Can Frank and Joe Solve the Case Before Time Runs Out?
When I first looked over the list of Hardy Boys titles as a kid, While the Clock Ticked was one of them that stood out to me. I knew I had to read it. I enjoyed it as a kid, and I’m glad to say it is still fun as an adult.
When a man comes to the Hardy home, Frank and Joe are only too happy to offer their detective services in place of their vacationing father. The man just bought a home, and he is receiving threatening notes inside a secret room. Not only does he worry about who is threatening him and why, he is also puzzled by how the notes are getting into the secret room, which only opens on a timer. Meanwhile, the Bayport harbor is being plagued by thieves. Can the Hardy Boys figure out what is happening?
If you are at all familiar with these books, you can probably guess at least part of what is going on. But that’s not an issue. There is plenty of action to keep the reader engaged along the way. After all, the Hardys have to face the usual assortment of close calls and near-death experiences before they can solve the case. We’d be disappointed if they didn’t. The locked room element of the case makes for a great puzzle that is hard to solve without the Hardys’ help.
As an adult, I can see how the characters are pretty thin. But as a kid, they seemed real to me. And I still get caught up in that childhood nostalgia when I pick up the book. They are real enough to make me worry about them even as I know they will be fine. There are plenty more books after this one after all.
There are some dated references, which isn’t surprising for a book revised in the 1960’s. I only caught one or two here, and I bet most kids won’t be bothered by them at all.
While the Clock Ticked is still a fun book that will keep kids of all ages engaged. It’s not a great read, but it is a pleasant diversion.