Book name: The Crisscross Shadow
Author: Franklin W Dixon
Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap
Format: Print, ebook
Genre: Crime fiction, vintage children’s fiction
Publication Date: 1953
Star Rating: 5/5
Some Hardy Boys mystery stories have more explicit danger than others, but all are satisfyingly full of action and suspense.
The Crisscross Shadow sees Frank and Joe Hardy arrive home to find a suspicious man trying to sell leather goods to their mother.
Aunt Gertrude knows the man is not to be trusted!
The boys watch through the window, becoming more alarmed as the man handles the keys to their father’s filing cabinet.
He uses the excuse of selling their mother a key case to do so.
When Joe counts the keys, one is missing. He accuses the man, but Mrs Hardy doesn’t want to make a fuss.
The letter of recommendation the man produced quickly turns out to be a fake.
The boys change the locks, but everyone is keen to find out who the man is and have him arrested for the theft of the key.
The boys apprehend Mr Breck and take him to the police station, but when he is searched the key cannot be found on his person.
He has stolen a photograph of Mr Hardy, and offers a flimsy excuse for doing so. The boys are not convinced but decide not to take the matter further via the police.
Instead, they track Breck to his hotel, where he has just checked out. They are allowed to search his room and find a slip of paper with the name York on it.
However, when they go to that address Breck is nowhere to be found. Frank and Joe are also attacked.
When they return home, they find an R mark on the leather box their mother bought from the thief. They are determined to follow that clue to track down Breck and prove that he has stolen from them.
Much of the story of The Crisscross Shadow takes place on Native American Indian land and members of the tribe help Joe and Frank to solve this mystery. In return, the boys assist them in finding out where some old treasure is buried. This is the clue of the crisscross shadow.
The Crisscross Shadow didn’t have quite as much danger as some of the other mystery stories, but there was still plenty of action. Chief Whitestone and his son Ted were fully developed characters who played a central role on the narrative.
The story was a satisfying one for many reasons. The boys were tenacious, they worked collaboratively with others to solve two different mysteries, and their old friend Chet Morton joined them. He was more fully involved here than in some of the other stories, and was great to see more of him than just the butt of people’s jokes.
I really enjoyed The Crisscross Shadow and would definitely recommend it.
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