For hundreds of years some readers have made an attempt to contact an author whose work has touched them in some way. This holds true with even the youngest of readers and it is not uncommon in the series book world to find examples of reader/author correspondence. The excitement a young person experiences when they actually receive a response from a "famous" person is unlike any other and it can have a positive effect which lasts a lifetime.
Here are some letters that fans of The Three Investigators have received over the years. If you have one and would like to share it, please contact me.
I have been finishing a book about Jupiter, Pete and Bob and a missing mermaid, and so I am answering your letter of September 18 only today.
To answer your questions, THE MYSTERY OF THE WANDERING CAVEMAN is one that I did. I have not read MYSTERY OF THE PURPLE PIRATE, since the editor on these books would as soon we did not read one another's books; it could lead to our unadvertently using material from one another. Unconscious plagiarism is a real threat to all of us, since we are all so much influenced by what we read. Sometimes we write things down without really remembering that they are things we have read someplace before.
Mr. William Arden has been contributing to the Three Investigators series for a good many years. We do not know one another, but I do know that Mr. Arden is a resident of Santa Barbara. Santa Barbara is not far from Westlake Village but we do not look one another up for the same reason that we do not read one another's books.
Neither Mr. Arden nor I own the copyright on the Three Investigators stories. The books are copyrighted by Random House, and there are various people who share in the benefits that come from publication. Robert Arthur originated the series and was the first to use Jupiter, Pete and Bob, and his estate shares in the profits, I am sure, as does the estate of Mr. Hitchcock I presume. I am terribly glad that I do not have to worry about rights on a series like this, since it could be a dreadful headache. The Los Angeles Times the other day published an article on the rights in the Hitchcock films, and they are a nightmare. Various studios financed the pictures and rights were sold and transferred and heaven knows what all. It is nice simply to write.
I seem to recall that you liked Worthington. Worthington will make a sort of cameo appearance in the mermaid story. Uncle Titus also becomes a bit more active in this tale.
(signed) M.V. Carey
In the early 1980's, Three Investigators fan Christopher Allin wrote twice to both M.V. Carey and William Arden (Dennis Lynds). He received two letters from each of them. Below is the second letter that Christopher received from M.V. Carey. It is dated December 1, 1982 and reads:
The first letter that Christopher received from William Arden is something of a form letter. It is dated January 23, 1983 and it reads:
I must apologize for answering your very nice letter with a duplicated letter, but I'm afraid I've had so many letters, and so little time from my writing to answer them, that I decided that this way was better than not answering at all.
Most of the time writers work alone without ever knowing that there is really someone out in the world reading what they write. That is why it is always so good to get letters, to know that someone really likes what you worked so hard to do. I appreciate it very much, kids, and I mean that.
Even better is knowing that you all enjoy The Three Investigators. I enjoy writing about them--especially Jupiter--and hope to continue to write more. My own girls are fans too, one of them even forming her own Investigators team.
For those of you who tell me you want to write books yourselves someday, the only real advice I can give you is to go on reading! Read all you can, not just me or the Investigators, and any time you can--that is how all writers begin. Then write! Write a lot. You have to practice to do anything. Don't ever be discouraged. (Well, sometimes we're all a little discouraged, but only a little. The big thing is to not let being discouraged from time to time ever stop you.) I began to write when I wasn't a lot older than any of you, and I didn't publish anything until I was almost twenty-five!
Unfortunately, I have no pictures--I don't much like having one taken, I like my books to speak for me.
Well, once again, kids, thank you very much both for reading my books, and for writing to me about them. I appreciate it much more than you can ever know until you, too, are writers yourselves.
My best to you,
P.S. Ah, it is so hard to please everyone! So many critics have told me my books are too complicated, alas. However, I'll try to do better, but you wouldn't want all the books to be the same! (Worthington and the RR may appear in my next at that!!)
In 1970 at about age nine, fan Stuart Chapin wrote and illustrated in color his own full-length Three Investigators mystery. He submitted the idea to Random House and here is the response he received dated January 6, 1971:
Dear Master Chapin:
Thanks very much for your letter and offer to write a book for our ALFRED HITCHCOCK AND THE THREE INVESTIGATORS series. You've come up with a hair-raising tale, to be sure. Werewolves are frightening enough without the howling, but when you throw that in with a group of superstitious people and a stolen 12-foot statue, anything could happen. If I didn't know THE THREE INVESTIGATORS, I wouldn't be too sure they could handle it.
I am sorry to tell you, however, that we will not be able to use your fine idea or your talents as a writer for our series. We have already contracted a number of other authors to do these books, and we have all we need. But don't let this discourage you. Your enthusiasm is great, and you might just try to write that book anyway--for your own pleasure. If you keep on writing and keep on enjoying it, someday you may find yourself with a published book on your hands!
Thank you for "casting your vote" for the Three Investigators. I've received a few letters like yours, making it clear that there is a devoted core group of fans out there.
As the editor in charge of the series, I am proud to have inherited a line with such a distinguished history. The boys have seen quite a few incarnations and, as you are probably aware, we are currently reissuing the series with yet another "facelift." In fact, the last Three Investigators book written by Robert Arthur (#11 Mystery of the Talking Skull) should hit the shelves again in late June. So, if all goes well, you should have no problem introducing your own kids to Jupe, Pete, and Bob.
By the way, as anyone here will tell you, I view everything from the perspective of a child. If anything, I have a hard time seeing things as an adult. So no problem on that count.
Thanks again for your thoughts.
In March 2000, Mark Zahn received a reply from the editor then in charge of The Three Investigators series at Random House in response to a letter he wrote:
In 1989, Max Palmer of Leicestershire, England, sent a Three Investigators story that he had written entitled "The Mystery of the Scything Spectre" to Random House. About a year later, he received a letter from no less than the series editor herself, Eugenia Fanelli! To read this lengthy letter in it's entirety, please click on either of the two scans below.