Casefiles
Mass market paperback editions.

With the arrival of the new Casefiles series in the UK, young adults were introduced to a new series of Hardy Boys stories with more action, murder and mature storylines. There were 127 Casefiles stories in the US (the series ended in January 1998), of which 80 titles were published in the UK (plus one title – Stress Point – that was shelved just prior to publication).

Armada began releasing the stories in paperback in 1989, retaining the US story order (unlike their treatment of the original series). Three years later, the rights were acquired by the British branch of Simon and Schuster who continued to release Casefiles paperbacks in the UK and associated territories until 2001 (although some were reprinted as part of the Undercover Brothers series in 2006). Capsule history of the Armada imprint can be found on the dedicated Armada page, whereas the history of Simon & Schuster follows here.

Not including the later Undercover Brothers hybrid reprints, there are four distinct formats of British Casefiles, which we have labelled A, B, C & D. In addition, there are the US paperbacks that were imported into the UK for a period of time. In an attempt to avoid confusion, the American Archway paperbacks are referred to with a ‘(US)‘ notation – similarly, the British Archway releases are indicated with a ‘(UK)‘ suffix.

Simon & Schuster: Who Are They?

Book publisher Simon & Schuster was formed in the USA in 1924 and the Pocket Books imprint was launched in 1939 (with a bespectacled kangaroo named Gertrude as its distinctive logo!). Simon & Schuster Inc was established in 1966. The group was sold to Gulf + Western in 1975, which became Paramount Communications in 1989. Simon & Schuster took over publishing the Hardy Boys in 1979, and the group purchased the Stratemeyer Syndicate in 1986, which meant they wholly owned the Hardy Boys trademark and brand. Simon & Schuster published new regular titles from 1979 (starting with Night of the Werewolf).

The American Casefiles series appeared in April 1987 under their Archway imprint. (Paramount Communications was subsequently bought by Viacom Inc in 1994, who also owns the Paramount film and TV studios.) These new monthly adventures were released in tandem along side the regular series, but with storylines geared more towards older children.

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Casefiles Format A – Armada (1989-1991)

Dead on Target

Only the first 12 titles were published under the Armada banner, with the first title, Dead on Target appearing in 1989. These books were direct printings from the original US plates, but with cropped versions of the American cover artwork incorporating new logos and title captions. The cover art was by Morgan Kane (1-2), and Brian Kotzky (3-12).

Curiously, it would appear that volumes 11 and 12 (Brother Against Brother and Perfect Getaway), were only in print for a very short period of time after their publication in February 1991, with few copies of either title making it into general circulation. The reason for the quickly aborted release of these stories is no doubt due to the then imminent takeover of the series by Archway UK, who the following year, began their tenure by issuing these two volumes in brand-new editions.

As a consequence of the rights to publish new Casefiles titles having transferred to Archway in 1991, Armada were only entitled to reprint the first ten titles in both single and omnibus formats. These reprints were produced as late as 1995.

Title:
1989 #1 Dead On Target
#2 Evil, Incorporated
#3 Cult of Crime
#4 The Lazarus Plot
#5 Edge of Destruction
#6 The Crowning Terror
Title:
1990 #7 Deathgame
#8 See No Evil
#9 The Genius Thieves
#10 Hostages of Hate
1991 #11 Brother Against Brother
#12 Perfect Getaway
Armada Casefiles
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Dead on Target
title page
Copyright page from
1995 reprint
W.H. Smith 2-in-1

Armada Omnibus Editions

Armada published several omnibus editions featuring stories from the Casefiles series in the early to mid-1990s in both the 2-in-1 and 3-in-1 formats. In fact, Armada continued to issue new compendiums even when Archway had acquired the rights to publish newer titles. As one would expect, these volumes contained only a selection of the first 10 Casefiles titles.

Of note, one of the first 2-in-1 Casefiles paperbacks to be released in the UK was published by Armada in 1990 exclusively for W. H. Smith, a British chain of bookstores and stationery outlets. It featured the first two entries in the series: Dead on Target and Evil Incorporated.

A full listing of these editions can be found on the Armada Casefiles Omnibus gallery page.

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Casefiles Format B – Archway (UK) (1992-1994)

Fright Wave

Simon & Schuster Inc had agencies around the world; the UK division (based at Kendal Street, London) took over the publication of the Casefiles series from Armada in 1992, starting with volume 11 Brother Against Brother. The 50 titles published by Archway UK in this format (#11 to #60) had distinctive black covers and spine, with the main title and logo in a mustard coloured box. This cover design is credited to Icon Design Solutions, while the artist was Richard Jones.

From volume #34 onwards, a red corner flash announced these books to be "THE NEW SERIES". Interestingly, although the series was no longer being published by Collins, the Format B & C books were actually printed and bound by HarperCollins Manufacturing at their Bishopbriggs production plant in Glasgow!

Title:
1992 #11 Brother Against Brother
#12 Perfect Getaway
#13 The Borgia Dagger
#14 Too Many Traitors
#15 Blood Relations
#16 Line of Fire
#17 The Number File
#18 A Killing In The Market
#19 Nightmare In Angel City
#20 Witness To Murder
#21 Street Spies
#22 Double Exposure
1993 #23 Disaster For Hire
#24 Scene of The Crime
#25 The Borderline Case
#26 Trouble In The Pipeline
#27 Nowhere To Run
#28 Countdown To Terror
Title:
cont. #29 Thick As Thieves
#30 The Deadliest Dare
#31 Without A Trace
#32 Blood Money
#33 Collision Course
#34 Final Cut
#35 The Dead Season
#36 Running On Empty
#37 Danger Zone
#38 Diplomatic Deceit
#39 Flesh And Blood
#40 Fright Wave
#41 Highway Robbery
#42 The Last Laugh
#43 Strategic Moves
#44 Castle Fear
#45 In Self-Defence
#46 Foul Play
Title:
1994 #47 Flight Into Danger
#48 Rock 'n' Revenge
#49 Dirty Deeds
#50 Power Play
#51 Choke Hold
#52 Uncivil War
#53 Web of Horror
#54 Deep Trouble
#55 Beyond The Law
#56 Height of Danger
#57 Terror On Track
#58 Spiked!
#59 Open Season
#60 Deadfall

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Archway Omnibus Editions

Archway 3-in-1 from 1993

In 1993 Archway released the first of several 3-in-1 omnibus editions. The first four compendiums had a very similar cover design to the single volumes, with a gold logo and black cover. However, instead of a single illustration, the covers of these collections featured heavily cropped versions of the Richard Jones artwork for each of the three individual stories contained in the omnibus.

In addition, every Archway 3-in-1 was numbered in sequence and given a name reflecting the theme of the stories contained within the collection (i.e., the first omnibus was titled Overseas Assignments). The name is prominently displayed on the covers of the first four compendiums on a red banner with white lettering.

Archway 3-in-1 from 1997

The last five Archway compendiums, released in 1996 and 1997, saw a change in the appearance of the paperbacks, which now sported blue covers and bold, white lettering for the ‘Hardy Boys‘ heading. The recycled Richard Jones artwork was retained; however, although this time only one illustration per cover was used (in a few instances, the artwork originated from a title that did not actually feature in the collection).

And due to an editorial oversight, the authorship of volumes 5 to 9 was credited to FRANKLYN W. DIXON on the covers, spines and title pages!

Archway had ceased producing the single paperback volumes by this time, so these compendiums proved to be the last uniquely British Hardy Boys output from the Archway UK imprint.

A full listing of these editions can be found on the Archway (UK) Casefiles Omnibus gallery page.

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Casefiles Format C – Archway (UK) (1995)

No Mercy

Starting with book #61 the next 10 British Archway titles featured the exact same covers as on the US editions, painted by Brian Kotzky. The UK editions were dimensionally taller than the US counterparts to match the British industry standard size of paperbacks and can be identified by the UK price on the back (eg 2.99), and the Kendal Street, London address printed on the copyright page. As with the Format B titles, these books were bound and printed by HarperCollins. The last book in this format (#70 Rigged for Revenge) was published in 1995.

Comparison of UK (left) and US (right) Archway editions of Endangered Species
1995
#61 Grave Danger
#62 Final Gambit
#63 Cold Sweat
#64 Endangered Species
#65 No Mercy
#66 The Phoenix Equation
#67 Lethal Cargo
#68 Rough Riding
#69 Mayhem In Motion
#70 Rigged For Revenge

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US Archway Imports (1995-1999)

Although strictly not a UK edition category in itself, many of the Casefiles sold in the UK between 1995 and 1999 were in actual fact imported American Archway editions. After Rigged for Revenge was published in Format C in 1995, it appears that several of the remaining titles were imported from America. According to the British National Bibliography, volume #122, River Rats, was one such example.

These books can usually be identified by the UK bar-code sticker placed over the US bar-code on the back, as well as the "Printed in the USA" line on the copyright page. Exactly how many of these titles were imported is almost impossible to say, although a partial list can be found in Appendix V: Imported Editions.

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Casefiles Format D – Pocket Books (1999-2003)

The Dead Season

Although the US editions continued to be published under the Archway imprint, the next set of UK published Casefiles appeared under the Pocket Books imprint.

Simon & Schuster UK Ltd (then based at Kingsway, London) released all the Pocket Books paperbacks. According to an excerpt from the industry periodical The Bookseller, these new releases coincided with the inception of their new children‘s division:

S&S reveals its UK ambitions

Simon & Schuster's new UK children's books division, which will publish its first titles in March, has announced plans to generate around half its material in the UK within the next three to four years.

The division has just delivered its first catalogue to the trade. The majority of the titles this year were generated in the US, and the UK division's initial launches will reflect this. The catalogue comprises commercial books, including ... Nancy Drew and The Hardy Boys titles.

The publisher hopes that the UK venture will emulate some of the success that has already been enjoyed by its US division.

The US children's division, headed by Rick Richter, has a financial interest in the UK company, but what is published in the UK will be decided autonomously.

S&S's UK children's books team now includes editor Bronagh McVeigh from Tango Books and art director Margaret Clark, previously art director at the BBC.

(The Bookseller: February 12th, 1999)

From June 1999 through to September 2001, a total of 21 Hardy Boys Casefiles were published under the Pocket Books imprint. Of these, 10 were published in Britain for the first time (notwithstanding the earlier imported US editions), while the remaining 11 titles were reprints of stories previously issued by Archway UK. Each of these paperbacks state on their copyright pages that they were "originally published in Great Britain as an ARCHWAY PAPERBACK number [xx]". However, in the case of the 10 books making their UK debut, this line undoubtedly refers to the earlier US imports.

The table below shows the exact order in which the books were released. One of the new stories was completely re-titled: #117 Duel with Death, which was originally published in America as Blood Sport.

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1999
NEW #89 Darkness Falls
#35 The Dead Season
#16 Line of Fire
#23 Disaster For Hire
#24 Scene of The Crime
#49 Dirty Deeds
#56 Height of Danger
NEW #71 Real Horror
#12 Perfect Getaway
#51 Choke Hold
2000
NEW #92 Sabotage At Sea
#69 Mayhem In Motion
NEW #94 Taste For Terror
NEW #110 Bad Chemistry
NEW #96 Against All Odds
NEW #117 Duel With Death
2001
NEW #115 Cave Trap
NEW #83 Toxic Revenge
#67 Lethal Cargo
NEW #81 Sheer Terror
#68 Rough Riding
#125 Stress Point *
* - Never Published.

An additional title – Stress Point – was scheduled for October 2001, but never saw publication, for reasons that are still unclear, despite our attempt to question the S&S book editor on the matter back in 2007:

HardyBoys.co.uk – Why was the Pocket Books release of the Hardy Boys story Stress Point shelved in 2001? Did this have anything to do with the then recent occurrence of the 9/11 atrocity? (The story was set on a New York construction site).

S&S UK Editor – This had nothing to do with the 9/11 atrocity, but, in retrospect it was probably good that we didn‘t publish it at that time.

A Taste for Terror

The books themselves had no cover art to speak of other than a ‘psychedelic‘ swirl in the shape of a large fingerprint (the surface of which was ‘raised‘ by the application of a thin plastic film) and black silhouettes and shapes. Some of the books credit this artwork to Colin Howard. According to the artist himself, the layout and overall design was already in place when he was commissioned by the art director Margaret Clark.

Howard's rather diminutive task was to draw a series of human silhouettes in various action-style poses. These figures were used prominently on the covers of the first 11 Pocket Books paperbacks, but starting with Mayhem in Motion they were largely replaced with more elaborate silhouettes (such as the scorpion on A Taste for Terror and the horse on Against All Odds), which Colin Howard wasn‘t responsible for.

In 1996, the HarperCollins production plant in Bishopbriggs, Glasgow was sold to Caledonian International Books, who are credited as the printers of the first 14 Pocket Books titles (up to and including Bad Chemistry); thereafter, the company rebranded itself as Omnia Books Ltd., and this change was reflected on the copyright pages of all subsequent titles. The company eventually fell into receivership in March 2002. Some of the Pocket Books titles were later reprinted by Bookmarque, of Croydon, Surrey. As of September 2009, two of those reprints (Perfect Getaway and Mayhem in Motion) are still in print.

The first 11 books contained a "Case Code Clue", which after being decoded gave the reader the answer required to enter into a prize-draw that closed in January 2000 when the eleventh title – Sabotage At Sea – was published.

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Other Pocket Books Releases

2-in-1 paperback and
5-in-1 boxed set.

The final British Casefiles compendium, released in 2001 after the publication of the individual paperbacks had ceased, was a Pocket Books 2-in-1 omnibus edition, which contained The Dead Season and Toxic Revenge. Two versions of this paperback exist; one is the standard edition, while the other was specially produced for the W.H. Smith chain of stores in the UK.

In 2003 a 5-in-1 box set was released, but as is always the case with box sets, this is simply a measure used by publishers to shift surplus stock by marketing them as a ‘new‘ product.

Undercover Brothers Hybrid Editions

In 2006, four Casefiles titles (Choke Hold, Toxic Revenge, Cave Trap & Darkness Falls) were bizarrely rebranded by Simon & Schuster UK as part of the new Undercover Brothers series. More details on these unusual releases can be found on the dedicated Undercover Brothers page.

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