The Secret of the Old Mill

The Secret of the Old Mill by Franklin W. Dixon (1927) This is the third of the Hardy Boys mystery stories, most significant in it's the volume in which they get a small motorboat, the Sleuth, which they will use in many books to follow. On their very first outing they misjudge the weather and get caught in a storm (something that would happen nearly every time they take their boat out in subsequent books). Also, they give a guy a lift, who turns out to be involved with the mystery at hand, and he ends up holding them at gunpoint, until he gets seasick and they disarm him. When they get back to Bayport it turns out he's someone the authorities are after, including their dad, Fenton Hardy, who confronts the guy: “They tell me you were 'shoving the queer' down in Barmet Village this morning.” Of course, the Hardys know from their dad that “shoving the queer” refers to passing counterfeit money, which is the criminal subject of this volume—which starts out by the Hardys being taken in by a counterfeiter. Later their mother sells an nice rug from their house to a “dark and swarthy” foreigner for $800!—cash, which turns out to be counterfeit. Also of note is another odd chapter which is totally from the point of view of Con Riley, who is kind of a lazy, dimwitted cop. The Hardys and their friends, especially Chet, are always tormenting him. They butter him up and he totally falls for it, then Chet gets him to “guard a package” for him, which he does, but falls asleep, and the package contains an alarm clock which goes off and freaks out the poor guy. The chapter has nothing to do with the book except that it's a funny aside, and further illustrates how useless the police are in these early books.