Cover art by Jack Hearne.
An avid reader as a child, I got into series books for a while, with favorites being “The Hardy Boys” and “Tom Swift.” In my early teens I gradually came to see how formulaic and repetitive they were, and mostly stopped reading them. I never tried this series, “Alfred Hitchcock and the Three Investigators,” which began seeing print in 1964, right around the time I was losing interest in series books, but I’ve heard good things about them over the years, and at a book sale a few months ago picked this one up to try it.
I wasn’t expecting a lot, and found it surprisingly entertaining. Yes, the characters are not given a lot of room, it’s a plot-driven story, but the writing is good enough that I felt I got to know and like the three investigators, Jupiter, Pete and Bob, as well as their extended family and helpers. The mystery involves a woman who collects rare mirrors, including the one pictured, which is supposed to have an evil curse on it, and perhaps contain ghosts. Then there’s the man who seems desperate to buy it from her at any cost, and another man who’s trying to steal it. It’s a good yarn, and a good mystery, with quite a few twists and turns and exciting moments, even though there is a cocoon of protective feeling around the boys; I never thought they’d come to serious harm.
The post-script, where the boys report to Alfred H. himself, is the only part that seems phony and tacked on, and I suspect that even as a kid I wouldn’t have believed it. Otherwise, this was fun, and I might try more. No way to tell how formulaic the books are from one, so that remains to be seen.