The Three Investigators – The Mystery of the Blazing Cliffs by M.V.Carey; 1992, Bullseye Books, New York.
The Three Investigators have been a personal favorite of mine ever since I came across their adventures. I find the 3 characters who make up the trio well etched and the fact that Alfred Hithcock used to help them is also an added attraction. “The Secret of Terror Castle” and the “The Mystery of the Screaming Clock” are top class dectective fare. But something has gone wrong with this book – the spunk is missing.
Let me explain: all the ingredients on the surface seems to be there but that one vital ingredient that sets aside a routine teenage detective story from the others is missing. It could be the fact that the original author – Robert Arthur – is not the author of this book. M.V.Carey is. It could also be the fact that flying saucers/ET/aliens are such a well-exploited theme that when the aliens do appear, it is of no surprise at all. Of course there is a twist in the tale. But even that is so long in the coming that we are only relieved when the end looms in the horizon.
One major difference (if you are an Alfred Hitchcock fan) in this 32nd adventure is that there is no more Hitchcock. An out-ofwork old detective called Hector Sebestian writes the foreword and afterword.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s start with the story. One of the customers of Jones Salvage Yard Sir Charles Barron asks Jupiter, Pete, and Bob to deliver some scrap to their ranch a few miles away. On reaching there, Mrs. Barron urges the boys to stay for dinner. Fortuinetaly, or unfortunately they are unable to get out of the ranch as someone plays a huge hoax on the Barrons exploting their sympathy for the aliens who they believe will purge humanity of its ills and evils by destroying earth and saving only a select group of people to continue the human race. They believe that the self-sufficient ranch will be the chosen one. Using this as a leverage, some people try to get Charles Barron to part with his gold. Thanks to the three investigators, they don’t.
One plus point, and for me this is a huge plus point in this book is that the grammar and punctuation were in place. I’m so glad to know that there are some scrupulous editors out there. I know what it is to read a book where the commas and the semi-colons are misplaced. Lynn Truss (the author of “Eats, Shoots and Leaves”) will be very pleased.
All in all, this edition of the Three Investigators Mystery is a good timepass. Read it when you have nothing else to read and your hands are itching for a book. Pssst….before I go, I have to tell you that I picked this book up for a measly 50 bucks at a sale!
Rating: * * (timepass; okay)
My Rating System:
* * * * * = Khallas (Deadly)
* * * * = Bindaas (Great)
* * * = Jhakaas (Good)
* * = Timepass(Okay)
* = Bakwaas (Avoid it)