I moved recently and I was sorting through boxes of my books and I came upon my old Three Investigators collection. This series is so good, and I haven't found many people who were as obsessed with these books as I was when I was younger.
This was a children's series in the same vein as The Hardy Boys or Nancy Drew, but you can't really compare these books to them; they are just that good. The stories were also significantly darker than most children's books being published at the time. I mean just look at the beautiful endsheets from them:
I think they're gorgeous at least.
And yes, that's old Alfred Hitchcock himself. He use to introduce and close the stories and set the Three Investigators on cases. He was the reason the series sold so well in the 60s.
I'm also pretty confidant that these stories caused my initial interest in horror and dark fiction. Some of these stories creeped me out quite bad, especially the fifth one, The Vanishing Treasure. I remember the story had something to do with a woman who kept seeing these evil garden gnomes around the house, and looking back it sounds kind of silly and brings to mind images of the Travelocity gnome, but for my fifth grade self it was scary as fuck.
So I'll probably be rereading some of this series because I love it so much, and I'd really love to know if you guys ever read these books!