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Показать все книги автора/авторов: Arden William
 

«The Mystery of the Headless Horse», William Arden

Text byWilliam ArdenBased on the characters created byRobert ArthurIllustrated by Jack Hearne

Alfred Hitchcock Presents!

Welcome once again to the world of The Three Investigators, those maddeningly industrious young sleuths whom it is my occasional pleasure to introduce. The lads have just completed a most remarkable and instructive adventure. I think it is quite worthy of your attention.

What could be more remarkable than to solve a mystery dating back to the Mexican War? A mystery that involves a headless horse, a legendary jewelled sword, and a trio of long-forgotten scoundrels whose devious trail must somehow be followed after more than 130 years! And what could be more instructive than to discover that dusty old historical documents do not always tell the truth? At the very least, one must learn to read between the lines!

Such is the nature of the challenging mystery that our young detectives unravel on the following pages. Their efforts are prompted by most praiseworthy motives — an unselfish desire to help the proud and honourable Alvaro family, descendants of the first citizens of California, and a natural thirst for excitement and adventure. In tackling this latest case, the boys again demonstrate the ingenuity and bravery that have made them famous with mystery lovers around the world.

What! You say that you have never even heard of The Three Investigators? Then you must meet them at once! The leader of the trio is the annoyingly clever Jupiter Jones, whose mental powers are exceeded only by his weight. His companions are Pete Crenshaw, a muscular and merry lad who is inclined to be nervous, and the steady and studious Bob Andrews. All three boys live in the coastal town of Rocky Beach, California, not far from Hollywood. They make their headquarters in an old mobile home trailer hidden in the fabulous Jones Salvage Yard.

So, you are introduced. Now turn the page and follow The Three Investigators into mystery and danger — if you dare!

ALFRED HITCHCOCK

1

An Angry Meeting

“Hey, Jupe! Diego Alvaro wants to talk to you,” called Pete Crenshaw as he came out of the front door of Rocky Beach Central School. Classes had just finished for the day, and his friends Jupiter Jones and Bob Andrews were already outside waiting for him.

“I didn’t know you knew Alvaro,” Bob said to Jupiter.

“I don’t really,” Jupiter replied. “He’s in the California History Club with me, but he always keeps pretty much to himself. What does he want, Pete?”

“I don’t know. He just asked if you’d meet him at the gate of the athletic field after school — if you could spare the time. He acted like it was pretty important.”

“Perhaps he needs the services of The Three Investigators,” Jupe said hopefully. Jupiter, Pete and Bob were members of a junior detective team, and they hadn’t had a case in quite a while.

Pete shrugged. “Maybe. But it’s you he wants to see.”

“We’ll all go and meet him,” ordered Jupe.

Pete and Bob nodded and fell into step with their overweight friend. They were used to doing what Jupiter wanted. As the brainy leader of The Three Investigators, Jupe made most of the decisions for the group. Sometimes the other two boys objected. Pete, a tall, athletic boy, hated Jupe’s habit of boldly walking into danger while on a case. Bob, a slight, studious youth, admired Jupe’s quick intelligence but occasionally flared at his high-handed ways. Still, life was never dull when Jupiter was around. He had an uncanny ability to scent a mystery and find excitement. Most of the time the three boys were the best of friends.

Jupiter now led the way around the corner of the school to a quiet, tree-lined side street. Far down the block was a gate to the school’s athletic field. The boys hunched into their jackets. It was a Thursday afternoon in November, and although the day was sunny, a chill breeze was blowing up the street.

“I don’t see Diego,” Bob said, peering through his glasses as the trio neared the gate.

“But look who else is here!” said Pete with a groan.

Just beyond the gate a small, open truck was parked. Half pick-up truck and half car, it was one of those vehicles called ranch wagons. A broad, burly man in a cowboy hat, denim jacket, blue jeans, and western boots sat on the front bumper. Next to him lounged a tall, skinny boy with a long nose. On the truck’s door, some elegant gold lettering read “Norris Ranch.”

“Skinny Norris!” Bob scowled. “What’s he doing —?”

Before Bob could finish what he was saying, the tall boy spotted them and called out:

“Well, if it isn’t Fatso Sherlock Holmes and the two dumb bloodhounds!” Skinny laughed nastily.

Skinny — E. Skinner Norris — was an old enemy of The Three Investigators. The spoiled son of a well-to-do businessman, Skinny was always showing off and trying to prove that he was smarter than Jupiter. He always failed, but he managed to make a good deal of trouble for the detectives. He had one advantage over them — he was a few years older and he already had his driver’s licence and his own sports car. The Investigators envied his mobility as much as they resented his bullying.


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