Barclay "Brains" Benton and James "Jimmy" Carson have their own detective agency. Brains is "X" and Jimmy is "Operative Three." Jimmy is the narrator. The two boys use coded messages to communicate by telephone. They have a secret headquarters. Brains makes most of his equipment from junk. The two boys have business cards. The tone of the books matches the Three Investigators series. I felt like I was reading a Three Investigators book.
The Brains Benton series was published before the Three Investigators series, and Jupiter Jones was clearly based on Brains Benton. According to a letter written by Robert Arthur, Arthur's original name for Jupiter Jones was Genius Jones, which is rather similar to the name Brains Benton.
As I began reading The Case of the Missing Message, I noticed that certain events are rather similar to events that occur in The Secret of Terror Castle. Both books open with a coded message received by telephone from Brains Benton/Jupiter Jones. In The Secret of Terror Castle, Jupiter and Pete run away from Terror Castle, terrified. Brains and Jimmy run away from the Madden Place in the same fashion. Both Brains and Jupiter proclaim that they will go back the next day, much to the dismay of the other sleuth. Jimmy uses the expression "creeps" while Pete uses "gleeps." And if that isn't enough, Brains and Jupiter talk in the same superior fashion.
In this passage from page 71, Brains reminds me of Jupiter, and Jimmy's reaction reminds me of Pete.
"The crime lab of the Benton and Carson International Detective Agency is well equipped," Brains said loftily. "There are sleeping accommodations as well as a small bathroom."I greatly enjoyed this book.
"And food?" the Queen said. "Skeets will have to eat."
"My partner and I both live at home," Brains replied. "It should not be too difficult for us to . . . ah . . . obtain the necessary provisions."
I could almost see myself pulling stuff off the kitchen shelves without Mom knowing. Creeps! This was going to be just great!