Alfred Hitchcock and The Three Investigators
“Well, Bob gave me the clue when he told me Gus’s great-uncle lived in Dial Canyon, which was formerly Sundial Canyon,” Jupiter exclaimed. “I should have figured it out for myself. After all, I sat there tied to a chair in the kitchen and saw the shadow of the peak move across the lawn just like the shadow of a sundial.”
“You see, Gus, your great-uncle thought that you’d catch on, knowing how interested he was in different ways of telling time. He had an idea you or your father would put that together with the name of the canyon and the message and understand what he meant, while someone who didn’t know about his hobby wouldn’t.”
“I still don’t understand,” Gus declared.
“Wait a minute!” Bob cried excitedly. “Sundial Canyon – the shadow of the natural sundial on the lawn marks the place where the ruby is buried, and Gus has to delve for it. Is that the answer?”
“Correct, Records,” Jupiter said.
“But it’s a big lawn,” Pete interjected. “How do we know the right spot?”
“The message tells us,” Jupe answered. “Let’s go over it again. May I have it, Gus? Thanks.”
He spread out the message and read parts of it as the truck bounced along.
“ ‘August is your name and August is your fame and In August is your fortune’ – that’s to get Gus’s attention to the word August, while just seeming mysterious to an outsider. Then, ‘Let not the mountain of difficulty in your way stop you; the shadow of your birth marks both a beginning and an ending.’
“That’s a sentence that seems to say one thing, and says another. Gus’s great-uncle figured he would know that the mountain he meant is the peak above Dial Canyon, and that the shadow of his birth meant the shadow of the mountain at the time of his birth – that is, on August sixth at half past two in the afternoon. Correct, Gus?”
“That’s right. I’m beginning to see it now, Jupiter. August – mountain – shadow – time of my birth – it all rather hits you in the eye as soon as you know you’re talking about a giant sundial.”
“The rest of the message is pretty plain,” Jupiter stated. “ ‘Delve deeply’ is clear enough. Most of the rest is just talk to help confuse an outsider. The phrase ‘time is of the essence’, though, means two things. One is to hurry and find the ruby. The other goes back to the sundial idea; the right time is very important.”
“Two-thirty to-day. That gives us hardly an hour!” Pete exclaimed.