Wednesday, 10 November 2010

The Mystery Of The Shrinking House

The boys are in the right place at the right time when, accompanying Uncle Titus on a buying trip, they chase an intruder seen racing away from a house in a canyon. The house was occupied by an artist and, following his death, three people suddenly appear in Rocky Beach who are very keen on him and his paintings which might - or might not - lead to a long-lost masterpiece. As tightly plotted and well-written as all Arden’s books are, this is quite dry but still entertaining, with all three lads having a clear role to play. The supporting characters are well-rounded and all serve a purpose and there’s some nice interaction with Uncle Titus. The Hitchcock intro is odd though, with the master director suddenly having an attitude similar to the one he had on “Terror Castle”.

The cover art for the hardback clearly represents the title, which is misleading in itself (there isn't actually a house that shrinks at all) and so, for the paperbacks, other aspects were played up - as seen here, in the 1983 edition.


  1. Ah yes, Hitchcock's sudden change of attitude. For some reason he starts trying to wriggle out of introducing the boys' stories! I wonder who thought that one up... As I recall, this story was a bit of a disappointment, but I'll read it again before commenting further.

  2. Overall I liked this one but I don't get Alfred Hitchcock's Introduction either. There were a few where the intros didn't make sense and a few times where the Police Chief seemed to have a love/hate relationship with the group.

  3. Are there any other covers in the series that were this misleading?

  4. Cleverly written and some satisfying twists near the end. The puzzle and treasure hunt format always worked well for the lads. This one hots up brilliantly. Cheers. Sonny