The Hollywood Intrigue #9 (Agatha: Girl of Mystery)

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9780448486802: The Hollywood Intrigue #9 (Agatha: Girl of Mystery)

A producer and his cast are in Hollywood filming a new movie, Fatal Error, when suspicious things start happening on set. The producer is convinced that someone is trying to prevent the film being made, so Agatha Mistery and her cousin Dash are enlisted to find the saboteur. Together with their stuntman uncle, they must find the culprit before things go too far.

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About the Author:

Sir Steve Stevenson is the pseudonym used by Mario Pasqualotto, an Italian writer who spent many years writing for Italian gaming magazines. Currently, he is focused on writing novels for young readers.


Stefano Turconi lives in Italy.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

 

CHAPTER ONE: An Unforgettable Anniversary 


Mistery House was a bright spot of color in an otherwise gray London suburb. Today, the lavender-roofed Victorian mansion had a sparkling air of celebration. In the luxuriant gardens, fountains gushed among blooming rhododendrons, while classical music spilled out from the house. It was just the right atmosphere to celebrate the twelfth-year anniversary of indefatigable jack-of-all-trades Chandler at Mistery House.

“Such a shame Mom and Dad got held up in Tasmania,” said Agatha, casting a disappointed gaze at the impeccably set table, loaded with goodies. “It would have been perfect if they were here, too.”

“They’ll be home soon enough, Miss,” replied the impassive butler as he settled into a chair. The former heavyweight boxer’s bulk provoked a loud creak, but the chair held his weight. “I’m very grateful for all this attention,” he added softly, his voice betraying emotion.

Agatha tapped the tip of her small, upturned nose with one finger, an unmistakable sign that she was pondering something. “Do you know what my parents are doing down there?” she asked, her eyes shining.

“I’m so sorry, Miss.” Chandler shook his head gravely. “I have absolutely no idea.”

“Before they left London, Mom mentioned they wanted to study a rare local species,” said Agatha, passing him a silver platter of oysters. “Try to guess which one!”

“The famous Tasmanian devil?” the butler guessed. He swallowed a tasty lemon-and-parsley-sprinkled oyster in one gulp. Agatha had ordered all of his favorite foods for this anniversary luncheon.

“The largest carnivorous marsupial in the world? No, too obvious!” Agatha laughed. “You won’t believe it, but they’re studying some slimy green frogs that live only in sulfurous jungle swamps . . .”

“Slimy frogs? Sulfurous swamps?” Chandler echoed. He lowered his gaze to the briny shellfish on the platter, suddenly losing his appetite. Struggling to maintain his usual calm, he asked, “What’s so special about these frogs?”

Agatha pulled her leather-bound notebook from her back pocket. She always kept it with her in case she needed to record any detail of a topic that tickled her fancy. Like all members of the Mistery family, Agatha had chosen to pursue an unusual career. She wanted to be a world-famous mystery writer and was always taking notes for her stories.

“I’ve consulted some of the scientific magazines in the library over the past few days,” she explained, flicking through the pages. “It seems that this particular species has a gland that possesses miraculous medicinal properties.”

“How extraordinary,” Chandler said politely.

He was very familiar with his young mistress’s talents: an incomparable memory, dazzling intuition, attention to detail, and many other qualities that made her a decidedly out-of-the-ordinary twelve-year-old girl.

“But what am I thinking? Our lovely lunch will get cold.” Agatha excused herself, put her notebook away, and grabbed a seafood skewer. “You know what?” she said, beaming. “I’m glad to be celebrating this anniversary with you and our darling cat, Watson. You’re the best friends anybody could have!”

“Aren’t you forgetting somebody, Miss?”

Agatha looked amused. “You mean my dear cousin Dash?” she asked, twirling the skewer playfully. “I invited him, too, but he said it was a bad time. He’s enrolled in some crazy martial-arts course and needs to practice all day. But I bet he’ll drop in to say hello before the end of the day. He won’t want to miss a slice of your—”

Agatha stopped in mid-sentence, covering her mouth with her hand. “Ooops . . . I’m such a loudmouth!” She blushed. “I nearly ruined the surprise!”

The butler raised an eyebrow, pretending that he knew nothing. That morning, he had spotted a five-layer Sacher torte on a platter in the pantry. The delicious Viennese chocolate-and-apricot layer cake was his favorite dessert.

Agatha quickly changed the subject, and as soon as they’d finished their lunch, she asked Chandler to close his eyes and wait for her to bring his surprise gift to the table.

That was the moment when everything stopped being perfect.

“Watson!” Agatha cried in despair as she entered the pantry. “What have you done?”

Chandler turned off the opera CD they’d been playing and peeked through the partially open door. Attracted by the delicious aroma, the white Siberian cat had climbed on top of the cake, spreading whipped cream all over the counter. Now he was cleaning chocolate and apricot jam from his fur as though nothing had happened.

“Why couldn’t you raid the leftover fish like a normal cat?” Agatha scolded. Grabbing a bar of soap, she turned on the sink and thrust the cat under running water. Watson yowled as splashes and bubbles flew everywhere. “You’re such a bad boy!” Agatha told him, unable to suppress a smile. “Stop complaining, you need a good scrub.”

As if bathing a furious cat weren’t chaotic enough, the doorbell rang. Chandler got up to check the security camera on the front gate and saw a police officer holding a figure in what looked like loose white pajamas. As Chandler went to tell Agatha, Watson leapt out of the sink and ran upstairs, leaving a trail of wet paw prints.

“The police?” Agatha sounded confused.

“That’s right, Miss,” the butler confirmed. “And some oddball in a white kimono. He looks a lot like—”

Agatha burst out laughing and strode to the video-intercom. “Now it all makes perfect sense! Our dear Dash has arrived a bit early!” Pressing a button, Agatha spoke to the officer to reassure him. “Don’t worry, that really is my cousin,” she explained. “I’m guessing he forgot his keys . . .”

“That’s right,” said Dash. “I tried ringing the doorbell, but nobody answered. So I thought I’d climb over the wall . . .”

“Bad idea,” the officer said. “I received a report that some sort of ninja was trying to break into Mistery House, but he kept falling down . . .”

Embarrassed, Dash stared at his feet. To spare him more awkwardness, Agatha buzzed the gate open. “It’s all okay,” she told the policeman. “We had loud music playing and must not have heard him ring the doorbell. It’s our fault. Thank you, officer.”

Dash winked at the security camera and sped up the driveway. Agatha and Chandler met him on the marble stairs, eager to find out what was so urgent.

“We’ve got to go!” Dash exclaimed. “We take off in two hours from Heathrow Airport!”

“And where are we going?” asked Agatha, smiling at her cousin’s uniform. “Some remote martial-arts temple in Tibet?”

Even Chandler’s stiff upper lip twitched a bit at her joke.

“Cousin . . .”—pant, pant—“. . . check this out . . .” Dash bent his knees, catching his breath as Agatha read the text on his EyeNet. “At nine o’clock tonight, we have an appointment with Robert Royce . . .”

“The Hollywood producer?” Chandler, a movie fan, looked astonished.

“If memory serves me correctly, the location indicated in this message is a neighborhood known as Century City.” Agatha peered at the EyeNet, then pushed her hair behind her ears and added, “The metropolitan area of Los Angeles is huge. We’ll need Uncle Bud’s help so we don’t get lost on the freeways.”

“Uncle Bud?” Dash said in surprise. “Who’s that?”

He and Chandler stood in stunned silence as Agatha turned on her heel and went back in the house.

Dash ran after her, spitting out questions. “Who’s Uncle Bud? Does he live in LA? Is he marked on your map?”

He was, of course, referring to the globe on which Agatha noted all the contact details and information about members of the vast Mistery clan, who were scattered all over the planet.

“Uncle Bud and I correspond often,” she said calmly, toweling off Watson’s fur. “He used to be a champion race-car driver, but now he works as a rare-car mechanic and sometimes as a stuntman for Hollywood films.”

Dash scratched his cheek nervously. “A stuntman?”

“You know the action scenes in movies where they have car chases, with spectacular stunts and incredible crashes? Bud stands in for the actors during the most daring parts!”

“He won’t be too reckless, will he?” Dash sounded nervous.

“Of course not. Stunt drivers have to have perfect control, or they wouldn’t be able to do their job safely. Now, we’re in a hurry, right? Go change your clothes and download the case files. I’ll do the rest!”

Faced with such confidence, Dash fell silent. These investigations always made him sweat, and he didn’t want his professors to find out that his brilliant cousin played such a big part in all of his triumphs. Agatha was already placing a phone call to Uncle Bud, so Dash took a deep breath—breathe, breathe, Lazy Squirrel—and got ready to leave.

Fifteen minutes later, they all met by the fountain. Watson smelled like lavender soap and was strutting inside his cat carrier. Agatha wore a flowered dress and a wide-brimmed sun hat. Chandler, in his elegant navy tuxedo, loaded their luggage into the limousine’s trunk without batting an eyelash.

When the butler held open the passenger door, Dash suddenly remembered that today was Chandler’s anniversary. “Oh no,” he stuttered apologetically. “I hope I haven’t ruined your celebration. I’ll make it up to you, I promise . . .”

Agatha gave him a reassuring smile. “Don’t worry, Dash,” she laughed. “The dessert course has just been postponed!”

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Descripción Grosset Dunlap, United States, 2015. Paperback. Estado de conservación: New. Stefano Turconi Ilustrador. Language: English . Brand New Book. A producer and his cast are in Hollywood filming a new movie, Fatal Error, when suspicious things start happening on set. The producer is convinced that someone is trying to prevent the film being made, so Agatha Mistery and her cousin Dash are enlisted to find the saboteur. Together with their stuntman uncle, they must find the culprit before things go too far. Nº de ref. de la librería AAC9780448486802

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Descripción Grosset Dunlap, United States, 2015. Paperback. Estado de conservación: New. Stefano Turconi Ilustrador. Language: English . This book usually ship within 10-15 business days and we will endeavor to dispatch orders quicker than this where possible. Brand New Book. A producer and his cast are in Hollywood filming a new movie, Fatal Error, when suspicious things start happening on set. The producer is convinced that someone is trying to prevent the film being made, so Agatha Mistery and her cousin Dash are enlisted to find the saboteur. Together with their stuntman uncle, they must find the culprit before things go too far. Nº de ref. de la librería BTE9780448486802

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Descripción Grosset Dunlap, United States, 2015. Paperback. Estado de conservación: New. Stefano Turconi Ilustrador. Language: English . Brand New Book. A producer and his cast are in Hollywood filming a new movie, Fatal Error, when suspicious things start happening on set. The producer is convinced that someone is trying to prevent the film being made, so Agatha Mistery and her cousin Dash are enlisted to find the saboteur. Together with their stuntman uncle, they must find the culprit before things go too far. Nº de ref. de la librería AAC9780448486802

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