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


Book Construction

Before any attempts are made to repair your Three Investigators books, a basic understanding of book construction is needed. This page and the next concentrate solely on the case bound Trade Hardcover Edition: how it's put together and how to repair hinge damage (by far the most common repair).

In a Trade hardcover Three Investigators book, the case, made up of the covers (boards with the illustrated paper finish covering the front side of them), spine and spine inlay are attached to the textblock via the crash and endpapers. The sequence: the endpapers are cut in two at the middle to form the free and pastedown sides. The free endpapers are glued to the shoulder of the first and last page of the textblock. Next, the crash is glued to the spine lining ("closed" side of the textblock) and a piece of flexible paper is also glued to the underside of the crash to stiffen it. This assembly is then placed into the covers and the pastedown endpapers are glued to the front and back boards (hence the name pastedown), sandwiching the crash between the board and the pastedown endpaper. The point at which the crash, pastedown endpaper and spine lining meet is the hinge; this is the point where all movement occurs and the first place to show damage.

If you read the above carefully, you'll notice that the crash and spine inlay are not supposed to be attached to each other. This creates a hollow space that allows the spine/spine inlay to flex and the book to open more easily. Hardcover books that have been incorrectly repaired lack this hollow space, making it difficult to open the book completely; i.e. the binding feels stiff.

The following illustrates what was described above:

The adhesive that book binders typically use is a polyvinyl acetate (PVA). This was the type of adhesive used on Trade hardcover Three Investigators books. PVA adhesives come in a wide variety of types and grades, but in general they all require no preparation, can be thinned and cleaned up with water, are very strong and dry colorless/clear. Even with all of those benefits, some PVA adhesives are better than others and unfortunately, Random House seems to have chosen the poorer quality ones. This is evident in the vast number of Trade hardcover titles that have cracked or separated cases only 25 years after they were printed.

First shown in Fundamentals, the following is a re-listing of additional relevant terms in hardcover book construction:

Binding -- noun The materials that hold a book together. There are two formats of bindings: hardcover and paperback. Most modern hardcover books have a case binding and most paperback books have a wrapped binding. | verb Assembling a book.

Boards -- noun The stiff cardboard on the front and back of a hardcover book that is covered with leather, cloth or paper to form the covers.

Case -- noun In a hardcover book, the combination of the covers, spine and spine inlay.

Case Binding -- noun A very common type of hardcover binding utilizing a case and textblock. All Three Investigators hardcover books have a case binding.

Covers -- noun In a hardcover book, the boards after they are covered with leather, cloth or paper; referred to as the "front" and "back" covers. In a paperback book, the one-piece heavy stock paper that wraps around the textblock to create a front cover, back cover and spine.

Crash -- noun The sturdy, open-weave cloth that extends onto and under the pastedown endpapers to form the hinge and is glued to the spine lining. It is typically reinforced with a thick piece of flexible paper along the spine lining side. The crash is also referred to as the super.

Endpapers -- noun The sheets of paper pasted to the inside of the front or back cover (pastedown endpaper) and to the edge of the flyleaf (free endpaper). Endpapers are used in hardcover books only.

Flyleaf -- noun A blank page (or pages) inserted between the free endpaper and the beginning or end of the printed pages.

Gathering -- noun A folded printed sheet of pages prior to binding; referred to as a signature after binding.

Hinge -- noun The interior flexible area where the pastedown endpaper meets the spine lining and crash; this is the inner equivalent of the joint.

Joint -- noun The exterior flexible area where a board meets the spine; this is the outer equivalent of the hinge.

Signature -- noun A gathering bound with other signatures and trimmed.

Spine -- noun The back portion of a book's binding; the portion which is attached at the joints to the covers.

Spine Inlay -- noun A stiff cardboard that forms the inner side of the spine and sits below the crash. It is not glued to the crash or spine lining.

Spine lining -- noun The side of the textblock that faces the spine and is attached to the crash.

Textblock -- noun The completed and trimmed assembly of the signatures and flyleaves, held together by glue or stitching. The side of the textblock that faces the spine is called the spine lining.

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This page last updated on 02-Sep-03