Paula Deen and her long list of sponsors who have jumped ship.

Paula Deen and her long list of sponsors who have jumped ship.

Alfred Hitchcock and ???


When I was about eleven or twelve years old I had another series of books that I adored even more than the Brains Benton Mysteries. Alfred Hitchcock and the Three Investigators. Published by Random House, I was immediately gripped by the adventures of sturdy smart Jupiter, athletic Pete and everyman Bob.  I also loved that fact that their nemesis was a kid the same age as them, with the suitable nick name of Stinky.As soon as a new Three Investigators book came out, I took my hard earned money (I worked for my Dad and mowed a few lawns here and there) and ran down to the book store and bought it. The books never disappointed. As junior detectives these guys were even better than Brains Benton. They even had business cards with this on it: ??? – three question marks equals three investigators. I thought these guys were great.

Jupiter had the investigators headquarters in his Aunt and Uncle’s salvage yard. They had secret entrances  and the headquarters itself (if I remember correctly) was in an old mobile home. At the beginning of the series the boys  solved a mystery for Alfred Hitchcock and he repaid them by giving them access to a chauffeur driven Rolls Royce and became a confidant.  Hitch would always appear at the end of each book where the boys would explain how they had reached their conclusions. Hitch would also occasionally make a “cameo” in the book as well.

The end result of me loving these two book series, Brains Benton and the Three Investigators, was that I decided at the ripe old age of twelve that I wanted to become a writer. Preferably a mystery writer as these were my favourite books. Neither I or the world had yet discovered Stephen King yet.

I sat down and wrote my first ever “fan-boy” letter to the Random House Publishers. I asked if they could please tell the author of the Three Investigators books that I really enjoyed them. I also mentioned that the books had inspired me to start writing my own stories. I ended the letter by thanking them for their time and that I hoped one day they would publish my stories.

Quite a bit of time passed. about three months I think, when I got a letter in the post. My parents were a bit surprised that I had received a letter. I was not a huge letter writer and did not indulge in the pen pal program that the school so regularly insisted that the students partake in. My Mother said it was from Random House.

I can still remember how excited I was that they had written me back. The mists of time have shrouded who from Random House responded to my letter, but I can still remember that it had at least two paragraphs and a closing line or two. Firstly they thanked me for my letter. Then the writer explained to me about “house writers.” It seemed that the Three Investigators had been started by one writer and subsequent books in the series was written by different house writers for each one. They went on to say that they were pleased to hear that I wanted to become a writer. They also said that I should remember, when I was a bit older, to send them anything I wrote  and they would give the material serious consideration. I was amazed.

Amazed about house writers sure, but, the fact that they had taken the time and effort to write to a twelve year old boy really surprised me. But above everything else, the fact that they were encouraging me just left me in a daze.  I was so proud of that letter.

I know that if it hasn’t been lost or destroyed by the advent of time my parents still have that letter somewhere in storage. But even if it is lost, it doesn’t matter. I still have the splendid memory of opening and reading that letter. And because of that one little act of kindness and thoughtfulness I will always hold Random House in high esteem.

It would be nice to imagine that one day I might just get something published by them…If I ever write a book, that is.

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