Middle-Grade Mystery Monday: The Case of the Fruity Felon
Melinda T. Falgoust
Happy Fourth of July week, everyone! I have a lot to celebrate this month: Independence Day, my daughter's birthday, and the release of my new novel "The Gubbins Club: The Legend of Charlie's Gold" (July 5, 2013). In celebration, I thought I would do what I love...WRITE! Our friend and children's book author, Susanna Leonard Hill (check out her blog here), is sponsoring a great Fourth of July Secret Mystery Contest. First prize is a manuscript critique by Simone Kaplan! Simone is a 20-yr veteran of children's publishing, having served as editor for both Henry Holt & Company and Harper Collins. Check out her fantastic website, Picture Book People.
Now, I adore mysteries. I grew up reading Encyclopedia Brown, Trixie Belden, Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys. In tribute to these great writers, and as my contribution to Ms. Hill's contest, I offer up some fictional fare for the younger set. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I did writing it. In fact, I had so much fun, I plan to make Middle-Grade Mystery Monday a regular feature here at InkSpired. Until then...
The Case of the Fruity Felon
by Melinda Taliancich Falgoust
Chief Tom Putt’s cheeks puckered at Melba McIntosh’s sour tone. This was no way to start Freyberg’s Fourth of July Festival! He was going to join the celebration with his ten-year old daughter, Katy, when Melba’s arrival squashed their plans like applesauce.
Melba owned the town bakery, Melba’s Munchies. She also ran the festival committee. She had planned a parade, fireworks, and had even lent her diamond tiara to crown the Freyburg Firework Queen. The tiara had been on display at the bakery for the past week while Melba and Acey Mac, her assistant, were busy baking all sorts of pies – cherry, rhubarb, strawberry, and apple - to sell at the festival. Acey had been baking another batch when Adam Pearmain had come in to deliver the sign Melba had ordered. It was supposed to read “Happy Fourth of July Weekend!” Instead, Melba’s sign read:
H Y FOURTH OF JU Y W EKEND!
Now, Melba had rooted herself firmly in front of Chief Putt’s desk with Acey, demanding the Chief put poor Adam Pearmain behind bars.
Chief Putt sighed. “Now, Melba, I can’t arrest anyone for bad spelling.”
Melba waved her arms in the air like two wriggling worms. “I don’t want you to arrest him for the sign! I want you to arrest him for stealing my tiara!”
Katy grinned. If there was one thing she liked better than fireworks, it was a delicious mystery.
The Chief’s fuzzy eyebrows raised. “Start from the beginning.”
Acey Mac spoke. “Well, Chief, I had just put another batch of pies in the oven when I heard the bell on the front door tinkle. Adam Pearmain was there, looking awfully twitchy. He saw me coming and hastily rolled up Miss McIntosh’s sign. He mumbled something about smelling something burning. I checked the pies. The front bell tinkled once again. When I got there, Miss McIntosh had arrived, but Mr. Pearmain and the tiara were gone.”
“Your evidence is flimsy, at best,” Chief Putt suggested. “Is it possible the tiara is just misplaced?”
Melba moaned. “Believe me, I’ve searched everywhere, but the tiara and Mr. Pearmain have disappeared!”
Katy whispered something in her father’s ear. He nodded and turned to face Acey Mac.
“It only takes one bad apple to ruin the barrel, Mr. Mac, and you are rotten to the core. You stole the tiara and we can prove it.”
What did Katy whisper in her father’s ear? (SOLUTION)