The Hardy Boys: The Missing Chums (1928/1962) – Franklin W. Dixon

Frank and Joe Hardy are back in their fourth adventure, The Missing Chums. This quick-paced, fast read book sees the brothers asked by the local Bayport P.D. to help investigate a local shantytown, while their father, Fenton, the renowned detective is called in to investigate a series of national bank robberies…

and then there’s one in Bayport! Which leads to the kidnapping of the brothers’ friends Chet and Biff!!

Like the previous entries, this one is escapist fare, there’s not so much a mystery to be solved as a series of connections made to prove that the villain they know is responsible is actually the baddie. The series so far hasn’t thrown us any red herrings, or twists, reveals or betrayals, they are simple, straightforward adventure stories, and this time out there are a couple of boat chases, some rough and tumble encounters with baddies, and a couple of quick escapes.

The Missing Chums is probably the most adventurous of the tales so far, though over too quickly.

There is a costume shop, and its owner caught up in events, a soda pop that is only available in one town, and a lot of trust given to people that could betray the boys had they been in any other story. I think that is part of the appeal of the story, because they are nostalgic in their honesty and recollection of the world, as well as the fact that honesty and right, friendship and loyalty will win the day.

The stories keep talking about how the two young female characters, Iola and Callie, who are said to be Joe and Frank’s best girls, respectively, but they never seem to spend any romantic time with them, or hang out with them as couples. Weird.

And the other thing that has caught my attention is that each case so far, even though there have only been four, have all been set during summer break. That is one busy summer for these boys, and their family!

I am getting a lot of enjoyment from these stories, but often find myself chuckling at the way the police are more than happy to welcome aboard the help of two teenaged boys, or even ask them to investigate on their behalf, and not worry about chain of evidence. Most cases, so far have been wrapped up with the baddies admitting their guilty, but I guess that’s another wonderful thing about these young adult stories – evil is always vanquished, and justice is served, even if the letter of the law doesn’t necessarily come into it.

Next time I check in with the Hardy Boys, it will be on their fifth adventure and together we will be Hunting for Hidden Gold!

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