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text 2014-09-07 20:28
My Favorite Childhood Book Series

I moved recently and I was sorting through boxes of my books and I came upon my old Three Investigators collection. This series is so good, and I haven't found many people who were as obsessed with these books as I was when I was younger. 




This was a children's series in the same vein as The Hardy Boys or Nancy Drew, but you can't really compare these books to them; they are just that good. The stories were also significantly darker than most children's books being published at the time. I mean just look at the beautiful endsheets from them:



I think they're gorgeous at least. 


And yes, that's old Alfred Hitchcock himself. He use to introduce and close the stories and set the Three Investigators on cases. He was the reason the series sold so well in the 60s.


I'm also pretty confidant that these stories caused my initial interest in horror and dark fiction. Some of these stories creeped me out quite bad, especially the fifth one, The Vanishing Treasure. I remember the story had something to do with a woman who kept seeing these evil garden gnomes around the house, and looking back it sounds kind of silly and brings to mind images of the Travelocity gnome, but for my fifth grade self it was scary as fuck.


So I'll probably be rereading some of this series because I love it so much, and I'd really love to know if you guys ever read these books!

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review 2010-08-02 00:00
Alfred Hitchcock and the Three Investigators in the Mystery of the Talking Skull (#11)
Alfred Hitchcock and the Three Investiga... Alfred Hitchcock and the Three Investigators in the Mystery of the Talking Skull (#11) - Another top-notch mystery for boys from Robert Arthur. He had a gift for creating situations that fascinate children; his books gave me endless hours of enjoyment as a boy, and now they're doing the same for my son (and for me again, too; the books are as fun to read aloud as they were to read in the first place!). The Three Investigators books are, in the most complimentary sense of the word, pure brain candy - compulsively readable and re-readable, with a perfect blend of puzzles, drama, excitement and humor.As in the other Three Investigators books, Jupiter Jones (the brainy, chubby one), Pete Crenshaw (the athletic, nervous one) and Bob Andrews (the studious one) are faced with another mystery: a skull that talks, and mysterious men who apparently want that skull very badly indeed. All the usual secondary characters are present, including Headquarters itself. As always, I strongly recommend that you seek out a copy that features Alfred Hitchcock himself, rather than one of the poorly re-written later editions that replaced Hitchcock with a fictional character. Also, do yourself a favor and try to find a copy with the excellent Harry Kane illustrations!There was one small additional chuckle for me when I read the books to my son recently; I'm pretty sure I caught a shout-out from Robert Arthur to one of his contemporaries, one who happens to be another favorite author of mine. I didn't know if they knew each other (although their writing styles are actually rather similar), but a reporter who helps the boys out a bit is named Fred Brown. If that's not a reference to Fredric Brown...well, I'm pretty sure that it must be. For one thing, the real Brown was also a newspaper reporter, at least for a while.It's an outstanding book, one that belongs in the collection of anyone who enjoys exciting, thought-provoking mysteries.
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