A friend today ran one of those silly games on Facebook, asking her contacts to name the first book they read as kids.
Some answers were absolutely preposterous – like the guys that at the age of seven read 2001 – a Space Odyssey or Ian Fleming’s Licence to Kill or what else.
Pretty advanced readers, what?
Me, I was not so advanced, and I started reading novels when I was around seven or eight with Alfred Hitchcock’s The Three Investigators, that was published in Italy by Mondadori (of the “Giallo” fame) in a line of mysteries for kids. At the time I watched and loved the Alfred Hitchcock Presents… TV series, and when I found there were actually novels written by him, I asked my mom to buy them for me. I’m pretty sure the first novel was Terror Castle.
The books were actually the brainchild of Robert Arthur, a twice-recipient of the Edgar Award, that had worked as author and editor for various magazines and Hitchcock-related projects.
I have fond memories of those stories – they were well-written, with fun plots, a touch of macabre and rationalized supernatural and the sort of characters and situations a kid could easily relate to.
The same line also included Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew reprints, and a serie set in London and called Pimlico Boys, that was actually written by an Italian under an English alias.
Anyway, to celebrate those books, here’s a small gallery of Three Investigators covers.