Investigate Your Way Through Adolescence

There was a time in my life before speculative fiction ruled. Who knew?

I read a fair bit of Nancy Drew, but it hasn’t stayed with me. I don’t think my library had any Hardy Boys; I certainly never read them. That doesn’t mean I was at a loss for teen investigations, though. Oh no.

#1. Trixie Belden

I was totally mad for Trixie Belden. I have no idea where I got them – probably an older friend of the family – but I know I read a loooot of them.

I used to imagine myself as one of their gang, and falling in love with Jim…! (or, since he was so clearly all over Trixie, I’d settle for Dan, the somewhat dour but very useful stable boy.) I loved that Trixie wasn’t the oldest, or male, but that she was clearly the leader of the group – even her older brother Brian usually followed her lead. Plus, adventures, and travelling around the country, and a cool group of friends with a variety of talents, and… yeh. Perfect. Plus plus, a lot of the investigations were actually very clever, and had neat little twists. Not that I remember very many of them, because they were a long time ago and I just read them one after another and they all blur together…

Words I would not know without Trixie Belden: jalopy. Also, that it was possible to have violet eyes (Di was not my favourite, but boy did I envy those eyes).

#2. Alfred Hitchcock and the Three Investigators.

A series that I quite literally could not get my hands on enough of (because the library didn’t stock them).

I loved the three different characters who made up the team: Jupiter – smart and ‘chubby’; Pete – nervous and athletic; and Bob, the studious one. To be honest I actually don’t remember enormous details about them in any specific book, but I remember enjoying their conversations immensely and thinking that it was awesome how they were all so different but worked so well together. I liked the settings of the books – I seem to recall quite a few being set in/around carnivals – and I adored the intricacies of the mysteries they got themselves involved in. I liked that Jupiter was regularly underestimated because he was fat but that I the reader was very smug in knowing that his brains made up for any perceived deficiency – and clearly the people who thought poorly of him were villains or redshirts because everyone good knows Jupe is the leader. Duh. I really liked Jupiter. Plus, again, fun twists to the plot, some of which I even hadn’t already guessed for myself.

I’m still quite the sucker for police procedurals – also Shadow Unit – and I think I can trace that back here.

4 responses

  1. Jim was my first red headed literary crush, but definitely not my last! I got such a shock when I realised a few years ago exactly how long ago the Trixie Belden books were written. When I was first reading them as a kid I had no clue that the original books in the series were written in the 40s and 50s. They didn’t seem to have aged all that much when I read them, but I suspect that would have for modern kids now.

    1. Ah, Jim. I don’t think I ever took any notice of publication date; America (Canada??) was so foreign that I kinda made no difference WHEN it was set: it was another world in all ways!

  2. Hi – always great to find another Trixie fan. I loved that Trixie wasn’t perfect, not good at math – but still clearly very bright and the one who solved the mysteries! Don’t know if you’re interested, but there’s a forum for Trixie fans (http://barbln.org/clubhouse/) and Trixie-Belden.com has a lot of information on the series. I also have a Trixie fan site: sleepysidezone.com

  3. Hmm…I apologize if my reply posts twice. I wrote a reply, had to log in, but it didn’t seem to post my first comment. At any rate…always happy to run into another Trixie fan! I loved that Trixie wasn’t perfect, wasn’t good at math, but nevertheless was smart and solved the mysteries! (I also liked Jim.)

    If you’re interested, there are quite a few fan sites online:
    http://www.barbln.org/clubhouse
    trixie-belden.com

    I also have a fan site – sleepysidezone.com

    When I get a chance, I’ll read your comments on Firefly & Serenity – two other favorites of mine.

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