The Tower Treasure

The Tower Treasure by Franklin W. Dixon (1927)  In the late 1950s the publisher of Hardy Boys books started revising them to make them more up to date, so when I read the books as a kid I read mostly revised editions. I didn't discover this until I was in my thirties, and decided to reread them all in their original editions, which are much better written, and in many cases a lot weirder. When Leslie McFarlane wrote The Tower Treasure (he was the ghostwriter for the first 16 books, plus some later ones) he had no idea they would become the iconic boy detectives and not just one more of many, many kids' adventure books. Most of the Hardys' characteristics are in place in this first book, but it's much more meandering. An early chapter goes into great detail about a prank pulled by their friend, Chet Morton. Later there is a long episode about the boys confounding the police. A huge difference between the early books and later versions is that Chief of Police Collig and the Hardys have little respect for each other. It's fun noting these differences, but also it's interesting how contemporary the books, written in 1927, actually feel. Also, how well written these early books are; there is a real sense of desperation involved with solving this mystery, and the consequences of failing, and the writing overall, I maintain, rises above the level of pulp adventure stories to literature.