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

In 1971 British publisher William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 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. Collins also modified the texts for their British audience replacing Americanisms and changing some of the titles, changed the plugs for the next books in the series and gave the books new external and internal artwork. A few books, however, 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-1980's, 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 70's, however, the books were much thinner than the 70's 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 simply saying that the Hardy Boys were back in 12 hardcover adventures and listing the titles. It is unclear when these books were released since the copyright page uses the same copyright information that was used in the 70's for those hard covers. The 12 books that were reissued in the 80's were not printed in England, but in Italy, by Imago/Sagdos.



The Armada Logo

Collins began to publish the series in paperback in 1974 and retained the numbering from the hardback editions. The publisher's paperback division was Fontana and the Hardy Boys books were released under the children's imprint, Armada. When Collins lost the rights to publish new titles in hardback, they retained the rights to the paperbacks but they were contractually obliged to publish new titles before releasing titles they had previously put out in hardback. As a result, for many years the Armada volumes contained a book list with a gap and a note saying something similar to this from a 1987 printing of The Mysterious Caravan: "For contractual reasons, Armada has been obliged to publish from No. 57 onwards before publishing Nos. 43-56. These missing numbers will be published as soon as possible."

Armada continued to publish new volumes including the new Casefiles series until the mid-nineties.

Series Order

The order of the series as published in Britain was drastically different from the series in North America. A few people have tried to make sense of the numbering of the Collins series; however, it appears that the order in which to publish each volume was chosen at random. This leads to some very weird and interesting continuity in the series. For example, on page 49 of While the Clock Ticked, 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 original 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.

List of titles published by Collins

The list below shows the titles in the order that Collins published them in, with the original number of the Grosset & Dunlap editions in brackets.

1. The Mystery of the Aztec Warrior (43)
2. The Arctic Patrol Mystery (48)
3. The Haunted Fort (44)
4. The Mystery of the Whale Tattoo (47)
5. The Mystery of the Disappearing Floor (19)
6. The Mystery of the Desert Giant (40)
7. The Mystery of The Melted Coins (23, original text)
8. The Mystery of the Spiral Bridge (45)
9. The Clue of the Screeching Owl (41)
10. While the Clock Ticked (11)
11. The Twisted Claw (18)
12. The Wailing Siren Mystery (30)
13. The Secret of the Caves (7)
14. The Secret of Pirates' Hill (36, original text)
15. The Flickering Torch Mystery (22, original text)
16. The Secret of the Old Mill (3)
17. The Shore Road Mystery (6)
18. The Great Airport Mystery (9)
19. The Sign of the Crooked Arrow (28)
20. The Clue in the Embers (35, original text)
21. What Happened at Midnight (10)
22. The Sinister Signpost (15)
23. Footprints under the Window (12)
24. The Crisscross Shadow (32)
25. Hunting for Hidden Gold (5)
26. The Mystery of Cabin Island (8)
27. The Mark on the Door (13)
28. The Yellow Feather Mystery (33)
29. The Hooded Hawk Mystery (34)
30. The Secret Agent on Flight 101 (46)
31. The Tower Treasure (1)
32. The Mystery of the Missing Friends (4)
33. The Viking Symbol Mystery (42)
34. The Mystery of the Chinese Junk (39)
35. The Mystery at Devil's Paw (38, original text)
36. The Ghost at Skeleton Rock (37)

Note: The following 12 books were later reissued in the 1980s with blood-red spines and backs. (37-48)

37. The Clue of the Broken Blade (21)
38. The Secret of Wildcat Swamp (32)
39. The Phantom Freighter (26)
40. The Secret of Skull Mountain (27)
41. The Mysterious Caravan (54)
42. Danger on Vampire Trail (50)
43. The Bombay Boomerang (49)
44. The Masked Monkey (51)
45. The Shattered Helmet (52)
46. The Clue of the Hissing Serpent (53)
47. The Jungle Pyramid (56)
48. The Firebird Rocket (57)

Note that all the books below were straight printings from the Grosset & Dunlap plates and were printed in the United States. [1]

49. A Figure in Hiding (16)
50. The Secret Warning (17)
51. The Mystery of the Flying Express (20)
52. The Short-Wave Mystery (24)
53. The Secret Panel (25)
54. The Secret of the Lost Tunnel (29)
55. The Witchmaster's Key (55)
56. The Sting of the Scorpion (58)



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