Book name: The Mystery of the Melted Coins
Author: Franklin W Dixon
Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap
Format: Print, ebook
Genre: Crime fiction
Publication Date: 1944
Star Rating: 5/5
The Hardy boys are discussing Mexican history when they get a call from the police.
They want their father Fenton to come to a hospital to speak to a man who has lost his memory.
The boys go instead, because their father is away on business. The man cannot remember anything, not even his own name.
However, he was saying ‘Hardy’ and ‘Elm’. The boys live on the corner of High Street and Elm Street, so the police got in touch.
Meanwhile, Aunt Gertrude is coming to stay. She’s a force of nature at any time, but her arrival in particularly dramatic.
She immediately announces that someone has passed her counterfeit coins on the train.
The fakes are of high quality, and the boys learn a surprise about their aunt when she turns out to have extensive knowledge of old coins.
This isn’t the boys’ last run in with counterfeit money.
Their buddy Chet Morton has been asked to dig a ditch on the family farm. He’s found a couple of strange looking coins.
Frank and Joe help Chet to keep digging, hoping to discover more buried treasure. They even sleep down in the field in tents after someone comes digging there at night.
Who is trespassing on the Morton farm, and what are they doing down there?
The boys befriend the mystery man who cannot remember his own name. He comes to stay with the Hardys once he’s well enough to leave the hospital.
Several Bayport coin collectors are visited by a strange man calling himself Mr Ratchy. He also accosts the boys at the station offering to buy the counterfeit coins passed off on Aunt Gertrude.
Everything seems to lead back to buried treasure and counterfeit money. Some of it is old, but Aunt Gertrude’s unexpected knowledge helps to solve the mystery.
The Mystery of the Melting Coins is one of the core Hardy Boys stories, so it is quite old fashioned in some ways. Chet is referred to multiple times as ‘fat’, and plenty of attention is paid to his appetite and his laziness.
I never like to see body shaming in a children’s book, no matter how long ago it was published. I particularly don’t like to see the attempt to make any connection between body shape and work ethic.
Other than that, I loved every moment of The Mystery of the Melting Coins.
The boys all worked hard to dig at Morton Farm. Frank and Joe were keen to help the mystery man discover his identity. And Aunt Gertrude is always good value.
It’s a cracking story in the best tradition of the Hardy Boys.
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