This fifteenth volume of the Hardy Boys Adventures series, A Con Artist in Paris, is a unique adventure, without a doubt. I enjoy reading and discussing books with my Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew reading buddy sibling. 😎 That’s always my favorite part, whether I love a book, like it, find it just okay, or if I don’t like a book. Warning: some spoilers ahead in this review, so if you want to wait until after you read the book, I understand. 🙂 There were some interesting aspects to the book at times. A flying car, a submersible scooter, and a drone appealed to me in the mystery since I’m a tech nerd girl. 😀 As always, I love the brother teamwork, and also the good humor. 🙂
Frank and Joe are in Paris, France, going to meet up with their dad, who’s attending the IPAD (International Professional Association of Detectives) conference being held at a hotel there. They are waiting for Fenton’s flight to arrive. One section was supposed to be from Frank about the conference. It sounded very braggy. Frank and Joe aren’t braggarts. Hopefully, but kinda doubt it, that was tongue-in-cheek, cause they don’t have any need to brag – they are too cool and too smart.
Chief Olaf was very annoying. He had no right to answer for the brothers when Inspector Devereux asked who they were. And Fenton didn’t and wouldn’t leave them in his care. He wouldn’t place his sons in such a situation because he met Chief Olaf before, knows what he’s like and would recognize him as a bit of a pompous ass and a liability. Frank and Joe Hardy are very capable and don’t need a babysitter! I’m indignant for them – I would be so very annoyed at Chief Olaf’s self-appointed, self-important bossing them around. France is out of his jurisdiction.
“I figure it’s my job to keep an eye on you boys until he gets here,” the chief said pointedly.
Later, he claimed ~
“…and your father left you in my care, so unless you want to spend the rest of your vacation in your rooms…”
That isn’t true. He presumptuously appointed himself. He had no authority. Grrrrr. 😡 Also, there would be absolutely no need to install a GPS app as he was demanding to install on their phones, because there already would be that capability.
“We both groaned. Then we gave him our phones.”
No way. They would have said, politely and respectfully, but firmly, no, that isn’t okay, not going to happen. 🙄
Activists can be good or bad – it totally depends on what they are about. They can also just be jerks and loud mouths who want all the money and power for themselves. They could be cowards and bullies – it depends on the person and what they want. Le Stylo, under the pretense of activism, does outlaw art which is actually promoting his artwork, resulting in personal gain in some ways, not monetary since he gives the money from the original art to charity (although the charities should be investigated), but infamy and notoriety. To pull off his outlaw art, he resorts to trespassing, vandalism, littering, and more.
*sigh* Yeah, some of it just doesn’t sound right. Example: “talk smack” – Frank wouldn’t say that. Not sure who would, but definitely not Frank, or Joe for that matter.
The message wasn’t very clear what Le Stylo was trying to say about Big Ben in London. In the book it said he was trying to say he is for historical preservation, which is good, and speak out against too much tech. It just also could be taken that he thought he was improving it, which he definitely wasn’t. I love helpful technology and good historical things and I’m also for not being overly dependent on technology cos that’s too confining and also not smart. I think Big Ben is really cool and I would love to visit it someday. 😎 🙂
Le Stylo is antiwar and wants the good guys who are fighting (and endangering their own lives for everyone else’s safety) to protect innocent citizens from bad guys who don’t care about laws and break them all over the place, to use a feather fountain pen instead of guns. 🙄 That makes “Le Stylo” sound like he’d be well-loved by those such as the Vichy government in France and their puppetmeisters, the
nazis, in World War II – they would appreciate and benefit from his stance. Joe and Frank are not wimpy. Joe and Frank would NOT be impressed and thankfully the book didn’t act like they did approve or like that.. You can like and admire someone for the good things they do, doesn’t mean you have to agree or approve of everything they do. They know that Le Stylo’s illegal actions would be taking time and effort away from the police solving real crimes and away from working to keep people from being hurt. What does Le Stylo want in a situation such as: a bank being held up and the bad guys have an explosive device holding people hostage. Does he want the police to go in there with a le plume stylo to free the hostages? 🙄 I don’t think Le Stylo is evil, he is just somewhat gullible and not too good at thinking through things. Whose side is Le Stylo on when he puts his protest art on police stations? The good police officers are working hard, risking their lives to make sure some murderer doesn’t continue to murder, trying to stop a thief who shoots at another criminal, both who don’t follow the law and trying to make sure a little child isn’t caught in the crooks crossfire. What does Le Stylo want the police to do? Ignoring it doesn’t stop it, sternly telling them to stop doesn’t work. Why doesn’t Le Stylo go to the murderers and thieves and protest them? Of course, it would be better for all bad guys to play nice and not want to do things like murder, hurt, and terrorize people….
but since they do…
…and asking politely for them to stop doesn’t have a high success rate with whackos….
….therefore, thusly, sadly, there’s a need for the good guys to have guns. It would be wonderful for that not to be the case – it’s just not realistic for our present, modern world. I would love for there not to be any evil anywhere. One day there will be no more wars, but it won’t be a result of everyone just giving in to evil people. The Creator of us all is the One to give peace in a person’s soul. Good will win.
A number of things were funny in the mystery, for example: Ratatouille’s (another street artist) Mona Lisa art mash-up made me laugh. 😛 Also, Joe calling Frank Snooty McArtFace when they were discussing “art”. 😛 Frank kidding Chief Olaf:
“Don’t worry, we won’t tell the rest of the department you’re taking a vacation on taxpayers money.”
I didn’t like whenever there was lying – totally unnecessary and not creative. 🙄
I really liked it when the Hardys were in the lobby of their hotel, and an expensive Rolls Royce limo pulled up then the chauffeur got out and walked in, with the snooty Inspector Devereux, who’d been an obnoxious jerk to the Hardy brothers, assumed it was for him, but it was for the Hardys to drive them to a fancy party. 😎 Poetic justice. 😎
Exploring some of a castle while the Hardy brothers were at the party there was fun and seeing the cars, gliders, and such. 😎
The flying car/dune buggy was pretty cool. And in real life you can get one for only 399,900 – such a deal! 😛 That wasn’t in the book that’s just some free info. 😀 It does take a very comedic turn by having the presence of the “big red button” and the older brother pushing said button while they’re in the borrowed car. It could have had disastrous results, that’s why Frank wouldn’t have done that. It was funny and you just have to think of them as two brothers not named Joe and Frank Hardy.
More quotes we enjoyed ~
Joe about the big red button 😛 ~
“I’m usually the one doing the boneheaded things like pressing the red button,” I yelled, frantically trying to figure out the controls as the car soared into the sky over the Seine.
Great line of Joe’s when he landed the flying car 😎 ~
“It may not have been an expert landing, but I think I did pretty well, considering I had no idea what I was doing.”
Frank’s comment about Inspector Devereux’s vehicle 😆 ~
“A funny-looking tiny European car”
Loved this that Frank said after being woke up by fireworks: “Sumpnwerdsgonon” which is to say “Something weird’s going on.” I translated it without an app. 😀
Joe quote after people were talking about the unidentified flying object that was the flying car 😆 :
“We’ve had secret sources on cases before, but as far as I know, they’ve all been from this galaxy.”
Great advice from detective dad Fenton to detective sons, Joe and Frank 😎 :
“Never trust a suspect. Trust your instincts.”
A character in the book, the art patron, Cyril, kept being referred to as being like Bruce Wayne. Just because he’s a rich dude doesn’t make him cool like Bruce. Batman is cool because he goes after bad people. 😎 One of the detectives asks about Le Stylo: “But how did he climb the blasted thing in the first place? Is he Spider-Man?” No. Spidey actually does something for real to help people. 😎 Not go around making statements through vandalism, littering, trespassing, destruction of public property, disturbing the peace, etc.. It’s just that Le Stylo climbed up the side of a building, using suction cups.
<SPOILER WARNING>I don’t understand why they were such ninnies in the Catacombs. They go into the sewer, and they know the Catacombs are around there then they go through a tunnel and they almost comedically start freaking out. I have no interest in going in or near the Catacombs, and I don’t much like seeing skulls and skeletons. All the studying up on France and stuff that Frank did before the trip would have clued him in.
The one culprit was a thief, but Le Stylo was unethical driving up the price of his paintings. They (the brothers and Le Stylo) seemed somewhat unfair since several of the things they were going on about concerning the culprit was true about Le Stylo. 🙄 Plus, Simone didn’t have to agree to give up her commission, which at first was nothing since he wasn’t very good as well as unknown, as admitted by Le Stylo. Simone could have just said non, merci beaucoup.<END SPOILER>
After pushing aside some cardboard stuff, Frank falls down a chute and somehow the cardboard he’d pushed aside at the top of the chute jumped down the chute, got ahead of Frank and softened his landing. Neat trick.
A little confusing sometimes – in the quiet catacombs a switchblade opening was heard, but yet not the tossing of cardboard?
You could say it was a little cheesy sometimes (like the big red button), if you’ll pardon the expression – a quick Ratatouille joke there. 😆
We liked some parts in the book and to sum up parts of the book we didn’t ~ le oy vey. 🙄 😛 C’est le vie.
In defense of Joe’s language skills that are often forgotten about – Joe does know more French than indicated in the book.
Entertaining read. Like a fun comedy movie at times. 🙂
Great chapter title (18) that I echo wholeheartedly ~ Vive Les Hardys 😎
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