East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai

Childhood summer reads – The Three Investigators


A friend today ran one of those silly games on Facebook, asking her contacts to name the first book they read as kids.
Some answers were absolutely preposterous – like the guys that at the age of seven read 2001 – a Space Odyssey or Ian Fleming’s Licence to Kill or what else.
Pretty advanced readers, what?

ilcastellodelterroreMe, I was not so advanced, and I started reading novels when I was around seven or eight with Alfred Hitchcock’s The Three Investigators, that was published in Italy by Mondadori (of the “Giallo” fame) in a line of mysteries for kids. At the time I watched and loved the Alfred Hitchcock Presents… TV series, and when I found there were actually novels written by him, I asked my mom to buy them for me. I’m pretty sure the first novel was Terror Castle.

The books were actually the brainchild of Robert Arthur, a twice-recipient of the Edgar Award, that had worked as author and editor for various magazines and Hitchcock-related projects.

I have fond memories of those stories – they were well-written, with fun plots, a touch of macabre and rationalized supernatural and the sort of characters and situations a kid could easily relate to.
The same line also included Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew reprints, and a serie set in London and called Pimlico Boys, that was actually written by an Italian under an English alias.

Anyway, to celebrate those books, here’s a small gallery of Three Investigators covers.

Author: Davide Mana

Paleontologist. By day, researcher, teacher and ecological statistics guru. By night, pulp fantasy author-publisher, translator and blogger. In the spare time, Orientalist Anonymous, guerilla cook.

9 thoughts on “Childhood summer reads – The Three Investigators

  1. I missed this series but it looks like something hubby would’ve read. I’ll run it by him.


  2. I read all the copies of this series owned by my local library. The covers were cool and the Investigators seemed more like the kind of kids that I’d want to hang out with than those Hardy brothers.


    • Yes, my thought exactly – I dropped the Hardy Boys after one novel. Too perfect and “top of the class” for my tastes.
      The Three Investigators were my sort of people. As were the Pimlico Boys, a wonderful exercise in Anglophilia by an Italian writer – they at least felt like real kids I could relate to.


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