The Mystery of the Invisible Dog (Alfred Hitchcock and The Three Investigators, #23) PDF

by M.V. Carey This mystery started out so well! I was prepared to love it all the way through. It had an intriguing cast of characters/suspects, three overlapping mysteries, and historical context that provided some additional depth. Unfortunately, the resolution of the mysteries was rushed and unsatisfying.

For me, mystery stories are compelling due to two primary elements:

1. The excitement of solving the mystery alongside the detective(s), sorting through the author's clues to determine whodunnit.
2. The awe involved in the author's ability to - without resorting to cheap tricks or disingenuous plot devices - pull the story to an unexpected conclusion.

On the one hand, the author must give the readers enough information to make solving the mystery possible. On the other hand, the author should be a few steps ahead of the reader at all times, weaving a story that doesn't seem terribly obvious after the first few pages. It's a delicate balance, and I think the genre is dismissed too easily as pulp fiction. A truly proficient mystery author - such as Dorothy Sayers - also writes excellent literature.

I'm not arguing that mystery stories written for children and young adults should be literary (I'll save debate over that term for a later time), but the mixing of the mystery genre and a typically imaginative, open-minded audience can yield fantastic results.

The Three Investigators series is, on average, an enjoyable example of engaging, creative storytelling aimed at youthful readers. Since the books are written by a variety of authors, the quality can vary quite a bit. The Mystery of the Invisible Dog, despite positive reviews I'd read before picking it up for my nephew, fails to reach its potential.

BE WARNED: HEAVY SPOILERS AHEAD!

As I mentioned earlier, there are three mysteries in this particular tale.

1. A burglar steals a crystal sculpture of a dog - worth $10,000+ to the owner.
2. A mysterious figure seems to have the ability to walk through walls while asleep and to see things of which he should have no knowledge.
3. A ghost of the parish priest appears to several characters, despite repeated assurances that ghosts are not real.

And how are these mysteries solved?

1. While the identity of the burglar was fun to untangle, the "invisible" aspect was worthy of a little eye-rolling. The burglar hid the statue by lowering it with a string to the bottom of the apartment complex's pool, then poisoned and frightened away anyone who showed an urge to go near the water. I'll go ahead and swallow the logic that an elaborately carved crystal statue (with red-rimmed eyes and other features that had been described earlier) will be invisible in water, because...
2. The mysterious figure ACTUALLY HAS the ability to walk through walls while asleep and to see things of which he should have no knowledge. In other words, there is no mystery. There's no secret passageway or hidden twin or more creative explanation. I spent the entire book eagerly waiting to see how the author would unveil the truth, only to find out that it was just a supernatural element thrown in for no particular reason. This character was discarded as the burglary suspect very early on, and his supernatural ability didn't even play an important role in the action as a whole. He was a completely extraneous character.
3. Speaking of which, that ghost? EVEN LESS IMPORTANT. The ghost, despite prominently appearing on the cover of my edition, impacts absolutely nothing in the story. He appears once, is talked of a few times, and, at the end of the story, is brushed aside as a mystery they'll never find out about.

It's meant to be clever, I think: a bit of commentary on how sometimes there are mysteries in this world which will remain unsolved. But in the context of this story, it felt lazy instead. Overall, it seemed as though the author sat down and thought of some exciting mysteries without factoring in the need to solve them or to truly tie them together. (For example, if you're going to throw in a ghost, shouldn't it be connected somehow to the history of the Carpathian Hound, which had a ghost story wrapped up with it? Why include a random priest?) By the end of the book, the author had just thrown up her hands and sent the burglar to jail while sidelining everything else. In the future, I'll steer clear of the Three Investigators books penned by M.V. Carey.

Book tags: the mystery the invisible dog (alfred hitchcock and the three investigators, #23) pdf, download, pdf, m.v. carey

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