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+++ Textvarianten: Revised Edition (USA, 1984/1985) +++

Hintergrund
Nachdem Alfred Hitchcock im Jahre 1980 gestorben war, sahen sich die amerikanischen Macher der Three Investigators-Serie notgedrungen nach einem neuen, diesmal fiktiven (ergo unsterblichen) Mentor der drei Detektive um und fanden ihn in der Gestalt des Privatdetektivs a.D. Hector Sebastian. Der Verzicht auf Alfred Hitchcocks Namen und Figur sowohl auf dem Cover, als auch in den Geschichten selbst hatte den angenehmen Nebeneffekt, daß künftig die an Hitchcock geflossenen Lizenzbeträge nicht mehr gezahlt werden mußten. Einmal auf den Geschmack gekommen, nahm man sich recht bald die ersten dreißig Episoden der Serie vor und eliminierte die Spuren des nun toten Hollywood-Regisseurs gänzlich. 1984 und 1985 kamen sämtliche dreißig Folgen in der revised edition auf den Markt. In ihnen war aber nicht nur Alfred Hitchcock durch Hector Sebastian (in Folge 1: Reginald Clarke, weil hier ein Regisseur vonnöten war) ersetzt worden, man hatte auch sonst in die Texte eingegriffen; über Bearbeitungstendenzen läßt sich zusammenfassend wenig sagen - zu wenig Vergleiche wurden bislang angestellt.
Interessant ist auf jeden Fall, daß die Folgen 31 (The Mystery of the Scar-Faced Beggar) und 32 (The Mystery of the Blazing Clffs), in denen Hitchcocks Tod explizit erwähnt worden war und in denen die Freundschaft zu Hector Sebastian noch als sehr frisch geschildert wurde, nicht noch einmal überarbeitet wurden, um sie den ihnen vorangestellten dreißig revised editions anzupassen.
Die beiden Anfang und Ende der 1990er Jahre in Amerika veröffentlichten Neuausgaben der Three Investigators-Serie (im Coverarchiv als "Bullseye Paperback Edition" und "Current Paperback Edition" notiert) folgten der revised edition.

Die revised edition außerhalb Amerikas
In Deutschland übernahm man die konzeptionellen Änderungen lediglich für die Folge 31 (... und das Narbengesicht), kehrte jedoch für die 2. Auflage zu Alfred Hitchcock zurück und schneiderte auch die folgenden Abenteuer auf Hitchcock zu. Auch in Frankreich erschienen die Post-Hitchcock-Episoden mit Hitchcock. Die Engländer machten zumindest teilweise einen Bogen um Hector Sebastian: während man sich nach Folge 31 den Originalen beugte, basierten sämtliche britischen Neuausgaben der ersten dreißig Three Investigators-Episoden, die nach 1980 erschienen, weiterhin auf den Originaltexten.

Ein detaillierter Versionsvergleich
Um einen Eindruck vom Ausmaß der in den revised editions vorgenommenen Änderungen zu geben, folgen nun einige Kapitel aus The Mystery of the Fiery Eye. Auf der linken Seite ist der amerikanische Originaltext zu lesen; der Text in der rechten Spalte gibt die revised edition wider.  

Hardcover Edition, Random House Current Paperback Edition, Random House
Alfred Hitchcock
and The Three Investigators in
The Mystery of The Fiery Eye

Text by Robert Arthur

New York, Random House, 1967

 
The Three Investigators in
The Mystery of The Fiery Eye

by Robert Arthur

New York, Random House, 1984
Revised edition

Diese Ausgabe gibt's bei amazon.de.

   
   
Vorwort
A Welcome from Alfred Hitchcock

Welcome, young friends! I am delighted to have you join me and The Three Investigators in another suspenseful and mystifying case. This time they tangle with a mysterious message, a strange legacy, a sinister gentleman from India, and other assorted matters which I will not reveal at this point. Suffice it to say that if your taste runs to mystery, detection, danger and suspense, you have come to the right place.
All those who have been with us before may turn the page and start the main feature immediately. For the benefit of newcomers, let me say that my trio of young friends - Jupiter Jones, Bob Andrews and Pete Crenshaw - call themselves The Three Investigators. Their motto is "We Investigate Anything". And indeed they do. In the past they have investigated a green ghost, a castle that oozed terror, a whispering mummy, and other matters that were a trifle unusual, to say the least.
Jupiter Jones is known for his remarkable powers of observation and deduction. Pete Crenshaw is the athletic member of the trio. Bob Andrews is more inclined to be studious, and is adept at research. Together they make an excellent team.
Their home is in Rocky Beach, California, a few miles from the fabulous city of Hollywood. They make their headquarters in The Jones Salvage Yard, which is owned by Jupiter's aunt and uncle, Mathilda and Titus Jones.
Which is enough introduction. On with the story!

ALFRED HITCHCOCK

Introduction

Welcome, mystery lovers. Join me and The Three Investigators in another suspenseful and mystifying case. This time they tangle with a mysterious message, a strange inheritance, a sinister man from India, and other surprises that you'll soon discover. All I can say at this point is that if you love mystery and danger, you've come to the right place.
If you're already familiar with my friends, turn right away to Chapter 1 and start reading. If you've never been introduced before, let me do the honors. Jupiter Jones, Pete Crenshaw, and Bob Andrews call themselves The Three Investigators. Their motto is "We Investigate Anything". And they really do. So far they've investigated a green ghost, a haunted castle, a whispering mummy, and other slightly bizarre situations, to say the least.
Jupiter Jones is known for his remarkable powers of observation and deduction. Pete Crenshaw is the athletic member of the firm. Bob Andrews is studious and skilled at research. Together they make a great team.
Their home is in Rocky Beach, California, a few miles from Hollywood. Their headquarters is in The Jones Salvage Yard, which is owned by Jupiter's aunt and uncle, Mathilda and Titus Jones.
Which is enough introduction. On with the story!

- Hector Sebastian

   
   
1. Kapitel
1. A Call For The Three Investigators

It was a busy day at The Jones Salvage Yard. Mrs. Mathilda Jones was keeping her nephew Jupiter and his friends Bob and Pete on the jump. Seated in a wrought-iron garden chair outside the neat little cabin that served as her office, she watched the three boys working with an eagle eye. They were unloading the big salvage yard truck of the assorted objects Titus Jones had brought back from his most recent buying trip.
"Jupiter!" she called now. "All those statues on the truck! You boys bring them over here and stand them in a row on this table. We'll make a nice display of them."
She was referring to a number of plaster heads of famous people which lay carefully bedded down on some canvas in the back of the truck. Technically they were not really statues, but busts. About half lifesize, they showed only the head and shoulders. They were the kind of sculptures sometimes seen on pedestals in museums and libraries.
Jupiter, Pete and Bob scrambled up into the truck and stared at the busts. To the boys they didn't look like anything anyone would want very much. Altogether there were thirteen of them, and they all looked a bit grey from many years of gathering dust. The name of the person each represented was chiseled on its square base.
"Julius Caesar, Octavian, Dante, Homer, Francis Bacon, Shakespeare," Jupiter read off some of the names. "These seem to be all famous men."
"Augustus of Poland," Bob read. "I never heard of him."
"Or Luther or Bismarck," Pete added, pointing to two very stern-looking busts.
"But you've heard of Queen Victoria," Jupiter said. "And Washington, Franklin and Lincoln."
"Sure," Pete agreed. "Well, let's start with Washington." He bent down to pick up the bust of George Washington. "Oof!" he gasped. "It's heavy!"
"Be careful there, Pete!" called Mrs. Jones. "That's a very valuable and artistic statue. I'm planning to charge five dollars for it!"
"I'll get down, then you hand it to me," Jupiter said.
Pete got down on his knees in the back of the truck, and carefully lowered George Washington into Jupiter's arms. Jupe hugged him tight and staggered backwards. Gingerly he lowered the bust of America's first President to the table. Then he mopped his forehead.
"Aunt Mathilda," he said, "I think we should wait for Hans or Konrad to move these busts. Pete and I might drop one."
"Yes, indeed, you might," agreed Mrs. Jones, who had been watching every move. "And there would go five dollars! All right, Jupiter, you boys are excused for now. You can go have a club meeting, or whatever it is you do."
Some time back, Bob, Pete and Jupiter had formed a puzzle-solvers club, which they had later turned into the junior detective firm of The Three Investigators. However, Mrs. Jones had never quite grasped the fact that, though they still solved puzzles and entered contests for fun, their real interest these days was in solving genuine mysteries that came their way.
Mrs. Jones knew that Jupiter had a workshop section, fitted up with various tools and a printing press, back in a section of the yard which was hidden from sight by piles of building materials. What she didn't know was that they also had fixed up a headquarters for their firm of The Three Investigators, close to the workshop.
Headquarters was an old mobile home trailer that Mr. Jones had been unable to sell because it had been damaged in an accident. He had given it to Jupiter to use for a meeting place with his friends. Over the last year the boys, with the help of Hans and Konrad, the sturdy blond Bavarian yard helpers, had piled all kinds of junk around the trailer. Now it was completely hidden from sight and could only be entered through certain secret entrances.
Inside Headquarters was a tiny office equipped with a desk, telephone, tape recorder, filing cabinet and other necessities, and next to it was an equally small laboratory and a darkroom for developing pictures. Almost all the equipment had come in to the salvage yard as junk, but had been rebuilt by Jupiter and the other boys.
The three were about to head for Headquarters now when the other salvage yard truck, the small one, turned in through the gate. Konrad was driving and Titus Jones, a small man whose enormous moustache seemed the largest thing about him, sat beside him. Hans, the other Bavarian brother, was riding in the back of the truck with the load.
The truck stopped and Mr. Jones hopped out. The boys could see that the truck was loaded with a number of curious black objects known as dressmakers' dummies. These were made of black cloth over a metal frame, shaped to be about the size of a woman, but with a metal stand for feet and no head. Once almost every household had had one, and the lady of the house fitted her handmade clothing to it. Nowadays, however, you seldom saw one in use.
Mrs. Jones leaped to her feet, clutching her hair.
"Titus Jones!" she cried. "Have you gone out of your mind? In the name of goodness and mercy and sweetness and light, how do you expect to sell a truckload of old dressmakers' dummies?"
"We'll find some use for them," Titus Jones said, his composure unruffled. Mr. Jones was a very unusual junkman - he bought anything that interested him, not just things he knew would sell. And one way or another, he usually sold them again at a tidy profit.
"Jupiter, put your mind to what possible use an old dressmaker's dummy could be," his uncle instructed.
"Well," Jupiter said promptly, "it would make a swell target for an archery club to shoot arrows at."
"Mmm." Titus Jones considered this. "Not bad, not bad. Keep trying. Ah! I see you started to unload my fine collection of plaster busts. An artistic and unusual purchase, if I do say so."
"At first I couldn't imagine what you bought them for," Mathilda Jones said. "But now I think I know how to get rid of them. As garden ornaments! They'll look very nice in people's gardens, perched on a column among the flowers and shrubs."
"I knew I could count on you, Mathilda," Titus said. "The very thing! Hans - Konrad - finish unloading. Be careful you don't chip them."
He sat down in the shade, got out his pipe and started to light it as Hans and Konrad began lifting down the plaster busts.
"Those heads," he said. "Found them at an old place in a canyon in the hills. Grand old house. The owner died. All the furniture and rugs were sold before I got there, unfortunately. Nothing left but some odds and ends nobody else wanted - these busts, some books, a sun dial, some garden furniture. So I bought them."
He fell silent, puffing on his pipe. Jupiter, Pete and Bob took the occasion to slip away. In a moment they were back in their workshop section.
"Whew!" Pete sighed. "I thought your aunt was going to keep us working all day, Jupe."
"She would have if she hadn't been afraid we might drop one of those plaster heads," Jupiter replied. "Aunt Mathilda can't bear to lose money on a deal."
"What shall we do now?" Pete asked. "We haven't any mystery to investigate. Let's get out those maps of old ghost towns in the desert we're going to explore some day."
"Or we could work on that contest that offers a trip for two to Hawaii as first prize," Bob suggested.
"Well -" Jupiter began. At that moment a red light, mounted on a board over their printing press, began to blink.
"Look!" Bob yelled. "A phone call!"
"It might be someone wanting a mystery solved," Jupiter said hopefully.
Pete already had slid back the piece of iron grillwork that leaned against a box behind the printing press. He crawled inside the box and dropped down into Tunnel Two, a large corrugated iron pipe which led, partly underground, through a tangle of junk to the hidden mobile trailer. Bob and Jupiter followed him. Pete pushed open a trap door at the other end and they all climbed up into the tiny office of Headquarters.
The telephone was indeed ringing. Jupiter snatched it up.
"Hello!" he said. "Jupiter Jones speaking."
"One moment, please," said a young woman's voice, which they could all hear through the loudspeaker attachment that Jupiter had rigged up. "Alfred Hitchcock is calling."
Alfred Hitchcock! When Mr. Hitchcock called, it usually meant he had a case for them.
"Hello, young Jupiter!" Mr. Hitchcock's rich English voice came booming into the tiny space. "I hope you aren't too busy right now. I have a young man here who needs help, and I think you and your friends are just the ones to aid him."
"We'll be glad to try, Mr. Hitchcock," Jupiter said. "What is your friend's problem?"
"Someone has left him something valuable," Mr. Hitchcock said. "Unfortunately, he has no idea what it is or where to find it. If you can be at my office tomorrow morning at ten, he'll be here to tell you all about it."

1. A Call For The Three Investigators

It was a busy day at The Jones Salvage Yard. Mrs. Mathilda Jones was keeping her nephew Jupiter and his friends Bob and Pete on the jump. Seated in a wrought-iron garden chair outside the neat little cabin that served as her office, she watched the three boys working with an eagle eye. They were unloading the big salvage yard truck of the assorted objects Titus Jones had brought back from his most recent buying trip.
"Jupiter!" she called now. "All those statues on the truck! You boys bring them over here and stand them in a row on this table. We'll make a nice display of them."
She was referring to a number of plaster heads of famous people which lay carefully bedded down on some canvas in the back of the truck. Technically they were not really statues, but busts. About half lifesize, they showed only the head and shoulders. They were the kind of sculptures sometimes seen on pedestals in museums and libraries.
Jupiter, Pete and Bob scrambled up into the truck and stared at the busts. To the boys they didn't look like anything anyone would want very much. Altogether there were thirteen of them, and they all looked a bit grey from many years of gathering dust. The name of the person each represented was chiseled on its square base.
"Julius Caesar, Octavian, Dante, Homer, Francis Bacon, Shakespeare," Jupiter read off some of the names. "These seem to be all famous men."
"Augustus of Poland," Bob read. "I never heard of him."
"Or Luther or Bismarck," Pete added, pointing to two very stern-looking busts.
"But you've heard of Queen Victoria," Jupiter said. "And Washington, Franklin and Lincoln."
"Sure," Pete agreed. "Well, let's start with Washington." He bent down to pick up the bust of George Washington. "Oof!" he gasped. "It's heavy!"
"Be careful there, Pete!" called Mrs. Jones. "That's a very valuable and artistic statue. I'm planning to charge five dollars for it!"
"I'll get down, then you hand it to me," Jupiter said.
Pete got down on his knees in the back of the truck, and carefully lowered George Washington into Jupiter's arms. Jupe hugged him tight and staggered backwards. Gingerly he lowered the bust of America's first President to the table. Then he mopped his forehead.
"Aunt Mathilda," he said, "I think we should wait for Hans or Konrad to move these busts. Pete and I might drop one."
"Yes, indeed, you might," agreed Mrs. Jones, who had been watching every move. "And there would go five dollars! All right, Jupiter, you boys are excused for now. You can go have a club meeting, or whatever it is you do."
Some time back, Bob, Pete and Jupiter had formed a puzzle-solvers club, which they had later turned into the junior detective firm of The Three Investigators. However, Mrs. Jones had never quite grasped the fact that, though they still solved puzzles and entered contests for fun, their real interest these days was in solving genuine mysteries that came their way.
Mrs. Jones knew that Jupiter had a workshop section, fitted up with various tools and a printing press, back in a section of the yard which was hidden from sight by piles of building materials. What she didn't know was that they also had fixed up a headquarters for their firm of The Three Investigators, close to the workshop.
Headquarters was an old mobile home trailer that Mr. Jones had been unable to sell because it had been damaged in an accident. He had given it to Jupiter to use for a meeting place with his friends. Over the last year the boys, with the help of Hans and Konrad, the sturdy blond Bavarian yard helpers, had piled all kinds of junk around the trailer. Now it was completely hidden from sight and could only be entered through certain secret entrances.
Inside Headquarters was a tiny office equipped with a desk, telephone, tape recorder, filing cabinet and other necessities, and next to it was an equally small laboratory and a darkroom for developing pictures. Almost all the equipment had come in to the salvage yard as junk, but had been rebuilt by Jupiter and the other boys.
The three were about to head for Headquarters now when the other salvage yard truck, the small one, turned in through the gate. Konrad was driving and Titus Jones, a small man whose enormous moustache seemed the largest thing about him, sat beside him. Hans, the other Bavarian brother, was riding in the back of the truck with the load.
The truck stopped and Mr. Jones hopped out. The boys could see that the truck was loaded with a number of curious black objects known as dressmakers' dummies. These were made of black cloth over a metal frame, shaped to be about the size of a woman, but with a metal stand for feet and no head. Once almost every household had had one, and the lady of the house fitted her handmade clothing to it. Nowadays, however, you seldom saw one in use.
Mrs. Jones leaped to her feet, clutching her hair.
"Titus Jones!" she cried. "Have you gone out of your mind? In the name of goodness and mercy and sweetness and light, how do you expect to sell a truckload of old dressmakers' dummies?"
"We'll find some use for them," Titus Jones said, his composure unruffled. Mr. Jones was a very unusual junkman - he bought anything that interested him, not just things he knew would sell. And one way or another, he usually sold them again at a tidy profit.
"Jupiter, put your mind to what possible use an old dressmaker's dummy could be," his uncle instructed.
"Well," Jupiter said promptly, "it would make a great target for an archery club to shoot arrows at."
"Mmm." Titus Jones considered this. "Not bad, not bad. Keep trying. Ah! I see you started to unload my fine collection of plaster busts. An artistic and unusual purchase, if I do say so."
"At first I couldn't imagine what you bought them for," Mathilda Jones said. "But now I think I know how to get rid of them. As garden ornaments! They'll look very nice in people's gardens, perched on a column among the flowers and shrubs."
"I knew I could count on you, Mathilda," Titus said. "The very thing! Hans - Konrad - finish unloading. Be careful you don't chip them."
He sat down in the shade, got out his pipe and started to light it as Hans and Konrad began lifting down the plaster busts.
"Those heads," he said. "Found them at an old place in a canyon in the hills. Grand old house. The owner died. All the furniture and rugs were sold before I got there, unfortunately. Nothing left but some odds and ends nobody else wanted - these busts, some books, a sun dial, some garden furniture. So I bought them."
He fell silent, puffing on his pipe. Jupiter, Pete and Bob took the occasion to slip away. In a moment they were back in their workshop section.
"Whew!" Pete sighed. "I thought your aunt was going to keep us working all day, Jupe."
"She would have if she hadn't been afraid we might drop one of those plaster heads," Jupiter replied. "Aunt Mathilda can't bear to lose money on a deal."
"What shall we do now?" Pete asked. "We haven't any mystery to investigate. Let's get out those maps of old ghost towns in the desert we're going to explore some day."
"Or we could work on that contest that offers a trip for two to Hawaii as first prize," Bob suggested.
"Well -" Jupiter began. At that moment a red light, mounted on a board over their printing press, began to blink.
"Look!" Bob yelled. "A phone call!"
"It might be someone wanting a mystery solved," Jupiter said hopefully.
Pete had already slid back the piece of iron grillwork that leaned against the opening of a large pipe behind the printing press. He crawled inside the large corrugated iron pipe which led, partly underground, through a tangle of junk to the hidden mobile trailer. The boys called this secret entrance Tunnel Two. Bob and Jupiter followed him. Pete pushed open a trap door at the other end and they all climbed up into the tiny office of Headquarters.
The telephone was indeed ringing. Jupiter snatched it up.
"Hello!" he said. "Jupiter Jones speaking."
"Hi, Jupe," said a hearty male voice, which they all could hear through the loudspeaker attachment that Jupiter had rigged up. It was Hector Sebastian, a detective turned mystery writer. He had become the boys' adviser and friend. When Mr. Sebastian called, it usually meant he had a case for them.
"What a pleasant surprise," said Jupiter. "What can we do for you?"
"I hope you aren't too busy right now. The son of a friend of mine is in town and he needs help. I think you and your friends are just the ones to help him."
"We'll be glad to try, Mr. Sebastian," Jupiter said. "What is your friend's problem?"
"Someone has left him something valuable," Mr. Sebastian said. "Unfortunately he has no idea what it is or where to find it. He's staying at the Hotel Imperial in Hollywood. Why don't you meet both of us there tomorrow morning at ten? Then he can tell you all about it himself."

   
   
2. Kapitel
2. Trouble with Mr. Gelbert

"Terrific!" Pete exclaimed. "Mr. Hitchcock has a new case for us."
"A boy who has been left something valuable and doesn't know what it is or where to find it," Bob added, frowning. "It sounds pretty mixed up to me."
"The more baffling it is, the better," Jupiter said.
"We'll need a car to drive us over to Hollywood," Pete put in. "I'd hate to drive into World Studios and up to Mr. Hitchcock's office in the old truck."
"I am phoning the Rent-'n-Ride Auto Agency now," Jupiter told them, starting to dial, "to tell them we will need the Rolls-Royce and Worthington tomorrow morning."
Some time ago, Jupiter had won the use of a genuine, gold-plated, antique Rolls-Royce, complete with chauffeur, in a contest. The car had been invaluable to them in their career as investigators, for distances in southern California are great, and it is almost impossible to cover them except by car. Of course, sometimes the three borrowed the salvage yard's small truck, with Hans or Konrad driving. But for a visit to see Alfred Hitchcock, the famous director, a truck was hardly dignified enough.
"Hello," Jupiter spoke into the telephone. "May I speak to the manager, please? ... Hello, Mr. Gelbert, this is Jupiter Jones speaking. I wanted to tell you I will need the Rolls-Royce, with Worthington, tomorrow morning at nine-thirty."
They were surprised to hear the man at the other end say, "I am sorry, but that will be impossible. Your thirty days' use of the car has expired."
"Golly!" Pete groaned in dismay. "We haven't been keeping track. The thirty days ran out while we were back East tangling with the mystery of Skeleton Island."
But Jupiter was speaking into the telephone again.
"According to my figures, Mr. Gelbert," he said, "the thirty days still have some time to run."
"But they don't!" Pete whispered loudly. "The thirty days ran out. He's right."
The First Investigator waved his free hand at them. The manager of the rental firm was speaking again.
"I'm afraid you're wrong," he said firmly.
"Mr. Gelbert," Jupiter said in a dignified voice, "I believe we have a difference of viewpoint here that needs to be straightened out. I'll be at your office in twenty minutes to discuss the matter."
"There's nothing to discuss!" The man sounded annoyed now. "The time is up. Come down, but it won't do you any good."
"Thank you," Jupiter said. He hung up and turned to the others. "We have to get our bikes and ride downtown."
"But he's right!" Pete protested as they crawled out through Tunnel Two. "Thirty days is thirty days."
"Not always," Jupiter said mysteriously. "Leave the talking to me."
"We'll leave it to you, all right," Bob agreed. "We haven't anything to say. I think we're wasting our time."
Jupiter would say nothing more. They rode out through the main gate, then half a mile down the shore road into the heart of Rocky Beach. Off to their left the Pacific Ocean gleamed blue in the sunshine, its surface dotted with boats. To their right rose the Santa Monica mountains, brown and jagged.
The Rent-'n-Ride Auto Rental Agency occupied a corner on the main street. The Three Investigators parked their bikes outside and walked in, Pete and Bob rather reluctantly following Jupiter.
They were shown into the manager's office. Mr. Gelbert, a stout, red-faced man, scowled as he saw them.
"Well?" he asked Jupiter. "You won our contest and you had the use of the car for thirty days. Now what makes you think you can keep on using it? Can't you count?"
"Yes, sir," Jupiter said politely. "I've tried to be very accurate in my counting, Mr. Gelbert."
From his pocket he took a small notebook and an envelope. He took a folded piece of paper from the envelope. It turned out to be a small handbill advertising the original contest which Jupiter had won.
It said:

WIN THE USE OF A ROLLS-ROYCE
Yours Complete with Chauffeur
For 30 days of 24 hours each!

GUESS THE NUMBER OF BEANS IN THE JAR
Rent-'n-Ride Auto Rental Agency

"Humph!" Mr. Gelbert said, looking at it. "What are you getting at? You had the use of the car for thirty days, any day you wanted, and every day has twenty-four hours, so that's that."
"I want you to study the wording of your advertisement again, sir," Jupiter said. "It says that the winner gets the use of the car for thirty days of twenty-four hours each."
"All right," Mr. Gelbert snapped. "You had it for thirty days and every day has twenty-four hours in it. Everybody knows that."
"Exactly, Mr. Gelbert," Jupiter Jones said. "Everyone knows a day has twenty-four hours in it, so why mention it at all? Why not just say, 'Win the use of a Rolls-Royce for thirty days'?"
"Why - uh -" Mr. Gelbert spluttered. "I was just trying to make it sound more, well, more splashy and interesting."
"Quite likely," Jupiter agreed, "but the way it reads to me is that the winner gets the use of the Rolls-Royce until he has used it for twenty-four hours thirty times. In other words, thirty days, each made up of twenty-four hours' use of the car. And according to my calculations -" he opened his notebook and studied what was written in it - "according to my calculations we have used the car for a total of seventy-seven hours and forty-five minutes, which is three days, five hours and forty-five minutes. So we have almost twenty-six days' use of the car left. Twenty-six days of twenty-four hours each, that is."
Pete and Bob could hardly believe their ears. It didn't seem possible Jupiter could be right, yet the way he explained it certainly sounded awfully plausible. After all, the contest had said, "thirty days of twenty-four hours each" and if each twenty-four hours' use made up one day, then - well, Jupe was right.
Mr. Gelbert seemed to have trouble speaking. He grew very red in the face.
"That's absurd!" he cried. "I never said anything like that. At least I didn't intend to say any such thing."
"That's why it's very important to always be careful you're saying what you mean," Jupiter replied. "In this case you did say -"
"I didn't!" Mr. Gelbert roared. "Anyway, if you think you can use my best car and driver free practically forever, you're crazy. I don't care what I said in the advertising. I meant thirty days, period. Your use of the car is finished! Period again!"
"But we were away for a week, Mr. Gelbert," Bob spoke up. "So we couldn't use the car. Couldn't we have that time added on to the thirty days, at least?"
"No!" the man started to shout automatically. Then he nodded abruptly. "All right, I'll make a concession. Providing you promise not to bother me any more, you can use the car two more times. That's two more times and after that - out!"
Jupiter sighed. He hated to have one of his schemes go wrong, and he had been counting on the wording in the advertising of the contest to win them the use of the car for some time to come. After all, what he had told Mr. Gelbert was perfectly logical. When you said "thirty days of twenty-four hours each," you meant thirty times twenty-four hours' use of the car. But adults, of course, were frequently neither reasonable nor logical.
"All right," he said. "Two more uses of the car. One of them at nine-thirty tomorrow morning. Thank you, Mr. Gelbert." He turned to his friends. "Come on, Second and Records."
Pete and Bob followed him out in silence, and they started back for the salvage yard.
"Gosh!" Pete said gloomily. "What are we going to do after we've finished the two times' use of the car? If we get any more mysteries to solve, we can't get around southern California on bicycles!"
"We'll have to work harder in the yard," Jupiter said, "so Aunt Mathilda won't mind letting us use the light truck, with Hans or Konrad to drive it."
"But half the time they're busy or the truck is away," Bob said. "This just about sinks The Three Investigators, Jupe. You know it does."
"We still can use the car twice more," Jupiter said firmly. "Something may turn up. I'm very much looking forward to our meeting tomorrow with Alfred Hitchcock. I have a feeling he has a real mystery for us to work on."

2. Trouble with Mr. Gelbert

"Terrific!" Pete exclaimed. "Mr. Sebastian has a new case for us."
"A boy who has been left something valuable and doesn't know what it is or where to find it," Bob added, frowning. "It sounds pretty mixed up to me."
"The more baffling it is, the better," Jupiter said.
"We'll need a car to drive us over to Hollywood," Pete put in. "I'd hate to drive up to the Hotel Imperial in the old truck."
"I am phoning the Rent-'n-Ride Auto Agency now," Jupiter told them, starting to dial, "to tell them we will need the Rolls-Royce and Worthington tomorrow morning."
Some time ago, Jupiter had won the use of a genuine, gold-plated, antique Rolls-Royce, complete with chauffeur, in a contest. The car had been invaluable to them in their career as investigators, for distances in southern California are great, and it is almost impossible to cover them except by car. Of course, sometimes the three borrowed the salvage yard's small truck, with Hans or Konrad driving. But for a visit to the Hotel Imperial in Hollywood, a truck was hardly dignified enough.
"Hello," Jupiter spoke into the telephone. "May I speak to the manager, please? ... Hello, Mr. Gelbert, this is Jupiter Jones speaking. I wanted to tell you I will need the Rolls-Royce, with Worthington, tomorrow morning at nine-thirty."
They were surprised to hear the man at the other end say, "I am sorry, but that will be impossible. Your thirty days' use of the car has expired."
"Golly!" Pete groaned in dismay. "We haven't been keeping track. The thirty days ran out while we were back East tangling with the mystery of Skeleton Island."
But Jupiter was speaking into the telephone again.
"According to my figures, Mr. Gelbert," he said, "the thirty days still have some time to run."
"But they don't!" Pete whispered loudly. "The thirty days ran out. He's right."
The First Investigator waved his free hand at them. The manager of the rental firm was speaking again.
"I'm afraid you're wrong," he said firmly.
"Mr. Gelbert," Jupiter said in a dignified voice, "I believe we have a difference of viewpoint here that needs to be straightened out. I'll be at your office in twenty minutes to discuss the matter."
"There's nothing to discuss!" The man sounded annoyed now. "The time is up. Come down, but it won't do you any good."
"Thank you," Jupiter said. He hung up and turned to the others. "We have to get our bikes and ride downtown."
"But he's right!" Pete protested as they crawled out through Tunnel Two. "Thirty days is thirty days."
"Not always," Jupiter said mysteriously. "Leave the talking to me."
"We'll leave it to you, all right," Bob agreed. "We haven't anything to say. I think we're wasting our time."
Jupiter would say nothing more. They rode out through the main gate, then half a mile down the shore road into the heart of Rocky Beach. Off to their left the Pacific Ocean gleamed blue in the sunshine, its surface dotted with boats. To their right rose the Santa Monica mountains, brown and jagged.
The Rent-'n-Ride Auto Rental Agency occupied a corner on the main street. The Three Investigators parked their bikes outside and walked in, Pete and Bob rather reluctantly following Jupiter.
They were shown into the manager's office. Mr. Gelbert, a stout, red-faced man, scowled as he saw them.
"Well?" he asked Jupiter. "You won our contest and you had the use of the car for thirty days. Now what makes you think you can keep on using it? Can't you count?"
"Yes, sir," Jupiter said politely. "I've tried to be very accurate in my counting, Mr. Gelbert."
From his pocket he took a small notebook and an envelope. He took a folded piece of paper from the envelope. It turned out to be a small handbill advertising the original contest which Jupiter had won.
It said:

WIN THE USE OF A ROLLS-ROYCE
Yours Complete with Chauffeur
For 30 days of 24 hours each!

GUESS THE NUMBER OF BEANS IN THE JAR
Rent-'n-Ride Auto Rental Agency

"Humph!" Mr. Gelbert said, looking at it. "What are you getting at? You had the use of the car for thirty days, any day you wanted, and every day has twenty-four hours, so that's that."
"I want you to study the wording of your advertisement again, sir," Jupiter said. "It says that the winner gets the use of the car for thirty days of twenty-four hours each."
"All right," Mr. Gelbert snapped. "You had it for thirty days and every day has twenty-four hours in it. Everybody knows that."
"Exactly, Mr. Gelbert," Jupiter Jones said. "Everyone knows a day has twenty-four hours in it, so why mention it at all? Why not just say, 'Win the use of a Rolls-Royce for thirty days'?"
"Why - uh -" Mr. Gelbert spluttered. "I was just trying to make it sound more, well, more splashy and interesting."
"Quite likely," Jupiter agreed, "but the way it reads to me is that the winner gets the use of the Rolls-Royce until he has used it for twenty-four hours thirty times. In other words, thirty days, each made up of twenty-four hours' use of the car. And according to my calculations -" he opened his notebook and studied what was written in it - "according to my calculations we have used the car for a total of seventy-seven hours and forty-five minutes, which is three days, five hours and forty-five minutes. So we have almost twenty-six days' use of the car left. Twenty-six days of twenty-four hours each, that is."
Pete and Bob could hardly believe their ears. It didn't seem possible Jupiter could be right, yet the way he explained it certainly sounded awfully plausible. After all, the contest had said, "thirty days of twenty-four hours each" and if each twenty-four hours' use made up one day, then - well, Jupe was right.
Mr. Gelbert seemed to have trouble speaking. He grew very red in the face.
"That's absurd!" he cried. "I never said anything like that. At least I didn't intend to say any such thing."
"That's why it's very important to always be careful you're saying what you mean," Jupiter replied. "In this case you did say -"
"I didn't!" Mr. Gelbert roared. "Anyway, if you think you can use my best car and driver free practically forever, you're crazy. I don't care what I said in the advertising. I meant thirty days, period. Your use of the car is finished! Period again!"
"But we were away for a week, Mr. Gelbert," Bob spoke up. "So we couldn't use the car. Couldn't we have that time added on to the thirty days, at least?"
"No!" the man started to shout automatically. Then he nodded abruptly. "All right, I'll make a concession. Providing you promise not to bother me any more, you can use the car two more times. That's two more times and after that - out!"
Jupiter sighed. He hated to have one of his schemes go wrong, and he had been counting on the wording in the advertising of the contest to win them the use of the car for some time to come. After all, what he had told Mr. Gelbert was perfectly logical. When you said "thirty days of twenty-four hours each," you meant thirty times twenty-four hours' use of the car. But adults, of course, were frequently neither reasonable nor logical.
"All right," he said. "Two more uses of the car. One of them at nine-thirty tomorrow morning. Thank you, Mr. Gelbert." He turned to his friends. "Come on, Second and Records."
Pete and Bob followed him out in silence, and they started back for the salvage yard.
"Gosh!" Pete said gloomily. "What are we going to do after we've finished the two times' use of the car? If we get any more mysteries to solve, we can't get around southern California on bicycles!"
"We'll have to work harder in the yard," Jupiter said, "so Aunt Mathilda won't mind letting us use the light truck, with Hans or Konrad to drive it."
"But half the time they're busy or the truck is away," Bob said. "This just about sinks The Three Investigators, Jupe. You know it does."
"We still can use the car twice more," Jupiter said firmly. "Something may turn up. I'm very much looking forward to our meeting tomorrow with Hector Sebastian. I have a feeling he has a real mystery for us to work on."

   
   
3. Kapitel
3. The Mysterious Message

"Lads," rumbled Alfred Hitchcock, "I want you to meet a young English friend of mine. His name is August. In fact, it is August August, which makes it slightly unusual. August, this is Jupiter Jones, Pete Crenshaw, and Bob Andrews. They have solved several interesting mysteries, and they may be able to help you."
The Three Investigators were seated in the famous producer's luxurious Hollywood office. The boy who now rose from a chair beside Mr. Hitchcock was tall and thin - taller than Pete, and much thinner, with very light hair cut rather long. He wore horn-rimmed glasses, which seemed to perch on top of a thin, high-bridged nose.
"I'm certainly glad to meet you fellows," August August said as he strode over to shake their hands. "Please call me Gus."
He sat down again, and went on, "I certainly hope you can help me because I'm stumped - that's what you Americans say, isn't it? My great-uncle, Horatio August, recently died, and his lawyer sent me a paper that - well, I can't make head or tail of it."
"Nor, I confess, can I," Mr. Hitchcock added. "Yet Horatio August seemed to think his great-nephew could unravel it. Young August, show these lads the paper."
Gus took a wallet from his pocket and carefully removed from it a folded sheet of fine paper. It was covered with lines of spidery handwriting.
"Here," he said, handing it to Jupiter. "See what it means to you."
Bob and Pete crowded close to Jupiter and read the writing over his shoulder. It said:

To August August, my great-nephew:
August is your name and August is your fame and in August is your fortune. Let not the mountain of difficulty in your way stop you; the shadow of your birth marks both a beginning and an ending.
Delve deeply; the meaning of my words is for you alone. I dare not speak more plainly lest others find what is meant for you. It is mine; I paid for it and I own it, yet I have not dared its malevolence.
But fifty years have passed and in half a century it should have purified itself. Yet still it must not be seized or stolen; it must be bought, given or found.
Therefore take care, though time is of the essence. This and all my love I leave you.
Horatio August

"Wow!" Bob said. "That's some letter."
"It's all Greek to me," Pete said. "What does 'malevolence' mean?"
"It means - well, that somebody or maybe something would like to hurt you," Bob said.
Jupiter held the paper to the light to see if he could find any secret message on it.
"A natural thought, young Jupiter," Mr. Hitchcock said. "However, there is no secret writing, no invisible ink, nothing of that kind on the paper. I have had it tested by technical experts here at the studio. The lawyer who sent it to August reports that he saw Mr. August write it a few days before his death. He handed it to the lawyer immediately with instructions to forward it when the time came. So, whatever message it holds is contained in the written words. What do you make of it?"
"Well -" Jupiter spoke cautiously - "in one way it is very clear."
"Very clear!" Pete snorted. "I like that! To me it seems as clear as a Pacific fog at midnight!"
Jupiter didn't seem to hear him. He was concentrating on the strange message.
"For one thing," he observed, "it is clear that Mr. August wanted to send his great-nephew a message no one else would understand. He's hidden something, and it sounds as if it's been hidden for fifty years. It's something valuable, so other people might steal it if he just came right out and told his great-nephew where it was. All of that is clear enough."
"Well - yes," Pete agreed. "But the rest of it, that's clear as mud."
"It's possible," Jupiter continued, "that some of the words mean something, and the others are thrown in to put people off the track. Let's start at the beginning. 'August is your name.'"
"That's perfectly true," the English boy said seriously. "And I suppose you could say that August is my fame, too. I mean, being called August August got me a lot of ribbing from the other fellows at school. I was the best-known boy in school for that reason."
"But what about 'in August is your fortune'?" Bob put in.
"That's a little puzzling," Jupiter admitted. "If he meant Gus would find his fortune in August, shouldn't he have said 'in August will be your fortune'? But he said the fortune is in August."
"A good point," Mr. Hitchcock said. "Unless he wrote hastily and didn't write it correctly."
The First Investigator shook his head. "No," he said, "this message reads to me as if it had been carefully thought out. I don't think we can guess yet what he meant by 'in August is your fortune.'"
"My birthday is in August," Gus said. "Two days from now. August sixth. That's why my father gave me August for a first name. He said at the time, 'An August in August can only be August.' Could my birthday have something to do with it? He does mention my birth in the next sentence."
Jupiter turned this over in his mind.
"I don't know," he said at last. "If your birthday is only two days off, perhaps that's why the message says 'time is of the essence.'"
"If we only have two days to solve the message, we're sunk," Pete said. "Two years would be more like it."
"Give Jupe a chance," Bob told him. "He's only started."
The First Investigator studied the paper again intently.
"The second sentence," he said. "It starts, 'Let not the mountain of difficulty stop you; the shadow of your birth marks both a beginning and an ending.' The first half of the sentence seems to be saying don't give up, but what the second half means, I haven't any idea."
"Actually, there was a shadow over my birth," Gus said. "You see, my mother died when I was born. And so my birth was both a beginning and an ending - a beginning for my life, an ending for hers. That might be what Great-Uncle Horatio was referring to."
"Maybe," Jupiter said. "But I don't see how it fits. The next sentence, though, seems clear enough. 'Delve deeply; the meaning of my words is for you alone.' That says the message is just for you and not to give up without trying hard. The next sentence explains why. 'I dare not speak more plainly lest others find what is meant for you alone.' No mystery about that line."
"True," commented Alfred Hitchcock. "But what do you make of the next sentence: 'It is mine; I paid for it and I own it, yet I have not dared its malevolence'?"
"He's saying that whatever it is, he owns it legally and has a right to give it to August," Jupiter answered. "At the same time, he's saying he's afraid of it for some reason."
Then he read aloud, "'But fifty years have passed and in half a century it should have purified itself. Yet still it must not be seized or stolen; it must be bought, found or given.'" He looked at Pete and Bob.
"Analyze that part of the message, Second and Records," he said. "You need practice in this sort of thing."
"I guess he's saying he's owned whatever it is for fifty years," Pete said. "And he thinks it has purified itself, meaning it won't hurt people any more."
"But it can still be dangerous," Bob added. "Or he wouldn't say, 'Yet still it must not be seized or stolen; it must be bought, found or given.' Then at the end he says, 'Therefore take care,' meaning to be careful how you handle whatever-it-is, I suppose. And he adds, 'Time is of the essence,' meaning time is very important, so you have to hurry even while you're being careful."
"The final line, 'This and all my love I leave to you,' is straightforward," Jupiter concluded. "Which brings us to the end of the mysterious message, knowing only a little more than when we started."
"You can say that again!" Pete exclaimed.
"I think we ought to know more about Horatio August. What was your great-uncle like, Gus?"
"I don't know," the English boy said. "I never saw him in my life. He was a mystery man of the family. As a boy, long before I was born, he sailed away on a trading ship for the South Seas. The family received a few letters from him, then he dropped out of sight. We assumed he'd been on a ship that had sunk. It was a great surprise to me and to my father to receive the letter from the lawyer, saying Uncle Horatio had been living here in Hollywood but was dead now and had left instructions to send me the message."
"And you came here from England as soon as you got the message?" Jupiter asked.
"As soon as I could," Gus told him. "That wasn't right away. We don't have much money, Father and I, so I had to get passage on a freighter, which took several weeks. Actually, I got the message almost two months ago."
"As soon as you got here, I suppose you went to see the lawyer who sent you the message?"
Gus shook his head.
"I telephoned him, but he was out of the city so I couldn't see him right away. I have an appointment with him today. I didn't know a soul in America. But my father knows Mr. Hitchcock well, and I went to see him. It was Mr. Hitchcock who suggested telephoning you, of course. You fellows and Mr. Hitchcock are the only ones I've spoken to so far."
"In that case," Jupiter said, "I think we should go with you to call on the lawyer, and learn all we can about your great-uncle. That will help us decide our next move."
"Excellent, young Jupiter," Alfred Hitchcock said. "August, you can put your trust in these lads. But now it is time for me to get back to work, and for you boys to get on with the investigation."
The Rolls-Royce was waiting outside, an ancient, box-like automobile of majestic appearance, its body gleaming black, all its metal parts gold-plated. Worthington, the tall, erect English chauffeur, held the door for them to enter.
Gus took out a folded letter which contained the lawyer's name - H. Dwiggins - and an address in an older part of town. A moment later they were driving through the streets of Hollywood. Gus kept the boys busy with questions about the movie capital until, a few minutes later, Worthington nosed the Rolls-Royce into a narrow driveway that led up to a rather small, old-fashioned stucco house.
"Hmm," Jupiter murmured as they climbed out of the car. "Mr. Dwiggins apparently has his office in his home."
A small card over the doorbell said H. Dwiggins - Attorney-at-Law - Ring and Walk In.
Jupiter pressed the doorbell and they could hear a faraway ring. Then, obeying the instructions on the card, he opened the door.
They found themselves in a living room that had been turned into an office. It held a big desk, many shelves of law books, and several filing cabinets. One filing cabinet stood open, a folder of papers was scattered on the desk, and a wooden swivel chair lay toppled on its side. But Mr. Dwiggins was nowhere to be seen.
"Something's happened here!" Jupiter exclaimed. "There's something wrong." He raised his voice. "Mr. Dwiggins! Mr. Dwiggins! Are you here?"
They waited breathlessly in the silence that followed.
Then a muffled voice, very faint and far away, answered them.
"Help!" it cried. "Help! I'm suffocating."

3. The Mysterious Message

"Guys," said Hector Sebastian, "I want you to meet a young English friend of mine. His name is August. In fact, it's August August, which makes it unique. August, I'd like you to meet Jupiter Jones, Pete Crenshaw, and Bob Andrews. They've solved a number of baffling mysteries, and they may be able to help you."
The Three Investigators were seated in August's hotel room in the Hotel Imperial. The boy who now rose from a chair beside Mr. Sebastian was tall and thin - taller than Pete, and much thinner, with very light hair cut rather long. He wore horn-rimmed glasses, which seemed to perch on top of his thin, high-bridged nose.
"I'm terribly glad to meet you chaps," August August said as he strode over to shake their hands. "Please call me Gus."
He sat down again, and went on, "I certainly hope that you can help me because I'm stumped - that's what you Americans say, isn't it? My great-uncle, Horatio August, recently died, and his lawyer sent me a paper that - well, I can't make head nor tail of it."
"Neither can I," Mr. Sebastian confessed. "Yet Horatio August seemed to think his great-nephew could unravel it. August, why don't you show the boys the letter?"
Gus took a wallet from his pocket and carefully removed from it a folded sheet of fine paper. It was covered with lines of spidery handwriting.
"Here," he said, handing it to Jupiter. "See what it means to you."
Bob and Pete crowded close to Jupiter and read the writing over his shoulder. It said:

To August August, my great-nephew:
August is your name and August is your fame and in August is your fortune. Let not the mountain of difficulty in your way stop you; the shadow of your birth marks both a beginning and an ending.
Delve deeply; the meaning of my words is for you alone. I dare not speak more plainly lest others find what is meant for you. It is mine; I paid for it and I own it, yet I have not dared its malevolence.
But fifty years have passed and in half a century it should have purified itself. Yet still it must not be seized or stolen; it must be bought, given, or found.
Therefore take care, though time is of the essence. This and all my love I leave you.
Horatio August

"Wow!" Bob said. "That's some letter."
"It's all Greek to me," Pete said. "What does 'malevolence' mean?"
"It means - well, that somebody or maybe something would like to hurt you," Bob said.
Jupiter held the paper to the light to see if he could find any secret message on it.
"I had the same idea, Jupe," Mr. Sebastian said. "Unfortunately there is no secret writing, no invisible ink, or anything like that on the paper. I had it tested by a friend of mine who's a technical expert. The lawyer who sent it to August says that he saw Mr. August write it a few days before his death. Mr. August handed it to the lawyer right away with instructions to forward it when he died. So the message it holds is contained in the written words. What do you think?"
"Well ..." Jupiter spoke cautiously, "... in one way it is very clear."
"Very clear!" Pete snorted. "I like that! To me it seems as clear as a Pacific fog at midnight!"
Jupiter didn't seem to hear him. He was concentrating on the strange message.
"For one thing," he observed, "it is clear that Mr. August wanted to send his grand-nephew a message no one else would understand. He's hidden something, and it sounds as if it's been hidden for fifty years. It's something valuable, so other people might steal it if he just came right out and told his great-nephew where it was. All of that is clear enough."
"Well ... yes," Pete agreed. "But the rest of it, that's clear as mud."
"It's possible," Jupiter continued, "that some of the words mean something, and the others are thrown in to put people off the track. Let's start at the beginning. 'August is your name.'"
"That's perfectly true," the English boy said seriously. "And I suppose you could say that August is my fame, too. I mean, being called August August brought me a lot of ribbing from the other fellows at school. I was the best-known boy in school for that reason."
"But what about 'in August is your fortune'?" Bob put in.
"That's a little puzzling," Jupiter admitted. "If he meant Gus would find his fortune in August, shouldn't he have said 'in August will be your fortune'? But he said the fortune is in August."
"That's right," Mr. Sebastian said. "Unless he made a mistake because he was writing fast."
The First Investigator shook his head. "No," he said, "this message reads to me as if it had been carefully thought out. I don't think we can guess yet what he meant by 'in August is your fortune.'"
"My birthday is in August," Gus said. "Two days from now. August sixth. That's why my father gave me August for a first name. He said at the time, 'An August in August can only be August.' Could my birthday have something to do with it? He does mention my birth in the next sentence."
Jupiter turned this over in his mind.
"I don't know," he said at last. "If your birthday is only two days off, perhaps that's why the message says 'time is of the essence.'"
"If we only have two days to solve the message, we're sunk," Pete said. "Two years would be more like it."
"Give Jupe a chance," Bob told him. "He's only started."
The First Investigator studied the letter again intently.
"The second sentence," he said. "It starts, 'Let not the mountain of difficulty stop you; the shadow of your birth marks both a beginning and an ending.' The first half of the sentence seems to be saying don't give up, but what the second half means, I haven't any idea."
"Actually, there was a shadow over my birth," Gus said. "You see, my mother died when I was born. And so my birth was both a beginning and an ending - a beginning for my life, an ending for hers. That might be what Great-Uncle Horatio was referring to."
"Maybe," Jupiter said. "But I don't see how it fits. The next sentence, though, seems clear enough. 'Delve deeply; the meaning of my words is for you alone.' That says the message is just for you and not to give up without trying hard. The next sentence explains why. 'I dare not speak more plainly lest others find what is meant for you.' No mystery about that line."
"Right," commented Mr. Sebastian. "But what do you make of the next sentence: 'It is mine; I paid for it and I own it, yet I have not dared its malevolence'?"
"He's saying that whatever it is, he owns it legally and has a right to give it to August," Jupiter answered. "At the same time, he's saying he's afraid of it for some reason."
Then he read aloud, "'But fifty years have passed and in half a century it should have purified itself. Yet still it must not be seized or stolen; it must be bought, given, or found.'" He looked at Pete and Bob.
"Analyze that part of the message, Second and Records," he said. "You need practice in this sort of thing."
"I guess he's saying he's owned whatever it is for fifty years," Pete said. "And he thinks it has purified itself, meaning it won't hurt people any more."
"But it can still be dangerous," Bob added. "Or he wouldn't say, 'Yet still it must not be seized or stolen; it must be bought, found or given.' Then at the end he says, 'Therefore take care,' meaning to be careful how you handle whatever-it-is, I suppose. And he adds, 'Time is of the essence,' meaning time is very important, so you have to hurry even while you're being careful."
"The final line, 'This and all my love I leave to you,' is straightforward," Jupiter concluded. "Which brings us to the end of the mysterious message, knowing only a little more than when we started."
"You can say that again!" Pete exclaimed.
"I think we ought to know more about Horatio August. What was your great-uncle like, Gus?"
"I don't know," the English boy said. "I never saw him in my life. He was a mystery man of the family. As a boy, long before I was born, he sailed away on a trading ship for the South Seas. The family received a few letters from him, then he dropped out of sight. We assumed he'd been on a ship that had sunk. It was a great surprise to me and to my father to receive the letter from the lawyer, saying Uncle Horatio had been living here in Hollywood but was dead now and had left instructions to send me the message."
"And you came here from England as soon as you got the message?" Jupiter asked.
"As soon as I could," Gus told him. "That wasn't immediately. I didn't get out of school till mid-July and then I had to wait for an opening on a charter flight to America. Actually, I got the message almost two months ago."
"As soon as you got here, I suppose you went to the lawyer who sent you the message?"
Gus shook his head.
"I telephoned him but he was out of the city, so I couldn't see him right away. I don't know a soul in America. But my father knows Mr. Sebastian well, so I rang him up. It was Mr. Sebastian who suggested telephoning you, of course. You fellows and Mr. Sebastian are the only ones I've spoken to so far."
"In that case," Jupiter said, "I think we should go with you to call on the lawyer, and learn all we can about your great-uncle. That will help us decide our next move."
"A terrific idea, Jupe," Mr. Sebastian said. "August, you can certainly trust The Three Investigators. Unfortunately, I have to get back to work now, so I'll leave you in their capable hands."
The Rolls-Royce was waiting outside, an ancient, boxlike automobile of majestic appearance, its body gleaming black, all its metal parts gold-plated. Worthington, the tall, erect English chauffeur, held the door for them to enter.
Gus took out a folded letter which contained the lawyer's name - H. Dwiggins - and an address in an older part of town. A moment later they were driving through the streets of Hollywood. Gus kept the boys busy with questions about the movie capital until, a few minutes later, Worthington nosed the Rolls-Royce into a narrow driveway that led up to a rather small, old-fashioned stucco house.
"Hmm," Jupiter murmured as they climbed out of the car. "Mr. Dwiggins apparently has his office in his home."
A small card over the doorbell said H. Dwiggins - Attorney-at-Law - Ring and Walk In.
Jupiter pressed the doorbell and they could hear a faraway ring. Then, obeying the instructions on the card, he opened the door.
They found themselves in a living room that had been turned into an office. It held a big desk, many shelves of law books, and several filing cabinets. One filing cabinet stood open, a folder of papers was scattered on the desk, and a wooden swivel chair lay toppled on its side. But Mr. Dwiggins was nowhere to be seen.
"Something's happened here!" Jupiter exclaimed. "There's something wrong." He raised his voice. "Mr. Dwiggins! Mr. Dwiggins! Are you here?"
They waited breathlessly in the silence that followed.
Then a muffled voice, very faint and far away, answered them.
"Help!" it cried. "Help! I'm suffocating."

   
   
Nachwort
Alfred Hitchcock Speaking

There is little more that needs to be told about The Mystery of The Fiery Eye.
From the check which August August received for the ruby, he gave each of The Three Investigators a generous reward. The money went into their college funds. He also made certain financial arrangements with Mr. Gelbert, manager of the Rent-'n-Ride Auto Agency to assure The Three Investigators of automobile transportation in the future. Worthington, and the gold-plated Rolls-Royce, would be at the service of the firm when they needed it, and The Three Investigators could remain in business.
Some small questions were cleared up after the case was closed. Mr. Dwiggins was not in league with the Black Moustache gang, but he was responsible for its obtaining a copy of Mr. August's mysterious message. Hugo, the leader, was his nephew. He had overheard Mr. Rhandur offering to pay Mr. Dwiggins a large sum of money if he could tell him The Fiery Eye's whereabouts.
Hugo had forced his uncle to turn over Mr. August's message to him. Mr. Dwiggins made up the false story about being assaulted because he was ashamed of having aided Hugo, however unwittingly. Hugo had been in the next room when the boys "rescued" Mr. Dwiggins, heard about the plaster busts, and guessed they were important.
He then contacted Mr. Rhandur, who agreed to pay for the ruby if Hugo could deliver it to him. Gathering together some disreputable friends, he enlisted the aid of Mr. Jackson, and began the search for The Fiery Eye.
This clarified for Jupiter the puzzling question of how Mr. Rhandur obtained the fake ruby so soon after Hugo had taken it from the broken bust of Augustus. Hugo had gone directly to Mr. Rhandur, who spotted it for a fake. The hint that Mr. Rhandur had killed Hugo to get it was just to scare the boys.
Gus returned to England with his legacy. Hugo and his friends have made themselves scarce. As far as anyone knows, The Fiery Eye is once more in its accustomed place in the Temple of Justice in Pleshiwar, India, and all is quiet there.
As for The Three Investigators, they are actively searching for some new and intriguing mystery to solve and I should not be surprised to hear from them at any time. You may be sure I will let you know of any new adventures they may have.

Hector Sebastian Speaking

There's not much more to tell about The Mystery of The Fiery Eye.
From the check that August August got for the ruby, he gave each of The Three Investigators a generous reward. The money went into their college funds. He also made a deal with Mr. Gelbert, manager of the Rent-'n-Ride Auto Agency, to guarantee The Three Investigators a car in the future. Worthington, and the gold-plated Rolls-Royce will now be available to the firm whenever they're needed, and The Three Investigators can stay in business.
A few loose ends were tied up after the case was closed. Mr. Dwiggins was'nt a member of the Black Moustache gang, but he was responsible for the gang's getting a copy of Mr. August's mysterious message. Hugo, the leader, was Mr. Dwiggins' nephew. Hugo overheard Mr. Rhandur offering Mr. Dwiggins a lot of money if he could tell him where the Fiery Eye was.
Hugo forced his uncle to turn over Mr. August's message to him. Mr. Dwiggins made up the story about being attacked because he was ashamed of having helped Hugo, even unintentionally. Hugo had been in the next room when the boys "rescued" Mr. Dwiggins, heard about the plaster busts, and guessed they were important.
Hugo then contacted Mr. Rhandur, who agreed to pay for the ruby if Hugo could deliver it to him. Hugo got together some disreputable friends, got Mr. Jackson's help, and began searching for the Fiery Eye.
This cleared up for Jupiter the puzzle of how Mr. Rhandur got the fake ruby so soon after Hugo found it in the broken bust of Augustus. Hugo had gone directly to Mr. Rhandur, who spotted it for a fake. Mr. Rhandur hinted that he had killed Hugo to get it just to scare the boys.
Gus has gone back to England with his inheritance. Hugo and his friends have made themselves scarce. As far as anyone knows, the Fiery Eye has been returned to its traditional resting place in the Temple of Justice in Pleshiwar, India, and all is quiet there.
As for The Three Investigators, they are again actively searching for a new mystery to solve. So, I wouldn't be surprised if they call me up any minute now. I'll be sure to tell you about their next adventure.

 

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Recherchiert und zusammengestellt von Matthias Bogucki und Sven Haarmann.


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