In their twentieth adventure, Jupiter Jones (ex-child actor, although his only role was as “Baby Fatso”, now child genius), Pete Crenshaw (the athletic one) and Bob Andrews (the good-at-looking-things-up one) are off to a ski resort in the Sierra Nevada with Hans and Konrad, the German brothers who help out at Jupiter’s uncle’s scrapyard. They’re off to visit the brothers’ cousin, Anna, but they’re not going to like what they find.
Anna has recently married, but her new husband seems to be up to something. While the boys are hired to find Anna’s missing safety deposit box key, the husband is either sneaking off up the mountain or building a rather odd swimming pool – one with no shallow end. There’s something out there in the woods. And it’s not very friendly.
TomCat’s fault this time. His recent review of The Mystery Of The Whispering Mummy had me reaching for the small bundle of The Three Investigators mysteries that I bought a year or so ago. While his book was written by the series creator, Robert Arthur, mine is again (after The Mystery Of The Magic Circle and The Secret Of The Haunted Mirror) is by M V Carey, who wrote a lot of the later books. As I’ve said before, this series was sort of my transition between the adventure books of The Hardy Boys into the actual mysteries of Dame Agatha et al. In my memory, these were proper mysteries, but the two I’ve revisited so far seemed to show that the memory was cheating.
Not so this time. It’s a short book, so I won’t go into details, but there is a very clever idea for youngsters to spot at the heart of the tale. As I read more, I remembered more and more about it from my first reading – which was over thirty years ago – including my surprise at the twist. With older eyes (and possibly my ridiculous memory of this one – I’m sure I only read it once) it is perhaps over-clued, but it’s a good one and I know I fell for it back then.
You have to take some of it with a pinch of salt – the animal whisperer character, for example, and the nature of the thing on the mountain – but it’s good fun, there’s a few good laughs, and, for a children’s book, I thought it was pretty clever. And if you want to complain that surely one of them would have spotted something, then I direct you to Mesopotamia, if you know what I mean…
Great memories and great fun. Highly recommended (but mainly for your kids).