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

Random House


Random House’s third expansion of The Three Investigators came in 1989 with the introduction of the Crimebusters series. Intended for the young adult market, Crimebusters featured the investigators as older teenagers in high school and was modeled after the Hardy Boys Casefiles books. In all, eleven titles were published: seven in 1989 and four in 1990. William Arden wrote the first title, #1 Hot Wheels, and Marc Brandel wrote #5 An Ear For Danger, but otherwise a group of authors never before associated with The Three Investigators penned the remaining nine books.

All of the titles were initially published simultaneously in Paperback and GLB Editions with indentical brightly colored cover art by Hector Garrido and no internal illustrations. The GLB Edition was published directly by Random House, but the paperbacks were published as a Borzoi Sprinter Paperback Edition under Random House’s Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. division. In addition, the books themselves were physically smaller than those of the original series, measuring approximately 4 1/8" x 6 7/8" for the Paperback Edition and 4 3/4" x 7 1/2" for the GLB Edition.

As it was not nearly as popular as the original series, Crimebusters abruptly ended before the "forthcoming" twelfth title could even be published. This title is listed in later books as #12 Brain Wash. An additional thirteenth title written by G.H. Stone exists in manuscript form and would have been published as #13 High Strung.

In 1991, two titles were re-published in the short lived Bullseye Paperback Edition under Random House's Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. division: #1 Hot Wheels and #2 Murder To Go. Both featured their original Hector Garrido cover art and original typeface, but the books were larger (5 1/8" x 7 9/16") and the cover art was surrounded on three sides by a dark colored border containing a shoe prints/confetti design.


Title, author, etc. information on all eleven titles can be found in the downloadable Random House Chart discussed in Random House - Foreword.

In the Crimebusters series, The Three Investigators name was changed to The 3 Investigators.

To my knowledge, only the Borzoi Sprinter Paperback Edition of #1 Hot Wheels and #2 Murder To Go (see below) had a Second Printing. The remaining paperback and hardcover Crimebusters books were only ever available as First Printings. Like all other Three Investigators books published after 1973, printing information can be found on the copyright page numberline.

With one known exception, the Borzoi Sprinter Paperback Edition used an embossed, reflective gold and red foil for "The 3 Investigators" title text. The exception is the Second Printing of #2 Murder to Go. For most, but not all, copies of the Second Printing, the text was changed to "regular" red and mustard yellow. Click here for a comparison of the two printings. This none-complete change over in cover style is another example of partial conversion. The only other Borzoi Sprinter Paperback Edition to have a Second Printing, #1 Hot Wheels, retained the original foil.

The GLB Edition also used the red (sometimes blue) and mustard yellow colors for 'The 3 Investigators" title text.

For detailed information on the writing and publishing of the Crimebusters series, please see the G.H. Stone (Gayle Lynds) interview at The Three Investigators U.S. Editions Collector's Site.

Collector's Notes

All of the paperback Crimebusters books are fairly easy to acquire online. They are typically inexpensive, usually less than $8.00 each, although prices appear to be rising for the better condition copies. The GLB titles are harder to find, particularily since most appear to still be in library circulation. Even considering their somewhat lower availability, the GLB titles are still relatively inexpensive, usually selling on eBay for around $15.00 each.

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This page last updated on 27-Feb-06