Alfred Hitchcock and the Three Investigators in
The Secret of Skeleton Island
by Robert Arthur
illustrated by Harry Kane
Random House, New York, 1966. 158 pages.
This is Book Six of The Three Investigators series, and the fourth one I’ve read in my current rereading spree. Reading them out of order so far has not mattered a bit.
This one I actually remembered some crucial plot details because they are so cool, actually involving pirate treasure. I will say no more about that.
This book doesn’t have anything at all about the gold-plated Rolls-Royce and Worthington, the chauffeur, but it has plenty of adventure. Right at the start, Alfred Hitchcock sends them off to Skeleton Island, off the southeast coast of the United States, where a company is making a movie at the old amusement park on the island.
But the movie company is having trouble. Pieces of equipment have been stolen, and their boats have been tinkered with at night. What’s more, a legendary ghost has recently been seen riding the old merry-go-round. The girl died long ago when she vowed to finish her ride in a storm, but was then struck by lightning.
One thing I’d forgotten was how many of these books have a stereotypical ethnic character. In this case, it’s Chris Markos, from Greece, a diver who’s trying to find pirate treasure to help his injured father. The townspeople are stereotypical and superstitious as well, easily falling for the ghost story and gossiping intensely and mistrusting Chris, the foreigner.
But the overall story is fun and adventurous. Pirate treasure. Boats. Being marooned. Making a movie. Scuba diving. Lives in danger and a mystery to solve. This was a fun one to revisit.
Find this review on Sonderbooks at: www.sonderbooks.com/Childrens_Fiction/skeleton_island.html
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Source: This review is based on an interlibrary loan via Fairfax County Public Library.
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