Sunday, March 7, 2010
Robert's Book-Pick of the Week: The Hardy Boys' Casefiles - Witness to Murder
If it were up to me, and me alone, to name the 15 greatest mystery series of all time, I can only say that The Hardy Boys would be very near the top!
I first started reading The Hardy Boys when I was 9 years old. Encouraged by the fact that the first books were written in 1927 - for I am a fan of old works of art -and by the fact that my father, Alex Mack, had also been intrigued by this fascinating group of mind-boggling mystery stories, I loved them! I have collected and read the first twenty-five books up to date. Surprisingly little did I know until recently that the stories were actually changed between 1959 and 1974. For example, they shortened the books from 25 chapters to 20 chapters. In addition, the editors also eliminated certain points at racism, such as the term “negro” were also altered. Despite the fact that I was not reading the original versions of the books, I was happy with what I had! Later I heard of the 1980's books. At first, I was reluctant to read the newer, 1980's books on The Hardy Boys for fear that they would not be as good. Yet, as I started researching the series, I found out that there was a whole new world of Hardy Boys mysteries out there! In fact,there was also series for younger children plus the most recent series The Hardy Boys: Undercover Brothers. I started to become more and more curious what they were like. But my mind was still not made up.
One day, however, while I was at the library book and film sale and fishing for good deals, I came across two books from The Hardy Boys: The Casefiles mystery series. I had read of this series in my research. It was the series started in the 1980's and dealt with first-degree murder and international espionage. It was a lot more violent than the original series. I decided to buy them along with the other good deals I liked. The two books that I bought were Casefiles#4: The Lazarus Plot and #20: Witness To Murder.
I decided to read Witness to Murder first. I read it none-stop with my eyes literally glued to the page: In this story, 17 year old Joe Hardy has been down ever since the death of his girl friend,Lola Morton, was killed by a terrorist bomb intended for Joe and his 18 year old brother Frank. This is until now, for he falls in love again. A love affair that leads to disastrous results. He falls in love with Annie Shea, the pretty new girl in town, who ran away from her jealous ex-boy friend who died when he was hit accidentally by a car when he and Annie were physically fighting in the parking lot of a mall. Responding to Annie's cries for help, Joe drove to Annie’s plea for help only to be accused of manslaughter. While Joe is out on bail, word comes in that Annie's late ex-boy friend was part of a million-dollar diamond robbery. And Annie too! While Joe continues to deny that Annie could be part of a diamond robbery, Frank who did not like her and was suspicious of Annie from the very beginning, investigates the case more closely.
This was my first Hardy Boy Casefiles book, and I liked it tremendously! I felt like this book gave better detail of the characters than the 1959 series. For instance, you see Joe struggling with his emotions with the shocking death of Lola. Also, he fights with Frank who is suspicious of Annie. With a Shocking ending, this book is among my favorite books. As all Hardy Boys books are!
Book ratings on scale from 1/100: Robert Steven Mack: 100
Copyright 2010 by Robert Steven Mack (with special thanks to my mother Diana and father Alex for letting me stay up late)