When Frank and Joe Hardy are caught in a storm with their motorboat the Sleuth, they observe a mysterious yacht, hear a wailing siren and see a helicopter drop a wallet full of cash into the sea. Later, after their pal Chet has a load of rifles stolen from his father’s truck, the crime-fighting brothers begin to see a connection.
It’s hard to believe that The Hardy Boys were dreamed up way back in 1926, the first three books in the series appearing the following year. Author Franklin W Dixon, rather mysteriously, never existed and was in fact a pseudonym used by series creator, Edward Stratemeyer and his Syndicate. While Stratemyer came up with the basic plots, ghost writers were drafted in to write the books, which also explains why some were better than others.
Though I read many of the Hardy Boys adventures as a kid, I have no memory of ‘The Wailing Siren Mystery’ – our local library had a lot of the books, but certainly wouldn’t have stocked all 59 of them. The original Wailing Siren was number 30 in the series and published in 1951, though the hard-back copy I bought is the revised version, updated by Priscilla Baker-Carr and published in 1968.
The story is classic Hardy Boys, with a host of villains, strange occurrences and mysterious messages. The writing, however, is a bit clunky at times and there’s a couple of errors in the plot – for instance, Frank telephones his dad to tell him about the homing pigeons, but at that point in the story, Frank can’t possibly know the pigeons exist. Aside from that, and the ridiculous proliferation of exclamation marks (particularly from Aunt Gertrude!) it’s not a bad tale and reminded me why I loved this series so much as a kid.