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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 Mystery Of The Disappearing Floor was published in the US in 1940 & was the nineteenth in the series. It was revised in 1964. The book first appeared in the UK in 1971 & was numbered 5 when it was published by Armada. This review is for the Armada edition.
The story opens with Frank & Joe spotting a car that their father asked them to keep an eye out for. Unfortunately, whilst tailing it, the car releases a cloud of purple smoke & escapes from them. Later they bump into Chet who claims to have heard a ghost & seen a "funny looking tiled surface". Whilst hunting for the tiled surface they encounter a half conscious man who they initially take to their car in order to take him to hospital. He subsequently escapes from them & warns them not to follow him.
When they reach home their father tells them about a series of jewel robberies that appear to have been carried out by the same gang. At each robbery someone appears to have lost a part of their memory. None of the 'victims' recalls passing out, but they all remember a sensation of coming to. Strangely no traces of gas have been detected in the air.
Events get more serious when Fenton Hardy's usual pilot, Jack Wayne, disappears after sending a garbled radio message. But how is this linked to a college professor called Aden Darrow who has bought the old Perth Mansion which is where Noel Strang, number one suspect for the jewel robberies appears to be living? And who or what is the ghostly figure that appears & disappears at random in the grounds of the Perth Mansion? Andy why has someone stolen an amethyst that Callie & Iola have found?
The usual supporting characters who appear in the story are:-
+ Fenton Hardy
+ Laura Hardy
+ Aunt Gertrude
+ Chet Morton
+ Ton Prito
+ Callie Shaw
+ Iola Morton
+ Jack Wayne
+ Chief Ezra Collig (aka Chief Clint Collig)
Again, like all of the early Hardy Boys books this dates somewhat. When I was growing up this wasn't one of my favourite stories as I never felt it gelled particularly well together. Reading it again over 20 years later my view on that hasn't changed. Chief Collig seems to have changed his name from Ezra to Clint for the events of this story and there's an incident with a jewel delivery which leaves both the Hardys & the police baffled for a while that defies belief. Even as a child the explanation for the said jewel delivery incident seemed rather obvious to me. As an adult that view is even more reinforced.
So, all in all, one of the lesser stories in the series. It's probably best not to give this to someone as their first Hardy Boys book to read as it probably won't draw them in & make them want to read more.
At the time of writing used paperback versions can be otained from 1p upwards.
# Paperback: 160 pages
# Publisher: Armada; New Ed edition (11 Jun 1992)
# ISBN-10: 0006924921
# ISBN-13: 978-0006924920
In the third book not written by Leslie McFarlane under the pseudonym Franklin W Dixon, Frank and Joe Hardy help their father investigate an elusive jewel thief. The plot thickens as they learn that it all links to a death many years ago, and the dangers heightens as they realise that there is a secret that someone is keen to keep buried!
The Disappearing Floor is the 19th 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. This is now the third book not written by McFarlane, and also one of the more disappointing of the series. The books seemed to take a bit of a down turn when McFarlane stopped writing, and the author actually came back to write some more later on in the series.
This books lacks some of the intrigue and suspense the other books are able to give, and while I would still recommend reading it, just as I would any Hardy Boys book, don't be surprised if you find this disappointing. The majority of the books were actually revised to mordernise them a little in the 1950s, and not even this was able to make a better impression on me. I am disappointed with this one, as the characterisation is weak and the main characters of Frank, Joe and their father Fenton just follow the exact same mould as other books. Essentially, there is nothing new here, and the plot is lame and weak.
Although I still recommend reading the book, this is the first of the Hardy Boys books that I am giving a 2 star rating to, as it is significantly lower in quality than most of the other books. Still give it a go, but don't expect things to be as good as the other books.
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 Disappearing Floor is available from amazon.co.uk either as an individual book, part of 3 stories in 1 series or as a hardback copy, and the prices range from 1p to around the £8 mark depending on which version you want.