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THE GREAT AIRPORT MYSTERY ( Hardy Boys Series #18 )
THE GREAT AIRPORT MYSTERY - Hardy Boys Series #18
Author: Franklin W. Dixon
ISBN-13: 9780001605183
ISBN-10: 0001605186
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Publisher: Collins
Book Type: Hardcover
Other Versions: Paperback, Audio CD
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I was not disappointed with this one! I hadn't read "Airport" since I was a kid in the 1960s so needless to say, I didn't remember anything about the story. Some of my favorites as a kid were "Tower Treasure," "House on the Cliff," "Missing Chums," and "Cabin Island" - all written by Leslie McFarlane. I don't remember considering "Airport" as a favorite but I'm not sure why. It was a great story. It starts out with the boys going to the new Bayport airport in their roadster and being practically run off the road by a plane apparently trying to land. The plane crashes and the pilot blames the boys for the crash. The pilot had been drinking and was later fired as a mail pilot because of this. This story was written in 1930 during prohibition so drinking was against the law at the time and I guess the pilot could have been arrested for this. Anyway, after this great start to the story, the next 50 pages or so focus on the graduation from high school of both Frank and Joe (it is explained that they were in the same grade because Frank had been ill one year). This includes a class picnic where Chet eats everything in sight and is then disappointed because he didn't have room to eat chocolate cake! The story includes all of the boys' chums including Biff, Tony, Phil, and Jerry Gilroy (who I didn't really remember). The story also provides some good continuity from previous stories including recaps of "Tower Treasure" and the previous volume "Cabin Island." Both Hurd Applegate from "Treasure" and Elroy Jefferson from "Cabin" put in appearances and play a role in the story. And, as part of the story, the boys actually revisit Cabin Island and get caught in an obligatory storm in the bay. I really like McFarlane's writing style and his use of words - some a little antiquated now, but very colorful. The pace of this story wasn't near as frenetic as some of the later stories where the Hardys take off to distant locations at a drop of a hat. Of course, this story is the first time the Hardys even ride in an airplane. The actual "mystery" in this story doesn't get going until after page 50. It basically involves a plot to steal a $50,000 payroll from a mail plane by the pilot of the plane that ran the Hardys off the road and a couple of his nefarious cohorts. In the mean time, the Hardys get framed for an earlier mail robbery and wind up getting arrested. Part of the evidence against them was a footprint of Joe's new shoes that were left at the airport. His shoe size was only a six! High school kids must have had smaller feet in those days! Applegate and Jefferson bail the boys out of jail which allows them to follow the crooks by hiding as stowaways in the tail of a plane the bad guys had purchased to assist in the $50,000 heist. To get at the cash, the crooks force another mail plane out of the sky by lowering a rope from their plane into the propeller of the other plane - this was done at night (unlike the Rogers cover art) so the pilot must have been one heck of a stunt pilot to pull that off! The boys foil the robbery at the end by getting the drop on the crooks with some guns they had brought along (the guns hadn't been mentioned in the story until the plane was forced down - I guess McFarlane forgot about this).

Overall, an enjoyable read which made me realize why I enjoyed the Hardys so much as a kid growing up in the 60s. This one was very nostalgic!
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