The Three Investigators, for the uninitiated are a trio of teenage boys who solve mysteries. This series addresses the same audience as that of The Hardy Boys & Nancy Drew but I’d like to think the 3 Investigators books are a lot smarter and more about the brainpower than the action sequences of the other two. Their cases contain are more code-breaking and puzzle-solving than car chases and following suspects.
This is my favorite book in the entire series (already a great one – I never met a 3 Investigators book that I didn’t like). The boys are sent to track down a missing parrot called Billy Shakespeare. This innocuous case leads into a much bigger puzzle. For starters, why would anybody deliberately teach a parrot to stutter? What is with the fancy names (Little Bo-Peep, Blackbeard, Long John Silver to name a few of the other birds in the trail)? And what do these have to do with the notorious French art thief, Hugenay?
The puzzle-in-parrots format stayed with me through the years since I read this book as a child. Of course, regular 3 Investigator features like hidden passages to Headquarters (“Red Rover, come over”), the Ghost-to-Ghost hookup and colourful question marks pop up all over the place in this book. Read it even if you’re an adult and love puzzles, mysteries and code-breaking.