Could the Ghost-to-Ghost hookup really work the
way that it was described in the books?
The Ghost-to-Ghost Hookup figured prominently in several stories about the boys. Robert Arthur introduced it for the first time in "Stuttering Parrot" when the boys were trying to track down Mr. Claudius. The Hookup was quite simple, really. Each boy would call five friends, ask them for the information, then ask each of them to call five friends, etc. On paper, it sounds great, and it would probably work after a fashion. However, it probably would not have realistically jammed the phone circuits in Rocky Beach the way that it was described in several stories, because there would be no guarantee that the friends who had no information would then be so diligent to call five of their friends. However, that being said, it was still a great device in that it allowed the boys to put out the equivalent of an APB (All Points Bulletin). So Robert Arthur was really trying to give the boys the tools to solve crimes much the way that the police would do. He gave them business cards and voucher cards from the Chief as credentials. He gave them transportation to shadow suspects and get around, and he gave them the Ghost-to-Ghost Hookup to help gather information from the community at large without having to interview everyone.
Of course, we do not know who these other friends were of Jupe, Pete, and Bob, upon whom they called. We only saw these three boys interact with each other for the most part; so it's somewhat difficult to imagine them having fifteen other boys that they could call. However, despite that slight weakness, the Ghost-to-Ghost Hookup was still a neat invention.
The use of the Hookup was not as carefully used as time went on. The first time it's used in "Stuttering Parrot," a reward of junk valued at over $25 is offered for information leading to Mr. Claudius. Later on, the reward was usually not mentioned or was mentioned only in passing. A financial depression seems to have hit the Hookup by the time it was used in "Shrinking House," because the reward offered there was junk valued at only one dollar.