Ghost of the Hardy Boys: The Writer Behind the World’s Most Famous Boy Detectives

David R. Godine. Jun. 2022. 304p. ISBN 9781567927177. $25.95. LIT
Readers nostalgic for the Hardy Boys mysteries, which turned generations of youngsters into lifelong readers, will enjoy this memoir from one of the ghostwriters of the series. McFarlane wrote 17 of the first 25 Hardy Boys mysteries (the entire series was published under the collective pseudonym “Franklin W. Dixon”); in all, he wrote 21 mysteries featuring Frank and Joe Hardy from 1927 (The Tower Treasure) to 1947 (The Phantom Freighter). McFarlane’s memoir (originally published in 1976, a year before his death) details his evolution from a young Canadian newsroom writer to pseudonymous American youth novelist. McFarlane’s account is a snapshot of a different era in the northeastern U.S. and also provides some points of interest for readers interested in the writing process. McFarlane discusses his work within its greater social context and describes the concept of the written word as a possibly subversive creation. He also details how he approached creating meaningful dialogue among fleshed-out, true-to-life characters, and how he concocted plots that continue to grip young readers nearly a century later. This edition of the memoir has a new introduction by Marilyn S. Greenwald (author of Secret Of the Hardy Boys: Leslie McFarlane & the Stratemeyer Syndicate)
VERDICT Written with the same fluid, energetic, and humorous style that brought life to the sleuthing Hardy siblings, this is an enjoyable memoir from a writer who loved his job.
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