iamond Books, a small subsidiary of HarperCollins, published twelve 3-in-1 omnibuses of stories from the original Hardy Boys series during 1993 and 1994. These paperbacks were cheaply produced, recycling artwork and designs wherever possible and were usually sold in retail outlets in the UK, Australia and New Zealand. Diamond shared the same location as its parent company, along with the Mulberry and Dragon imprints (77-85 Fulham Palace Road, Hammersmith, London).
The cover artwork used for these volumes was taken from a selection of Armada Format D and Format E paperbacks, while the distinctive neon-sign logos on the front covers can be traced back to the Armada Format D cover design. Nine of these paperbacks featured cover artwork that the British artist David Browne had originally produced for the individual paperback volumes. Unfortunately, Browne was unaware that his work was being recycled in this manner, and it wasn't until his agent stumbled across the books in a bookshop that Browne and the two other artists were financially recompensed.
Very surprisingly, it has come to light that these editions were also sold in the United States. According to Ann Greenburgh (at that time an editor working for Simon & Schuster) these 3-in-1 paperbacks were permitted since they did not pose a direct threat to the domestic Minstrel paperbacks. (Our grateful thanks to Hardy Boys guru, Paul Mular, for bringing this to our attention. He writes: ”In hind-sight, S&S may have allowed this to test-market omnibuses without having to publish them”. We concur with his conclusion.)
1993 logo (left) and
1994 logo (right)
The first 6 Diamond Books editions published in 1993 carry a laurel wreath logo on their spines and, quite unusually, do not possess an ISBN or any other catalogue number of any kind. The last 6 paperbacks, released the following year, were assigned ISBNs and the logo on the spine changed to a more recognisable diamond icon, with the publisher's name printed below it.
Seven of these paperbacks are actually reprints of omnibus editions previously released by Fontana/Armada, while the remaining five releases are entirely new collections. A full listing of all 12 books can be found on the Diamond Books gallery page.
Rather amusingly, a Three Investigators 3-in-1 published by Diamond Books in 1994 mistakenly credits the author as Franklin W. Dixon on the book's title page!
Mulberry & Paragon Editions
Mulberry Editions were a paperback division of HarperCollins. The first Hardy Boys release under that imprint was a deluxe oversize hardbound 3-in-1 edition that came out in 1991. The compendium featured The Shore Road Mystery, The Great Airport Mystery and The Sign of the Crooked Arrow and is considerably larger than a normal Armada paperback, measuring 14cm × 22cm (5 1/2" × 8 1/2"). For some reason, the printing plates (which were the same ones used by Collins and Armada for the individual volumes) were magnified to fill the pages, resulting in a 'large print' effect.
Curiously, the exact same edition was later reprinted under the Dragon Books moniker. While the reprint does not give the exact date of publication, a listing on Amazon.co.uk states that it was released in 1994 (a fact seemingly corroborated by other sources). Apart from the apparently pointless change in publishers, the two editions are essentially identical to one another.
Mulberry / Paragon 2-in-1 editions.
In 1992, Mulberry Editions published two Hardy Boys omnibus paperbacks. The first 2-in-1 edition contained The Jungle Pyramid and The Firebird Rocket, while the second featured A Figure in Hiding and The Secret Warning.
The original Armada printing plates from the individual volumes were used. In addition, the cover artwork for the Armada Format D volumes of The Secret of the Lost Tunnel and A Figure In Hiding were recycled in a full-page format for the covers of both paperbacks (even though Lost Tunnel does not feature in either collection!)
In general, these cheaply produced omnibuses were typically sold in retail outlets in the so-called ‘bargain bin‘ areas. Several other 2-in-1s were published by Mulberry in an identical format that contained stories from series also owned by HarperCollins, such as Nancy Drew, The Three Investigators and various Enid Blyton mysteries.
Both paperbacks were reprinted in 1995 and 1996, but while the books were essentially identical to the 1992 versions in both appearance and content, this time the copyright page indicated that they were published by Diamond Books for the Paragon Book Service, based in Bristol. The Paragon logo on the spine took the place of the Mulberry Books signature that previously featured there, while a line on the copyright page erroneously stated that the books were first published for Paragon in 1992.
Listings for these editions can be found on the Other Publishers omnibus gallery page.
Originally an imprint of Atlantic Book Publishing Co Ltd (which had been formed by Gordon Landsborough after he sold Armada in 1966) and then Granada Publishing, Dragon Books became part of William Collins & Sons when they purchased Granada Publishing in 1983.
Dragon issued a softcover omnibus in 1991, which contained the following three titles from the original series: The Clue In Embers, What Happened At Midnight and The Sinister Signpost. Although the book carries the Dragon logo, the copyright page states:
"This edition produced exclusively for Bookmart by Armada, an imprint of HarperCollins Children's Books"
The significance of the reference to Bookmart is currently unknown.
As mentioned previously, the hardbound Mulberry 3-in-1 edition was reprinted by Dragon in 1994. Both Dragon collections use Brian Kotzky artwork from the Casefiles series (even though all 6 featured stories come from the original series).
Listings for the Dragon editions can be found on the Other Publishers omnibus gallery page.
Chivers Press / Swift Books
12.7cm x 20cm (5" x 7 7/8")
Average Page Count: 130p – 190p
A set of hardbacks was published in 1985 through Swift Books, a children‘s books imprint of Chivers Publishing, owned by Firecrest Publishing Ltd (of Bath, England), who published the first four Nancy Drew And The Hardy Boys Be-A-Detective puzzle stories in hardback.
The American printing-plates were used, but with new cover art (the artist‘s name is not known). The logo of these books is however based on the American editions, complete with the symbol of the three faces in silhouette. Chivers also published Super Sleuths! 2 and Campfire Stories in hardback in 1986.
|1985||B.A.D. #1 The Secret of the Knight's Sword|
|B.A.D. #2 Danger on Ice|
|B.A.D. #3 The Feathered Serpent|
|B.A.D. #4 Secret Cargo|
|1986||Super Sleuths! 2|