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Three young sleuths uncover a mystery buried since World War II when they come to the aid of a trouble-plagued environmentalist who is protesting the drilling of off-shore oil wells.

181 pages, Paperback

First published January 1, 1979

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About the author

William Arden

89 books39 followers
Real name: Dennis Lynds.
Beginning in 1968 with The Mystery of the Moaning Cave and ending in 1989 with Hot Wheels, Dennis Lynds wrote fourteen novels under the pen name William Arden for the juvenile detective series The Three Investigators, which was originated by Robert Arthur, Jr.. Under this same name, he also wrote five novels featuring private eye Kane Jackson, a former military policeman who has become an industrial security specialist after leaving the military. The first Jackson novel, A Dark Power, appeared in 1968. As Arden, Lynds also wrote the highly-regarded espionage short story, "Success of a Mission," which was a finalist for the 1968 Edgar Award for best short fiction.

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5 stars
204 (20%)
4 stars
334 (33%)
3 stars
367 (37%)
2 stars
70 (7%)
1 star
12 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 27 of 27 reviews
Profile Image for Lea.
856 reviews178 followers
November 10, 2017
Eigentlich ist in diesen Buch vieles, das einen potentiell spannenden Fall bedeuten könnte. Die Thematik der Umweltverschmutzung, ein ehemaliger japanischer Kriegsgefagener, der seine Identität ändern musste und dessen Verwandtschaft, ein Schiff, der Konflikt von Umweltschützern gegen einen Ölkonzern... aber irgendwie wird nichts draus. Das Ganze ist ziemlich langsam und dazu noch ungelenk aufgebaut. William Arden ist eh öfter nicht so meins, ich find ihn oft langatmig, und das ist hier auch der Fall.
Profile Image for Mark.
Author 125 books147 followers
December 30, 2020
original 2010 review - The boys accompany Mr Andrews up to Santa Barbara, where he is working on a story involving the crime writer John Crowe, who is organising a protest against an oil drilling rig near to Santa Cruz island. Crowe also has his own mystery, which the boys help him with - his fuel is being depleted, as if someone is smuggling and using his boat to accomplish it. With some vivid set-pieces (the storm and the submarine, especially), a great sense of location, some nice background work with environmentalism and a cracking pace, this works well as a mystery even if it is a bit too convoluted for its own good. Although not the best Arden book, this is probably a fitting end (to my mind anyway) to the ‘proper run’ of books (Hitchcock died shortly after this was published) and, as such, is well worth a read.
2016 update - I’d agree with the 2010 review except that there’s a real sense of melancholy as Alfred Hitchcock closes the book, wondering what “exhausting adventures [the boys would] become embroiled in next”.
2020 update - Agree with everything above, though I’d add it’s nice to have the ending take place in canyons, a real Arden signature.
Profile Image for Jeff Stephenson.
49 reviews4 followers
May 18, 2017
AH&T3I Update: 30 read and 13 paperbacks to go!

Rest in peace, Alfred Hitchcock! It was near the printing of Book 30, The Secret of Shark Reef, that the namesake of the book series, Alfred Hitchcock. passed away. From sources I found on the internet, Hitchcock's estate--mainly his heirs--wanted a greater royalty than was given in the first 30 books and Random House, the publisher, in an effort to further cut costs with the Three Investigators book series, decided to drop the affiliation with the estate of the famous director. Of course, the cost-cutting measures also account for the switch from hard cover editions to paperback only editions two books earlier in the series. It was a sign of harder financial times for Random House Publishing. Therefore, this title is the last book to feature the famous mystery director as its "host" and presenter. The ghostwriter of Alfred Hitchcock would no longer introduce the three boys in titles 31 to 43.

As for the story itself, William Arden returned to write Shark Reef and he throws everything into the plot that he could possibly add. The story is less of a classic Three Investigators tale simply because the boys venture away from Rocky Beach, the Salvage Yard, their secret headquarters, and almost all of the normal supporting cast and gadgets that make up many of the previous mysteries. Granted, Pete gets to show off his scuba diving skills. Jupiter does some nifty deduction, and Bob does what Bob always does--research some facts. But that is about where the classic Three Investigators talents end. Instead, lots of action-adventure takes over. The travel away from home, diving in shark infested waters, a hurricane, an international element to the plot, and a few other things expand this book into somewhat uncharted waters for the typical Three Investigators reader. None of these "new" elements take away from the story much. I still found myself enjoying the plot and trying to figure out the bad guys before Jupiter could unmask the villain. The book is an enjoyable read even if it is not the typical T3I book. It is still a solid mystery filled with a number of unique twists and turns. Most adolescent readers would find it difficult to put down once into the first few chapters. Overall, this was a fun read and a good, even if somewhat quirky, addition to the Three Investigators book series.
Profile Image for Niki.
744 reviews116 followers
March 20, 2023
This one was one of the "I'd read it sometime in the far past, but re-read it just now because I remembered absolutely nothing about it" entries in the series. And I'm surprised to report that I liked this a lot more than I expected!

Shark Reef gave me everything that Skeleton Island didn't. A bit of action, a bit of aquatic mysteriousness, some great locations (the seedy sailors' bar was great, as was the drilling platform- very unique), the characterization is great because all the boys get their equal time to shine, and some very tense scenes, dare I say even creepy (the night of the storm that reveals the submarine, the deserted highway due to the landslide, even that silly prank that Bob plays on Jupiter was very unexpected and well described). William Arden was on a roll with this one.

I also really liked the Many, if not all, of the twists really worked for this one, honestly.

The single downside of the book, besides the convenient logbook entry that was very "if this were a movie, the music would be swelling right now", were all the fatphobic ""jokes"" towards Jupiter. The poor boy just can't catch a break, either the narration itself or some other character keeps mentioning his weight every time he does anything. I'll let it slide because the rest of the book is really good, but I won't pretend I didn't notice.
Profile Image for Quentin Wallace.
Author 33 books155 followers
February 14, 2017
This was a good one. The setting changed as most of this story took place at sea. This was also quite a timely read as even though it was written in the early 80s a major part of the story dealt with environmentalists protesting the drilling for oil off the US Coast.

Overall this was a very rich plot with a little more danger and intrigue than most volumes. I'd definitely recommend this to any Three Investigators fan.
25 reviews7 followers
November 6, 2012
My first ??? read ever. I did listen to some of the audio books and it really brings me back to my childhood, when I read a lot of Bob Evers (a Dutch book series). I really loved the story, the pace and the acion in it. It is not as violent as Bob evers could be at times, sometimes a bit too obvious, but I truly enjoyed the story. Can't wait to read some more! (hint to my girlfriend)
Profile Image for sonofabook.
166 reviews1 follower
August 24, 2021
Die drei Detektive sind mit Bobs Vater, welcher Reporter ist, mit einem Boot auf dem Weg zu einer Bohrinsel. Eben vor dieser findet nämlich eine Demonstration von Aktivisten und Aktivistinnen statt.
Diese möchten, dass die Bohrinsel nicht fertig gestellt wird, damit auch kein Unglück geschehen kann.
Nun sind Justus, Peter, Bob und dessen Vater dort zusammen mit dem Kapitän des Bootes auf dem sie fahren und dem Leiter der Organisation, bzw. Demonstration. Jener gibt ihnen einen Fall:
Der Tank seines Bootes reicht nicht mehr für die vorgesehenen 12 Stunden, sondern nur noch für 10. Es scheint allerdings keine Erklärung dafür zu geben.
So rätseln die drei, bis sich ihnen offenbart, dass das Boot jedes Mal einen blinden Passagier hat.
Doch wer kann das sein? Vielleicht jemand der den Demonstranten schaden möchte? Oder der Bohrinsel? Oder vielleicht auch jemand komplett anderes.
Und was hat eine verworrene Famimiengeschichte mit der ganzen Thematik zu tun?

Ich muss gestehen es war mir zwischendurch ein wenig zu unzusammenhängend. Auf einmal tauchte die Thematik der Familie auf, aber augenscheinlich aus dem Nichts. Ebenso fand ich die Geschichte hier und da etwas zu abgedreht, aber mir hat die Thematik der Bohrinsel sehr gefallen, vor allem vor dem Hintergrund, dass zu jener Zeit es einige Unglücke gab.
Auch einer der Twists am Ende hat mir gefallen. Kam unerwartet.

Trotzdem leider nur eine mäßige Folge. Zum Glück gibt es noch weitere.
638 reviews3 followers
February 17, 2019
I'm deducting a point from my rating because this case was more adventure than mystery. Much of the actual work occurred outside of the boys' efforts. And lastly because this is the last of the books for which Alfred Hitchcock appears. His role is unimportant, but following this book, all of the cases will have the fictitious Hector Sebastian.
Profile Image for Ibnatul Ula.
17 reviews
June 26, 2020
Petulangan yang terasa singkat, namun ceritanya mendalam saya rasa. Terbayang gimana sang cucu untuk pertama kalinya melihat sang kakek yang sudah menjadi kerangka di kedalaman laut asing nan jauh dari rumah :') Cerita Trio Detektif hampir tidak pernah mengecewakan!
Profile Image for Ariane.
125 reviews
October 10, 2020
Der Plot war irgendwie sehr vorhersehbar, man konnte sich direkt denken, wer der Täter ist und es gab wenig Überraschungspotenzial. Abgesehen davon ist es natürlich schön gewesen, über die bekannten Charaktere zu lesen.
Profile Image for Roger.
989 reviews5 followers
April 13, 2020
I don’t think my library had this when I was reading The Three Investigators. So I’m 40 years late to it, but better late than never!
Profile Image for Joe Stevens.
Author 3 books1 follower
September 11, 2021
One of those just another book books, though the ending was interesting. A bit preachy and just flat ordinary to be good, though better than some of the late books in the series.
246 reviews
March 12, 2022
Esta es de las más flojetas, desprovista del misterio de algunos de lo mejores títulos de la serie. Me ha recordado más a una aventura de los Hollister o Los Cinco, que nunca me apasionaron.
Profile Image for JBooks.
305 reviews6 followers
April 11, 2022
2,5 Sterne
Irgendwie konnte mich das Buch nicht wirklich überzeugen :/
Ich hab sogar 1 Monat für nur 143 Seiten gebraucht D:
April 14, 2022
Fast-paced, easy read for young adults. In the same vein as the Hardy Boys adventure mysteries.
Profile Image for Spencer.
1,242 reviews17 followers
September 19, 2020
The boys set on a mystery of the missing fuel in The Secret of Shark Reef. A big oil rig is set up in the middle of the ocean, which is causing massive protests. Bob's father (the reporter) is hired to tell the story of the protests and the oil rig. He offers the boys a chance to see the rig in action, which they are very excited to do. Of course, at the rig, they learn that the lead protester's, Mr. Crowe's, boat has been losing fuel on the way to and from the dock. Mr. Crowe hires the boys to investigate.

The book is a little bit preachy about the environment ("The new platform is the first outside the Channel Islands. It's the start of a whole new oil field very close to the islands, and the environmental people are outraged! Those islands are still almost untouched and are full of birds, animals, plants, and marine life. An oil spill could destroy them!" ... "It's everyone's job to think of the environment.")
Profile Image for Elizabeth S.
1,738 reviews71 followers
June 25, 2011
Pretty good mystery, with lots of real detecting. The initial mystery that started the whole investigation seemed a little contrived to me, however. Overall, one of the better Three Investigators stories, with a clever backstory uncovered at the end.
Profile Image for Robert Stewart.
91 reviews6 followers
February 11, 2013
An indifferent story. After #28, the series went into a sharp decline. From the 1980s on, it is clear that to William Arden all that mattered was collecting the cheque for his 3I books, with very little effort being put into the stories.
Profile Image for Paxton Holley.
1,438 reviews8 followers
January 6, 2022
This was line of the books I read in 6th grade. Had a copy and read it to my son. I still love this series. He is enjoying it too. I’ll have to find some more.

As for this specific story, it’s not one of my favorites. The mystery is a little confusing.
Profile Image for Jaime.
1,459 reviews2 followers
September 28, 2016
This was a lackluster effort but still exciting as the boys travel to the California coast and fall into a search for treasure. There were much better entries in the series.
Profile Image for Serena.
3,259 reviews69 followers
April 2, 2016
My Rating System:
* couldn't finish, ** wouldn't recommend, *** would recommend, **** would read again, ***** have read again.
Profile Image for Alina.
54 reviews2 followers
July 7, 2016
Easy to read, but a pretty interesting plot.
Displaying 1 - 27 of 27 reviews

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