Christian’s essay on “Sherlock Holmes and the Three
Investigators” in the Autumn 2021 issue of the Baker
Street Journal explores the connection between this children’s mystery
series and Sherlock Holmes. Suffice it to say that those connections were significant
over the 43-year run of the original series, from 1964 to 1987.
I just happen to own the entire series, a gift of our
daughter who picked them up at a flea market, and I read many of them when I
was young. A couple of weeks ago, I picked up #11, The Mystery of the
Talking Skull, the last book written by the series creator, Robert Arthur,
Jr., and was soon back in the small town of Rocky Beach, California, with
Jupiter Jones, his friends Bob and Pete, and the introducer of their early
It was a delightful book, most of all for me because it
involves a magician’s trunk. And the title of my next McCabe & Cody mystery
novel is The Magician’s Trunk! Aside from that, the tale is full of twists
and turns on its way to a surprising and satisfying solution.
Then I read series finale #43, The Mystery of Cranky
Collector by M.V. Carey. I found it entertaining, but somehow lacking the
spirit of the Robert Arthur book. The former was a better mystery with
more interesting elements—a magician, a talking skull, the surprise ending.
There were more ingredients in the soup, even though the number of words was
“The Robert Arthur
books are the best,” Christian agreed. “He deliberately set out to make a
series for kids that had a certain literary quality—at least compared with
Stratemeyer’s Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys.”
If you’ve never read the early Three Investigators mysteries, they are well worth a couple of hours of your time.