Monday, June 30, 2014

Facebook Business Pages and eBay's New Defect Rate

People who have Facebook business pages have become frustrated with Facebook, because Facebook gives the impression that posts are hidden from most people who follow the page.  Facebook is trying to force people to pay to boost posts, which would supposedly make the posts visible to more people.  I believe that Facebook is being intentionally deceptive and that more of the followers are seeing the posts than what Facebook wants page owners to think.

This is my Facebook page.

Jennifer's Series Books

I post updates pretty frequently.  The ones that appear to be the least popular are the automatic posts that link to this blog.  This is what I have noticed.  Often, the automatic post appears, and no one "likes" it immediately on Facebook.  In the first 30 minutes after the automatic post appears, I keep an eye on Facebook's stats and the stats for the post here.  For the posts where no one has "liked" it in that first 30 minutes, Facebook makes it appear that only one or two people have seen it.  I have noticed that as soon as the post appears on Facebook, the blog post here gets a number of views.  I believe people are clicking through from Facebook, but Facebook is not letting me know that people have seen the post.  Facebook only shows me that people have seen the post after someone "likes" the post.  As more people "like" the post, the stats get higher and higher. 

I have finally realized that the number Facebook shows for people who have seen the post does not include followers of my page.  The number is actually the number of people who aren't following the page who have seen the post.  Check out this screen capture I took of one of my posts.

Look at what I highlighted.  How is is possible for two people to have "liked" the post if no one has seen it?  Obviously, the post has been seen.  Most people assume that the number of people reached represents the followers of the page who have seen the post.  Followers of my page are seeing my posts, but Facebook doesn't want me to think they are seeing them.  It's quite deceptive.

eBay has changed its policy on DSRs again.  Once the new standards take effect in August, some of the DSRs will no longer count against sellers.  On the surface, this sounds great, but sellers need to look carefully at the policy.  eBay will begin using something called the "defect rate."  eBay will hold all of the following against sellers as defects:  cases opened by buyers, canceled transactions, negative or neutral feedback received, low DSRs for shipping time, and low DSRs for item as described.

Most of the defects do not concern me.  The DSR for shipping time is only considered low if the buyer leaves one star, and I have never had a buyer leave me a one-star shipping time rating.  I have never had a case opened against me, so I don't anticipate suddenly seeing a bunch of cases opened against me.  The "item as described" DSR is a little concerning, but only because eBay counts not only one- and two-star ratings as low but also the three-star ratings.  Previously, only one- and two-star ratings were considered low.

I have four "item as described" ratings that are threes.  I know that they are not one- or two-star ratings because none were showing on the previous version of the seller dashboard.

I may very well have deserved the three-star ratings.  It is very easy to miss flaws in books.  I try to flip through each book to spot anything obvious, but a page could have a serious flaw and I miss it.  Last summer, I had one transaction where undoubtedly I deserved an "item as described" DSR of one.  I missed a huge flaw to the book.  Huge.  I know the buyer didn't leave me either one or two stars, but he very well could have left three stars.  If so, I deserved a lower rating.

I am trying to "under-promise and over-deliver" on my transactions with respect to item condition.  I have always had that policy, but I'm taking it a step further.  The further I go, the less likely I will get less than four or five stars.  I am marking "acceptable" more and more for the item specifics so that I don't risk marking very good for a book that has heavy wear.  If I make sure I mark a lower grade condition, then I should be better off.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

The Three Investigators #5 Vanishing Treasure and #6 Skeleton Island

In the Three Investigators #5, The Mystery of the Vanishing Treasure, a priceless golden belt embedded with jewels is stolen from a museum.  The boys offer their services, but the security guard declines.  Soon, however, the boys are offered another mystery.  Mr. Hitchcock tells them about his friend, Miss Agawam, who keeps being bothered by gnomes.  The gnomes sneak into her house at night and mess with her belongings.  The boys are skeptical about the gnomes, but soon after they arrive at Miss Agawam's house, they see a fierce-looking gnome!

I love the description of Miss Agawam's house.  It is sandwiched between two tall buildings in what is now a business section of the city with a fence at the rear and a very tall hedge at the front.  The house is completely isolated and feels like it is in a different world.

It was while I was reading this book that I realized that the Three Investigators books that I have read so far do not feature the many fistfights seen in boys' series books like the Hardy Boys books.  You might recall that I wrote that my feelings about the Hardy Boys series could have been a factor into my decision to disregard this series as being of possible interest.

This is a very good book and is very suspenseful. 

In the Three Investigators #6, The Secret of Skeleton Island, Mr. Crenshaw is working on a movie set on Skeleton Island, which is located off the east coast.  The boys are asked, via Mr. Hitchcock, to act as extras as skin divers.  Their participation in filming is to be used as a cover.  The movie set has been plagued by theft, and the boys have been asked to investigate.

The boys also learn that a ghost haunts Skeleton Island.  A girl was struck by lightning while riding the carousel on Skeleton Island many years ago, and her ghost haunts the carousel.  Meanwhile, the boys find themselves helping a new friend, Chris, hunt for pirate gold.

I like how an imposter picks up the boys at the airport and strands them on a small island at night during a storm.  Perfect!

This book has the feel of one of the very good Trixie Belden books, which is the series of which these books remind me the most.  A big reason is the camaraderie of the three boys, and the fact that they are the members of an organization which is similar to a club.  The boys have to do chores in the Jones Salvage Yard, just like how Trixie and her friends have to do chores.

These books do not feel like the typical boys' series book, so I find that I am liking them a lot, more than any boys' series book that I have read.  That means that I am enjoying them more than the Ken Holt series, which is considered a top boys' series.  Trixie Belden is my favorite girls' series right behind Nancy Drew.  Any series that gives me an experience similar to reading the Trixie Belden books ranks high indeed.

This book is exciting and engaging from start to finish.

Both of these books are outstanding.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Nancy Drew Girl Detective #27 Intruder, #28 Mardi Gras Masquerade, and #29 Stolen Bones

In Nancy Drew Girl Detective #27, Intruder, George's mom is to cater a tea party benefit for the library.  The tea party will take place at Cardinal Corners, a new bed-and-breakfast.  The sponsors are worried that the tea party may have to be canceled, because strange noises have been heard at night in Cardinal Corners, and the owners are certain that someone has been entering the old mansion.  Some people fear that the mansion is haunted.

This book is very much like the older Nancy Drew books with Nancy investigating what could be a haunted house.  On page 38, she receives a warning phone call, just like in the old stories.  The girls explore a secret passage.

This is a very good book in the spirit of the older Nancy Drew books.  I just wish that the book had a better title.  I found better titles within the passages of the book.  From page 27, I found "The Ghost of Cardinal Corners."  From page 140, I found "The Riddle of the Broken Teapots."  Aside from the title, this book is great.

In Nancy Drew Girl Detective #28, Mardi Gras Masquerade, a masquerade party is to be held at Jackson Ayers' old mansion.  The purpose of the party is to raise funds for repairs to his home so that it can be listed in the Antique Homes Registry.

Soon after the party begins, mysterious events occur.  George is thrilled, because she brought her camera and hopes to get a picture of a ghost.  Deirdre Shannon is obnoxious as ever, and shortly into the party, a borrowed tiara is stolen from Deirdre.  Nancy races to find the culprit before the party guests leave.

Most of this book takes place in one evening at a party in an old mansion.  I really like the setup.  It felt kind of like I was in a Nancy Drew game, exploring an old mansion.  The mansion even has a solarium!

This book is outstanding.

In Nancy Drew Girl Detective #29, Nancy, Bess, and George assist at a paleontology dig in New Mexico.  Dinosaur bones can be worth millions of dollars, and soon, valuable bones are stolen from the dig.  Is the culprit one of the volunteers or someone else?  Nancy investigates.

I wondered about the dig's water source partway through the story.  The volunteers go to their vehicles to get water from jugs.  They use that water to drink and to bathe.  Did they really bring enough to last for days?  I suppose they must have, but I'm a bit skeptical.

This book is also outstanding.

I find it interesting how wonderful these three books are, because they are the last three books before a permanent format change to the series.  From #30 on, the series is set up in a series of trilogies.  The cover art also changes, and not necessarily for the better.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

The Age-Old Discussion of What Should Be Read

Recently, an article was published by Slate which was written in order to create lots of traffic by enraging readers so much that they would write articles and link back to the original article.  The article worked quite well, generating dozens of links and much discussion.  Here's a link to the Slate article followed by my response.

Against YA:  Read whatever you want. But you should feel embarrassed when what you’re reading was written for children.

Alrighty then.  I don't feel embarrassed to read children's and young adult books, although I don't tell everyone.  Sometimes it's not worth the effort.  Sometimes I don't feel like having to explain why to the narrow-minded people.  They won't get it no matter what I say.

I have noticed that many adults who don't read children's books do read young adult books, including members of my faculty.  So I'm not alone although I do take it quite a bit further than anyone else I know.  The target audience of this blog, however, reads just as many children's books as I do.

Several good rebuttals were posted in the aftermath of the original article.

No, you do not have to be ashamed of reading young adult fiction
Let's All Just Read More Great Books, YA Or Not
This Is Why Young Adult Books Are Not Only Acceptable, But Beneficial For Adults
In Praise of Reading Whatever the Hell You Want
Really? Are We Still Genre Shaming People For The Books They Like?
I Write Young Adult Novels, and I Refuse to Apologize for It

The readers' comments are the best part of each article, because they tell us what people really think.  The following statement from C. S. Lewis was heavily quoted throughout the comments.
"Critics who treat 'adult' as a term of approval, instead of as a merely descriptive term, cannot be adult themselves. To be concerned about being grown up, to admire the grown up because it is grown up, to blush at the suspicion of being childish; these things are the marks of childhood and adolescence. And in childhood and adolescence they are, in moderation, healthy symptoms. Young things ought to want to grow. But to carry on into middle life or even into early manhood this concern about being adult is a mark of really arrested development. When I was ten, I read fairy tales in secret and would have been ashamed if I had been found doing so. Now that I am fifty I read them openly. When I became a man I put away childish things, including the fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown up."
Really, that's all that needs to be said.  People who point fingers at others and claim that their actions are immature are, in fact, the immature ones.  I didn't realize until reading all of this discussion that the young adult category has exploded in recent years and that more of the books are purchased by adults, like me, than by teenagers.  According to a recent study, 55% of the people who purchase young adult books are adults and 78% of those adults report that they have purchased the books for themselves.  The stigma against reading young people's books is not nearly what it once was. 

I prefer young adult books rather than adult books because I don't want the adult level of sex and violence in my books.  I enjoy the young adult dystopian novels, especially the ones with zombies.  Those do have violence and some gore, but since the books are young adult books, they don't take the gore all the way to the extreme.  I want a good story without the gratuitous sex and violence.

Some of the comments to the articles stated that there is nothing wrong with reading young adult books, but then the statement was qualified with as long as that's not the only type of book being read.  Others phrased it slightly differently, stating that there could be a problem with reading young adult books but only if the reader was reading nothing other than those books.  Exactly why is that a problem?

This spring I read only Nancy Drew softcover books.  I read them at the rate of one per day from February through early May.  Since I wasn't reading anything else, according to these people, there was something wrong with me.  Really?  I bet those of you who have enjoyed the reviews haven't minded at all that I read all of those books.

Now I'm reading only the Three Investigators books in order from #1-43.  I suppose that is equally bad, right? There must be something wrong with me.  No... no, there isn't.

I do better when I read every book in a series in rapid succession.  A few years back, I was reading and reviewing the Grace Harlowe series for this blog.  I made the mistake of reading other books in between reading the Grace Harlowe books.  The result was that I got massively sidetracked and never finished reading and reviewing the Grace Harlowe books.  That's a shame.

I freely admit that I haven't read any books for adults in a long time.  I'm not sure what the last one was.  Years ago I read novels by Charles Dickens, Thomas Hardy, and others, but I've been caught up on series books and young adult books for a long time.  I should go back and read some more of the classics, but that's not a current priority.  Maybe someday.

These days I prefer reading books that are easy to read, where I don't have to think hard.  I'm exhausted at the end of each work day, and quite honestly, I don't have the energy to read a scholarly tome.

Books have always been escapism for me.  I read what interests me, regardless of the reading level.  Isn't that the way it should be?

Friday, June 20, 2014

Series Book Questions Spring 2014

All questions are in my words and are not direct quotes from private messages.

Is the book really hard cover and does it have a dust jacket?

I had someone ask me this and a similar question about two different books.  I guess they don't trust sellers to tell the truth.  The first book was a paperback, and the question asked whether the book might be a hardcover instead.  No, I was telling the truth in the listing, believe it or not.  The second question was phrased more like the one above and was about a hardcover book with dust jacket.  Yes, the book really was a hardcover with dust jacket which should have been apparent from the photo provided.  As expected, this person never made a purchase.  They never do.

Do you provide tracking numbers for your items?

I do.  Here's the deal:  In some cases, all you have to do is look at a listing page to know when a seller definitely provides tracking numbers.  Right after my user ID on eBay is the "top-rated seller plus" logo.  Sellers who have that rating must provide tracking numbers for at least 90% of their transactions.  I can assure you that most any seller with that rating provides the tracking numbers for close to 100% of their transactions, not just 90%.

I want to sell my childhood Nancy Drew books.  I don't want to use eBay.  Would a library want them? 

I decided to respond as follows, since this person had already eliminated eBay as an option.
Libraries probably would not loan them out, but most libraries do take donations that they then sell at their library book sales. So that would be one possibility.

Another one is if you have any used book stores in your area. If so, they might be interested in purchasing the books.
I really wanted to suggest that she consider using eBay.  That's what I usually tell people, but around 50% of the people who contact me about what to do with their books say that they don't want to use eBay.  Oh, well.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

The Three Investigators #3 Whispering Mummy and #4 Green Ghost

In the Three Investigators #3, The Mystery of the Whispering Mummy, Jupiter, Pete, and Bob are asked to solve the mystery of an Egyptian mummy that whispers.  Reputedly, the mummy is cursed.  The boys learn that two representatives from the House of Hamid from Libya are seeking to reclaim the mummy, with the belief that it is an ancestor.

This is the first book where the cover art truly portrays the boys as having distinctive physical traits.  Finally, I can visualize the three boys as different from each other and see them the way they are supposed to appear.  The first two books are not helpful in that respect.

In the introduction by Alfred Hitchcock, Hitchcock states that he "deplore[s] the modern trend toward coddling youth."  If people thought that youth were being coddled in 1965, then what about now?  I'd say that it's gotten worse.

On page 94, the professor states, "But who would want to steal an ancient Egyptian mummy?  It surely has no commercial value."  I found that remark strange.  A 3,000-year-old artifact would have value.

This book seemed quite familiar to me.  I thought that The Mystery of the Green Ghost was the only Three Investigators book that I read as a child, but I now believe that I must have read this book.  I just knew what was going to happen next at several points during the book.  I had to have read it before.

In the Three Investigators #4, The Mystery of the Green Ghost, the abandoned home of Matthias Green is being torn down.  Demolition is partially complete when Pete and Bob visit the home at night along with a number of strangers.  A green ghost appears and disappears into a wall!  The Three Investigators seek out the cause of the ghostly apparition.

On page 82, the boys ride by the nearly empty grape fields where at least one hundred men should be picking grapes.  Instead, only around a dozen men are picking.  I couldn't help thinking of how different the scene would have played out if this had been a Stratemeyer Syndicate book.  If this had been a Syndicate book, the boys would have single-handedly managed to get all the grapes picked and somehow solved the mystery at the same time. 

I have always thought that The Mystery of the Green Ghost was the only Three Investigators book that I read as a child, but the book did not seem familiar to me aside from possibly the opening scene.  So now I'm not sure whether I read it or not. 

The middle part of the story is very exciting, particularly when the boys are escaping through the tunnels.  I found the explanation of the mystery a bit too long for my taste, although I overall greatly enjoyed the book.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Nancy Drew Girl Detective #24 Murder on the Set, #25 Trails of Treachery, and #26 Fishing for Clues

In Nancy Drew Girl Detective, #24, Murder on the Set, a Hollywood movie plagued by problems is being filmed in River Heights.

This is an obvious retread of #5 Lights, Camera... and #6 Action!, except that in this book, everyone behaves in a bizarre, emotional, and even trashy way.  Bess is practically hysterical about the idea of being a stand-in and keeps saying, "Omigosh!"  She screams and acts giddy.  When Nancy gets cast instead, Bess is angry with her and sulks and cries.

Bess should have understood that Nancy got herself cast because of an investigation, but of course Nancy doesn't explain herself.  Supposedly Bess is untrustworthy and cannot ever keep a secret.  Then why has Nancy confided in her in all of the other books?

Nancy claims that she has stage fright.  Bess says that Nancy was good in the musical, Grease, a year before.  I wondered why they didn't mention the film from #5 Lights, Camera... and #6 Action!  It's like it never happened...

Both the director and star of the film act like they are smitten with Nancy.  The director asks Nancy out, and the lead actor kisses Nancy on the lips.  Ned sees the kiss and is devastated.  This happens on page 76.  I stopped reading in the middle of the page and thought, "What, is this a damn soap opera?"

So anyway, Ned avoids Nancy from that point on.  He won't answer his phone, and Nancy doesn't try that hard to set things right. 

Needless to say, this book has serious continuity problems.  I felt like I was reading a Nancy Drew Files book and an annoying one at that.

I did not care for the first half of the book.  The discontinuities were way too distracting.  Once I was towards two-thirds of the way into the story, I began to greatly enjoy it.  The last part of the book is quite thrilling.  Someone is murdered, and it happens quickly and unexpectedly.

While I enjoyed the book towards the end, I do not consider this book to be that good.  It is way too bizarre to be considered good.

In Nancy Drew Girl Detective #25, Trails of Treachery, George plans to compete in a grueling bike race across very rough terrain in Costa Rica.  Nancy and Bess are to ride as George's support team.  Soon, Nancy learns that someone is trying to prevent top competitor Derek Woodhall from winning.  Nancy and Bess devote much of their time to trying to find out who is sabotaging Derek's race.

The bike race is grueling and insane and just about kills George.  I found it quite unbelievable that George would even attempt this kind of race.  It is very extreme. 

Even though the bike race is improbable, this is a very good book.

In Nancy Drew Girl Detective #26, Fishing for Clues, Ned's digital camera has been stolen.  Next, Ned's laptop is stolen.  Nancy investigates.

This mystery didn't really grab me.  Ned's various digital devices went missing.  While this was a shame, I felt no sense of urgency.

George is so psycho about running a marathon with Nancy and Bess in this book and forces Bess and George into grueling training.  This is rather strange, and it would have made more sense for this book to have been sequenced before #25 Trails of Treachery

On page 98, Nancy puts a toxic waste sample in her bag.  Yikes.  This reminds me of the toxic waste situation from The Flying Saucer Mystery.

This book is mediocre.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

May 2014 Book Finds

In May, I made a few nice book finds.  Here is the first one from May 17.

The Tom Swift book was purchased just because it was there.  The Beverly Gray book did not appear to have a jacket, but I noticed paper sticking out of the book and investigated.  The jacket was in four pieces but present, so I purchased the book.  It has good quality paper.

The set of Trixie Belden books came from one location and was a surprise.  I went to an estate sale because I saw Nancy Drew books in one picture.  I knew that the books probably weren't special, but I had to go see them just in case.  This is the picture that made me have to go to the sale.  The Nancy Drew books can be easily spotted in the right side of the bookcase on the second shelf from the top.

A girl was standing up on the ledge on the left side looking at books when I arrived.  As she stood there looking at books, I checked the Nancy Drew books.  The books were not worth getting since they were very ordinary copies from the late 1970s.  I then glanced in front of the girl and saw all the Trixie Belden books.  In the above photo, they are in the left half of the bookcase on the fourth shelf from the top towards the left side of that shelf.  They look like nondescript beige-colored books in the photo, and in short, look like nothing.  They were worth getting, not the Nancy Drew books that I went to the sale just to see.

By the way, people who run estate sales rarely take good photos of the books.  They don't realize that we need closer photos in order to have any idea whether the sale is worth checking.  They think it's okay to take a photo from all the way across the room.  They're just books, right?  Why take a good picture?  In my case, most sales are all the way across the city, and I don't go to most of them.  I only went to this one because the Nancy Drew books were so obvious.

Getting back to the Trixie Belden books, they were in rather nice shape, most of them with very light wear.  A few had lightly creased spines.  The books were in nice enough shape that I pulled my Trixie Belden softcover books down to compare.  I discovered that 20 of the 24 books were in better shape than my copies! 

The following picture shows the books that I will end up selling.  The first four at the left came from the lot of 24 books and are not in better shape than my books.  The next 20 books are my books that are in worse shape than the books I just purchased. 

The difference in condition cannot be appreciated by looking at the spines, but the books I am selling are in noticeably worse shape.  Additionally, my copies have paper that is more yellowed than the ones I just purchased.

I found these books on May 23 and May 24.

The Girls' Annual was published in the United Kingdom by Collins and contains short stories.  The Vicki Barr book is likely the first printing, since it has yellowed pulp paper.  The Clue in the Old Album has double oval endpapers, but the cover art is the last art, which is a bit difficult to find.  The Mystery at Lilac Inn is in rough shape but has the $1 box on the front cover.  It is one of the more difficult to find $1 box Nancy Drew books.  The Mystery at the Ski Jump is the first picture cover printing.

I was startled when I found the Judy Bolton picture cover books.  I don't get startled easily when out looking for books, not even when I find scarce books.  I was looking over the books when my eyes fell on the Judy Bolton books, and I read the two words "Sand Castle."  I blinked hard, and my head jerked in my surprise.  I was quite taken aback. 

I very seldom see Judy Bolton picture cover books locally.  I have found one or more copies of #1, 2, and 3 locally at various times over the years.  Not counting those three titles, I haven't found any Judy Bolton picture cover books locally in 20 years.  I found #23 locally in 1992, followed by #11 in 1993, and #18 in 1994.  That's why I was so startled when I spotted The Secret of the Sand Castle.

I have owned all three books since the late 1990s, all purchased on eBay.  However, consider if I had been someone who had never purchased on the internet and had relied solely on in-person book finds.  May 23, 2014 would have been the day I would have acquired Judy Bolton #36, 37, and 38 for my collection had I not purchased them years ago on eBay.  Even though the Judy Bolton books are not in the best condition, the find is still quite astonishing.

I purchased these Random House Trixie Belden reprints on May 27.

I quit purchasing the Random House reprints at #9.  I didn't see the point.  This is a frequent occurrence for me with new books.  All new items are easy to find when they are new, which is part of the problem.  I like having to hunt for books.  I also sometimes wonder why I am purchasing the new books when I like the older ones better, and I wonder if I really do want them.  So I quit.  Now, eight years after the books went out of print, I have decided that I wouldn't mind having them.  I am now filling in the gaps, and I must say that buying them is more satisfying now that I have to look for them. 

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

The Three Investigators #1 Terror Castle and #2 Stuttering Parrot

I recall reading one or two volumes in the Three Investigators series when I was a child.  I don't recall much about them, but I do know that I was never interested in reading any others.

I learned early in my collecting that the Three Investigators series is very desirable, and the books usually sell for good prices in the hardcover editions and are even in demand in the softcover editions.  I have sold quite a few Three Investigators books over the last 17 years and never had the desire to collect them.  I think this was because I didn't have any particular memory of the books I read as a child and didn't think I liked them enough to want to read any others.

The Hardy Boys series may also be to blame.  I have read most of the original text Hardy Boys books, and the books are good.  However, the books aren't favorites because the boys have a lot of fistfights, and that sort of scene is not appealing to me.  I have always regarded the Three Investigators as a boys' series, and I have never liked boys' series as much as girls' series.

I made one large find of Three Investigators books in hardcover in October 2012.  I planned to sell the books, as usual, but I realized that I had never had so many all at once.  I knew that I needed to read at least one or two to make absolutely certain that I didn't want to keep the books.  In December 2012, I read the first two books and enjoyed them.  I decided to keep the books from my big find.

I have just finished reading the Three Investigators #1, The Secret of Terror Castle, for the second time.  The plan is to read through the entire series.  I am not going to get into great detail in my reviews and will mainly just mention my general thoughts.  I have read many books that I have never reviewed in this blog because I felt that I had to write up detailed reviews.  A few years ago, I read the entire Ken Holt series and never wrote up a single post about it.  By keeping the reviews simple and sometimes very short, more reviews get written.  Better to write a little bit than nothing at all.

In The Secret of Terror Castle, Jupiter Jones, Pete Crenshaw, and Bob Andrews form the Three Investigators agency.  The boys print up business cards and plan to investigate a wide variety of mysteries.  They approach Alfred Hitchcock first and try to find a haunted house for him to use in a few film.  The boys investigate Terror Castle, and of course, discover a mystery.

I always like to compare series books when I read them, and I noticed some similarities to the Trixie Belden series.  Jupiter likes to speak in an intellectual fashion and uses big words like Mart Belden.  On page 68, Pete complains about Jupiter's choice of words.
"Our exit," Jupiter remarked, "is effectively barricaded."

"Even at a time like this you use long words!" Pete complained.  "Why don't you just say we can't get out?  We're stuck."
I also noticed that Pete uses "gleeps," which is one of Trixie Belden's interjections. 

I like how the book segues into the next book.  Alfred Hitchcock is used to introduce each mystery.  The boys report back to Hitchcock in the last chapter, and in the final chapter of this book, Hitchcock mentions the missing parrot.

In #2, The Mystery of the Stuttering Parrot, Alfred Hitchcock tells the boys that a friend of his has a missing parrot. The boys begin their investigation and discover that the bird is one of seven birds, and each bird speaks a clue to a hidden treasure.

I like how each of the three boys plays an important role in the Three Investigators.  Jupiter has the brains, and Bob is great at research.  Pete has athletic ability, but we learn on page 164 that Pete has another strength.  Pete and Jupiter have been enveloped by fog.  Jupiter may be the brains behind the Three Investigators, but here, we see that Pete has a better sense of direction. 
[Pete] pointed.  Jupiter just shook his head.  To him, in the fog, all directions now looked alike.

"How do you know?"  he asked.

"I just know," Pete said.  Jupiter believed him.  When it came to finding directions or following trails, Pete was an acknowledged expert.  Even at night he could keep a direction by some kind of inner sense, where Jupiter, even by daytime, could easily get lost.
I enjoyed this story.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

The Three Investigators Series List of Titles

The Three Investigators series consists of 43 titles.  The series was created by Robert Arthur and was intended to be better than series books like the Hardy Boys.  He wrote 10 books until his failing health and subsequent death ended his involvement in the series.

#1-28 were published in hardcover trade editions.  #29-43 were published in softcover editions.  #29-43 were made available in hardcover library editions to libraries, and those books are extremely hard to find and usually surface in poor condition.  This series has been largely unaffected by the huge drop in series book prices that began in 2008.  These books still sell for very strong prices, including most of the lower-numbered titles and especially the higher-numbered titles. 

  1. The Secret of Terror Castle, 1964, Robert Arthur
  2. The Mystery of the Stuttering Parrot, 1964, Robert Arthur
  3. The Mystery of the Whispering Mummy, 1965, Robert Arthur
  4. The Mystery of the Green Ghost, 1965, Robert Arthur
  5. The Mystery of the Vanishing Treasure, 1966, Robert Arthur
  6. The Secret of Skeleton Island, 1966, Robert Arthur
  7. The Mystery of the Fiery Eye, 1967, Robert Arthur
  8. The Mystery of the Silver Spider, 1967, Robert Arthur
  9. The Mystery of the Screaming Clock, 1968, Robert Arthur
10.  The Mystery of the Moaning Cave, 1968, William Arden (Dennis Lynds)
11.  The Mystery of the Talking Skull, 1969, Robert Arthur
12.  The Mystery of the Laughing Shadow, 1969, William Arden (Dennis Lynds)
13.  The Secret of the Crooked Cat, 1970, William Arden (Dennis Lynds)
14.  The Mystery of the Coughing Dragon, 1970, Nick West (Kin Platt)
15.  The Mystery of the Flaming Footprints, 1971, M. V. Carey (Mary Virginia Carey)
16.  The Mystery of the Nervous Lion, 1971, Nick West (Kin Platt)
17.  The Mystery of the Singing Serpent, 1972, M. V. Carey (Mary Virginia Carey)
18.  The Mystery of the Shrinking House, 1972, William Arden (Dennis Lynds)
19.  The Secret of Phantom Lake, 1973, William Arden (Dennis Lynds)
20.  The Mystery of Monster Mountain, 1973, M. V. Carey (Mary Virginia Carey)
21.  The Secret of the Haunted Mirror, 1974, M. V. Carey (Mary Virginia Carey)
22.  The Mystery of the Dead Man's Riddle, 1974, William Arden (Dennis Lynds)
23.  The Mystery of the Invisible Dog, 1975, M. V. Carey (Mary Virginia Carey)
24.  The Mystery of Death Trap Mine, 1976, M. V. Carey (Mary Virginia Carey)
25.  The Mystery of the Dancing Devil, 1976, William Arden (Dennis Lynds)
26.  The Mystery of the Headless Horse, 1977, William Arden (Dennis Lynds)
27.  The Mystery of the Magic Circle, 1978, M. V. Carey (Mary Virginia Carey)
28.  The Mystery of the Deadly Double, 1978, William Arden (Dennis Lynds)
29.  The Mystery of the Sinister Scarecrow, 1979, M. V. Carey (Mary Virginia Carey)
30.  The Secret of Shark Reef, 1979, William Arden (Dennis Lynds)
31.  The Mystery of the Scar-Faced Beggar, 1981, M. V. Carey (Mary Virginia Carey)
32.  The Mystery of the Blazing Cliffs, 1981, M. V. Carey (Mary Virginia Carey)
33.  The Mystery of the Purple Pirate, 1982, William Arden (Dennis Lynds)
34.  The Mystery of the Wandering Cave Man, 1982, M. V. Carey (Mary Virginia Carey)
35.  The Mystery of the Kidnapped Whale, 1983, Marc Brandel (Marcus Breresford)
36.  The Mystery of the Missing Mermaid, 1983, M. V. Carey (Mary Virginia Carey)
37.  The Mystery of the Two-Toed Pigeon, 1984, Marc Brandel (Marcus Breresford)
38.  The Mystery of the Smashing Glass, 1984, William Arden (Dennis Lynds)
39.  The Mystery of the Trail of Terror, 1984, M. V. Carey (Mary Virginia Carey)
40.  The Mystery of the Rogues' Reunion, 1985, Marc Brandel (Marcus Breresford)
41.  The Mystery of the Creep-Show Crooks, 1985, M. V. Carey (Mary Virginia Carey)
42.  The Mystery of Wreckers' Rock, 1986, William Arden (Dennis Lynds)
43.  The Mystery of the Cranky Collector, 1987, M. V. Carey (Mary Virginia Carey)

If you are interested in learning more about this series, please visit these sites.

The Three Investigators U.S. Editions Collector Site 
The Three Investigators
Three Investigators: Green Gate One

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Nancy Drew #21 Close Encounters, #22 Dressed to Steal, and #23 Troubled Waters

In Nancy Drew Girl Detective #21, Close Encounters, Nancy, Bess, and George vacation in Vermont and discover themselves in the middle of a media frenzy.  UFOs have been sighted!  Several people have been abducted, and aliens are suspected of abducting them.  Nancy is skeptical and tries to prove that the UFOs are fake.

In the beginning of the story, Nancy and her friends arrive in the town having heard nothing about the UFOs.  The story hasn't made the national news, yet the town is mobbed by tourists.  Right...

The story mentions that the FBI is investigating.  I have this idea that the FBI is at least somewhat competent.  So, the culprits' gear that was used to create the UFOs was stored right nearby, as in extremely close to where the UFOs appeared.  I find it rather hard to believe that the FBI would not have already searched there.  Needless to say, Nancy is the one who finds the gear.

This book did not interest me.  I knew that the UFOs would be fake for certain, unless the book went off in a bizarre direction.  Since I knew that the UFOs were fake, I was not interested.

I began to enjoy the book around three-fourths of the way through when the mystery finally switched to Nancy trying to solve the abductions.

In Nancy Drew Girl Detective #22, Dressed to Steal, Charlie Adams' sister, Alicia,  has opened a new boutique in River Heights.  Alicia knows that she will have lots of business just by word-of-mouth, but someone tells all the media outlets about the grand opening.  The store is practically stampeded on opening day, and someone vandalizes the store.  A very expensive dress is destroyed, and Nancy decides to investigate.

I found this book just to be average.  It did not overly interest me, although the story was okay.

In Nancy Drew Girl Detective #23, Troubled Waters, heavy rains have caused flooding on the outskirts of River Heights, and hundreds of people are now homeless.  A charity organization is transforming an old foundry into apartments.  Nancy, Bess, and George volunteer.

Someone begins vandalizing the foundry, setting the work back.  Nancy investigates and soon realizes that the vandal is after something valuable hidden at the foundry. 

Bess is supposed to be very knowledgeable about construction work.  In the early titles in the series, she is depicted as very handy with tools, and she fixes things like door hinges.  On page 31, Bess asks what Sheetrock is.  That's a continuity error.  Bess would know better than anyone.  Someone other than Bess should have asked the question.

I enjoyed this book from start to finish.  It is outstanding.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Recent eBay Purchases Spring 2014

In January, I purchased a hardcover edition of Barbee Oliver Carleton's book, The Witches' Bridge.

The book is in rough shape and is a library discard.  The book is more commonly seen as a softcover edition titled The Mystery of the Witches' Bridge

In March, I acquired a hardcover library edition of Nancy Drew #151, The Chocolate-Covered Contest.  While not in the best shape, the book is a hardcover.  The hardcover books are quite difficult to find for most titles above #120. 

I purchased seven different French editions of the Nancy Drew Girl Detective books.  I like the cover art.

This next purchase is a recommended checklist of girls series books put out by the University of Minnesota.

The entire text of the book is available on the University of Minnesota website, and I have used their website for years.  Scroll on down the page to find the checklist of titles.  Unfortunately, they have a habit of moving the checklist around, which means that I have had to search for it at times.  I prefer having an actual hard copy of the information.  At least the information in my copy won't be moving around where I can't find it.

I purchased a likely first printing of the Dana Girls book, A Three-Cornered Mystery.

I am continuing my random quest to acquire Hardy Boys books with white spine dust jackets.  I am not looking for first printings.  Original jackets that are in at least the low-end of the condition I seek as well as a lower price are the key factors.

I also acquired these two Norwegian books.

The first book is the Nancy Drew book, The Spider Sapphire Mystery.  The second book is the Dana Girls book, The Secret of the Jade Ring.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Nancy Drew Girl Detective #18 Pit of Vipers, #19 Orchid Thief, and #20 Getting Burned

In Nancy Drew Girl Detective #18, Pit of Vipers, Charlie Adams has been arrested for stealing a poisonous snake from the River Heights Zoo.  Nancy cannot believe that Charlie is guilty, yet the snake was found inside his home.  Charlie's boss plans to fire him, so Nancy must do all she can to prove him innocent.  Unfortunately, all of Nancy's evidence points strongly to Charlie's guilt.

Check out Bess on page 39.
Bess stepped forward, flashing the young man her most charming dimpled smile.  "Oh, but we're such reptile fans!" she cooed.  Peering at the name tag on his uniform, she tilted her head at him.  "Couldn't you help us out, Richard—pretty please?  We promise we won't get in the way. . . ."  Her eyelashes fluttered slightly as she gazed at him imploringly.
That entire paragraph could have been lifted out of a Sweet Valley High book.  Without a doubt, Bess has turned into Jessica Wakefield.

I cared about the plot because Charlie is a recurring character.  I wanted Nancy to find him innocent. I was eager to see the culprit revealed, even though I had a strong suspicion who it would be.  I thoroughly enjoyed this book.

In Nancy Drew Girl Detective #19, The Orchid Thief, Nancy's friend, Delia Duke, invites Nancy, Bess, and George to the Florida Keys for a vacation.  Delia asks Nancy to help her find the poachers of a rare type of orchid.  Meanwhile, George spends her time with treasure hunters who are looking for a sunken Spanish ship.

Bess and George are prone to fairly significant disagreements in this series.  They have always been portrayed as opposites and have always given each other a hard time.  It goes much further in this series.  In this book, they have strong disagreements over George's insistence about joining the treasure hunt for the Spanish ship.

This book reads like a very good Nancy Drew Digest book.  I greatly enjoyed this book.

In Nancy Drew Girl Detective #20, Getting Burned, the River Heights animal shelter just burned down, and arson is suspected.  The animal shelter is a no-kill shelter, and if funds are not raised very quickly, then the animals will be put to death at a nearby shelter.

Nancy and her friends help plan a benefit concert so that money can be raised fast.  The plan may not be successful, because someone is trying to sabotage the concert.

This book has lots of drama with Deirdre, which I enjoyed.  While I don't have much to say about this book, I really enjoyed it.

Bulk Lots of Series Books Just Listed on eBay

I have listed some bulk lots on eBay.  Here are direct links.

13 Vintage Nancy Drew books Containing 15 Stories
6 White Spine Dana Girls Books #1, 7, 8, 10, 12, 15
9 Judy Bolton Tweed Books #1,2,7,10,11,12,13,21,27
4 Judy Bolton Tweed Books #1, 2, 10, and 13
8 Vintage Trixie Belden Books
8 Nancy Drew Book Club Edition PCs
12 Vintage Series Books Dana Girls Tom Swift Judy Bolton Vicki Barr

To see all of my books on eBay, follow this link.

Jennifer's Series Books on eBay

Too see all of my books on Bonanza, follow this link.

Jennifer's Series Books on Bonanza

On Bonanza, I have a coupon code that can be applied from any item page.  You will find the link near the price.  I also still have free bookmarks and Nancy Drew pins.  You can get one per book purchased.  If you plan to purchase one book, you can get one free item.  If you plan to purchase two books, you can get two free items, and so on.  Here are links to the categories that contain the free bookmarks and Nancy Drew pins.

Free Bookmarks
Free Nancy Drew Pins