The Children’s Classic Mystery Challenge, Volume 1


I’ve already admitted to how giddy I was to find the 5 Minutes For Books site. Imagine my glee when they gave me the perfect excuse to dust off some old favorites from my childhood! I knew just the series I wanted to kick off the challenge with: Alfred Hitchcock and The Three Investigators.

For those not familiar with the series, The Three Investigators are  teenagers who solve crimes and still manage to make it home every evening in time for supper. Jupiter Jones (the brainy First Investigator), Pete Crenshaw (the athletic Second Investigator), and Bob Andrews (in charge of Records and Research) have a sweet deal with Jupiter’s uncle, who owns a junk  salvage yard: they work in exchange for freebies from the yard. That may not sound like much, but when you consider it’s how they obtained their headquarters (an old mobile home trailer), and equipped their lab, the boys made out like bandits.  Jupiter had whipped together a homing device in the book I  read.

The series begins when the Jupiter wins the use of a chauffeur driven limousine for thirty days, and decides it’s the perfect time to open a detective agency. The approximately 14-year-old boy and his friends decide to solve a case for a big director to establish their agency. Enter Alfred Hitchcock. After a rocky beginning to their relationship, the director agrees to introduce their cases for the boys. Ok, their was a bit of blackmail involved in the beginning too, but Hitchcock eventually forgave the boys.

The original series started in 1964, and by 1987 there were 43 titles in the series written by four different authors, starting with the series creator, Robert Arthur. I’ve noticed over the years that Alfred Hitchcock and The Three Investigators had turned into simply The Three Investigators. Alfred was never mentioned in the later editions of the novels.  After I finished The Secret of the Crooked Cat, I took the opportunity to do a little sleuthing of my own to find out why. It was a harrowing adventure involving a couple clicks of my mouse, but I found my answer. After Hitchcock’s death, his estate wanted more money from the publisher (Random House) to use his name. In response, the publisher  dropped Alfred like a bad habit, and invented a mysterious detective to introduce the books, even rewriting earlier novels to do so.

I enjoyed my trip down memory lane, and can’t wait to take another one next month. Check out what other classic children’s mysteries others have enjoyed over at 5 Minutes for Books!

eta: Whoops! I was so excited about this challenge that I posted it a week early. The link will be activated next Tuesday.


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