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The Hardy Boys Mysteries

I have been collecting The Hardy Boys books for years. While I have read some of the "new" versions of the series, I prefer the books from the 'canon.'

The original 'canon' of books are the same ones you are probably thinking of—the small, 178-page blue hardcover books. These are the stories I turn to for a quick trip in time and some excitement and adventure.

With its long history, the Hardy Boys series of young adult books introduced two of the most well-known detectives to young readers. Its timeless plots, appealing characters, and exciting writing have helped keep these books relevant for over 75 years.

The Stratemeyer Syndicate operated from 1919 to 1968.

Franks & Joe Hardy
Franks & Joe Hardy

The Stratemeyer Syndicate sounds like an evil superpower that the Hardy Boys would attempt to take down. However, The Stratemeyer Syndicate is the organization that produced the fictional character Franklin W. Dixon.

Contrary to popular belief, Franklin W. Dixon did not write any of the Hardy Boys' novels. There is, in fact, no such person. Instead, Carolyn Keene, Victor Appleton, and Franklin W. Dixon are all the work of Edward Stratemeyer. They are all pen names he created.

Edward Stratemeyer is responsible for hundreds of children's series books. He wrote stories, such as The Rover Boys, published from 1899 to 1926 under the pseudonym of Arthur M. Winfield, which was his first significant series.

Stratemeyer soon discovered that he had far more ideas for stories and series than he could write. So he created a group of writers known as the Stratemeyer Syndicate. Stratemeyer would outline the basic plot of each book, and one of the Syndicate writers (known as "ghosts") would write the book, receiving a nominal sum and no additional royalties. It seemed to work.

Before the Change

In 1927, Franklin W. Dixon wrote the first three books (Leslie McFarlane wrote the books under this name): The Tower Treasure, The House on the Cliff, and The Secret of the Old Mill.

The early mysteries were published in a cloth hardcover with color dust jackets. In 1962, the series switched to a new cover format with the cover art printed directly on the cover, eliminating the dust jacket. Collectors know this format as "picture cover" or "PC." The publishers used this format for the Grosset & Dunlap books until 1987 when a laminated plastic cover replaced it.

Franks & Joe Hardy
Franks & Joe Hardy

Starting in 1959, the Stratemeyer Syndicate engaged in a 15-year project to revise the first 38 titles in the series. The earlier books were printed from copper plates which, over the years, had degraded so that copies printed were of poor quality. The revisions ranged from slight alterations to completely new stories. The modifications reduced the length of each Hardy Boys' book and story to about 175 pages. The older versions needed to have obsolete prose and racial stereotypes removed. Many readers said the revised versions lost much of the charm and personality that made the original Hardy Boys books so famous. As a result of the criticism the publisher received, they marketed the changes more positively. The publisher included the following text with the new books to explain differences.

In this new story, based on the original of the same name, Mr. Dixon has incorporated the most up-to-date methods used by police and private detectives.

This passage hides the reasons for the change behind a veil of up-to-date detective methods.

The Hardy Boys Today

In 1979, Simon & Schuster acquired the rights for all new Hardy Boys books by the Syndicate from Grosset & Dunlap. Simon & Shuster wasted no time releasing paperback editions alongside hardbacks. Simon & Schuster also published several spin-off novels, including The Hardy Boys Ghost Stories and Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys: Super Sleuths.

In 1987, Simon & Schuster released the Hardy Boys' Case files. The Casefiles was one of the most successful Hardy Boys spin-off series and found the Hardy Boys and friends facing many changes from the original series. Joe's girlfriend, Iola, was killed in the first volume of the Casefiles, and the two characters' personalities became more prominent. The stories became more "serious" as well: in the Casefiles, the Hardy boys viewed murder scenes and used firearms.

The original Hardy Boys Mystery Stories, begun by Edward Stratemeyer in 1927, are the most successful. The Grosset & Dunlap reprints of the original 58 books (known as the Hardy Boys 'Canon') continue to be popular, as do the Simon & Schuster publications. Although trends may come and go, it seems inevitable that the Hardy Boys will remain popular for a long time.

Here is the TOS. If you are a Star Trek fan, you will get the reference. These are the books that are in the original cannon:

Collection Of Hardy Boy Books
Collection Of Hardy Boy Books

01: The Tower Treasure 02: The House On The Cliff 03: The Secret Of The Old Mill 04: The Missing Chums 05: Hunting For Hidden Gold 06: The Shore Road Mystery 07: The Secret Of The Caves 08: The Mystery Of Cabin Island 09: The Great Airport Mystery 10: What Happened At Midnight 11: While The Clock Ticked 12: Footprints Under The Window 13: The Mark On The Door 14: The Hidden Harbor Mystery 15: The Sinister Sign Post 16: A Figure In Hiding 17: The Secret Warning 18: The Twisted Claw 19: The Disappearing Floor 20: Mystery Of The Flying Express 21: The Clue Of The Broken Blade 22: The Flickering Torch Mystery 23: The Melted Coins 24: The Short-Wave Mystery 25: The Secret Panel 26: The Phantom Freighter 27: The Secret Of Skull Mountain 28: The Sign Of The Crooked Arrow 29: The Secret Of The Lost Tunnel 30: The Wailing Siren Mystery 31: The Secret Of Wildcat Swamp 32: The Crisscross Shadow 33: The Yellow Feather Mystery 34: The Hooded Hawk Mystery 35: The Clue In The Embers 36: The Secret Of Pirate's Hill 37: The Ghost At Skeleton Rock 38: The Mystery At Devil's Paw 39: Mystery Of The Chinese Junk 40: Mystery Of The Desert Giant 41: Clue Of The Screeching Owl 42: The Viking Symbol Mystery 43: Mystery Of The Aztec Warrior 44: The Haunted Fort 45: Mystery Of The Spiral Bridge 46: Secret Agent On Flight 101 47: Mystery Of The Whale Tattoo 48: The Arctic Patrol Mystery 49: The Bombay Boomerang 50: Danger On Vampire Trail 51: The Masked Monkey 52: The Shattered Helmet 53: The Clue Of The Hissing Serpent 54: The Mysterious Caravan 55: The Witchmaster's Key 56: The Jungle Pyramid 57: The Firebird Rocket 58: The Sting Of The Scorpion Digest Reprints 59: Night Of The Werewolf 60: Mystery Of The Samurai Sword 61: The Pentagon Spy 62: The Apeman's Secret 63: The Mummy Case 64: Mystery Of Smugglers Cove 65: The Stone Idol 66: The Vanishing Thieves Detective Handbook

The Hardy Boy Mysteries
The Hardy Boy Mysteries


Hophead Jon


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