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.


TimK said...

I'm glad you're reading and reviewing these books. I've only read a few of them, but they're some of my favorites.

One of the things I've always liked about them is that each of the three boys has strengths and weaknesses. Your review here has a great example of that.

I have about five of the books, and I've read one other one at the house of a friend when I was visiting, but I need to get some more of these to read.

Sean said...

I'm fortunate enough to own these treasures! I have the entire T3i series, all but books #38 & 39 of Trixie Belden, and all of the Wanderer Bobbsey Twins, and the New Bobbsey Twins series. I am currently rereading these books and it is such a pleasure!

The only modern series that comes close to being as fun as Michael Biel's "Red Blazer Girls" series which sadly only has 4 books