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
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
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:
here for an example.
All four books were most likely only
available as First Printings and all contain the printing numberline.
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