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Book Review

Mystery of the Phantom Heist by Franklin W. Dixon has been reviewed by Focus on the Family’s marriage and parenting magazine. It is the second book in "The Hardy Boys" series.

Positive Elements

Spiritual Content

Sexual Content

Violent Content

Crude or Profane Language

Drug and Alcohol Content

Other Negative Elements


Pro-social Content

Objectionable Content

Summary Advisory

Plot Summary

Teenager Frank Hardy and his younger brother, Joe, have been following in the footsteps of their detective father since they were 7 and 8 years old. Despite all the crimes they've solved in their hometown of Bayport, the police and their parents have forced them into retirement. They keep themselves busy by hanging out at the Chomp and Chew diner with their friend Chet. They learn the wealthy Lindsey Peyton of rival school Bayport Academy is having an over-the-top sweet 16 party. Knowing there will be good food and girls present, they apply to work as waiters. When snobby Lindsey rejects Chet for the job, the boys all leave. On their way out, they see that Lindsey's fancy car has been keyed with the words Rich Witch. Later, the police question the boys in conjunction with the vandalism.

There's an increase in vandalism in Bayport, and most of it is going viral. Someone called slickbro13 is posting videos on YouTube chronicling the pranks pulled by a gang called Scaredevils. The Hardys find the video of Lindsey's car being keyed, as well as Dumpster tippings, the throwing of rocks through windows, and later, more serious acts of violence. The boys learn that Colin Sylvester, who has been spurned by Lindsey for years and whose father is a mega-rich cruise ship magnate, is slickbro13. He's been hiring the less-wealthy kids from the Hardys' high school to pull pranks for him.

Frank and Joe share their findings with the authorities, but Police Chief Olaf gives little credence to the Hardys' accusations and theories. He dislikes the young detectives, and Colin's father is a big donor to the Bayport Police charity. As Frank and Joe try to get evidence to prove their case, the violence and vandalism become personal. A flying rock thrown through the Chomp and Chew window almost hits them. The Hardys' garage is set on fire. Someone tampers with the mechanisms on a boat the Hardys drive.

Frank likes Lindsey's party planner, Sierra. Sierra seems to return his affections, but when he and Joe spy on Colin, they see him kissing Sierra. Frank is crushed, but he and Joe realize the two of them are probably planning something sinister for Lindsey's party. The earlier pranks were a ploy to keep Bayport police on high alert. That way, they wouldn't agree to serve as guards at Lindsey's soiree. Frank, Joe and Chet disguise themselves as waiters and crash Lindsey's party. Colin and his gang also show up in disguise. They hold Lindsey at gunpoint and begin robbing the wealthy partygoers. The Hardys and Chet, using a few karate moves, disarm the bad guys just as Chief Olaf arrives. Lindsey orders the party to start again and invites the Hardys and Chet to stay as guests.

Christian Beliefs


Other Belief Systems


Authority Roles

Dad, a retired detective, encourages the boys in their cases but refuses to give them information that he feels is not ethical for him to give them. He and Mom offer to talk to the police on the boys' behalf when the officers won't listen to Frank and Joe about their discoveries. Police Chief Olaf feels threatened by the boys and gives little credence to the information they try to share. He shows the boys more respect once they crack the case. Lindsey's wealthy father throws her a lavish sweet 16 party, buys her a fancy new car when her original expensive car gets keyed and caters to the every whim of his spoiled daughter.


Colin and his gang put the Hardys and others in potentially serious danger with pranks, such as throwing rocks through windows, setting fires and tampering with a boat. At the party, Colin holds a gun to Lindsey's head. None of these incidents are described in graphic detail.


The boys discover Colin and Sierra are a couple when they see them kissing.

Discussion Topics

Get free discussion questions for this book and others, at ThrivingFamily.com/discuss-books.

Additional Comments/Notes

Lying: The boys tell security at Lindsey's party that they are waiters so they can get inside.

You can request a review of a title you can't find at reviewrequests@family.org.

Book reviews cover the content, themes and worldviews of fiction books, not their literary merit, and equip parents to decide whether a book is appropriate for their children. The inclusion of a book's review does not constitute an endorsement by Focus on the Family.

Book reviews cover the content, themes and worldviews of fiction books, not their literary merit, and equip parents to decide whether a book is appropriate for their children. The inclusion of a book's review does not constitute an endorsement by Focus on the Family.

Episode Reviews



Readability Age Range

8 to 12




Franklin W. Dixon






Record Label



Aladdin, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing Division


On Video

Year Published





We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

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