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