The House on the Cliff is a book I love just for the cover.
Frank and Joe are enlisted by their dad- a famous detective- to help him with a smuggling case. First of all, why would Pops enlist his sons in a dangerous activity like that? It all starts out innocently enough when the boys are sent to a remote headland to scan for a smuggling ship- with an expensive telescope. It's stuff like this- the telescope, along with later ham radio enthusiasm and various other hobbies and interests- that mark these books as from a time when things were different. They have these wholesome home cooked meals, one of the guys who goes with them actually brings along sandewiches and dessert- I mean, I'd like to live there.
At any rate, I am getting off track a little. They of course find a ship that is acting suspicious- and when they see a speedboat chase and one guy almost get blitzed- they are on their way. The action is quick in this one- they very rapidly go from innocent involvement to investigating a lonely old house on a cliff, some nasty villains, and hair raising escapes. I always love a good smuggling storyline. And their friends get in on the fun too- there's speedboats and some good bonding over, you know, life threatening danger.
I haven't read one of these in a while, and it really is different. You get just a sense of the unsavory element below the surface, but these guys (and their cast) are so wholesome and clean cut that it feels like watching an old movie. It went quick too- they are a fast read. I can remember why I was hooked on these as a kid- who wouldn't want to investigate some mysterious goings on - with your pals no less- plus have some good food?