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by Franklin W. Dixon

Download Mystery of the Whale Tattoo eBook
Franklin W. Dixon
HarperCollins Distribution Services; New edition edition (September 27, 1971)
159 pages
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Book 47 of Hardy Boys Mysteries Series
  • Onath
good book
  • wanderpool
Another great book. Great seller.
  • Erthai
A great addition to my Hardy Boy collection!
  • Fararala
Good book.
  • Cobyno
My son loved this book! He is 12 years old.
  • Ylonean
If you're a Hardy Boy fan then you will enjoy this book. Hardy Boys with all their chums always makes for good reading.
  • Bulace
**********Spoilers Ahead**********

I like this story. A lot. Despite the lamented plot holes that are inherent in these novels, the author (see below) did a nice job with delivering a quite entertaining, even satisfying story. More on this in a moment, but let's go ahead and get the housekeeping out of the way...yes, you have read this before:

The Hardy Boys are Frank and Joe Hardy, ages 18 and 17, and they reside in the fictional town of Bayport, USA (somewhere along the coast of New Jersey). The two brothers are the sons of Fenton Hardy, the world-famous private detective who made his reputation working with the NYPD.

Frank and Joe are hoping to follow (and, as amateur detectives, are off to a great start) in their father's footsteps...I should add that aside from Mr. Hardy, they also live at home with their mother, Laura, and their irascible Aunt Gertrude.

Frank and Joe are almost always assisted by their best friend,Chet Morton. Chet loves to eat, doesn't enjoy danger--but is a loyal friend regardless, and always has a new hobby to talk about...a hobby that coincides in some way with the Hardy's latest case. This "week" it is scrimshaw (a perennial favorite hobby of teen-age males everywhere...this author excepted).

Two other friends of the Hardys' that feature prominently in their novels are Tony Prito and Biff Hooper. Tony owns a boat, The Napoli; Biff (his real name is "Allen"; got his nickname from a relative who was a boxer) provides much-needed muscle. Both teen-agers, along with Chet, attend Bayport High School with the Hardys.

The Story, as always, Briefly:

Solo's Super Circus has set-up in Bayport... SSC is owned by Sid Solo (Han's cousin?)... Sid has pick-pocket issues and wants Fenton... FH is out-of-town, on a case... Sid happily settles for Frank and Joe... Frank and Joe take care of said pick-pockets... However "whale issues" begin to happen... (1) Tony and Biff unearth a "stuffed whale," and charge "the good citizens of Bayport" for the privilege of looking at it... Their whale show puts a hurting on the circus' tix sales... An old, circus-based gang operating out of Sid's circus decides put a stop to that (they steal the whale, dump it in a lake, and almost kill Joe)... What else here (besides the whale) is new?... Oh yeah, get this: (2) the gang uses whale tattoos to identify each other... (3) Chet's latest hobby is scrimshaw (the carving of designs on ivory teeth...whale teeth included)... Oh, dear Lord... A hot chick starts stalking the Hardys and Co... Chet is in love... Turns out the "hot chick" is a guy!... How was this children's book not banned?... An Ivory Idol (its actual name) also comes into play... The "whale gang" wants it... Turns out it is (4) hidden in Tony and Biff's whale... The same whale currently lying in the bottom of the lake... The Hardys and friends are handed a crushing defeat... Several crushing defeats, actually... But, as they always do, they eventually win...

...concluding a fun story that delivers a very satisfying ending to its tale.

First, what I didn't like:

Suspension-of-disbelief is a must for this read. An excavated whale? A whale tattoo gang? A priceless treasure of great beauty hidden inside the whale? Just business-as-usual for the Hardys, I suppose--but this is too much. There is also ahorrible mistake by the author as a statement of Joe's is later attributed (in the story) to Chet. I immediately caught this (as a child) and there's no excuse for it whatsoever. However...

What I did like:

The story. It is so entertaining. I do not even care if ole Franklin W. sat at his typewriter, half in-the-bag, cackling away at the outrageousness of this story and how, "those stupid kids will believe anything I write." Or, anything else to this effect, either...because this fish story made for quite a good yarn (sorry). The Hardys (and their friends) get hammered in this story...time and time again...heck, they even return to Bayport (very near the story's conclusion) having admitted defeat. They lost, and they know it.

Right at that moment, however, the author gives us the tale's payoff, and despite events now happening a bit too quickly perhaps, the said payoff is wholly satisfying. And, believable. (I know. I know. Who would've thunk that, right?)

So, in conclusion...

...I am having a very hard time deciding how to rate this story. As a rule, I usually throw out "the rules" as far as The Hardy Boys (and Nancy Drew) are concerned. This is supposed to be mindless, safe (not to mention fun) entertainment for children. Check all your literary rules at the door. And, if I like the story I'll rate it high. Entertainment-wise, this is five stars. If the aforementioned "Rules" apply, one star. I could average the two scores into a three-star rating, but seeing as how story is the most important (and over-ruling) factor here: five stars. This story really is that good.

May Heaven (and James Joyce) forgive me.

Thank you for reading.

The Hardy Boys Volume 47-The Mystery of the Whale Tattoo

*The Mystery of the Whale Tattoo was first published by Grosset & Dunlap in 1968. It was written (ghostwritten) by Jerrold Mundis. Thank you, Wikipedia.
This book is the 47th book in the original Hardy Boys series. This book follows "The Secret Agent on Flight 101." The next book in the series is "The Arctic Patrol Mystery."

The Hardy Boys gave up their James Bond ways from the previous book to become involved in a stuffed whale mystery. The owner of a carnival hires Frank and Joe Hardy to protect carnival customers from pickpockets. The boys learn soon after that Mr. Prito, father of their friend Tony, discovered a stuffed whale while constructing a new shopping center. The whale was apparently in good condition because of the oil cloths protecting it.

Tony Prito puts the whale on display, taking customers away from the carnival and causing the carnival's employees to become very angry with Tony. After attempts to get at the whale, it disappears during a storm. Frank, Joe and Tony assume that members of the carnival had something to do with the whale's disappearance, but there is more of a mystery than Hardys yet suspect. The Hardys are also puzzled as to how someone was able to move the whale without anyone seeing it.

The investigation takes Frank and Joe to New York, Los Angeles and then back to the area around Bayport. As the investigation progresses the boys are also aware of a mystery their father is investigating involving a stolen ivory idol.

Where did the whale go? Did it just fly up from where Tony Prito had it on display? Who stole the ivory idol? What is the Society of the Whale and who are the members? Does the Society of the Whale have something to do with the missing stuffed whale? What does the ivory idol have to do with any of these questions? A reader has many things to discover in this Hardy Boys mystery.

I enjoyed this book in spite of several absurdities in the plot. I was most fascinated by how the whale was stolen and how Frank and Joe found the missing whale. This book had enough red herrings that I was unable to solve the mystery together until the answers unfolded at the end of the book. Some of the silliness in this book involved Chet Morton and an eating challenge and Chet Morton as a clown. Chet Morton does more than his share of comic relief in this Hardy Boys book. I thought this book was better than the average book for this series and one that I would recommend to a first-time reader of the Hardy Boys, though the first ten books in the series are a better place to start.

The publisher recommends the Hardy Boys series for ages 9 to 12 because the series is relatively tame for the previous target audience of ages 10 to 14. Though the Hardy Boys series contains archaic information, as reading material for an increasingly younger audience they are fine. Once a child has reached age 12 or so the stories may be of less interest, but given the combination of mystery and action, these books remain good safe choices for parents who want to know what their children are reading.