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



Collecting Three Investigators books can be quite expensive, so obviously preserving your valuable collection is very important. Unfortunately, most editions of The Three Investigators were made with fairly inexpensive paper and bindings that can degrade considerably over time. Bindings crack, spines and covers fade and the paper becomes brittle and brown. It can be difficult to effectively repair what has happened, so certain steps should be taken to prevent or minimize further damage. The following information is based on my own knowledge of book preservation, as well as information found at the National Archives and Records Administration and The Library of Congress Preservation websites.


The type of environment surrounding a book is perhaps the most important aspect of book preservation. An unacceptable environment will begin or accelerate deterioration. For example, the high humidity in an attic or basement can promote mold growth, cause foxing (small brown disfiguring spots in paper), and attract insects. Extremely low humidity, as found near hot radiators, can dry out bindings and adhesives. Books will last longest if they are in a stable environment, similar to that which we find comfortable for ourselves: 65-72 degrees F; 40-50% relative humidity; with clean air and good circulation. Inside walls are drier than outside walls, therefore, the central part of your home provides a safer environment than a hot attic or damp basement. Maintaining steady temperature and relative humidity is preferable over conditions that cycle up and down.

Direct sunlight or indoor light with a large ultraviolet (UV) component (such as fluorescent) will promote chemical degradation in the paper and fade inks in printed covers and spines. The effects of light exposure are cumulative and irreversible. Since part of collecting is typically displaying and enjoying a collection, keep your books out of direct sunlight or fluorescent light, or place them in an enclosed cabinet with glazing designed to filter UV light (UV conservation glass or UV acrylic sheet). Typically, incandescent light (from a standard light bulb) will not cause fading, but as incandescent light bulbs are very hot, they should be kept far enough away to prevent damage from excess heat.


If you choose to display your books, always place them on shelves. The shelves must be deep enough to support the book's entire bottom edge and strong enough to not bend in the center from the weight. Place similar sized books next to each other vertically, packing them neither too loosely or tightly; this will help to prevent warping of a tall book next to a short book. Large, heavy volumes should be shelved horizontally rather than vertically, as this method of storage provides greater protection and support for textblocks and bindings. Never place these books horizontally on the tops of vertical ones; this can crush the top edges.


If you choose to simply store your books, do not put them in regular corrugated cardboard boxes. These boxes are very acidic and the acid will slowly leech into the books, destroying them over time. Like light exposure, the damage is irreversible. Paperback book pages brown because of the relatively small amount of acid contained in the pages themselves - just imagine what can happen if the entire book is surrounded by an even more acidic environment. Therefore, always store books in either archival quality cardboard boxes (these are special, pH neutral boxes) or polymer containers made of a completely stable material such as polypropylene or polyethylene. I personally find the best containers to be the polypropylene kind made by Rubbermaid, Sterlite, etc. that are found at most stores like Target or Walmart. They are inexpensive, very sturdy, stackable and available transparent so you can see what's inside without taking off the lid. Polypropylene containers can be identified by their #5 recycling code on the bottom and usually the letters "PP." Before using these containers, make sure to wipe out any dust or dirt with a damp cloth and allow to completely dry.

When placing books into storage containers, pack them snugly, but not too tightly. Never store books on their front edge or spine. If possible, it's best to stand books upright, just like on a shelf. Again, never place additional books horizontally on the tops of vertical ones; this can crush the top edges. If it's not possible to stand them upright, lay all the books flat in the box, in neat stacks. Make that they are all laying square, and not twisted in the bindings.


How a book is handled contributes to its longevity. If a book will not lay flat, do not force it open further, as the binding can crack. In addition, the covers should always be supported when the book is open (e.g. do not leave one half of the book hanging over the edge of a table).

Many books are damaged by the habit of pulling the books off the shelf with the head cap or the top of the spine. It is a much better practice to push the two adjoining books inward and remove the book by grasping the sides of the spine.

Paper clips should not be used to make notations since clips will rust or crimp the pages. The folding down of page corners is also damaging because it will often cause the page corner to break off over time.

If possible, don't ever write in your books, especially not in ink. Ink can easily bleed through to the opposite page, obscuring text. From a collecting standpoint, it's best to not even put your name and/or address inside the front cover. Even a neatly written ink name in a book will reduce it's value significantly. If you already have put your name in your books or have purchased one that way, do nothing. If you feel you must put your name in your books, use a soft number one pencil that can easily be erased.

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This page last updated on 02-Sep-03