Author Topic: The Flickering Torch Mystery (1943 Original Text)  (Read 457 times)

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Offline tomswift2002

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The Flickering Torch Mystery (1943 Original Text)
« on: September 02, 2016, 08:35:06 PM »
Author: Leslie McFarlane
Published between 1943 and 1971 in the US & Canada; only version printed by British printers for the UK & Commonwealth, available till about 1995.(http://www.hardyboys.co.uk/gallery/15.php)

Plot: Fenton Hardy is on a case involving the theft of construction materials from State and Federal construction sites.  His only clue is a "Flickering Torch".  Meanwhile the Hardy Boys are working on a State Experimental Farm just outside of Bayport where they have been asked by a Mr. Grable to look into the disappearance of his moths. 

Review:  I tried reading this version when I was a kid, and I gave up on it back then.  I just found that it really didn't hold my attention like the other books, even the 25-chapter versions, had held it.  I'm currently up to chapter 14, which is the farthest that I"ve been in this book, and really, I'm not that much into it now either. 

Of course, while it is a Leslie McFarlane book, I have noticed some inconsistencies and a few errors from earlier McFarlane Hardy Boys books (of course McFarlane's last book had been in 1938 with his collaboration on The Secret Warning, so he was a little rusty on this one).  On page 17 it mentions that the boys "rode their bicycles" to the business section of Bayport.  Sure I'm all for exercise, but why did the boys not use their car?  Or even their motorcycles?  I realize that this was the middle fo the war, but the book doesn't even mention the war.

Suffice it to say, this is probably McFarlane's worst Hardy Boys book, next to The Secret Warning (which if you read my review, you will see what I mean), but then his follow-up, The Melted Coins was one of his Top 3!
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Offline MacGyver

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Re: The Flickering Torch Mystery (1943 Original Text)
« Reply #1 on: September 02, 2016, 10:24:54 PM »
I have not read the original text version of this book yet, so this is quite interesting to hear the comparison, as I have read the revised text version. (I've read all of the original Hardy Boys series in the revised text (by this mean, I mean #1 - #190).
One interesting thing I would like to note: Leslie McFarlane's Canadian nationality is evident in the title, The Flickering Torch Mystery. (At least I presume Canadians would to at least some degree follow suit to the British in some of their language quirks, just as Americans have plenty of their own.) It's been forever since I've read the revised text version of the book, so I don't recall if The Flickering Torch band was British (maybe it was). Anyway- I have commonly heard of an artifical light production and magnification tool being called a torch in British books. (Enid Blyton in her "Famous Five" and "Secret Seven" series and C.S. Lewis in his "The Chronicles of Narnia" series, for a few examples.) But I've seldom if ever heard it called a torch in American books. It would most likely be called a flashlight in the USA. But I don't know if "The Flickering Flashlight Mystery" would have the same ring... though it definitely has that alliteration working for it. :)
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Offline tomswift2002

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Re: The Flickering Torch Mystery (1943 Original Text)
« Reply #2 on: September 04, 2016, 06:49:57 AM »
I just finished this book this morning.  In 1943 The Flickering Flashlight Mystery would've made no sense for the book's title, as Frank and Joe do use flashlights in the book, but the "Flickering Torch" referred to in the title is an actual torch as miners used in mines in the 19th century, or as you might've seen people carrying in the pre-flashlight era.  I've seen early American books (like the Tom Swift Sr. books) refer to flashlights as "electric torches".
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Offline MacGyver

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Re: The Flickering Torch Mystery (1943 Original Text)
« Reply #3 on: September 06, 2016, 08:45:16 AM »
Okay- I wasn't sure about what kind of torch was meant. I didn't realize early American books have used the word "torch" to refer to flashlights. That may have been the remnant of European influence. I would say that nowadays it would be rather uncommon to see it used to mean that in America- but I suppose some might use it for that purpose.
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Offline tomswift2002

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Re: The Flickering Torch Mystery (1943 Original Text)
« Reply #4 on: September 07, 2016, 10:46:11 AM »
Okay- I wasn't sure about what kind of torch was meant. I didn't realize early American books have used the word "torch" to refer to flashlights. That may have been the remnant of European influence. I would say that nowadays it would be rather uncommon to see it used to mean that in America- but I suppose some might use it for that purpose.
In the early-20th century Americans called things differently than they do now.  Refrigerator's were called ice boxes, the car was called anything from the "horse-less buggy/carriage", "automobile", "runabout" (Tom Swift And His Electric Runabout), "roadster".  Even the theater (as you can see in the original text version of The Mystery Of Cabin Island when Chet gets his gift) was called the motion picture house to differentiate it from the theater where you saw a live-action performance.  Plus electric was usually slapped in front of everything to differentiate it from other stuff.  In the early 20th century houses had lamps, but most were natural gas lamps, while they might've had the odd electric lamp. 
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Offline MacGyver

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Re: The Flickering Torch Mystery (1943 Original Text)
« Reply #5 on: September 08, 2016, 06:59:49 AM »
Quote
In the early-20th century Americans called things differently than they do now.  Refrigerator's were called ice boxes, the car was called anything from the "horse-less buggy/carriage", "automobile", "runabout" (Tom Swift And His Electric Runabout), "roadster". 
That's certainly true- I am familiar with that. Technology was different as well and that makes sense.
"I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. No man comes to the Father but by Me."- Jesus
"You can do anything you want to do if you put your mind to it."- MacGyver in "Cease Fire"