When I was a kid of about eight or nine, there were certain things that my world revolved around--the Dodgers & Dolphins, G.I. Joes, Matchbox & Hotwheels, baseball & football cards, bike riding, Bill Cosby comedy records, and books.
The Shore Road Mystery is the sixth book in the series, but the first one I ever read. I really loved it. There were Frank and Joe riding their motorcycles (motorcycles--way cooler than my bike!) down Shore Road, overlooking the ocean. They get a report over their radio that a car has been stolen (you can see the radio on the cover). They have a short wave radio on their motorcycle? Wow, these guys were cool. I definitely wanted to hang with them!
That was all it took. I was hooked! They were cool. Everyone is stumped by the car thieves. Frank and Joe come up with a simple plan to catch the thieves. They buy this cool looking roadster as bait. Wow, these guys can afford to buy a car?! How awesome is that?
The Hardys have a friend named Chet. As a kid, I could relate to Chet. He didn't have a famous father, he couldn't afford to buy a roadster (what exactly was a roadster, anyway?), he was a little pudgy and awkward, and slightly timid. But he always tried his best to help the Hardys out, although he usually got left behind or messed up in some way. In spite of that, he always managed to help solve the crime--usually through a hobby he was into at the time. It was uncanny how the hobby related to that book's particular mystery. In The Shore Road Mystery, his interest in plant biology led the Hardys to an important discovery. I think these coincidences were lost on me as a kid, but it sure was entertaining.
What I didn't know at the time was that the original version of the book was written in 1928 (hence the reference to a roadster) by Leslie McFarlane. Franklin W. Dixon was his pen name. The series was repackaged and revised over 30 years later. Nevertheless, kids in my neighborhood--and many others--loved it. The Nancy Drew series was also out there, but I never paid it much attention because it featured a girl, and I knew that no girl could be as cool as the Hardy Boys. I learned otherwise a few years later!