Chapter 5 – Followed
Frank and Joe have plans to go back to the Purdy Place. At eight o’clock they leave their house with plans to drive around town until it gets dark and then head for the house. However, their plans are derailed when they encounter three of their friends who say they are invited to a party at Chet Morton’s house that night. The Hardy’s are hesitant to go, but are convinced when told that Callie Shaw and Iola Morton will be there. Frank and Callie are an unofficial couple, as are Iola and Joe. So the boys go to the party and dance with their girls. When darkness falls, the boys ditch the party and slip away towards the house.
On the drive, they notice a car following them. They are able to loose the tail momentarily and hide in a shadowy area next to the road. As the pursuing car passes them, they can see the occupants: Police Chief Collig and Detective Smuff his right hand man. The boys stay in their car as the men drive back the other way without noticing them. Why would they be following the Hardy Boys? Has Mr. Dalrymple hired them as well? Or are they hoping to take credit for any discoveries the boys may make? In any case, the boys set off for the house on foot to avoid being too conspicuous.
This chapter gives a great window into the youth culture of the day. The Hardys drive a slick “roadster” convertible while their friends drive a rickety jalopy that hardly starts. The party they attend is held at a farm outside town, implying it’s a barn dance. The host, Chet Morton, is hamming it up by wearing a improvised skirt and holding an umbrella while walking a chalk line to imitate a tight-rope walker. Sounds less like a 1930’s barn dance and more like a keg party!
Smuff?!? Dalrymple?! The author has a gift for weird last names.