Ghost of the Hardy Boys

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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.

But first:

Happy 115th Birthday Leslie McFarlane!

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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

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Secrets Can Kill

Where I live, school starts tomorrow, so I thought what better way to get “back to school” than with a school centered mystery.

Secrets Can Kill (The Nancy Drew Files #1) by Carolyn Keene

So I know most people started with the original Nancy Drew books, but I never grew up reading those. My first introduction to Nancy Drew was The Nancy Drew Files. And of course, the TV show.

In fact, I was first introduced to Nancy Drew by accident. I was looking for a Sweet Valley High book to read and someone had mis-shelved a Nancy Drew Files. 

I first was interested in Nancy Drew when I picked up a copy on accident, as it was mis-shelved with Sweet Valley High. 

Why not try it out?

I read it and loved it and immediately wanted to read the whole series.

Unfortunately, when I started reading them, they were out of print and the library only had a few books in the series. It then became a treasure hunt as I tried to find copies in thrift stores and library book sales.

Background Information:

So this series began in the ’80s and have some updates from the original series. Nancy Drew originally was a 16 year-old, high school, amateur detective, but in this version she has been aged up to 18, and a high school graduate.

She still lives in River Heights, IL and is in a long distance relationship with Ned Nickerson, who is a student at Emerson College.

Yes that is Rick Springfield. He played Ned in the Christmas episode which you can check out on Netflix or youtube.

Her friends are still cousins Bess Marvin and George Fayne; Bess being the beautiful blonde shopaholic who is always eating and George the super athlete in every way. Instead of a blue roadster, in this book she gets a blue mustang convertible.

One of the best things I love in this series are the clothes, the author (as Carolyn Keene is a pseudonym), always gives great detail to what she wears. I’m totally going to add a special section at the end.

One other thing that this series does a little differently is that every book cover has a handsome guy on it, someone who appears in the book. Some people hate that, but I always think of it as a fun guessing game as we try and figure out which of the characters it is.

Hmm…

Another thing this book series does, is that since it is a “case file” there is a little information sheet at the very beginning. Sometimes the suspects mentioned turn out to be who did it, while other times the person whodoneit is someone Nancy never saw coming.

ASSIGNMENT:To pose as a student, go undercover, and investigate a series of thefts at Bedford High.

CONTACT: Daryl Gray, a gorgeous senior with sexy, blueberry colored eyes and an instant attraction to Nancy.

 SUSPECTS: 

  • Jake Webb, a genuine creep who seems to have something on half the kids at school.
  • Walt “Hunk” Hogan, the tough football captain who’s acting strangely paranoid.
  • Carla Dalton, who hates Nancy on sight. Mere jealousy–or something more sinister?
  • Hal Morgan, the class “brain” who Nancy catches cheating on a test.

COMPLICATIONS: There’s more going on at this school than meets the eye. Much more. If Nancy isn’t careful, she could get herself into serious trouble…She could get herself killed.

Nancy thinks this will be a simple job, a few rooms at the school have been broken into, one or two things were stolen. The police can’t do anything as the fingerprints don’t match any of the adults, and the offenses are so minor.

The principal turned to Nancy to pretend to be a student and search who did it, as it is most likely a student. She bought new clothes, will take some easy classes, etc. However, things take a dark turn quickly.

After her shopping trip with Bess she discovers a VHS on her porch. When she puts it in to watch, she sees HERSELF!

What?!

Someone videotaped her, which means whoever she is out to investigate, knows who she is.

The next day, Nancy gets into a race with a handsome guy. When she goes to see the principal and report for her job, it turns out that her contact to know who she really is, is the guy she was racing!

He’s cute!

Daryl Gray is cool, handsome, rich the student body president, and drives a porsche. He and Nancy spend a LOT of time together, and things start heating up between them…

Smirkity smirk smirk

Nancy starts investigating and discovers that they call the strange happenings in the school “the ghost”.

As she searches further she discovers this case involves a kleptomaniac, hidden injuries, false test scores, blackmail, cut brake lines, and espionage!

Nancy figures out who the is responsible for the break ins, but when she goes to confront them the next day-they turn out to be dead! Will Nancy solve the mystery or turn out to be next?

Outfits-

This book doesn’t have as many as later ones do. There is one that caught my eye, when Nancy goes to the dance near the end of the novel. I always imagine her in something like this:

And let’s not forget the cover, I love the purple leather jacket and would totally wear that of I could find one.

Thoughts After Reading:

Loved it! From beginning to end. It had a great twist I didn’t see coming as well.

Nancy’s next case:

Another thing I loved about these mysteries is that they were designed like radio shows and TV episodes. They always made sure to leave you with a little preview of what will come next:

Nancy’s next case:

When she investigates a rock star’s mysterious disappearance, Nancy once again finds herself probing perilous secrets! Her only lead takes her straight to Bess’ new boyfriend. What is he hiding? Finding out my kill her friendship with Bess. But not finding out may kill the kidnapped rock star–with Nancy and her friends next on the hit list.

Can Nancy survive the dark side of the rock scene? Find out in DEADLY INTENT–Case #2 in The Nancy Drew Files,™ available now!

For more Nancy Drew, go to Betty and Veronica: Stranger Than Fiction

For more private investigators, go to Sam the Cat: Detective

For more female private investigators, go to B is for Burglar

For more ’80s mysteries, go to C is for Corpse

For more undercover mysteries, go to The Hyde Park Murder

For more espionage, go to The Manchurian Candidate

Betty and Veronica: Stranger Than Fiction

So I was reading an old Archie ComicBetty and Veronica Double Digest Magazine No. 129, and found a fun mystery that I thought I would share with you all.

Yay!

Betty and Veronica talk about their love of Nancy Drool (Nancy Drew) and their imaginations take over:

For more of these type of posts, go to 11 Famous Murder Riddles

For book reviews, go to The Falling Machine