What ho, Hardys all!
When a series of vicious pranks flares up in Bayport, Frank and Joe decide that it’s likely they’re all perpetrated by the same group of people – and for a purpose not immediately obvious. The police put it down as youthful exhibitions, but Frank and Joe aren’t so sure. When the pranks start turning ugly, they become more convinced than ever that the crimes have a real purpose – and a real criminal – behind them.
But why would anyone choose Bayport to start a rash of crimes? And who is the mastermind directing them?
As it turns out, the pranks are a series of dares perpetuated by a gang that calls itself ‘The Crimson Circle of Twelve’. Its members – mostly bored rich kids – have to prove their loyalty to the gang by completing whatever dares it assigns to each team. These start out fairly harmless, then escalate in violence as the mastermind uses the Circle to mask his own criminal activities. The Hardy boys each witness a meeting of this group, at which the members wear eerie robes and carry candles. Creepy.
The writing style of the Casefiles is mediocre, but occasionally a real sense of humor flashes out. This is one of those moments…
Frank stepped aside from the door as a paramedic came in to check over Joe. “All things considered,” he told Frank, “there wasn’t that much damage. And nobody – well, hardly anybody – got killed.” – “Hardly anybody, huh?” growled [Officer] Riley. “I’d look great saying something like that on the news tonight. ‘Nothing to worry about, folks, since hardly anybody got killed.’”
In the initial scene Frank and his girlfriend, Callie Shaw, are at a club dancing to disco music when a prank is played, which involves Frank in the case.
Review © 2014 Laura Verret