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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 Clue Of The Broken Blade was published in the US in 1942 & was the twenty first in the series. It was heavily revised in 1970 when a new story was written using some of the ideas from the original. The book first appeared in the UK in 1977 & was numbered 37 when it was published by Armada. This review is for the Armada edition.
The story opens with Frank & Joe fencing under the watchful eye of fencing maestro Ettore Russo. Russo tells them that his grandfather's will was etched on his sword Adalante but that the sword was broken in a duel & the guard end has been lost since. Now Russo faces a fight with his cousin as his aunt is claiming that her son is the sole heir to the estate.
Later, their father shows them the new spectrograph machine that he has bought. This produces "pictures" of a person's voice & their father has recordings of the voices of a number of criminals. He organises places for Frank & Joe on a Voiceprint Indentification Course but there's an attempt to steal the spectrograph machine from the school before a subsequent attempt is made to steal the Hardy's own machine. Bayport Bank is then robbed & the voice recordings for the spectrograph are taking along with some of the bank's money. Meanwhile Frank's research into the Adalante sword includes a chance meeting with a Professor Von Stolk & the discovery of some missing pages from a book about the sword.
How is the theft of the spectrograph recordings linked to the search for the sword? Why is a foreman called Madsen so determined to cause trouble for the boys? And where does reclusive screen writer Vincent Steele fit into everything? The boy's investigations take them to California where the face a number of enemies determined to stop theem once & for all.....
The usual supporting characters who appear in the story are:-
+ Fenton Hardy
+ Laura Hardy
+ Aunt Gertrude
+ Chet Morton
+ Biff Hooper
+ Tony Prito
+ Phil Cohen
+ Callie Shaw
+ Iola Morton
+ Chief Ezra Collig
Once more this has dated somewhat, especially as all the spectrograph recordings are on tape! It's fairly obvious, although it may escape the notice of a younger child, that the characterisation has changed slightly as well due to a different ghost writer being used. Points about Aunt Gertrude being pleased that Chet likes her cooking are hammered home with all the subtlety of a hammer which is something that just wouldn't have happened in the earlier stories.
Children who have seen Zorro or Pirates Of The Caribbean may be interested in the sword fight sections of the book, but, like The Mystery Of The Disappearing Floor this is another below-par effort. On a slightly more humourous note it's interesting to see that Chief Collig has now reverted back from Clint (in The Disappearing Floor) to the more accurate Ezra.
At the time of writing used paperback versions can be otained from 1p upwards.
# Hardcover: 192 pages
# Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap; n.e. edition (1 April 2002)
# ISBN-10: 0448089211
# ISBN-13: 978-0448089218
As Frank and Joe enter yet another mystery on their own, their adventure takes them off to California, and deep within the intricate world of the sport of fencing. Theft is the crime this time, and as they attempt to solve the mystery of a number of stolen items from the back of lorries, they become involved in the theft of a number of fencing items, mainly the swords.
However, crooks are dangerous, which Frank and Joe don't seem to have worked out despite their many adventures helping out their father and working on their own. In yet another adventure which defies the existence of school in their busy and hectic lives, the brothers come up against another gang of dangerous crooks that they must stop.
The Clue of the Broken Blade is the 21st Hardy Boys book. The books follow the adventures of Frank and Joe Hardy, sons of fictional supersleuth Fenton Hardy, and are written by Franklin W Dixon. Dixon is a pen name originally used by Leslie McFarland for the first 16 Hardy Boys books. This is one of the books not written by McFarlane, and it is another disappointment, although not as bad as some of the books. It almost seems as if the characters and their development have been forgotten, and the success of the first dozen or so books is considered enough to sell a lesser Hardy Boys book.
The books will to many seem a little outdated as they are set in the 1920s and 1930s, the first one having been first published in the mid-1920s and a quick succession of volumes following it. They are aimed at young adults and as such don't make for heavy reading. Dixon's flowing writing style keeps the action coming throughout the books.
The Clue of the Broken Blade is available from amazon.co.uk for £7.19 at the moment, although there are cheaper versions around for either hardback, paperback or 3 stories in 1 versions.