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The Hardy Boys Wiki
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Edward Stratemeyer 002

For the continuity, see Original continuity.

The Hardy Boys or The Hardy Boys Mystery Stories is the original Hardy Boys series. The first book, The Tower Treasure was published by Grosset & Dunlap in 1927, the series ran for 58 volumes (plus 38 revisions and one spin off title) and lasted over 50 years before Grosset & Dunlap lost rights to publish any new books in 1979. After 26 years with no new titles added to the series, in 2005 Grosset & Dunalp acquired the rights to volumes 59 to 66, however these rights expired in 2013.

Publication history[]

The Hardy Boys is a creation of Edward Statemeyer's Stratemeyer Syndicate, the creators of dozens of successful book series such as Tom Swift, the Rover Boys, the Bobbsey Twins, and later, Nancy Drew.

By the mid-1920s detective novels had become very popular in adult fiction. It was at this time that occurred to Edward Statemeyer that a series of this sort might also appeal to young boys. What Statemeyer had in mind was a series of mystery novels on a juvenile level. So in the fall of 1926, he sent a letter to Leslie McFarlane, a Canadian journalist who had worked for Stratemeyer before on the Dave Fearless Adventure Series. The letter contained information about Stratemeyer's new idea, and an outline for the first title, The Tower Treasure. McFarlane accepted and went on to write the first 22 books in the series; all under the name Franklin W. Dixon.

Substantial revisions to the first 38 titles began in 1959. Over the course of 15 years the series was revised to modernize outdated vernacular, reduce story length, age the characters and remove the ethnic and racial stereotypes prevalent in many of the early books (although the series was unusually inclusive for the era in having two non-WASP Hardy sidekicks who were portrayed as normal, fully assimilated teenagers—Tony Prito and Phil Cohen). The result of this process varied from one book to another. In some cases only minor changes resulted, while in others the entire plot and storyline were thrown out, resulting in an entirely new book bearing no resemblance to the original.

In 2005, after having not printed a "new" Hardy boys book for 26 years, Grosset & Dunlap acquired the rights to books #59-66 (originally published by Simon & Schuster Wanderer imprint, between 1979 and 1981), and reissued them with the internal illustrations that had been used in the Wanderer editions of those books from 1979 to 1981, along with modified cover art work from the Wanderer books. Grosset & Dunlap lost the rights to these editions in 2013.

Great Britain, Collins editions[]

Main article: Collins

The Secret of the Old Mill Great Britain: Collins #16, 1972, Hardcover

In Great Britain in 1971 Collins, which later became HarperCollins, obtained the rights to reprint the original Hardy Boys series. While the majority of this series consists of the revised texts issued from 1959-1973, there were five stories that were published in the Collins series that used the original texts from the 1940s and 1950s.

Also, the order of the series was drastically changed. A few people have tried to make sense of the order of the Collins series; however, it appears that the title that went with each number was picked at random. This leads to some very weird and interesting continuity in the series. For example, on page 49 of While The Clock Ticks, which is book #10 in the Collins series, Frank and Joe go to their boathouse where their boat, The Sleuth, that they own, is docked, however, they do not buy The Sleuth until six books later when they are working on The Secret Of The Old Mill. This rearranged order led to two books in the series never being released by Collins, or later by their paperback imprint, Armada. Those books were The House on the Cliff and The Hidden Harbor Mystery. So the Collins series only consists of 56 books compared to the pre-2005 Grosset & Dunlap series of 58. Collins also modified the texts for their British audience, deleted Americanism's, changed the plugs for the next books in the series and gave the books new external and internal artwork, however, a few books were issued without new internal artwork. However, the last 8 books in the series were straight reprints of the Grosset & Dunlap editions, albeit, with the book lists on the back changed to reflect the new order and the numbers on the front covers and spines altered for the new order.

In the mid-1980s, after Collins had lost the rights to publish the books in hardcover, they reissued books 37 to 48 in hardcover with the same cover art that had been used in the 70s, however, the books were much thinner than the 70s editions because the paper stock used was a thinner stock than had been used a decade before. Also all the books now had a blood red spine and rear cover, with the rear cover simple saying that the Hardy Boys were back in 12 hardcover adventures and listing the titles. No one is sure when these books were released since the copyright page uses the same copyright information that was used in the 70s for those hard covers. The 12 books that were reissued in the 80s were not printed in England, but in Italy, by Imago/Sagdos.[1]

Applewood reprintings[]

Starting in 1991, Applewood Books reissued the original texts of the first 16 Hardy Boys books. There were plans to release the original texts of volumes 17 to 19, but in 2006 Applewood Books lost the rights to reprint anymore Hardy Boys books. As of 2008, no other company has acquired the rights to reprint volumes 17 to 19 or further into the series. And as of March 2008 it appears that the Applewood edition of volume 7 The Secret of the Caves is the scarcest Applewood title, although many collectors are certain that, eventually, volumes 11 to 16 are the hardest volumes to locate having only gone through one print run each. Applewood continues to reprint Volumes 1-6.

Plot summary[]

The series tells the adventures of teen brothers Frank and Joe Hardy, and their fight against crime. The two brothers live in the town of Bayport (the location of most of the books), along with their private investigator father, Fenton Hardy, their mother Laura, and their Aunt Gertrude.

The Hardy’s detective skills are famous around the Bayport area, and are often helped by friends, Chet Morton,Biff Hooper, Tony Prito, Phil Cohen, and girlfriends Callie Shaw and Iola Morton. They also work with the Local Police, because of this they have got to know some officers quite well, such as Con Riley and Chief Collig.

List of titles[]

1. The Tower Treasure
2. The House on the Cliff
3. The Secret of the Old Mill
4. The Missing Chums
5. Hunting for Hidden Gold
6. The Shore Road Mystery
7. The Secret of the Caves
8. The Mystery of Cabin Island
9. 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. The 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 Pirates' Hill
37. The Ghost at Skeleton Rock
38. The Mystery at Devil's Paw
39. The Mystery of the Chinese Junk
40. Mystery of the Desert Giant
41. The Clue of the Screeching Owl
42. The Viking Symbol Mystery
43. The Mystery of the Aztec Warrior
44. The Haunted Fort
45. The Mystery of the Spiral Bridge
46. The 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
The Hardy Boys Detective Handbook

First published by Simon & Schuster between 1979 and 1981, volumes 59-66 were reprinted by Grosset & Dunlap between 2005 and 2013.

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


External Links[] Original Series