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William Arden Books In Order

Publication Order of Kane Jackson Books

A Dark Power (1968) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Goliath Scheme (1970) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Deal in Violence (1971) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Murder Underground aka Die to a Distant Drum (1972) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Deadly Legacy (1973) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

Mystery of the Blue Condor (1973) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

William Arden is an award-winning author born in 1924. Arden is best known for his contribution to Three Investigators books. The author came to prominence in 1968 when he wrote ‘The Mystery of the Moaning Cave’.

With Robert Arthur’s health failing, Arden was merely one of the several writers that were called upon to write the series. The author’s contribution was quite substantial. He wrote thirteen novels within the Three Investigators series before finally signing off in 1989.

+Biography

William Arden is actually a pen name. The author’s real name is Dennis Lynds. Even with the relative success that William Arden attracted, there are still people out there who do not know that the name is just a pseudonym.

That might have something to do with the fact that Dennis Lynds experimented with so many pseudonyms during his lengthy writing career.

Besides the Three Investigators books, William Arden also wrote the Kane Jackson series. The novels followed a military policeman that retires from the military to become an industrial security specialist.

Lynds more or less put the William Arden pen name to rest after ‘Hot Wheels’ was released in 1989.

Arden comes from an artistic family. Born in St. Louis in Missouri, Arden was the only child of two busy actors who were always moving about. Even though Arden loved New York, where he grew up, he eventually chose to move to California after determining that he wanted to write full-time.

Before his work in the literary arena, Arden spent a few years acquiring his Bachelor’s Degree in Chemistry and Masters’ Degree in Journalism. Before those years of study, Arden fought in the Second World War.

Arden was a rifleman and he trekked across Europe in his efforts to fulfill his duties in the Great War. Keeping his mind off the war wasn’t especially difficult for William Arden who took his collection of poetry books with him wherever the Second World War took him.

One wonders why he chose to pursue a degree in chemistry after leaving the military. Though, the journalism certification makes sense and suited his sensibilities as a writer, eventually garnering him a position as the Editor of a New York magazine.

It has been a very long time since William Arden had a presence in the literary world, not since the fourteenth novel to be written under this name was published. And it is unlikely that another William Arden novel will be published.

After all, Dennis Lynds, the real author, died in 2005 at the age of eighty-one. Dennis was survived by his third wife, Gayle who is also a novelist, though she focuses on stories related to espionage.

Dennis also had four children, two of whom were his step-children from his second marriage. While there has been talk about additional Dennis Lynds books being released, probably in honor of the author, it is unlikely that his family or even his publishers would awaken one of his pseudonyms in order to have them publish another novel.

+The Mystery of the Moaning Cave

The Three investigators have set their sights on a mysterious cave. The cave gained notoriety when a bandit known as El Diablo disappeared into it a very long time ago. Not only was he never seen again but a frightening moaning sound has since begun to emerge.

There is talk that El Diablo might be alive. It is up to the Three Investigators to solve the mystery.

This is the first novel in the Three Investigators books to be written by William Arden. The investigators are an interesting bunch. Pete Crenshaw’s primary offering to the team is his strength, probably because he is an active sportsman.

Everyone looks to Bob Andrews for his knowledge, and the quiet, studious fellow always delivers. No one gives Jupiter Jones much thought, probably because he is fat and looks stupid. This is despite the fact that Jones is the leader and the brains of the team.

Arden does a great job of fleshing these characters out and making them individually compelling. This time, the teenage sleuths do not encounter any characters their own age, which is a break from the norm.

The mystery is definitely a little more complicated and that will attract adult readers that are looking for something that exceeds the quality of Enid Blyton-type stories. Admittedly, William Arden stretches the logic of things in some places. The ghost story doesn’t hold up as well as one might expect.

The ending is also predictable. However, Arden keeps the journey to that final conclusion engaging and entertaining, giving the boys amusing and adventurous activities to pursue besides basic investigation.

Anyone who might have doubted William Arden’s ability to live up to Robert Arthur’s work will find that Arden actually exceeds his predecessor in some places.

+The Mystery of the Laughing Shadow

The Three Investigators have their work cut out for them in trying to connect a weird laughing shadow that comes in the night to a golden Indian Amulet.

This book clear manifests the reason the Three Investigators books are favorites amongst young boys and girls, or at least they were favorites when they first came out, back when there was no young adult genres and young readers cared more about teen sleuths than apocalyptic futures.

The Mystery of the Laughing Shadow, as the name suggests, has a mysterious laughing shadow. There is also a curious Englishman and a rumored hoard of gold. Some aspects of the story are difficult to believe.

But it isn’t hard to imagine the target audience suspending their logic in some of these places to better enjoy the story. There is a sense of urgency that you do not always find in these books and it helps keep the story engaging from start to finish.

Some people will recognize this book from their childhood because it marks the moment William Arden took over from Robert Arthur. While Arden wrote the tenth book in the series, his involvement was believed to be temporary because Robert, whose health was poor at the time, came back to write the eleventh book.

Some people thought that Arden had written his first and last Three Investigators book. It was a surprise when Arden was selected to write the twelfth novel as well.

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