunting and people's greed should appeal to a younger adult audience, and this is what the book is aimed at, but I feel that fans of the Hardys may be a little disappointed in comparison.
However, it is still a decent enough book, and worth a read. Hunting For Hidden Gold is available from amazon.co.uk for very low prices for used copies, or available either as a hardback copy or in a collection of Hardy Boys books in paperback. Prices range from 1p to around the £8 mark, depending on which version you're after.