Franklin W. Dixon Franklin W. Dixon is actually a pseudonym for any number of ghostwriters who have had the distinction of writing stories for the Hardy Boys series. The series was originally created by Edward Stratmeyer in 1926, the same mastermind of the Nancy Drew detective series, Tom Swift, the Rover Boys and other characters. While Stratmeyer created the outlines for the original series, it was Canadian writer Leslie McFarlane who breathed life to the stories and created the persona Franklin W. Dixon. McFarlane wrote for the series for over twenty years and is credited with success of the early collection of stories. As the series became more popular, it was pared down, the format changed and new ghostwriters added their own flavor to the stories. Part of the draw of the Hardy Boys is that as the authors changed, so to did the times and the story lines. While there is no one true author of the series, each ghostwriter can be given credit for enhancing the life of this series and never unveiling that there really is no Franklin W. Dixon.
Franklin W. Dixon is a "house name," owned by the Stratemyer Syndicate and given to Leslie McFarlane, the secret author of twenty-one books in the Hardy Boys Series from 1927 to 1946. Leslie McFarlane was born in Carleton Place, Ontario, Canada on October 25, 1902, and attended schools in Haileybury, Ontario, Canada. He married Amy Ashmore, with whom he had three children, Patricia, Brian, and Norah, before she died in 1955. McFarlane married Beatrice Greenaway Kenney in 1957. McFarlane's written work includes plays, books for adults and children, and film, radio, and television scripts. He is best remembered for his work for the Stratemyer Syndicate in East Orange, N.J., as ghost writer for the Hardy Boys adventures, including "The Secret Panel" (1946) and "The Phantom Freighter" (1947). He also wrote as Carolyn Keene for the Dana Girls Series and under the pseudonym Roy Rockwook for the Dave Fearless Series. McFarlane worked as a documentary film producer and director from 1943 to 1957 and as head of the television drama script department for Canadian Broadcasting Corp. from 1958 to 1960. He received an award from the British Film Academy in 1951 for Royal Journey and a nomination for an Academy Award for best one-reel short subject in 1953 for Herring Hunt. Leslie McFarlane died in Whitby, Ontario, Canada on September 6, 1977.