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30. Oktober 2015

Plots and characters

A study of the story telling in The three investigators.

Goofy plots.

3. Nervous lion
   Although West repeatedly tries to explain it, there really is no reason why Doc Dawson should have left the diamonds in the cage for years. The moment you realize that old George has been sent over to Jim Hall as a cub you start to ask yourself whether West has written the story on the go and meanwhile forgotten what he was starting out with.

2. Two-toed pigeon
   As intricate as Brandel's idea is, it's highly questionable whether a man like Parker Frisbee would be involved in a scheme like this for $100 - $200 a week extra and flat out unbelievable that he would not tell Kyoto to stop for a while after the three snoops stumbled into his shop.

1. Magic circle
   Carey came up with a lot of unlikely things, not least in the play she devoted to the patron saint of the impossible, but only once she presented a case like that of Marvin Gray, business manager of  Madeline Bainbridge, who hoped to gain a few thousand bucks by setting a fire that wrecked half a million in a scheme that would have him exposed once his client ever decided to meet with her publisher in person.

Unashamed silliness.

3. Shelby Tuckerman in Carey's Scar-faced beggar
   A hell of a way of getting the Three investigators on the track of Mesa d'Oro by having their lookout dress as their former leader.

2. Miss Melody in Brandel's Two-toed pigeon
   On the necessity to teach children Unionist songs: “Glory, glory, hallelujah! Glory, glory, hallelujah!” And Mr. Crenshaw shall not be moved - although that does, in light of his father in law, make retrospective sense.

1. Alfred Hitchcock in West's Coughing dragon
   No more respectful words were ever written: “Mmmm,” Mr. Hitchcock murmured to himself. “I wonder if I should borrow that ingenious dragon Mr. Shelby devised. Since I’ve just purchased that large bus-like trailer for my holidays, perhaps it would be a good idea if I learned how to double-declutch the dragon in the cave first, before I ventured forth on the Los Angeles motorways!”

The fallen lawyer.

3. Alfred Zindler of Estes' Dancing dinosaur
   Certainly the meanest of them all, but who wants to see a grown-up man pinning the hotel bill on three kids?

2. Harold Carlson of Arthur's Green ghost.
   You have to love how lawyers can always explain why they have to get back somewhere and why they were able to see, what they have seen.

1. Roger Callow of Arden's Dead man's riddle.
   They all squirm, but nobody does it better than him, makes you feel kind of sorry for the rest.

Giveaways.

3. Missing mermaid.
   “Fergus is our local Pied Piper.”
   He is?

2. Whispering mummy.
   “Could you understand what he was saying?”
“No,” [...]
“Your friend, Professor Freeman, sir,” he said. He pointed to the house. “[...] he might be able to tell you what Ra-Orkon is saying.”

   Wait now...

1. Invisible dog.
   “Mr. Murphy is a stockbroker. [...] His nephew Harley Johnson, a college student, is with him at the moment. I understand Murphy is Harley’s guardian.”
   Stockbroker? Guardian?

Glorious maneuvers.

3. Terror castle.
   I just love Stephen Terrill's determination to make good use of every costume he still owns.

2. Vanishing treasure.
   No risk, no fun, but what if the police would have come to Agatha Agawam's house?

1. Blazing cliffs.
   The whole space show for nought! But if you had to pay for your admission in gold, wouldn't John have mentioned it?

Psychological profiling.

3. Rory McNab of Arden's Phantom lake.
   A Scot in love: “What are you looking at them kids?”

2. Gerhart Malz of Carey's Sinister Scarecrow.
   The inhibited genius.

1. Oscar Slater of Brandel's Kidnapped whale.
   The snake oil merchant from Mississippi or Alabama.

Well laid out plots.

3. Dead man's riddle.
   Arden's Rocky Beach excursion: Round, round, get around, I get around.

2. Scar-faced beggar.
   Carey's jolly band of cavaliers: Stuff that happens up and down the coast.

1. Silver spider.
   Arthur's beatific vision: Tax exemption in the Alps.

Masters of the super-natural.

3. Mrs. Denicola of Carey's Scar-faced beggar.
   ...dreams of things that come true.

2. Sonny Elmquist of Carey's Invisible dog.
   ...wanders around as a shadow when he sleeps.

1. Old Anton of Arthur's Silver spider.
   ...hypnotizes and wields the oracle.

Unity of place and action.

3. Missing mermaid.
   Carey's corners of Venice.

2. Shrinking house.
   Arden's puzzle: A house, a cottage and a gully.

1. Invisible dog.
   Carey in the footsteps of Agatha Christie's Mousetrap.

Community life.

3. Death trap mine.
   Memories in Twin Lakes.

2. Skeleton island.
   Suspicion in Fishingport.

1. Wandering caveman.
   Getting ahead in Citrus Grove.

Family drama.

3. Singing serpent.
   Carey's rich bitch home alone - with her esoteric aunt.

2. Smashing glass.
   Arden's late lament: “The youth today thinks it's all about the money!”

1. Flaming footprints.
   Carey's embarrassing tale of love.

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24. Oktober 2015

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12. Oktober 2015

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