The Hardy Boys by Edward Stratemeyer: A Children’s Book Series Overview

The Hardy Boys by Edward Stratemeyer: A Children’s Book Series Overview

The Hardy Boys by Edward Stratemeyer: A Children’s Book Series Overview

Article By: Riley Vaughn


Edward Stratemeyer

Ages 8-13

190 books in the series

Nothing holds a kids interest like a story about an adventure. There are a lot of great options out there for kids to choose from, but some hold a special place in many hearts and minds. One such series is practically a household name, and that is the adventures of The Hardy Boys.


The Hardy Boys is an American classic that goes all the way back to 1927. The idea for The Hardy Boys was originally created by Edward Stratemeyer. He pitched the idea to a publishing company called Grosset and Dunlap, and the rest is history. Oddly enough Stratemeyer didn’t actually write any of the Hardy Boys books. The books themselves were written by teams of ghost writers that worked for Stratemeyer’s company, the Stratemeyer Syndicate, under the pseudonym Franklin W. Dixon. The books were immediately successful selling over 100,000 copies after the first couple of years. Stratemeyer would even go on to great a female counterpart to the Hardy Boys to go along with them, which is how the Nancy Drew series began.

Most of the first books in the series were written by Leslie Mcfarlane. He wrote about 19 of the first 25 books in the series. There was another writer, John Button, who also wrote some of the early stories, and would later take over writing the children's book series full time until 1942. Many others would share the task of writing the series over the next several decades. The series itself would change nearly as often as its writers over the years as it made the transition into more modern stories.

Even with these changes the series has remained popular throughout its entire lifetime. Today the books sell more than a million copies annually, and have even been adapted into a multitude of mediums, such as movies, television, video games, and plenty of merchandise. It’s hard to pin down exactly why the Hardy Boys have been in the spotlight for so long, but most say they just simply enjoy the all American adventures that the boys go on as well as the triumph of good over evil.

The series follows the adventures of Frank and Joe Hardy, two teenage boys who have a knack for solving mysteries that have otherwise stumped every adult who has been assigned to them. They live in the town of Bayport, and are the sons of an actual detective, Fenton Hardy, who sometimes asks them for assistance on his cases. The boys are constantly facing danger and adventure, but always seem to come out on top. The town of Bayport is the host to a whole slew of mysteries and conflicts that the boys tackle, such as espionage, drug smuggling, murder, diamond thieverey, and even horse kidnapping. All in all the Hardy boys never seem to run out of challenges to overcome. 

In order to better understand The Hardy Boys I decided to revisit the very first one. This one was written by Leslie Macfarlan who was renowned as one of the most talented authors to write for the series. He has a unique and detail oriented style of writing that is rarely seen in children's books. He would be followed by the writer John Button who was a bit more eccentric. His writing was known for having a number of inconsistencies, featuring exotic locations, and even gadgets from the future. His period of writing for the series is referred to as the “Weird” period.

The first book of the series is called the The Tower Treasure. The story takes off immediately as the two Hardy brothers are nearly hit by a car driven by a man with bright red hair. They later find out that the same man had committed a robbery in town and then steals a yellow car called the Queen from their friend Chet. A witness tells the brothers that the man actually had dark hair so the boys surmise that the thief was wearing a red wig during the robbery.

Thanks to the help of a couple friends the Hardy’s are able to find the missing car abandoned in the woods with a red wig inside. They don’t get to enjoy their success for long as the find out that there has been another robbery at the nearby Tower mansion. The boys assume that the thief from the precious robberies is tied to this one, but the owners of the estate accuse someone almost immediately, the father of boys friend Perry. The only proof tying Perry’s father to the crime is that he was able to pay off a large debt suddenly, and refused to explain where the money came from.

The Hardy brothers take the wig to their father, Fenton Hardy, who uses his contacts to find out that the wig was made in New York, and that there is a well known thief named John “Red” Jackley, who is fond of using disguises. The boys accompany their father to New York where they find that Jackley has been gravely injured in a train accident. On his deathbed Jackley admits to committing the tower robbery and with his last words say that he hid the goods “in the old tower”. Everyone is stumped as to what the cryptic message means, but the boys decide to explore the train yard where Jakley was injured.

Joe and Henry arrive at the trainyard and immediately notice that there are two old water towers. They decide to explore further and soon find the Jackleys stash inside one of them, but just as they are about to leave the brothers are locked in the tower by a man who calls himself hobo Johny. Johny claims that everything in the tower is his and leaves the brothers stranded inside the tower. Luckily, the boys break out of the tower and alert the authorities of their discovery. The Hardy Boys receive a thousand dollar reward and all the goods are returned to the Tower mansion. The story ends back in Bayport as the goods are returned to their proper owners, and the Perry’s father is rehired with an increased salary.

The story made for a delightful read and I could certainly pick up on Mcfarlane's mature writing style. The style of writing painted a wonderful picture and made the story easy to follow and enjoy. 

Bundles of The Hardy Boys can be purchased directly from The Book Bundler at a great price. This children's series makes for a great read for people who love a good mystery filled with adventure. It would also make a great option for reading to kids as the writing style is more mature and well written than other series, that way the parents and children alike will get plenty of enjoyment out of the experience.


List of Books:

  1. The Tower Treasure
  2. The House on the Cliff
  3. The Secret of the Old Mill
  4. The Missing Chums
  5. Hunting for Hidden Gold
  6. The Shore Road Mystery
  7. The Secret of the Caves
  8. The Mystery of Cabin Island
  9. The Great Airport Mystery
  10. What Happened at Midnight
  11. While the Clock Ticked
  12. Footprints Under the Window
  13. The Mark on the Door
  14. The Hidden Harbor Mystery
  15. The Sinister Signpost
  16. A Figure in Hiding
  17. The Secret Warning
  18. The Twisted Claw
  19. The Disappearing Floor
  20. The Mystery of the Flying Express
  21. The Clue of the Broken Blade
  22. The Flickering Torch Mystery
  23. The Melted Coins
  24. The Short-Wave Mystery
  25. The Secret Panel
  26. The Phantom Freighter
  27. The Secret of Skull Mountain
  28. The Sign of the Crooked Arrow
  29. The Secret of the Lost Tunnel
  30. The Wailing Siren Mystery
  31. The Secret of Wildcat Swamp
  32. The Crisscross Shadow
  33. The Yellow Feather Mystery
  34. The Hooded Hawk Mystery
  35. The Clue in the Embers
  36. The Secret of Pirates' Hill
  37. The Ghost at Skeleton Rock
  38. The Mystery at Devil's Paw
  39. The Mystery of the Chinese Junk
  40. The Mystery of the Desert Giant
  41. The Clue of the Screeching Owl
  42. The Viking Symbol Mystery
  43. The Mystery of the Aztec Warrior
  44. The Haunted Fort
  45. The Mystery of the Spiral Bridge
  46. The Secret Agent on Flight 101
  47. The Mystery of the Whale Tattoo
  48. The Arctic Patrol Mystery
  49. The Bombay Boomerang
  50. Danger on Vampire Trail
  51. The Masked Monkey
  52. The Shattered Helmet
  53. The Clue of the Hissing Serpent
  54. The Mysterious Caravan
  55. The Witchmaster's Key
  56. The Jungle Pyramid
  57. The Firebird Rocket
  58. The Sting of the Scorpion
  59. Night of the Werewolf
  60. The Mystery of the Samurai Sword
  61. The Pentagon Spy
  62. The Apeman's Secret
  63. The Mummy Case
  64. Mystery of Smugglers Cove
  65. The Stone Idol
  66. The Vanishing Thieves
  67. The Outlaw's Silver
  68. The Submarine Caper
  69. The Four-Headed Dragon
  70. The Infinity Clue
  71. Track of the Zombie
  72. The Voodoo Plot
  73. The Billion Dollar Ransome
  74. Tic-Tac-Terror
  75. Trapped at Sea
  76. Game Plan For Disaster
  77. The Crimson Flame
  78. Cave-In
  79. Sky Sabotage
  80. The Roaring River Mystery
  81. The Demon's Den
  82. The Blackwing Puzzle
  83. The Swamp Monster
  84. Revenge of the Desert Phantom
  85. The Skyfire Puzzle
  86. The Mystery of the Silver Star
  87. Program for Destruction
  88. Tricky Business
  89. Sky Blue Frame
  90. Danger on the Diamond
  91. Shield of Fear
  92. The Shadow Killers
  93. The Serpent's Tooth Mystery
  94. Breakdown in Axeblade
  95. Danger on the Air
  96. Wipeout
  97. Cast of Criminals
  98. Spark of Suspicion
  99. Dungeon of Doom
  100. The Secret of the Island Treasure
  101. The Money Hunt
  102. Terminal Shock
  103. The Million-Dollar Nightmare
  104. Tricks of the Trade
  105. Attack of the Video Villains
  106. Panic on Gull Island
  107. Fear on Wheels
  108. The Prime-Time Crime
  109. The Secret of Sigma Seven
  110. Three-Ring Terror
  111. Demolition Mission
  112. Radical Moves
  113. The Case of the Counterfeit Criminals
  114. Sabotage at Sports City
  115. Rock 'n' Roll Renegades
  116. Baseball Card Conspiracy
  117. Danger in the Fourth Dimension
  118. Trouble at Coyote Canyon
  119. The Case of the Cosmic Kidnapping
  120. The Mystery in the Old Mine
  121. Carnival of Crime
  122. The Robot's Revenge
  123. Mystery with a Dangerous Beat
  124. Racing to Disaster
  125. Reel Thrills
  126. Day of the Dinosaur
  127. The Treasure at Dolphin Bay
  128. Sidetracked to Danger
  129. Crusade of the Flaming Sword
  130. Maximum Challenge
  131. Crime in the Kennel
  132. Cross Country Crime
  133. The Hypersonic Secret
  134. The Cold Cash Caper
  135. High-Speed Showdown
  136. The Alaskan Adventure
  137. The Search for the Snow Leopard
  138. Slam Dunk Sabotage
  139. The Desert Thieves
  140. Lost in Gator Swamp
  141. The Giant Rat of Sumatra
  142. The Secret of Skeleton Reef
  143. Terror at High Tide
  144. The Mark of the Blue Tattoo
  145. Trial and Terror
  146. The Ice Cold Case
  147. The Chase for the Mystery Twister
  148. The Crisscross Crime
  149. The Rocky Road to Revenge
  150. Danger in the Extreme
  151. Eye on Crime
  152. The Hunt for Four Brothers
  153. A Will to Survive
  154. The Lure of the Italian Treasure
  155. The London Deception
  156. Daredevils
  157. A Game Called Chaos
  158. Training for Trouble
  159. The End of the Trail
  160. Skin and Bones
  161. Crime in the Cards
  162. Past and Present Danger
  163. Trouble Times Two
  164. The Castle Conundrum
  165. Ghost of a Chance
  166. Kickoff to Danger
  167. The Test Case
  168. The Trouble in Warp Space
  169. Speed Times Five
  170. Hide-and-Sneak
  171. Trick-or-Trouble
  172. In Plane Sight
  173. The Case of the Psychic's Vision
  174. The Mystery of the Black Rhino
  175. Passport to Danger
  176. Typhoon Island
  177. Double Jeopardy
  178. Warehouse Rumble
  179. The Dangerous Transmission
  180. Wreck and Roll
  181. Hidden Mountain
  182. Farming Fear
  183. One False Step
  184. Motocross Madness
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