“ Genre: Junior Books / Author: Franklin W. Dixon / Hardcover / Reading Level: Ages 9-12 / 192 Pages / Book is published 2005-04-21 by Grosset & Dunlap / Alternative title: The Hardy Boys: The Pentagon Spy „
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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 Pentagon Spy was published in the US in 1980 & was the sixty first in the series. The book first appeared in the UK in 1981 & was numbered 59 when it was published by Armada.
This book gets straight to the point on the first page with Fenton Hardy telling Frank & Joe all about the case he's working on. A civilian employee of the navy, Clifford Hunter, has smuggled a top secret document out of the Pentagon. He's been traced as far as Chesapeake Bay but has then disappeared. Mr. Hardy tells his sons that he has to leave for Washington and asks them to make his apologies to a John Hammerley who he has an appointment with later that morning.
Mr. Hammerley duly turns up at the Hardy house & explains that he comes from the Pennsylvania Dutch country where valuable weather vanes have been stolen. It will come as no surprise to the seasoned reader of Hardy Boys books that Mr. Hammerley asks Frank & Joe to investigate the case whilst their father is busy with his own investigation.
Frank, Joe & Chet are soon on the way to Hammerley's farm, determined not only to track down the weather vanes thieves but also to prevent the theft of Hammerley's own weather vane, the Flashing Arrow. Unfortunately for them, things go badly wrong when The Flashing Arrow is snatched from under their noses. Does suspicious farm foreman Crow Morven have anything to do with the theft, or does he just have a dislike of the young sleuths & Chet?
Who does the mysterious squeaky voice on the telephone that warns them off the case belong to? What is the significance of the Hex symbols? And who is the man with the plastic looking beard that pops up from time to time? One thing's for certain, the gang are determined to get rid of the Hardy's one & for all as they find a bomb in their boat, face an archer on a lonely island &, finally, find themselves tied up with the prospect of being dumped into Chesapeake Bay.......
The usual supporting characters who appear in this book are:-
+ Fenton Hardy
+ Laura Hardy
+ Aunt Gertrude
+ Chet Morton
+ Biff Hooper
+ Tony Prito
+ Phil Cohen
+ Iola Morton
After a disappointing previous book in the shape of "The Mystery Of The Samurai Sword" this book is a big improvement. The weather vane angle is an interesting storyline &, along the way, the reader is intoduced to a fair amount of information about weather vanes, hexes and the Amish. Characterisation is generally good with the reader getting clear impressions of Hammerley, Crow Morven & particularly museum curator Gaspard Clay who even has the "ahems" inserted into his speech when he's meant to be clearing his throat.
The plot moves along at a resonable pace & there's an adequate level of incidence to keep the reader interested although, by now, Frank & Joe have been hit over the head, almost blown up, almost fallen off something, tied up etc more times than you can shake a stick at. Despite this the narrative is well written enough that it doesn't matter that there's very little in this book that hasn't been done before. One thing the ghost writer of this particular book does seem to have a 'thing' about is Chet's weight. It's usually referred to in passing in just about every book that the character appears in, but, here his weight seems to be referred to a little more than is usual.
Overall though, it's one of the better books that were published by Simon & Schuster & would serve as an ideal introductory story to the adventures of Frank & Joe is you were looking for something that was written in the 1980s or later.
At the time of writing the book is available in hardback for £4.26 from Amazon Prime. New & used paperbacks are available from 1p upwards.
# Hardcover: 192 pages
# Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap (21 April 2005)
# ISBN-10: 0448436981
# ISBN-13: 978-0448436982
The Pentagon Spy is the third of the newer series of Hardy Boys books, but the 61st in total. In 1979, previous publishers Grosset & Dunlap lost the rights to the books, and Simon & Schuster took over the publishing side of the books. Since then, they have flourished very well, and many consider the newer series to contain a higher quality of storytelling and ghost writing.
The books are all published under the pseudonym Franklin W Dixon, but are written by a number of ghost writers and have been from the very first book. This, the 61st book, features two different mysteries which the Hardys must solve. The Hardy Boys are Frank and Joe Hardy, teenage boys and sons of the supersleuth Fenton Hardy. When a series of antique weathervanes go missing, the Hardys come in to investigate. As a second mystery appears, that of an apparently unapproved removal of a Pentagon document, two crimes are there for the taking, but are they really unrelated?
We often see more than one crime being featured in the Hardy Boys books. This is perhaps to break the monotony of one crime per book, and it does a bit of a welcome change. However, I feel that, each time two crimes come along, it is to be assumed that they are linked. I won't reveal what happens in this book, as I don't want to spoil it for any potential readers, but there is nothing particularly special or new about this book in comparison. In all honesty, after over 60 books featuring the same two teenagers (who must be fed up with solving so much crime before adulthood!), it is kind of hard to expect a new and refreshing style of writing or plot, as they will just follow the mold that has been successful until it stops working.
The characters have already been very well developed throughout the previous books, but for those who haven't read any other Hardy Boys books, the basics are well covered and it elaves no confusion. The plot is well written as well, and it makes it one of the better of the books around this number.
The Pentagon Spy is currently available from amazon for a decent price, as are the majority of the Hardy Boys books.
Book Series: The Hardy Boys