Ghost of the Hardy Boys: An Autobiography by Leslie McFarlane, (the first Franklin W. Dixon)
I have never really been a fan of the Hardy Boys, except when they intersected with Nancy Drew. The Nancy Drew Casefiles had a cross over The Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys: Super Mysteries; along with the TV show The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries. The books, the few I read, never captured my attention. However, when I found this book, I decided to check it out and learn more about the creation of the Hardy Boys.
Happy 115th Birthday Leslie McFarlane!
McFarlane started as a Canadian writer, trying to strike it in the publishing world. He works at a newspaper during the day, and at night putts away at the keyboard trying to write stories and have them published.
He works at a midwestern newspaper, while still trying to get his work published. One day he came upon an advertisement by Stratemeyer looking for a writer. It promised good money, so McFarlane decides to answer it.
He receives an outline for a book about two boys, Dave Fearless and his best pal as they go on all kinds of adventures, but the book was to be written not by McFarlane but a Roy Rockwood.
Yes, Stratemeyer has an amazing idea in that he will have all these series written, but not by real people but pseudonyms. If an “author” leaves, they can always be replaced with no one noticing.
MacFarlane gets paid enough that he leaves his job at the paper and heads back to his hometown. But even though Dave Fearless is paying the bills, MacFarlane hates the character with a passion.
However, one day he is given an outline without the snippet for the next book. He doesn’t think much about it, but it turns out that Fearless is toast. Instead, Stratemeyer has a new idea, a crime-solving duo The Hardy Boys.
From here begins MacFarlane’s career as Franklin W. Dixon. With him he breathes his own life and ideas into the characters, creating pieces that would remain with them throughout the years and their many rebranding for new generations.
Thoughts After Reading:
I Lobed it. MacFarlane is hilarious and so genuine in his writing. It feels as if he is taking directly to you and he holds nothing back. Loved it!
For more Non Fiction, go to High Road to the Stake: A Tale of Witchcraft
For more biographies, go to Agatha Christie: The Woman and Her Mysteries