Standard Hardback Edition/
Gibraltar Library Binding

Random House issued the Three Investigators books initially in hardback form with a size that was slightly bigger than that used for the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew. These books had artwork on the front (the early books also had wraparound artwork that extended across the spine and went onto the back, except for some versions of "Stuttering Parrot," which had a yellow spine) usually drawn by the illustrator of the book, although there were exceptions (see the discussion on illustrators).

The title of the book at the top always started with "Alfred Hitchcock and the Three Investigators in" followed by the name of the mystery. Usually, Alfred Hitchcock's name was bigger than that of The Three Investigators in the early books, but that seemed to change over time. The spines had a relatively bland bar at the top that identified the books as being part of the "Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Series" along with the number of the book in the series.

Random House also issued books specifically for issue to libraries that were supposedly more sturdy to endure the constant handling. Referred to as Gibraltar Library Binding, these books had an emblem on the back cover with an elephant identifying them as having the special binding. In general, the library binding held up pretty well (at least of the ones I saw), but some books were rebound, resulting in copies of the books that have the interior pages drilled through at the spine and attached to a newer cover that is usually one color with monochrome artwork.

Internal illustrations were included in these books through #28, "Deadly Double." After that entry in the series, Robert Adragna took over the illustrations for the covers, internal illustrations were no longer provided, and only hardbacks with Gibraltar Library Binding were issued. The earlier entries in the series also had their covers redrawn by Adragna, and some newer printings of the hardbacks can be found with Adragna artwork.

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