I went through a bunch of boxes of books in our basement the other day, deciding what I would try to sell or give away before we move. I have most of the original (revised) Hardy Boys mysteries and several of the so-called digests that picked up where the originals left off, at No. 59. My Aunt Marian, my mother's maternal-side aunt (so she was really my great-aunt), would give me three of the books every year for Christmas, and I'd borrow from the library or buy others throughout the year.
I leafed through Danger on Vampire Trail because the title sounded exciting. And I liked the hint of fang in the most prominent bat on the cover:
I turned to the first illustration within the text (there's also always an illustration opposite the title page) and look what I saw:
The woman in the drawing is Frank and Joe's Aunt Gertrude, the sister of their father, Fenton. The dog is a bloodhound named Sherlock who belongs to their friend Biff Hooper.
Every chapter of a Hardy Boys book ended with a cliffhanger, and there were sometimes lesser suspenseful moments within chapters, like when the boys heard their aunt cry out from the kitchen and they ran to see what was the matter.
The boys' best friend, Chet Morton, had a new hobby in just about every book, which enabled readers to learn a little bit about activities such as falconry or hot-air ballooning. And the mysteries would sometimes have them traveling to cool places like Australia or Iceland.
In DOVT, poor Sherlock is almost killed twice, and one of those near-fatal experiences involves ... a frozen dessert! He's almost burned up when two bad guys throw a Molotov cocktail at the boys' camper while he's tied to the bumper, and he, Biff, and Chet are given poisoned ice cream by another villain, named Mungo. B&C became groggy, and Mungo tied them up and threw them into the back of a car. Sherlock lost consciousness and was feared to be a goner, but a kind veterinarian in a nearby town saved him. Phew.