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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....
The Secret of the Old Mill was the third book to be published in the US. It was first issued in 1927 & was revised in 1962. When the book was published by Armada in the UK this story was numbered 16.
This third book sees Frank & Joe investigating a counterfeiting ring after their friend, Chet Morton is passed off with a bogus $20 note. Later in the story Tony Prito also discovers a bogus $20 note when he banks the takings for his father's company. It also features the first appearance of "The Sleuth" a speedboat that Frank & Joe have saved up to buy, but which Fenton has also contributed towards the cost of.
Meanwhile, the boys father, Fenton, is working on a secret case of his own which is eventually revealed to be a number of incidences of sabotage at a company called Elekton.
The boys receive a number of threats both by phone & letter as well as being placed in danger on a number of occasions throughout the book as they try to discover whether there's a link between the sabotage incidents & the counterfeit ring.
The book itself it entertaining enough & an improvement on the first book, The Tower Teasure. The clues are decent enough, the only possible criticism being that there are too few other characters beyond the usual recurring ones which for this book are:-
+ Fenton Hardy
+ Laura Hardy
+ Aunt Gertrude
+ Chet Morton
+ Tony Prito
+ Chief Ezra Colling
+ Oscar Smuff (briefly)
* No Biff Hooper or Jerry Gilroy in this book. *
Once you've discounted those characters there are very few other people that Frank & Joe meet so the possibilites for suspects that could be part of the counterfeit ring, or responsible for the sabotage, are rather limited.
All in all then, an accessible book for 9 - 13 year olds.
# Hardcover: 192 pages
# Publisher: Price Stern Sloan; New edition edition (1 April 2002)
# ISBN-10: 0448089033
# ISBN-13: 978-0448089034
The Secret of the Old Mill is the third book in the immense series of Hardy Boys books frst penned in the 1920s by Franklin W Dixon (pen name of Leslie McFarlane). The Hardy Boys were Frank and Joe Hardy, sons to supersleuth private detective Fenton Hardy, and their adventures would often involve a selection of their group of friends as they stumble on some sinister plot.
This third book in the series features a money counterfeiting ring which, as if by magic the Hardy Boys stuble across. Witht he help of their friend Chet Morton, they track a counterfeit note to a missile-development company called Elekton Controls, and as the mystery deepens and they get closer, they are warned off the case with a threat to their family.
However, no one in their family is likely to take this lying down, and as they pursue the issue further, the danger heightens as they edge closer to the truth and the culprits behind the counterfeit ring.
The book is well written, as are all of the Hardy Boys books, and they aimed at a young adult audience. In a way, the books are written as you would expect a more mature and American set of Famous Five books to be written.
I found the writing style to be incredibly easy to read, similar to James Patterson but without the violent and sometimes gory content. Definitely one for the young adult. The characterisation in this book is well worked out, with the subtle clues to the mystery popping up every now and then. There is nothing too taxing in this book, and I loved them when I was in my teens and as avid a reader as I am now.
I recommend this book if you are thinking of a present for a young teen. The only drawback is that the story is a little outdated, it being set in the 1920s, but it still entertains. The book is available from amazon.co.uk as a used copy for extremely low prices, or if you wanted a brand new copy it is part of a Hardy Boys set of 3 books in 1 which currently costs £7.86 at amazon.