Review of the OT Cabin Island

The Mystery Of Cabin Island
#8 in the series - 1929 - Written by Leslie McFarlane

It's Christmas time in Bayport and the Boys and their chums are enjoying themselves iceboating out on Barmet Bay. They decide to explore lonely Cabin Island but are chased away by a surly stranger (Hanliegh). On the way back, they nearly come to ruin in an accident with another iceboat manned by Tad Carson and Ike Nash, a pair of obnoxious bullies.
Heading home from this near disaster, they find a message from Elroy Jefferson (who's car they recovered in The Shore Road Mystery). They head over to Jefferson's posh digs to collect a reward and obtain permission to camp out on Jefferson's Cabin Island retreat over the Christmas school holiday.
The Boys along with Chet and Biff head out to the island on their iceboats and have an unpleasant encounter with Ike and Tad, who are in cahoots with Hanliegh. They chase Hanliegh off the island and settle in for some rousing winter adventures.
Soon, they find their supplies stolen and head to the nearest town to get more from elderly storekeeper, Amos Grice, and, incidentally, discover from him that Jefferson had a valuable stamp collection stolen many years ago.
Back at the island, they have more adventures, discover a notebook dropped by Hanliegh indicating that the stolen stamps are hidden in the chimney of the cabin. They make a search and, surprise, find nothing.
Later, during a howling blizzard, they are forced to rescue Hanliegh who has come to grief in an iceboat accident. The storm increases in intensity, finally blowing down the chimney of the old cabin. Searching through the rubble, the Boys discover the stamp collection which miraculously has escaped any damage whatsoever despite being walled into a chimney over a huge fireplace for more than twenty years. They return the stamps to Jefferson and pick up yet another reward and Jefferson's offer to let them use his Cabin Island retreat any time they want.
Comments: This tale appears on almost everyone's list of favorite Hardy Boys stories and with good reason. The story is well written and paced and the prose is charmingly evocative and descriptive. One can almost picture oneself ice-boating and camping along with the Boys and their chums.
The mystery is, as usual, solved pretty much by dumb luck (aided by the infamous foul weather that seems to plague Bayport) but this doesn't take away from the excitement and mystery presented here.
The action is not too far removed from that which a teenage detective could accomplish. The villians are bad but not too bad and the mystery not too difficult to solve.
As in a few other of the earlier stories, the Boys arm themselves in this book (this time with rifles) and, although they threaten to use them, no shootings take place (except for a hapless fox who meets his demise in a totally extraneous sequence.)
Apparently the accident with the iceboat shook up Frank more than he cared to admit because the suggestion to go camping had to be made twice to him! When the suggestion was made the second time, Frank acts like he never heard of such a thing before - oh well!
I'm glad to note that, for once, the Boys' chums got a share of the reward but sadly there was no lip-smacking feast to cap off the Boys triumph in this case!
The revised version of this story by Andrew Svenson sticks close to the plot of the original and although the charm of McFarlane's prose is completely lost, it still ranks among the best of the revisions.
Rating: A+