Twelve and a half cents? I’ll buy in…
Frank and Joe Hardy are excited to attend the steeplechase races at Bayport Fairground with their friends, Vanessa and Callie. Vanessa is especially excited to witness her favorite champion horse, Against All Odds, trample the sod.
All are thrilled when Against All Odds wins. But strange things begin to happen. Colonel Burroughs, Against All Odds’ owner, announces immediately after the race that Against All Odds will no longer race in professional events. He also announces that he will be syndicating the horse. But during the syndicate auction, the barn where Against All Odds is harnessed catches fire. The Hardys manage to rescue the horse, only to discover that the horse they rescued is not Against All Odds. It appears that someone switched horses and counted on the fire to remove any evidence. But who would have done such a thing?
I could tell that Against All Odds was written more recently than The Sign of the Crooked Arrow, just by reading it. The decade – the setting – is the same, but the writing style is different. It’s more modern. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It’s just different.
Frank and Joe are still paragons of boyish brightness and ability. They can punch and think with the best of them, which, of course makes the story more interesting (and a little less believable). They are courageous and unafraid to take risks.
In this particular story, the Hardy boys find themselves up against several powerful / influential men. They conduct themselves primarily with respect, but are occasionally frustrated when adults treat them as though they are children.
Joe and Frank go on a few obligatory dates with their girlfriends, but these are used as opportunities to discuss the case rather than a chance to canoodle. Nothing romantic occurs.
In one scene, Joe and Frank enter a person’s home without permission.
Conclusion. Not quite as good as the (one) original Hardy Boys I have read, but still good enough.
Review © 2014 Laura Verret