A Brief History
Random House
Weekly Reader

  1.  Terror Castle
  2.  Stuttering Parrot
  3.  Whispering Mummy
  4.  Green Ghost
  5.  Vanishing Treasure
  6.  Skeleton Island
  7.  Fiery Eye
  8.  Silver Spider
  9.  Screaming Clock
10.  Moaning Cave
11.  Talking Skull
12.  Laughing Shadow
13.  Crooked Cat
14.  Coughing Dragon
15.  Flaming Footprints
16.  Nervous Lion
17.  Singing Serpent
18.  Shrinking House
19.  Phantom Lake
20.  Monster Mountain
21.  Haunted Mirror
22.  Dead Man's Riddle
23.  Invisible Dog
24.  Death Trap Mine
25.  Dancing Devil
26.  Headless Horse
27.  Magic Circle
28.  Deadly Double
29.  Sinister Scarecrow
30.  Shark Reef
31.  Scar-Faced Beggar
32.  Blazing Cliffs
33.  Purple Pirate
34.  Wandering Cave Man
35.  Kidnapped Whale
36.  Missing Mermaid
37.  Two-Toed Pigeon
38.  Smashing Glass
39.  Trail of Terror
40.  Rogues' Reunion
41.  Creep-Show Crooks
42.  Wreckers' Rock
43.  Cranky Collector

Book of Mystery Puzzles

Find Your Fate
  1.  Weeping Coffin
  2.  Dancing Dinosaur
  7.  House of Horrors
  8.  Savage Statue

  1.  Hot Wheels
  2.  Murder To Go
  3.  Rough Stuff
  4.  Funny Business
  5.  An Ear For Danger
  6.  Thriller Diller
  7.  Reel Trouble
  8.  Shoot the Works
  9.  Foul Play
10.  Long Shot
11.  Fatal Error

Weekly Reader

Like Scholastic, Weekly Reader Books is a book club that specializes in less expensive editions of children's books. Weekly Reader published only four Three Investigators titles under its Children's Book Clubs and Just For Boys series, but this publishing was significant as the books were in hardcover, making them the last Three Investigators books published this way. The four were:

  #3 The Mystery of the Whispering Mummy
#12 The Mystery of the Laughing Shadow
Crimebusters #1: Hot Wheels
Crimebusters #6: Thriller Diller

Because the books' copyright pages do not contain any dates concerning Weekly Reader, it is difficult to determine exactly when the books were published, but I suspect #12 The Mystery of the Laughing Shadow was in 1987, #3 The Mystery of the Whispering Mummy in 1989 and and the two Crimebusters in 1990. This is based on the information discussed below. At a minimum, all four must have been published before 1991 because all state Field Publications as the Weekly Reader owner. Weekly Reader's owner was changed in 1991 when Fields sold the company to K-III and it was renamed Weekly Reader Corporation.

All four books share the same basic format, which is a fairly poor quality 5 3/8" x 8" hardcover binding with a matte paper finish and low weight, paperback-type page stock. In general, the books are little more than a paperback edition with stronger covers.

For an unknown reason, all four books use their Random House ISBN's, which implies that they are actually not a new edition, but simply a re-issue of the originals in hardcover. This is quite a mystery and I unfortunately I don't understand what Weekly Reader's publishing relationship was with Random House.

The Original 43: Numbers 3 and 12

For #3 The Mystery of the Whispering Mummy and #12 The Mystery of the Laughing Shadow, the cover art was by Robert Adragna and the text was from the Revised Edition with no internal illustrations. There were several major differences between the two books, which indicates they were probably published a few years apart. Laughing Shadow had decorated endpapers (with a printed book plate), a Weekly Reader Books logo located on the lower spine and the text "A Three Investigators Mystery" printed on the top of the front cover. Whispering Mummy had plain white endpapers, a Random House logo on the lower spine and no mention of The Three Investigators anywhere on the cover. Laughing Shadow was part of the Weekly Reader Children's Book Clubs, whereas Whispering Mummy was part of Weekly Reader's Just For Boys series. Each respective logo was printed on the back cover. Laughing Shadow used the original Revised Edition typeface for the title on the cover, while Whispering Mummy used a completely new typeface. Whispering Mummy also did not contain Hector Sebastian's introduction, but did contain his meeting with the boys at the end of the book. I personally find this very puzzling as I cannot produce any reason why the introduction would be eliminated.

Crimebusters: Numbers 1 and 6

Like #12 The Mystery of the Whispering Mummy, both Crimebusters titles were part of the Just For Boys series, but with a completely different logo on the back cover. This suggests they were published some time after Whispering Mummy. Both Crimebusters books used their original typeface and cover art, which was scaled up to accommodate the larger size of the book. Alfred A. Knopf was printed on the lower spine. Interestingly, both books lack their Crimebusters number on the front cover, perhaps to prevent the reader from trying to find more of the books in the Weekly Reader format: click here for an example.


All four books were most likely only available as First Printings and all contain the printing numberline.

Collector's Notes

Probably because of their poor quality, most collectors seem to have almost no interest in the Weekly Reader titles. They typically can be found for less than $5.00 each. Thriller Diller is slightly harder to find than the other three, but is still quite prevalent in the used book market.

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This page last updated on 02-Sep-03