June 1, 1927: The Hardy Boys solve their first mystery

06-01-1927-Hardy_Boys_1st_EdThe Tower Treasure is the first volume in the original The Hardy Boys Mystery Stories. By 1977, the novel had sold 2,132,677 copies, with at an average of 70,000 copies per year between 1973 and 1976. This book is one of the “Original 10”, generally considered by historians and critics of children’s literature to be the best examples of all the Hardy Boys writing.

This book was written for the Stratemeyer Syndicate by Leslie McFarlane in 1927. Between 1959 and 1973 the first 38 volumes were systematically revised as part of a project directed by Harriet S. Adams, Edward Stratemeyer’s daughter. While some volumes only had minor changes, the original version of this book had the plot significantly rewritten in 1959 by Adams.

Frank and Joe Hardy barely avoiding being hit by a speeding driver Later, the driver attempts a ferry boat ticket office robbery and successfully steals a jalopy called Queen from the Hardys’ friend, Chet Morton. It is learned that the thief returned to Chet’s home to steal a tyre, helping Frank and Joe to find Queen abandoned in a public wooded area.

It is reported that there has been a robbery of $40,000 in securities and jewels from the Tower Mansion owned by siblings Hurd and Adelia Applegate. Hurd Applegate is convinced that the Tower’s caretaker, Henry Robinson, is the guilty party. The Hardys are especially concerned by this accusation, because Henry’s son, Perry, is a friend of theirs who will have to quit school to work since his father can no longer get a job as a result of Applegate’s accusation. The only “proof” of Henry Robinson’s guilt is that he was suddenly able to pay off a debt, and refused to reveal where he got the money to do so.

The Hardys suspect that the driver may be involved with the Tower robbery and search the place where The Queen was found. The Hardy Boys and their detective dad, Fenton, go to New York and learn of a criminal named John “Red” Jackley. Jackley is injured in a railroad handcar accident, causing him to be hospitalized. About to die, Jackley confesses that he committed the Tower Mansion robbery and put the loot “in the old tower …” Jackley dies before he is able to explain further. After searches inside and outside of the Tower Mansion, the stolen loot is still not found.

Frank and Joe decide to go to the railroad where Jackley used to work to find more information. The Hardys soon realize that Jackley was referring to an old water tower, not the Tower Mansion. Inside the water tower they find the stolen items, but are locked in the tower by a man calling himself Hobo Johnny. Johnny believes that anything in the tower belongs to him. Frank and Joe break out of the water tower and return the missing securities and jewelry, whereupon they receive the $1,000 reward. Following the revelations and with the stolen loot returned, Hurd re-hires Henry with an increase in salary and Hurd builds the greenhouse that Henry has been wanting. [Wikipedia]


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