At the moment, I feel like I’m juggling about twenty different things – so it’s been hard to settle into a rhythm of reading. So I thought I’d go for the ultimate in quick reads – a children’s book, and a return to the series that got me interested in real detective stories, The Three Investigators. Jupiter Jones, Pete Crenshaw and Bob Andrews investigating all sorts of nefarious crimes (apart from actual murder). Sometimes veering into Scooby Doo territory (notably The Mystery of the Dancing Devil), sometimes genuinely scary (The Mystery of the Invisible Dog), I loved these books when I was much younger. I’ve already tackled The Secret Of The Haunted Mirror, so on to The Mystery Of The Magic Circle.
The lads are helping out their new friend, publisher Beefy (honest) Tremayne, who has just taken possession of the manuscript – hand-written, only copy – of the memoirs of the great and reclusive Hollywood actress Madeline Bainbridge. Before you can say Hocus Pocus, the publishing house has burnt to the ground, the memoirs have been stolen and the negatives of Madeline’s films, which have been hoarded by her for years, are been held for ransom. Needless to say, it’s the Three Investigators to the rescue!
Quick read, so quick review. It’s becoming a little clearer to me that I prefered the most Scooby-ish books in the series. There’s some stuff about a magic circle of witches that Bainbridge used to lead, and a vague hint of magical powers, but there’s no loony dressed up in a witch’s costume running around.
Instead, there’s a decent little mystery here and it’s well-hidden. For a while, it looks like a straightforward tale, with one villain revealing their hand pretty early one and another being pretty obvious. But if you stick around, there’s a mild surprise which is clued (just).
So, a fair enough read but certainly not the strongest book in the series. Next time I revisit the series, I’ll be looking at one of the Scooby-esque ones.
BTW – sorry for the lack of image, but it’s from a compilation which thoughtless has used the cover of a different book on the cover.