The Cranky Old Reader

I'm a Goodreads refugee, looking for a new home. Old books for children, science fiction, fantasy, mysteries, and humor are my main areas of interest. I've little interest in books that were written after 1975 or so, and prefer books that are older still. There are, however, a few still-living authors that I respect.

The Secret of Terror Castle (The Three Investigators #1)

The Secret of Terror Castle (The Three Investigators #1) - Robert Arthur The Secret of Terror Castle is just about a perfect book for boys aged 8-15. Robert Arthur is a woefully neglected author of great skill, and some of his finest writing is on display in the Three Investigators series.This is the first book in the series, and as such it establishes many elements which were continued throughout. We're introduced to Jupiter Jones, Pete Crenshaw, and Bob Andrews, as well as a host of memorable supporting characters. And, of course, we are introduced to the host of the series: Alfred Hitchcock himself.That is, the book features Alfred Hitchcock IF you're lucky enough to have a relatively early edition. Unfortunately Hitchcock's estate reportedly demanded more money from the publisher for the use of his name after his death; Random House instead replaced the character of Hitchcock with a fictional detective-turned-writer in new books. When earlier books were re-issued, they were rewritten - poorly - to replace Hitchcock as well.In the case of The Secret of Terror Castle, the plot required that the "host" be a movie producer, so the book was rewritten with a fictional one.Avoid the new editions, if you can; some of them also exclude the original (and wonderful) illustrations by Harry Kane, a sad omission indeed.For excitement, mystery, and humor, the book is hard to beat. Arthur had a gift for knowing what fascinates a boy. I don't think any boy who has read the book will ever give up wishing for his own "Headquarters", a damaged mobile home hidden under piles of junk with secret tunnel entrances, a telephone, a darkroom, and a lab!Yes, the books are somewhat dated, technology-wise. Terror Castle was written in 1964, after all. But that didn't bother my eight-year-old son in the least; he was simply riveted throughout the book, always begging for "one more chapter". He's hooked, now, and we're reading through the series as quickly as we can.Reading it to him brought back a long-ago memory for me: sitting in my elementary school library, reading "Terror Castle", and realizing that this was pure brain candy - not in that it was bad for me, but that each page was an unadulterated delight.

Currently reading

Basic Roleplaying: The Chaosium d100 system (Basic Roleplaying)
Sam Johnson, Charlie Krank
A Paradise Built in Hell: The Extraordinary Communities That Arise in Disaster
Rebecca Solnit