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Last edited by tmanarl
January 8, 2023 | History

The Hardy Boys

Collage of Hardy Boys book covers

The Hardy Boys, brothers Frank and Joe Hardy, are fictional characters who appear in several mystery series for children and teens. The series revolves around teenagers who are amateur sleuths, solving cases that stumped their adult counterparts. The characters were created by American writer Edward Stratemeyer, the founder of book-packaging firm Stratemeyer Syndicate. The books themselves were written by several ghostwriters, most notably Leslie McFarlane, under the collective pseudonym Franklin W. Dixon.

The Hardy Boys have evolved since their debut in 1927. From 1959 to 1973, the first 38 books were extensively revised, largely to remove depictions of racial stereotypes; they were also targeted towards younger readers by being rewritten in a simpler, action-oriented style to compete with television.

A new Hardy Boys series, the Hardy Boys Casefiles, was created in 1987, and featured murders, violence, and international espionage. The original "Hardy Boys Mystery Stories" series ended in 2005. A new series, Undercover Brothers, was launched the same year, featuring updated versions of the characters who narrate their adventures in the first person. Undercover Brothers ended in 2012 and was replaced in 2013 by The Hardy Boys Adventures, also narrated in the first person.

Through these changes the characters have remained popular; the books sell more than a million copies annually, several new volumes are published each year, and the adventures have been translated into over 25 languages. The boys have been featured in five television shows and several video games, and have helped promote merchandise such as lunchboxes and jeans.

On January 1, 2023, the original editions of the first three books entered the public domain in the United States. Under current copyright laws, the revised editions will not be in the public domain in the United States until 2054. source

Table of Contents

curator's note
You can read or borrow a book if the bar underneath the cover says "Borrow" or "Read." If a book says it is "not in library" or "checked out," another copy might still be available! Click on the book's cover to see if you can borrow one of the other editions.

The Hardy Boys Mystery Stories (1927–1979)

These books were originally published by Grosset & Dunlap.

The Hardy Boys Mystery Stories (1979–1985)

In 1979, the Hardy Boys books began to be published by Wanderer Books Simon & Schuster in paperback format. Though formatted differently from the original 58-volume series which continued under Grosset & Dunlap's control, these new books were published under the Hardy Boys Mystery Stories banner. These books feature increasingly contemporary cover illustrations and some books have multiple versions of the cover art.

The Hardy Boys Mystery Stories (1987–2001)

After volume 85, the series took a two-and-a-half-year hiatus due to the sale of the Stratemeyer Syndicate to Simon & Schuster. At this point, book packager Mega-Books took over the series, and hired different ghostwriters for the job (many of whom are still unknown). Mega-Books worked on the series until #153 Eye On Crime in 1998. Starting with #154 The Caribbean Cruise Caper, Simon & Schuster handled all books internally. The ghostwriters who are known are ones who have either been discovered through other resources, or have publicly revealed themselves as a ghostwriter for the series.

The Hardy Boys Mystery Stories (2002–2005)

With the new millennium, the series changed publishers to the Aladdin subdivision of Simon & Schuster. With the reboot of Nancy Drew into Girl Detective, coupled with declining sales, Simon & Schuster ended the original series in April 2005.

Be a Detective Mystery Stories (1984–1985)

In these books the reader controls the outcome of the story by choosing different options of advancing the plot, similar to the Choose Your Own Adventure books.

The Hardy Boys Casefiles Series (1987–1998)

The Hardy Boys Casefiles are aimed at early-to-mid teen readers and have more mature themes, including espionage, murder, and slight romance.

SuperMystery Series (1988–1998)

The Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew teamed up in this 36-volume series of paperbacks. This series follows the formula of the main characters and their friends typically involved in separate mysteries that end up being connected.

Ultra Thriller Series (1992–1993)

The two-volume Ultra-Thriller series is a short-lived Hardy Boys spin-off that joined boy inventor Tom Swift with the crime-solving Hardy Boys, Frank and Joe.

The Clues Brothers (1997–2000)

The Clues Brothers books were aimed at younger readers, particularly in third and fourth grades. The series was introduced in 1997 and was cancelled in 2000 for lack of popularity.

Undercover Brothers (2005–2012)

The Hardy Boys: Undercover Brothers is a series of paperback books which replaced the Digest paperbacks in early 2005.
The Hardy Boys are now agents of A.T.A.C. (American Teens Against Crime) and are solving more realistic and/or violent crimes.

Super Mysteries

Super Mystery Series (2007–2012)

The Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys Super Mystery books are a new series first published in June 2007 and are not to be confused with the Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys SuperMystery series that was published between 1988 and 1998. Many fans, in order to avoid confusion with the earlier series, refer to this series as the Super Mystery'07 series.

Undercover Brothers Graphic Novels (2005–2010)

The Hardy Boys: Undercover Brothers also appear in a series of graphic novels by Papercutz.

The New Case Files Graphic Novels (2010–2011)

(A new graphic novel series from Papercutz)

The Hardy Boys Adventures (2013–present)

In 2011, Simon & Schuster cancelled the Undercover Brothers series and launched a new series, Hardy Boys Adventures, publishing four volumes in 2013.

The Hardy Boys Secret Files (2010–2015)

The Hardy Boys Secret Files is a series begun in 2010 by the publisher Simon & Schuster under their Aladdin imprint. It features the Hardy Boys, Frank and Joe, as grade-school detectives.

The Hardy Boys Clue Book (2016–present)

This is a re-boot of the Hardy Boys Secret Files series published by Aladdin Paperbacks in paperback. This is an interactive series, as readers will get to write down their clues and predictions.

Dynamite Comic Books (2017)


This collection was curated by tmanarl.


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