Thursday, September 18, 2014

The Three Investigators #31 Scar-Faced Beggar and #32 Blazing Cliffs

In the Three Investigators #31, The Mystery of the Scar-Faced Beggar, Bob witnesses a bank robbery and suspects that a scar-faced beggar who was nearby helped provide a distraction.  The beggar drops a wallet that belongs to someone named Hector Sebastian.  At first the Three Investigators think Sebastian is the beggar, but they later learn that the wallet was lost by Sebastian and likely picked up by the beggar.

This book caught my attention better than the last book but mainly because it introduces Hector Sebastian, the fictitious famous writer who takes the place of Alfred Hitchcock.  While I enjoyed learning about Hector Sebastian, I found the overall story not to be particularly interesting. The book is quite uneven. I alternatively enjoyed and didn't enjoy parts all through the book.  Sections dragged for me, and I was bored.  Then, I would get interested again, followed by more boredom.

This book is an example of what happens when a story is built around a gimmick.  This was the first book published after Alfred Hitchcock's death, and the publisher wished to write him out of the series while introducing the new character, Hector Sebastian.  The lost wallet provided the means for the boys to be introduced to Sebastian, and a mystery was written around the missing wallet.

I knew that I had experienced a similar story recently that was written around a gimmick.  I mentally reviewed what I have read during recent months, and I finally realized that I was thinking of the Nancy Drew game, The Shattered Medallion.  The mystery was weak in that game, because the game was built around the gimmick of Sonny Joon's first real-life appearance in a Nancy Drew game.  This book turned out the same way, although I enjoyed the Nancy Drew game far more than I did this book.

I skimmed some parts of this book, because I wanted it to be over.  This book is mediocre. 

In the Three Investigators #32, The Mystery of the Blazing Cliffs, Charles Barron and his wife make some purchases at the Jones Salvage Yard for their ranch.  Mr. Barron has made his ranch self-sufficient, because he believes that the world's economic system will soon collapse, resulting in chaos.  He believes that currency will be worthless and that people must buy gold.  Mrs. Barron believes that a superior alien race will be coming to take the chosen people away right as a catastrophic event occurs.

The Three Investigators help deliver Mr. Barron's purchases to his ranch, and shortly after they arrive, the military closes off all roads.  Nobody is allowed to leave, and a UFO is spotted in the nearby hills.  Apparently, Mr. and Mrs. Barron's predictions have come true!  The Three Investigators suspect a hoax and set out to prove it.

This book starts off good and flows quite well from start to finish.  The book starts in the Jones Salvage Yard, just like all Three Investigators books should.  The investigation begins as a result of junk that the boys help deliver to a ranch.  The book grabbed my attention immediately, just as a book should, and kept my attention throughout the story.

I don't think much of series books with UFOs, but this book is an exception.  I was skeptical about this book at first, and I was most pleasantly surprised.

Mr. Barron believes that the world will come to an end, so he has stockpiled his ranch with weapons and fuel.  He is totally self-sufficient.  This part is very plausible today, since many people are currently doing this.

Mr. Barron is hilarious.  All through the book, he delivers quite a few spectacular one-liners that made me laugh.  This book is extremely funny and engaging.

This book is absolutely outstanding.

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