The Three Investigators:
Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Series
Created by Robert Arthur, Jr.

Purists may snicker, and suggest there's no real reason to include this series, written for kids, on this site. But it was a damn fine series, and I read as many of 'em as I could find as a kid. And I wasn't the only one.

A latter-day Hardy Boys that first saw the light of day in the 1960s and 1970s. The basic premise is that three boys, JUPITER JONES (the smart one), and his buddies, BOB ANDREWS and PETE CRENSHAW, set up a detective agency, their secret headquarters is in a housetrailer buried in a junkyard ibelonging to Jupiter's uncle in Rocky Beach, California,

In fact, contributor John Heaton is prepared to forcefully argue that they, unlike those "rank amatuers Frank and Joe Hardy," are full-fledged private invesitgators who truly deserve to be included. The Three Investigators are private investigators, as defined by the PWA: they are professional detectives, and they are neither police officers nor government agents. They're even licensed, after a fashion. I don't think any other juvenile series can claim likewise, with the possible exception of Encyclopedia Brown.

The books were full of deliciously pulpy fun. The boys had the use of a gold-plated Rolls-Royce that Jupiter won in a bean-counting contest. The limo came complete with a chauffeur, Worthington, who acted as a sort of designated adult, when some sort of adult was necessary. And oh, the cases. Ghosts, counterfeiters, vampires, smugglers

Well-written with real mysteries, they were a real treat, especially compared to the sanitized rewrites that were being inflicted on The Hardy Boys at the same time. In fact, several of the books were written by Dennis Lynds (Dan Fortune's creator) under the pseudonym of William Arden, and more than a few covers (by such artists as Harry Kane, Ed Vebell, Jack Hearne and others) would have felt right at home on a pulp magazine thirty or forty years earlier.

But for some reason, the books lacked the staying power of The Hardy Boys. Some of the books were reissued in the late '80's and early '90's in the Sayes, without Alfred Hitchcock's name on them, but abroad, particularly in Germany, the Three Investigators never died.

Constant reader Victoria Esposito-Shea recently purchased the revised edition of The Green Ghost (#4) for her young daughter, and they both found it pretty readable. (They subsequently tore through all Victoria's old ones, and her daughter was heartbroken to find out that they're almost impossible to find anymore. However, she has converted the downstairs bathroom into a clubhouse, complete with tunnel entrance.) According to Vicky, "As nearly as I can tell from looking through the others in the bookstore, the main changes consist of removing Hitchcock and toning down some of the ickier ethnic stereotypes."

UNDER OATH

  • "Wow! What a piece of my childhood!"
    --Victoria Esposito-Shea

  • "I think these books were well-written and not just for children/young adults (I am 39 years old). In fact, I am planning on reading one within a few days, probably The Talking Skull. I am very familar with the 3 Investigators and have 23 books of the series. A few were bought new, but most I found at used-book stores. My favorites would be, The Mystery of ... The Green Ghost, Moaning Cave, Talking Skull, and Coughing Dragon. The oldest in my collection is Green Ghost. I've had this one for about 30 years. Other of my favorites... Whispering Mummy, Vanishing Treasure and Monster Mountain. These books are getting hard to find, maybe because I have most of them already."
    -- Tony Gaudenti

NOVELS

............

Alfred Hitchcock and The Three Investigators in...

  • #1: The Secret Of Terror Castle (1964, by Robert Arthur)
  • #2: The Mystery Of The Stuttering Parrot (1964, by Robert Arthur)
  • #3: The Mystery Of The Whispering Mummy (1965, by Robert Arthur)
  • #4: The Mystery Of The Green Ghost (1965, by Robert Arthur)
  • #5: The Mystery Of The Vanishing Treasure (1966, by Robert Arthur)
  • #6: The Secret Of Skeleton Island (1966, by Robert Arthur)
  • #7: The Mystery Of The Fiery Eye (1967, by Robert Arthur)
  • #8: The Mystery Of The Silver Spider (1967, by Robert Arthur)
  • #9: The Mystery Of The Screaming Clock (1968, by Robert Arthur)
  • #10: The Mystery Of The Moaning Cave (1968, by William Arden). .Buy this book
  • #11: The Mystery Of The Talking Skull (1969, by Robert Arthur)
  • #12: The Mystery Of The Laughing Shadow (1969, by William Arden)
  • #13: The Secret Of The Crooked Cat (1970, by William Arden)
  • #14: The Mystery Of The Coughing Dragon (1970, by Nick West)
  • #15: The Mystery Of The Flaming Footprints (1971, by M. V. Carey)
  • #16: The Mystery Of The Nervous Lion (1971, by Nick West)
  • #17: The Mystery Of The Singing Serpent (1972, by M. V. Carey)
  • #18: The Mystery Of The Shrinking House (1972, by William Arden)
  • #19: Secret Of Phantom Lake (1973, by William Arden)
  • #20: The Mystery Of Monster Mountain (1973, by M. V. Carey)
  • #21: The Secret Of The Haunted Mirror (1974, by M. V. Carey)
  • #22: The Mystery Of The Dead Man's Riddle (1974, by William Arden)
  • #23: The Mystery Of The Invisible Dog (1975, by M. V. Carey)
  • #24: The Mystery Of Death Trap Mine (1976, by M. V. Carey)
  • #25: The Mystery Of The Dancing Devil (1976, by William Arden)
  • #26: The Mystery Of The Headless Horse (1977, by William Arden)
  • #27: The Mystery Of The Magic Circle (1978, by M. V. Carey)
  • #28: The Mystery Of The Deadly Double (1978, by William Arden)
  • #29: The Mystery Of The Sinister Scarecrow (1979, by M. V. Carey)
  • #30: The Secret Of The Shark Reef (1979, by William Arden)

The Three Investigators in ...

  • #31: The Mystery Of The Scar-Faced Beggar (1981, by M. V. Carey)
  • #32: The Mystery Of The Blazing Cliffs (1981, by M. V. Carey)
  • #33: The Mystery Of The Purple Pirate (1982, by William Arden)
  • #34: The Mystery Of The Wandering Cave Man (1982, by M. V. Carey)
  • #35: The Mystery Of The Kidnapped Whale (1983, by Marc Brandel)
  • #36: The Mystery Of The Missing Mermaid (1983,M. V. Carey)
  • #37: The Mystery Of The Two-Toed Pigeon (1984, by Marc Brandel)
  • #38: The Mystery Of The Smashing Glass (1984, by William Arden)
  • #39: The Mystery Of The Trail Of Terror (1984, by M. V. Carey)
  • #40: The Mystery Of The Rogues' Reunion (1985, by Marc Brandel)
  • #41: The Mystery Of The Creep-Show Crooks (1985, by M. V. Carey)
  • #42: The Mystery Of Wrecker's Rock (1986, by William Arden)
  • #43: The Mystery Of The Cranky Collector (1987, by M. V. Carey)

Find Your Fate Mysteries
(1985-1987)
Note: Not all of the Random House Find Your Fate Mysteries featured the Three Investigators, hence the odd numbering.

  • RH#1: Case of the Weeping Coffin (1985, by Megan Stine and H. William Stine)
  • RH#2: Case of the Dancing Dinosaur (by Rose Estes)
  • RH#7: Case of the House Of Horrors (by Megan Stine and H. William Stine)
  • RH#8: Case of the Savage Statue (1987, by M.V. Carey)

Crimebusters
(1989-1990)

  • #1: Hot Wheels (1989, by William Arden)
  • #2: Murder To Go (1989, by Megan Stine and H. William Stine)
  • #3: Rough Stuff (1989, by G.H. Stone)
  • #4: Funny Business (1989, by William MacCay)
  • #5: An Ear For Trouble (1989, by Marc Brandel
  • #6: Thriller Diller (1989, by Megan Stine and H. William Stine)
  • #7: Reel Trouble (1989, by G.H. Stone)
  • #8: Shoot the Works (1990, by William McCay)
  • #9: Foul Play (1990, by Peter Lerangis)
  • #10: Long Shot (1990, by Megan Stine and H. William Stine)
  • #11: Fatal Error (1990, by G.H. Stone)
  • #12: Brain Wash (never published)

Die Drei ???
(1993-98)
German language originals, never published in the US.)

  • #57: Tatort Zirkus (1993, by Brigitte Johanna Henkel-Waidhofer)
  • #58: und der verrckte Maler (1993, by Brigitte Johanna Henkel-Waidhofer)
  • #59: Giftiges Wasser (1993, by Brigitte Johanna Henkel-Waidhofer)
  • #60: Dopingmixer (1994, by Brigitte Johanna Henkel-Waidhofer)
  • #61: und die Rache des Tigers (1994, by Brigitte Johanna Henkel-Waidhofer)
  • #62: Spuk im Hotel (1994, by Brigitte Johanna Henkel-Waidhofer)
  • #63: Fu§ball-Gangster (1995, by Brigitte Johanna Henkel-Waidhofer)
  • #64: Geisterstadt (1995, by Brigitte Johanna Henkel-Waidhofer)
  • #65: Diamantenschmuggel (1995, by Brigitte Johanna Henkel-Waidhofer)
  • #66: und die SchattenmSnner (1995, by Brigitte Johanna Henkel-Waidhofer)
  • #67: und das Geheimnis der SSrge (1996, by Brigitte Johanna Henkel-Waidhofer)
  • #68: und der Schatz im Bergsee (1996, by Brigitte Johanna Henkel-Waidhofer)
  • #69: SpSte Rache (1996, by Brigitte Johanna Henkel-Waidhofer)
  • #70: Schsse aus dem Dunkeln (1996, by Brigitte Johanna Henkel-Waidhofer)
  • #71: und die verschwundene Seglerin (1996, by Brigitte Johanna Henkel-Waidhofer)
  • #72: Dreckiger Deal (1996, by Brigitte Johanna Henkel-Waidhofer)
  • #73: Poltergeist (1997, by Andre Marx)
  • #74: und das brennende Schwert (1997, by Andre Marx)
  • #75: Die Spur des Raben (1997, by Andre Marx)
  • #76: Stimmen aus dem Nichts (1997, by Andre Minninger)
  • #77: Pistenteufel (1997, by Ben Nevis)
  • #78: Das leere Grab (1997, by Andre Marx)
  • #79: Im Bann des Voodoo (1998, by Andre Minninger)
  • #80: Geheimsache UFO (1998, by Andre Marx)
  • #81: Verdeckte Fouls (1998, by Ben Nevis)
  • #82: Die Karten des Bssen (1998, by Andre Minninger)
  • #83: Meuterei auf hoher See (1998, by Andre Marx)
  • #84: Musik des Teufels (1998, by Andre Marx)

FILMS

  • DIE DREI??? DAS GEHEIMNID DER GEISTERINSEL...Buy this book....Watch a trailer
    (aka "
    The Three Investigatos and the Secret of Skeleton Island")
    (2007)
    Original language: German
    Based on characters created by Robert Arthur
    Story by Ronald Kruschak
    Screenplay by David Howard, Philip LaZebnik
    Directed by Florian Baxmeyer
    Starring Chancellor Miller as Jupiter Jones
    Nick Price as
    Pete Crenshaw
    and Cameron Monaghan as
    Bob Andrews
    Also starring Naima Sebe, Nigel Whitmey, Akin Omotoso, Fiona Ramsey

  • DIE DREI??? DAS VERFLUCHTE SCHLOSS.....Buy this DVD....Watch a trailer
    (aka "
    The Three Investigatos and the Secret of Terror Castle")
    (2009)
    Original language: German
    Based on characters created by Robert Arthur
    Screenplay by Aaron Mendelsohn, Philip LaZebnik
    Directed by Florian Baxmeyer
    Starring Chancellor Miller as Jupiter Jones
    Nick Price as
    Pete Crenshaw
    and Cameron Monaghan as Bob Andrews
    Also starring James Faulkner, Anette Kemp, Jonathan Pienaar, Ron Smerczak, Martin Le Maitre, Catherine Cooke, Julia Bremermann, Axel Milberg

RELATED LINKS

Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith. A special thanks to Victoria Esposito-Shea, John Heaton and Dale Stoyer for their invaluable help with this one...


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