Sunday, February 14, 2016

Book Review: The Secret of the Caves by Franklin W. Dixon (Hardy Boys #7)

Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Fun, decent mystery
Cons: Dated elements, weak characters
The Bottom Line:
Caves filled with danger
Hardys tackle mysteries
Dated but still fun

Who and What are Hiding in the Caves?

In third grade, I picked up my first Hardy Boys book, The Secret of the Caves.  But I didn’t finish it because I got distracted by The Chronicles of Narnia.  Kind of ironic since I am now such a mystery addict, right?  I tried the Hardys again in fifth grade, and I was hooked, even going back and finishing this book.  I’ve just reread it again, and it continues to be a fun mystery.

Frank and Joe’s friend Chet is super excited about his new metal detector and wants to go camping on the beaches near some caves south of Bayport to test it out.  Their friend Biff is ready to join them when Mr. Hardy gets not one but two cases that he needs his son’s help with.  First, someone is sabotaging the new security center just outside of town.  And secondly, a young woman shows up asking for help in locating her brother, a college professor who has vanished.

Frank and Joe take on the missing professor, but when they arrive at the college, they are meant with danger.  They do find one clue that actually sends them to the area where Chet wants to camp.  Meanwhile, things are heating up at the base.  Are the two cases connected?

It was actually very interesting reading this book as an adult.  In an attempt to not date the book, this professor had been in a European country that is not friendly with America.  No, that isn’t awkward at all (he noted sarcastically).  On the other hand, the boys use some slang that is definitely dated, especially Joe.  What’s really funny is that I didn’t notice this as a kid reading the book in the 80’s.  I just knew the mystery was good.

And that part holds up well today.  I didn’t remember much of the plot, so I was kept guessing exactly where things were going until the end.  The ending was definitely rushed and a bit of a data dump, but it did wrap everything up.  Along the way, we get plenty of action and danger.

I did find the characters rather flat.  They are there to move the plot forward and be moved around by the plot.  Of course, as a kid, I didn’t mind that at all.  I was reading it for the story.  It was nice to see Biff be included since the core characters really are Frank, Joe, and Chet and the Hardy family.

And yet I found it very fun to reconnect with these old friends.  They may not live up my memories, but it was fun to revisit Frank, Joe, and the rest as they uncovered The Secret of the Caves.

This review is part of this week's Marvelous Middle Grade Monday.


  1. Sounds awesome! Thanks!
    - Vi

  2. The Hardy Boys is what got me into reading. It's time I also go back and relive this great series. Thanks for your insights.

  3. I actually have never read the Hardy Boys, though this one sounds super interesting. Thanks for the review!

  4. Have you ever read any of the Brixton Brothers mysteries by Mac Barnett? They are both a tribute and a send-up of the old Hardy Boys books.

  5. My step-son read all the Hardy Boys books, and I think it made him a life-long reader. They are terrific books. Thanks for the post.

  6. I love The Hardy Boys and am sure I read this one way back when... Nice to see they still get enjoyed today.


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