Chapter 21 – On the Roof
The stamp collector, Hurd Applegate, is stunned to find the boys tied up in the house. His incredulity wastes precious time, but Frank finally gets the gag out of his mouth and sparks Applegate to action. He frees Frank who immediately runs to the clock and yanks off the wires to the bomb just as the clock is about to strike the fatal hour. They are safe, for now.
The boys give Applegate a quick synopsis of their predicament and Applegate wants to flee before the men come back. The Hardys, however, smartly say that if they don’t apprehend the men now they will only try again. They must catch them now. Then the tell Applegate that one of the men is the one who stole his stamps. That convinces the collector to help them.
They quietly begin searching the house for the men. As they go upstairs, they hear muffled voices, but they can’t find their source. In the attic, they finally look out the window and onto a lower flat rooftop. They see the madman there near the chimney with some sort of box. He is lowering it down the chimney on a rope into the house. Another bomb! Just then, they see a car coming down the road to the house. Dalrymple has arrived! The madman sees the car too and ties the rope off on the chimney. He quickly starts trotting along the edge of the roof when he slips on a spot wet with rain. The slip sends him screaming off the edge from two stories up! His henchmen emerge from a window, look down and then scamper back inside and down the stairs. The Hardys and Applegate quickly follow. They make their way to the back of the house and see the old man lying on the ground with his two henchmen next to him. They say he is nearly dead.
Just then, a police force arrives and surrounds the group. Dalrymple is with them. The police demand an explanation for this scene. The henchmen adjure them to wait until they carry the injured man into the house.
The rooftop is a cool visual set piece for the action. Again, though, it’s dumb luck that takes down the enemy here. The boys are largely passive. And blindly yanking the wires out of a bomb like that might have been okay in the 20’s, but you don’t see that today. Today the defusing would have been the big set piece.