Some Clues in the Embers

So I checked out another of the old(er) Hardy Boys books because I got caught up in it when I was at the library last time. This one is “The Clue in the Embers” – an intriguing title if nothing else, and is number 35 in the series. Unfortunately this isn’t one of the very early editions, but a later revision. Even so it’s not a bad read.

The story starts out with the two of them finding out their friend Tony inherited a lot of bricabraque from an uncle. This struck me as odd, since you’d think that his father or mother (the uncle’s sibling) would have been the one to inherit it, but there’s nothing inherently wrong with it.

The collection includes some old weaponry and some… shrunken heads. Standards of anthropology and indigenous remains are obviously different in 19XX so I’ll pass them by. Tony decides to store it in the local museum because he’s been getting threats about it.

The museum is supposed to be a safe place, but for some reason is located far out of town in the middle of a dark and scary woods. It is also quite a decent affair since it has an Egyptian collection. Someone breaks in the only skylight in the place in the art gallery and tries to burn the place down using wood shavings.

Later, the boys use their crime lab and take a photomicrograph of the unburned wood and find out it is a rare type of wood used in these little attempts at arson. This is the “clue in the embers”.

While in New York looking over the effects of Tony’s uncle, they find a hidden subfloor and some more treasures. Hidden in the wall however is… a skeleton model. A chapter or so interlude involves taking it to a medical school and dropping it off there.

Without going into great detail to spoil the story, I will note that they discover there is a treasure buried in a foreign country. Their adventures there are quite… hard to believe, especially the part where one of them impersonates the natives with moderate success. Finally, they discover the treasure and the reader discovers just how much public awareness of archaeology has changed since these were written in the 50s or 30s or whenever this particular block of text was written.

Also of note, the front cover shows them dressed quite warmly for a country that is quite distant from the poles or high elevations.

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