This is my second read of the Three investigators this year, after The Trail of Terror. Unlike the last one, this one is delightful. The suspense, storyline and pace are good. Also, my other two ensuing ones authored by Alfred Hitchcock, namely the mysteries of the Silver Spider and the Fiery Eye were excellent reads.
The idea of a skull that talks is intriguing. The lacing of humour is highly entertaining, especially when the skull says "Boo" to Aunt Mathilda, when she calls it ugly. The twists in the story are good. The inclusion of magician tricks, the gypsy angles and bank roberry add elements of change in the storyline.
An ancient trunk bought for one dollar by Jupiter in an auction, leaves the boys with publicity and adventure, complete with a grinning skull that speaks to them. What more can one ask for an interesting storyline?
Jupiter's brilliant deduction of the secret message in a letter and the subsequent unearthing of the hidden money are fantastic. The characters are as usual etched interestingly: antagonists with some grey shades, but not evil ones - a somewhat realistic portrayal.
A good read, rating it 4.2 out of 5.
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Happy reading, readers.