Alfred Hitchcock and The Three Investigators in The Mystery of the Screaming Clock, also known as just The Three Investigators in The Mystery of the Screaming Clock, is the ninth book in the detective book series, The Three Investigators. It was authored by Robert Arthur.
The alarm clock went off with the bloodcurdling scream of a woman in mortal terror! Who could have made such a clock--and why?
The Three Investigators immediately set out to discover where the mysterious clock came from. When they come across a run-down house in Hollywood, they find an entire room full of dreadful clocks--and time is running out!
The story starts, as Jupiter was repairing things in his workshop in the salvage yard. He now had got his hands onto an electric clock, which his uncle had given him for repairing. It was just an old-fashioned electric alarm clock. Jupiter had merely plugged it in to see if it would run. The next thing he knew it was screaming. It was the scream of a woman in mortal terror. It started at a low pitch, then went higher and higher until it hurt Jupiter’s ears. A shiver ran down his back. It was the most terrifying sound he had ever heard.
He switched it off. Pete and Bob had come into the room because they heard the scream. Jupiter, the mystery loving boy lodged into a conclusion that there was some mystery behind the clock. Jupiter opens the clock and they find the cause. An advanced mechanical tape. Pete had said that they could trace the owner. Jupiter finds and asks his Uncle Titus, where he had got that clock. Uncle says that he had been delivered of a carton containing household objects and the clock, by a man called Tom.
Just as he said this, a pickup truck came rumbling through the driveway. It was Tom! The boys suddenly surrounded Tom with whereabouts of the clock. He said that he didn’t remember exactly, but then Bob hints him that it was in a package along with a stuffed owl, which gave him an idea, but that did not do much good. They decided to find the address from the carton, but to no avail also. Suddenly, Bob picked up a piece of paper, which had fluttered out of the box carrying the clock. On the paper, it was written:
Then act! The result will surprise even you.
They figure out that it was glued to the bottom of the clock. Bob pick something else on the bottom. It said A. Felix. An idea struck Jupiter. He picked up the telephone directory and flipped through the pages. He found what he had been looking for, the list of clockmakers. They find the name A. Felix, there. They follow the address and reach a narrow store on a side street off Hollywood Boulevard, Hollywood’s famous main thoroughfare.
Jupiter ordered the chauffeur to park in the vicinity. Jupiter had won the use of Worthington and a superb antique Rolls-Royce some time before, as a result of winning a contest conducted by the Rent-’n-Ride Auto Agency. The time during which, he could use the car had recently expired, and the boys had been afraid they could not continue as investigators without this means of covering the vast distances of southern California. But because of the generosity of August August, a boy for whom they had located a valuable inheritance, they again had use of the fabulous car and chauffeur.
They peered into a dusty, narrow shop window with the name A. Felix —'Clockmaker' lettered on it in peeling gold paint. The window was full of clocks, large and small, new and antique, plain ones and clocks ornately decorated with birds and flowers. A tiny man in a leather apron came towards them down an aisle crowded with clocks. He had bushy white eyebrows and sparkling black eyes.
From him they learn that the Owner’s name was A. Clock. The Investigators were astonished, as it was no ordinarily heard name. The clockmaker gave them the telephone number. Jupiter hopped off to the nearest booth, the First Investigator dropped in a coin and dialed the number. After a moment, a woman’s voice answered.</p>
Jupiter tricked the lady into giving him, her address, by telling her that he was from the telephone department. She was interrupted by a scream. It was a deep-voiced scream, as of a large man terribly frightened. All three boys would have jumped at the sound if they hadn’t been wedged into the phone booth so tightly.
They got to the place, and a woman met them. Her name was Mrs. Hadley.
She was not very old but she looked tired and unhappy. She was the caretaker of the house. They realise that it was one of the renters of the house, screaming. Then they were met by a boy named Harry. She was Mrs. Hadley’s son. At first, he was reluctant in speaking to the boys, but when the boys said that they were investigators, the boy seemed, friendlier. He said that his father, who was a interior designer, had gone to jail, because he was convicted of stealing precious paintings from a house. He guides them into his house, and shows them to a dining room full of clocks. Harry says to them that, each clock screams to show the hour. He also says that the house once belonged to Mr. Albert Clock, a radio play screamer, who was very famous once, but left the place and went away. Jupiter deduces that this was the initials of Mr. A. Clock.
Then they set out to find Mr. Rex, whose name was mentioned on the paper. Jupiter tried all contacts books, but none of them matched. Then Bob has an interesting deduction, the word Rex in Latin means King. So, Jupiter tries again and finds the name Mr. Walter King, an old radio play artist. They pay a visit to this man but gains no information from him. They get to the Imogene, Gerald and Martha, each of them gives the boys an old torn paper. Jupiter strikes the answer of the mystery from these parchments.
Jupiter, Pete and Bob return to salvage yard after a tireful day when they were ambushed by one of their greatest adversaries, Victor Hugenay, an international stolen art dealer.
He says that, he wants to find some hidden stolen paintings which one of his associates had stolen and hid. They are reluctant at first, but agree, when Hugenay says that he will stop his stolen art dealing career after this. Jupiter works out the mystery, but remains silent about it to the others.
They head to Mr. Albert Clock’s house. Jupiter has a suspicious look into a large mirror in the middle of room of clocks, and Hugenay asks permission to wreck the room. Hugenay and his accomplices then crumple the room, tearing plaster and bitumen, but find nothing. Jupiter has one of his brilliant ideas. He puts the screaming clock in the middle of the room and set it up into its high pitched scream. Suddenly, the mirror breaks into a thousand pieces, and behind the frame, stood the stolen paintings in a stack! Nobody had deduced such a solution to this enigma. The police are called by the Mrs. Hadley. When the police arrive, they could not arrest Hugenay, for he had asked the permission of the owner, to demolish the room to find some hidden painting. Victor Hugenay asks the boys and the police his leave, and walks away merrily with his men.
Thus the mysterious conundrum was solved. Harry’s father was made innocent because it was Mr. Albert Clock who had stolen the paintings.
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