Thursday, 26 March 2015

THE THREE QUESTION MARKS...


The very first Three Investigators adventure I ever read

I first encountered ALFRED HITCHCOCK & The THREE
INVESTIGATORS in 1969 or '70, in a book called The MYSTERY
Of The GREEN GHOST which I'd borrowed from my neighbourhood
library.  Read it, enjoyed it, forgot about it.  Until, that is, a friend told me
around a year or so later about a series of books he was reading starring
the same three amateur detectives, enthusing wildly about JUPITER
JONES, PETE CRENSHAW and BOB ANDREWS and the
adventures they became involved in.

The atmospheric endpapers in the hardback editions

I don't remember whether I was aware, from my first encounter,
that there was a series of books about the three lads, but I soon started
reading the other ones and very much enjoyed them.  I have a vague re-
collection of beginning one book in one house and finishing it in another
(after flitting in '72), as my memory seems to jump between each house
when I think of the book.  It may have been The MYSTERY Of
The FLAMING FOOTPRINTS, or The NERVOUS LION,
but I'm no longer certain.


Around 15 years later, I re-read the Green Ghost adventure, and
it was almost as if I was back in the house I'd lived in when I first read
it, so strong were the images in my memory that were revived upon that
second reading.  It's now been twice that span again (30 years) and I really
must revisit my past by reading it once more sometime soon.  ROBERT
ARTHUR Jr. created the characters in the early  '60s and wrote quite
a few of the early stories, then oversaw and edited the tales (some
of which he suggested) of other contributing writers.

The first Three Investigators adventure

The kids were aged around 13 in the first series of 43 books (1964-
'87), but a couple of years later, in 1989, a new series started, in which
the three males were now around 17 or 18, and mystery writer HECTOR
SEBASTIAN was their new mentor, who usually opened and closed each
tale.  (Alfred Hitchcock last appeared in book 30.)  Robert Arthur's heirs
objected to the new stories, and legal disagreements between them and
the publishers put them on hold in 1990, after only 13 new exploits.


I haven't read all of the books in either series, and although
they fall under the category of 'juvenile fiction', they also qualify
as 'adult friendly' for grown-ups looking for diverting mysteries, free
from sex, swearing or sadism.  If you've never read one before, why
not give them a try?  If you've previously read one in your youth,
you shouldn't need much persuading in getting re-acquainted.

Ah, happy memories. I think I can see
what I'm going to start collecting next.


As mentioned, I re-read The Green Ghost in
1985, in a paperback edition, below.

11 comments:

Dunsade Dave said...

I was a HUGE Three Investigators fan! The first book I read was The Mystery of the Stuttering Parrot when I was around 7 or 8 and it totally hooked me, I'd been reading Famous Five books up til then, and never went back to them after discovering the Investigators.

One of my favourites is The Moaning Cave, which I can vividly remember sitting up in bed reading in rapt fascination. I even tried making my own T3I comics, which due to my complete lack of any artistic ability, were bloody awful.

I much prefer the Robert Arthur books (did you know he also edited most of those paperback Alfred Hitchcock short story anthologies from the '60s and '70s?) to the later writers.

My Top 5 are:
1- The Moaning Cave
2- The Stuttering Parrot
3- Terror Castle
4- The Talking Skull
5- The Fiery Eye
but the Green Ghost certainly wouldn't be too far behind.

Great post, Kid!

Gerry said...

Yeah enjoyed them too. Really liked The Hardy Boys books too

Kid said...

I did know that, DD. In fact, that's one of the reasons Robert Arthur chose to use Hitchcock to introduce the books. (The other being that by using a real person, he felt it made the books more believable in the minds of the readers.) Of course, AF was never actually involved with the books, 'though he received a fee for the use of his name.

******

I've only ever read a couple or so Hardy Boys books, Gerry - around the same time I re-read The Green Ghost in the mid-'80s.

Colin Jones said...

I was also a big fan of the Three Investigators. I got most of them from the school library in the mid '70s but I recall buying a couple as paperbacks too. I also loved the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew and you can buy quite a few of those as e-books but there are no Three Investigators at all on Google Play Books which is the only place I buy e-books. For a long time in my muddled memory I'd thought that Alfred Hitchcock actually wrote the books. I remember in one of the books it said that Jupiter Jones "broke wind" - I was a bit taken aback by that at the time.

Kid said...

I think Jupe breaking wind probably referred to a burp rather than a fart, CJ. Couldn't swear to it 'though.

Graham said...

I remember reading the Green Ghost. I found it in our library at school when I was nine or ten years old. I LOVED it, but that was the only book about the Three Investigators in our school library. I think I ended up finding another one when I moved to Middle School, but I can't remember the title.

Kid said...

A great little book, Graham. I've always remembered the reference to 'the curious case of the dog in the night' since I first read it back in '69 or '70.

Dunsade Dave said...

By coincidence, I popped into HMV when I finished work earlier today and bought a DVD of a film version of the The Secret of Terror Castle for £1.99.

Colin, I vaguely remember reading that bit where Jupiter 'broke wind'. I think I'll have to try to track down which book it is and get it, since it contains two of my favourite things- detective fiction and flatulence.

Kid said...

Ooh, I must look out for that, DD. I wonder if my local HMV has it?

Phil said...

My brother had the Green Ghost book. I remember reading it because I remember that cover but I don't remember the story!
Isn't it strange we can remember the art but not the story....

Kid said...

Isn't it also amazing how we forget just how much we actually remember upon reading a book again 'though? (Sometimes anyway.) I remember the basic plot of Green Ghost and the bit about the dog, but the details elude me. They'll all come back when I re-read it, no doubt.

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