The Hardy Boys juvenile crime series was created by Edward Stratemeyer in 1926. He developed the plot lines for the writers to follow, much as he did Nancy Drew, the Bobbsey Twins, Tom Swift, and others.
Under the name Franklin W. Dixon, Canadian writer Leslie McFarlane wrote the first sixteen stories, and later wrote several more. He developed the boys’ personalities and the literary style of the stories, and later writers continued the series using his blueprint. The original Hardy Boys books continued through 1979.
Beginning in 1959, substantial revisions were made to 38 of the earlier novels as dialogue was modernized, ethnic and racial stereotypes were removed, story lines were grossly rewritten or thrown out altogether, and the boys aged two years each to 17 and 18.
Originally published by Grosset & Dunlap, a 1979 court battle gave the rights to the first 58 titles to Grosset & Dunlap, and any new written material to Simon & Schuster.
Simon & Schuster continued the Hardy Boys Digest series in paperback until 2005, ending with the 190th volume. Later spin-offs continued the series in various forms including a series of graphic novels, a now discontinued comic book series, and numerous other stories.
The Hardy Boys, Frank and Joe, were the sons of world-renowned private detective Fenton Hardy. The family included their mother Laura, and their Aunt Gertrude who often provided comedy relief. Their father was away from home a lot, which provided the boys plenty of opportunity to get involved in apprehending criminals.
In the earlier books, either their father asked for their help, or the Bayport Police Chief Ezra Collig sought their assistance. Sometimes they would follow clues of their own and stumble upon a case their father was already working.
Aiding the boys in their sleuthing were platonic girlfriends Callie Shaw (Frank) and Iola Morton (Joe). Iola was the sister of their good friend Chet Morton. In every book, Chet became involved in a different hobby providing another source of comic relief. At various times other friends assisted the boys.
Published in 25 languages, the Hardy Boys books are the most popular series of juvenile crime stories in the history of publishing. Two other books related to the series include the Hardy Boys’ Detective Handbook, and the 1976 autobiography of original author Leslie McFarlane, Ghost of the Hardy Boys. Both books are considered an important source of further information about the venerable series.
You can buy the Hardy Boys books at Amazon.com