Friday, May 28, 2010

A Few of Our Favorite Things: Classic Mysteries

Summertime is meant for lounge chairs on the lawn, for neatly landscaped garden beds that require as little effort as possible, for cold lemonade or cherry coke ... and a classic mystery book for reading pleasure.

By "classic mystery", we don't mean Agatha Christie or Mary Roberts Rinehart, but the truly worthy and well-battered paperbacks from childhood. The Three Investigators, Nancy Drew and The Hardy Boys are a good start, but so are The Spotlight Club, Brillstone, or even Tom Stetson.

My own collection includes exciting titles like Mystery of the Screaming Clock and Terror Castle, both part of the Three Investigator's stunning portfolio of mysteries. Some are original hardbacks, circa 1960's, others yard sale softcovers from the 70's and 80's (the 60's and 70's ones are best, since the series was still allowed to use Alfred Hitchcock's name and image during those years).

Nancy Drew's volumes span a series of decades, with old covers from the 1930's with blue backs and orange silhouttes, yellow 60's-era volumes with Nancy's flip hairstyle, blue and black speckled editions from the 1950's. The Clue in the Old Album was one of my favorites as a child, but great chills and thrills came from reading The Secret of the Old Clock and The Password to Larkspur Lane.

I plan to spend the summer curled up with a few of these and a cherry Ginger Ale (made with marachino cherries and little juice from the bottle). Happy reading, everybody!!

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