Table of Contents
THE BOMBAY BOOMERANG
FRANK and Joe Hardy become involved in a case affecting national security when Joe dials a wrong telephone number and gets the Pentagon. Two wordsâ“Bombay Boomerang” âthat the boys hear before the line goes dead plunge them into a whirlpool of danger and intrigue.
At the same time, their father is investigating the baffling thefts of mercury shipments occurring along the Atlantic seaboard. The celebrated detective finds himself up against a murderous gang who nearly dispose of him in a cask at the bottom of Baltimore harbor. Frank and Joe's astute sleuthing ability not only saves Mr. Hardy's life, but also links the mercury thefts to the top-secret Super S missile mysteriously stolen from a government arsenal.
In a race against time the three Hardys foil a diabolical scheme to create widespread havoc in the United States. Pulse-pounding excitement fills every page of this suspense thriller.
Joe grabbed hold of a cable
1970 by Simon & Schuster, Inc. All rights reserved.
Published by Grosset & Dunlap, Inc., a member of The Putnam & Grosset
Group, New York. Published simultaneously in Canada. S.A.
THE HARDY BOYS
is a registered trademark of Simon & Schuster, Inc.
GROSSET & DUNLAP is a trademark of Grosset & Dunlap, Inc.
eISBN : 978-1-101-07662-0
A Cry for Help
“THIS gang seems to be operating along the entire Atlantic seaboard,” Fenton Hardy said. The world-famous private detective sounded as casual as if he were reporting a routine burglary in Bayport. But his two sons sensed an undercurrent of tension in his voice.
“You're really worried about this one, Dad, aren't you?” asked eighteen-year-old Frank, the dark-haired member of the Hardy clan.
His father nodded. “A little.”
“Since it's quicksilver the gang is after,” Joe Hardy mused, “they'd naturally operate out of cities like Boston, Baltimore, and Bayport. After all, most of the stuff we import comes from Europe, doesn't it?”
“Right,” Mr. Hardy replied.
Joe, who was a year younger than Frank, went on, “I boned up on the subject when we were doing our mercury ionization experiments in high school a few months ago. Spain produces more quicksilver than anyone. And we're among her best customers.”
Fenton Hardy stretched his long legs, leaned back in his chair, and looked out the window of his study. “You fellows appear to be way ahead of me,” he said with a laugh.
“Just did our homework,” Joe quipped.
“But seriously,” his father said, “you're both right. Our industries need more quicksilver than we mine in the United States, so we import the stuff to the tune of millions of dollars every year. That kind of money attracts criminals, and the ones involved in the mercury thefts are canny operators, judging by the jobs they've pulled off.”
The boys had worked on quite a few cases with their father, a former member of the New York Police Department. Starting with The Tower Treasure, they had helped solve many baffling mysteries, their most recent being
The Arctic Patrol Mystery.
The Bayport sleuth was proud of his sons' ability and usually discussed his cases with them.
“As you know,” he continued, “quicksilver is one metal that remains liquid at room temperature. Looks something like liquid silver.”
“How is it being brought in, Dad?” Joe asked.
“In iron flasks about fourteen inches tall, shaped like milk bottles. Each flask has a strong steel cap that screws down tight to prevent leakage. And a flask is heavy when it's full. Weighs one hundred and thirty-five pounds.”
“Which means,” Frank put in, “that you can't pick one up and slip it into your hip pocket when nobody's watching. What on earthâ!”
His exclamation was caused by the sound of shattering glass as a large object came crashing through the window and landed in the middle of the floor.
Quick as a flash, Joe leaped on it, ready to toss it out the window. The thing might be a bomb!
Suddenly he relaxed with a rueful grin. The object in his hand was a stick about twenty inches long, curved in the middle at a ninety-degree angle.
“A boomerang!” Joe announced. “That means Chet Morton is lurking on the premises!”
“That's our buddy Chet”âFrank chuckledâ“introducing himself in his inimitable manner.”
“Are boomerangs his latest craze?” Mr. Hardy asked.
“Yes,” Frank replied. “Last we heard, he was holed up in his workshop at the farm trying to master the carving technique. Evidently he's started throwing them, and not too accurately, as you can see!”
Heavy feet pounded up the stairs. A plump, freckle-faced youth burst into the study, puffing from his climb.
“Gee, Mr. Hardy, I'm sorry about the window,” he apologized with a stricken look on his usually placid countenance. “That was one that got away!”
“The latest one that got away,” Fenton Hardy suggested dryly. “Chet, you'll have to be more careful with your Australian artillery. However, there's no harm done as long as the broken glass is cleaned up and the window repaired.”
“Right-o,” Chet promised, relieved that his errant boomerang had not hit anyone. He headed for the kitchen to get the broom and dustpan.
Chet Morton was the Hardy boys' best friend, and they were resigned to his enthusiasm for one hobby after another, despite the often unexpected consequences. They knew that for all Chet's amiable, easy-going nature, and professed dislike for danger, they could count on him to act with sturdy courage whenever he became involved in one of their adventures.
When Chet left the study, Mr. Hardy told the boys he was leaving for Baltimore to follow a lead in the mercury case. His best bet, he thought, would be to go underground, adopting one of his many disguises, and try to make contact with the thieves.
He would register at a waterfront hotel under the alias of L. Marks. “Here's the telephone number where you can reach me,” he said. “Keep it under your hat, or my life may be in danger!”
“What can we do, Dad?” Frank asked eagerly.
“Here's the first thing. On Monday around noon call the number on this slip of paper. It's the Mersex Iberia Company in New York City, area code 212. Get the shipping department and ask if they have anything from Spain arriving within the next ten days.”
“Mercury?” Frank asked.
“See if they mention it. But don't let on that that's what you're interested in. If they get nosy, say you're making a survey on Spanish melons. And hang up before they trace the call.”
Frank nodded. “Okay.”
“We don't want any member of the gang getting wise to the fact that we're on to them,” Mr. Hardy went on. “They just might have planted one of their agents in the front office, and also there is the possibility that they're tapping the company's wires.”
Later the boys watched as their mother packed the detective's bag. Laura Hardy was a trim, pleasant woman with blue eyes. She worried about her husband's dangerous occupation, but always prepared him with whatever he might need on his assignments.
Mr. Hardy put the records of the mercury case in a large envelope and slipped it into a secret compartment of his suitcase. Joe handed him a coil of fine wire with a small metal sphere attached to one end.
“Don't forget the insect,” he said.
His father smiled and took the coil. It was a bugging device that picked up sounds and transmitted them to the receiver at the opposite end.
“I'd never leave without my bug.” Fenton Hardy chuckled as he snapped the bag shut. Half an hour later he left for the airport where his pilot, Jack Wayne, was waiting to fly the Hardys' private plane to Baltimore.
The following morning after church services, Frank and Joe drove out to Chet's farm on the outskirts of Bayport. On the way they picked up pretty blond Callie Shaw, Frank's favorite date. The three talked about the next day's cookout at the home of Phil Cohen, a regular member of the group. When Frank briefly mentioned his father's new case, Callie said:
“I hope it won't keep you from the festivities.”
“You never can tell when Dad's on an undercover job,” Joe responded. “All we know is that he'll follow the trail wherever it leads, and send us an SOS if he needs help in a hurry.”
Frank turned the car off the highway, down the dirt road leading to the Morton farm, before giving his opinion. “Looks as if the picnic is safe enough. We don't have anything to do except make a phone call on Monday.”
The car jerked to a halt in a cloud of dust as Frank put on the brakes.
“Hi, fellows,” Chet called out. He was waiting for them with a boomerang in his hand. His sister Iola, whom Joe considered his steady date, waved at the trio. “Have a throw!” she invited.
They all began to inspect the boomerangs in the workshop under what Chet termed “my professional direction.” He explained that the boomerang is found in many lands, even among the Indians of our Southwest; but the most famous is the Australian boomerang.
“The principle,” Chet intoned in a lordly manner, “is that the angle of the arms and the symmetrical planes, plus the torque that moves the ends off the center line, give the weapon an aerodynamic impetus that causes a reverse vector.”
“Come again?” Callie giggled, making a face.
Joe winked. They knew Chet liked to talk about his hobbies almost as much as he liked eating.