Thursday, 23 April 2015

THE MYSTERY OF THE STUTTERING PARROT – Text by Robert Arthur, 1967

These ‘Three Investigators’ novels were aimed at young readers about 40 years ago and are now largely forgotten. This is such a shame. The plots are intelligent and witty and deserve a much greater audience.
Most of them are not attributed to any particular author, only labelled with the enigmatic ‘Text by Robert Arthur’.  I suspect that they were probably the work of a team of writers who, coupled by the name of Alfred Hitchcock who supposedly worked with the boys and wrote the introductions to each adventure, hoped to cash in on the success of other ‘group ventures’ such as the Nancy Drew stories. But, I think that they are much more than that.
These days, original plots seem few and far between. Most crime novels, and especially TV programmes, seem to re-vamp the same old stories, relying upon the character of the detective to save the day. But the plots in these novels are stunningly original.

Here, the parrots are taught to stutter in order to provide clues to the location of a valuable painting. Jupiter Jones and the others must solve each clue, piece the information together and follow the trail, all the while avoiding or eluding an evil art dealer who is out for the same prize. 

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