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For the revised edition of this book, see The Secret Warning (revised text).

The Secret Warning
Ghostwriter John Button[1], Leslie McFarlane
Outline Edna C. Stratemeyer[1]
Publication information
Publisher Grosset & Dunlap
Producer The Stratemeyer Syndicate
Publication date 1938
Media type Book (Hardcover)
Pages 220
Series The Hardy Boys
Preceded by A Figure in Hiding
Followed by The Twisted Claw


The Secret Warning is the 17th book in The Hardy Boys series. It was first published in 1938 by Grosset & Dunlap.

Publication history

to be added.

Plot summary

The Hardy Boys have to tackle Gus Kuntz's sinister plans when diving for sunken treasure in the wreck of the Katawa.[2]


This list is incomplete, you can help The Hardy Boys Wiki by expanding it.



to be added.

Businesses and organizations

to be added.


to be added.


to be added.

New authorship theory

For many years it was accepted that the sole author of this volume was Dr. John Button[1][2]. Recently, however, Hardy Boys fan Trevor Thurlow has speculated that this was not the case.[3][4] He believes that writing styles indicate that Leslie McFarlane may have written an early manuscript that was rejected, but then recycled and copied into a new manuscript that also copied and recycled parts of a manuscript written by Dr. John Button. He supports this theory with the fact that Leslie McFarlane mentioned, in his autobiography Ghost of the Hardy Boys, that he remembered working on the book, but couldn't remember any of the details surrounding the creation or the plot of the book.[5] Also, the story that the incarcerated Navy officer tells the Hardy Boys on pages 104-106 is written and structured in a manner that is extremely similar to the way Leslie McFarlane had Amos Grice telling the boys the stories about Mr. Jeffereson's stamps and the chicken thieves that hit Grice's store on Christmas night/Boxing Day morning in The Mystery of Cabin Island (original text).

Absolutely no evidence of the above. Release was signed by Button. The information in 'Ghost' consists of one line by McFarlane saying he has no recollection of 'Warning'. Mainly because he didn't work on it. As for Leslie-like structure, it's called editing.

From Hardy and Hardy Investigations:

The writing is certainly inferior to McFarlane’s. The Button books are chock full of errors, indicating only a passing—if that—knowledge of the series. The first three volumes attrib­uted to him have only indirect references to the previous books in the series. Perhaps Dr. Button did not even know the names of the prior titles. Another indicator of non-Leslie-dom is Chet’s man­ner of speech. He drawls seven times throughout the book. Leslie saw fit to employ some form of the word drawl(s)(ed) a to­tal of five times in the first eight volumes. None of these ut­terances came from the mouth of the young Morton lad.

Another idiosyncrasy of Dr. Button’s writing was the use of the word golly (and alternate forms of it.) McFarlane used the word a total of twelve times in the twenty volumes that he (and Amy{?}) wrote. Five occurrences of golly were in A Figure in Hiding. Golly ap­pears twenty-eight times in The Secret Warn­ing, twenty times in The Twisted Claw, thirty-eight times in The Disappearing Floor, eighteen times in The Mystery of the Fly­ing Express, and twenty-one times in The Clue of the Bro­ken Blade. Gleeps!

Hah! The bony, heavy-set, genius with the ‘beady eyes’ convulsed the onlookers with laughter. A comparison of vol­umes #1‑16, #22‑24 vs. #17‑21 shows multiple occurrences of the italicized words in Button’s work, but no usage of the words in McFarlane’s. The phrase beady eyes does not ap­pear at all in the first sixteen volumes, but pops up at least once in all ti­tles from The Secret Warning to The Clue of the Broken Blade.

Dr. Button also was very fond of hyphenating compound words, especially in this volume and the next. It’s really annoying when you’re looking for it.

We could play The Button Peculiarity Game forever, but just one more. The phrase Hardy lad is used a total of seven times in the first sixteen books, and not at all after The Clue of the Bro­ken Blade. (One instance was in A Figure in Hiding. That combined with the usage of golly five times there makes me wonder if Button might have stuck his mitts into volume #16. But anyway…) Hardy lad ap­pears fifty-five times in The Secret Warn­ing, forty-four times in The Twisted Claw, seventeen times in The Disappearing Floor, thirty times in The Mystery of the Fly­ing Express, and five times in The Clue of the Broken Blade.

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Who Wrote the Hardy Boys? at
  2. 2.0 2.1 The Unofficial Hardy Boys Homepage
  3. Hardy Boys Yahoo List message #8992
  4. Hardy Boys Yahoo List message #9005
  5. Ghost of the Hardy Boys, Leslie McFarlane, Methuen & Co., 1976

External links

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