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The Mystery of the Silver Spider

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The Mystery of the Silver Spider 1967

1st edition (1967)

The Mystery of the Silver Spider is the 8th book in the Three Investigators series.

In this episode, the Three Investigators almost run into Prince Djaro with their car. Djaro is the soon to be prince of the fictional European state of Varania, a country which is still very conscious of old traditions and fashions (around the 17th to 19th century). They form an instant friendship with him. Soon afterwards, they are asked by the United States Secret Service to travel to Varania to keep an eye on Djaro; there are rumors and indications that Djaro is to be dethroned. An important role in the plot is played by the title's Silver Spider, a piece of jewelry which is the most treasured item of Varanian history (comparable to the English Crown Jewels).

Soon, the Investigators find themselves actively involved, as the conspirators—headed by Duke Stefan, an ambitious nobleman and interim ruler of Varania—attempt to frame them for stealing the Spider, and by implication sully the name of Prince Djaro and endanger his coronation. Djaro cannot be crowned unless he is wearing the Silver Spider around his neck. Stefan and his men have stolen the real Silver Spider and left an imitation in its place. Bob suffers amnesia in their subsequent flight, and the Silver Spider goes missing. The Three Investigators and a pair of Djaro loyalists hide out, while scheming to expose Stefan's plot and help Djaro to prevail.

Despite the fact that all seems hopeless, they finally prevail when Jupe recalls an important piece of Varanian history, which allows them to alert and rally Varania's loyal citizenry. The effort is wrapped up when Jupiter finds the Silver Spider as "nothing more than a spider", hidden ingeniously by Bob in a real spider's web.

TriviaEdit

  • The German version (titled: Die drei ??? und die silberne Spinne) changes the story's background: the name of the Varanian characters are altered into Swedish; the adventure is set in a place called Magnusstad in Texas; the local traditions (also patterned after Sweden) are passed off as mere tourist attractions; and the historical facts which lead to the happy ending are changed accordingly, leading to logical background plot holes. The setting in a contemporary European state with a culture and feudal system as the one described in the book would have been completely implausible to European readers.
  • This story is the only time in the original series that the Three Investigators leave the United States. It would happen more often in the German series, most notably in a Trip of Europe, that spans the four books between Diamantenschmuggel (Diamond Smugglers) and Schatz im Bergsee (Mountain Lake Treasure).


Novels
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The Mystery of the Fiery Eye The Mystery of the Screaming Clock

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