The Mystery of the Silver Spider (1967) by Robert Arthur
The Three Investigators go from a near-miss car accident with a European prince to being invited to Prince Djaro's home country for his upcoming coronation.
Jupiter Jones, Bob Andrews, and Pete Crenshaw are being driven home in the Rolls Royce Jupe won free trips in when Worthington, the chauffeur, has to do some fancy driving to avoid an accident with a limousine that doesn't pay attention to a stop sign. As the two drivers hash out their differences over who was in the wrong, a young man exits the limo and his air of authority puts an end to the dispute. Prince Djaro tells his chauffeur that he was absolutely in the wrong and must obey the traffic laws. He compliments the boys' driver and soon the four young men are on their way to becoming friends. Jupe gives the prince one of their cards, not thinking that Prince Djaro will need to call on the services of the Three Investigators.
But it isn't long before they receive an invitation to visit Prince Djaro at his home in Varania. Ostensibly, they have been invited for the prince's coronation as king, but in truth the prince needs their help. When the next ruler is crowned in Varania, they must wear the Silver Spider, a valuable jewelled representation of the country's emblem. The spider was adopted because of a legend that says a spider saved the life of the first king of Varania. And now...the Silver Spider is missing and Prince Djaro wants the Investigators to help track it down in time for the ceremony. Meanwhile, the boys have also been contacted by the U.S. Secret Service. There are rumors of unrest in this normally placid little country and they want the boys to keep their eyes and ears open while they pose as typical young tourists. Both assignments will put the boys in danger and they'll be locked in a dungeon before they can find the Spider and save the day.
So, this was a bit different. Usually, the young people from different countries are in the United States and wind up in the middle of a mystery with the Investigators. This time, the boys travel to another country and get involved in mysterious adventures there. It was a lot of fun to see them out of their element and watch how they adjust to the new surroundings. Not a whole lot of mystery here--we definitely know who the bad guys are from the beginning. The real mystery is what happened to the Silver Spider after the boys found it the first time. It takes a meeting with a mystic to make Jupiter realize just where the Spider is. A good, fun adventure in the fictional little country of Varania. ★★★
First line: "Look out!" Bob Andrews cried.
Last line: "Could we have something to eat?" he asked.
Deaths = one natural