Between 1964 and 1987 The Three Investigators series of young adult detective stories ran over 43 editions. The early titles, this one is number 4, were amazingly titled Alfred Hitchcock and the Three Investigators in... each book featuring a prologue by the great director who also pops up in the stories.
The Mystery of the Green Ghost was first published in 1968 and is attributed to Robert Arthur, the creator of the series. The story sees the eponymous trio of Jupiter Jones, Peter Crenshaw and Bob Andrews investigate supernatural goings on in an old house close to their make-shift HQ in Rocky Beach, California.
The tale is classic haunted house meets the mystic East via Hollywood and is packed full of brilliant period detail including their chauffeur driven Rolls Royce (Which Jupiter won in a competition), Los Angeles’s ‘busy, modern international airport’ and the abundant good manners throughout; “Naturally, I called your parents first”. The descriptions of San Francisco’s Chinatown are exotic and alluring from the ‘Oriental servants’ to ‘Manchu Nobels’ that exist in this curious enclave a Million miles from sixties Hollywood.
Despite the period setting the 3 investigators themselves and their secret HQ within Jupiter’s family scrap yard are pretty fresh. The series has actually been recently rebooted in the US as T3i The Three Investigators but, chances are, it won’t live up to this charming slice of sixties US Boys Own style story telling.
The icing on the cake with this story is the Alfred Hitchcock connection. The boys are close friends with Mr Hitchcock who relies on their case studies as source material for his films - how cool is that!!!