Book name: The Shore Road Mystery
Author: Franklin W Dixon
Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap
Format: ebook, print
Genre: Detective fiction, vintage children’s fiction
Publication Date: 1928
Star Rating: 5/5
The Hardy Boys always have a mystery to solve: it’s either one given to them by their dad Fenton or one that they stumble across themselves.
When The Shore Road Mystery begins, the brothers are enjoying their summer. However, cars start being stolen from Shore Road near their home in Bayport.
Frank and Joe become determined to track down the real thieves after their friend Jack Dodd and his father are unfairly accused of stealing the cars. They wonder who the culprits might be.
Jack tells the Hardy boys that his father dismissed a farm hand called Slagel for having a poor work ethic. Jack gives the boys a picture of Slagel to help them.
Meanwhile, Jack and his father have another mystery to solve, involving some missing treasure from centuries ago that they refer to as the ‘Pilgrim mystery’.
Jack’s uncle, Professor Martin Dodd, is supposed to be coming to visit to help their family locate the treasure.
After Fenton stands bail for Jack and his father, the pair go missing. This convinces most people in Bayport that the Dodds are behind the spate of car thefts.
However, Frank and Joe believe in their buddy. They set to work hoping to catch the car thieves in the act and find the Dodds.
Seeing Jack’s belongings get planted at the scene of the crimes over and over just steels Frank and Joe’s determination to get to the truth rather than see their friend framed for someone else’s crimes.
The Hardy boys then find a glove identical to the one worn by Slagel in the picture at the grove near where one of the cars was stolen.
This glove is then stolen from their own crime lab, proving to Frank and Joe how important it must be to Slagel and how keen he is to protect his identity.
They track Slagel down to one of the Bayport hotels, where he is staying under an assumed name.
The boys identify certain patterns to the car thefts, which helps them to feel that they are getting some traction on the problem.
The thefts take place at night, they involve comparatively new cars and from the number of cars stolen it appears that the gang is quite a large one.
The main continuing uncertainty lies in whether the thieves drive the cars away north up Shore Road by doing a U-turn or actually drive away south.
The boys and their friend Chet Morton stake out the area over several nights, hoping to identify the thieves and work out which direction they are driving in after the cars are stolen.
Professor Dodd also leaves the Hardy boys a copy of an old message about the treasure. The next day, they receive a threat to leave town from the gang stealing the cars.
Frank and Joe are taking on some serious criminals in their pursuit of the car thieves. The gang is highly organised and dangerous, especially when their links to arms smuggling is exposed courtesy of Fenton.
The Shore Road Mystery featured a typical range of life-threatening situations for Frank and Joe, which they met with the same physical courage as in previous stories.
A little light relief was provided by Chet’s ongoing adherence to a plant-based diet and occasional weakening in his resolve to carry on with it in the face of Mrs Hardy’s baked goods.
I liked the story as a whole, although the tying together of the plot via the final solution of the ‘Pilgrim mystery’ for the Dodds had a slightly rushed feel. Other than that, The Shore Road Mystery was fantastic reading.
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