Wednesday, 10 November 2010

The Mystery Of The Singing Serpent

This is great fun and a cleverly plotted mystery . Allie Jameson is a neighbour of the Jones’, her parents are in Europe and her aunt is in charge, but she’s a member of a cult that includes new house-guest Ariel. The boys are drawn in when they witness one of the ritual meetings, where the cult invokes the power of Belial, which appears in smoke as a snake and makes a sound that is “singing, but not”. Filled with some great set-pieces - infiltrating the cult’s mansion, breaking and entering the butlers flat and the bombing of a deli - and nice observations - the reasons why people are in the cult and what they want out of it - this is sharply written, with great characterisation and a pace that never flags. Highly recommended.


  1. Alongside Robert Arthur's best stories, the two featuring Allie Jamison rank among the finest in the series, as does Dead Man's Riddle. The good thing about this tale is that the supernatural phenomenon is explained logically and the crooks are unmasked as conmen. I think the weak point of Monster Mountain and Invisible Dog is that the possibility of the phenomenon being real is left open, and in my opinion ruins the story. But here, all is revealed as a hoax and a scam. The characterization is fantastic. Allie is a great addition to the series, and the creepy Hugo Ariel, the gargling high priest and the easily duped Aunt Pat make for wonderful reading. Ten out of ten.

    1. As a child I LOVED the unexplained supernatural apparitions. It might explain why my favourite real stories are the unsolved desths and disappearances.

  2. I am going to respectfully disagree with the review. While I love the character of Allie and I am sure West is a good writer, he never captured the spirit of the better Three Investigators books. In this story, the boys really don't seem to solve much of anything, the answer just sort of fell in their laps and Jupiter's intellect does not particularly shine through in this story. In fact, Allie pretty much dominates the story and pretty much makes the Three Investigators seem like a joke, while Jupiter and company also seem to be one step ahead of adults. Another problem I have with the West books is the role of Chief Reynolds changes. In the earlier books, he seems to look at the Three Investigators as heroes and is impressed with their work. In the West books, he thinks of them as a pest.

  3. I love the spunk of Allie, but didn't care for this overall story. I found it boring and like another poster stated Chief Reynolds had a different attitude in this one and it seemed like the boys were less impressive. One of my least favorite adventures though the other Allie story is terrific.

  4. Well, my comment on Flaming Footprints is answered here

  5. I wish Allie was in more of the books (and became one of the girls in the Crimebusters series instead of Pete's dopey girlfriend) As a kid, she was probably one of the few fictional girls I had a crush on