Clementine Rose and the Movie Magic 9

BOOK: Clementine Rose and the Movie Magic 9
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About the Book

Clementine Rose
is going to be on the big screen! Her neighbour, Basil Hobbs, is making a documentary about Penberthy House and has given her a starring role. Clementine can't wait to uncover the magic of motion picture.

While the household is humming with movie-making excitement, things are turned upside down with the arrival of two very unexpected guests. Soon, troubling incidents start to occur. Can Clementine Rose use her new skills to expose the truth and restore the reputation of Penberthy House?

For Phoebe Rose and her big brothers and sister, Darcy, Flynn and Eden, and for Ian, who shares this magical journey with me

Clementine Rose stood on the middle of the front stairs, practising her lines. ‘How did that sound, Grandpa?' She looked up at the portrait of her grandfather, which hung on the wall beside the painting of her grandmother. ‘Basil said that we can start again if I make a mistake.'

‘Godfathers, I don't know why you bother,' Clementine's Great-Aunt Violet said, striding down from the top floor. ‘He's not said a word in years, at least not to me.'

Clementine giggled. ‘I still like talking to him, anyway – and to Granny. She's got the loveliest smile.'

Aunt Violet paused for a moment to stare at the faces of her brother and sister-in-law. A strange pain clawed at her chest and she winced.

‘Are you all right?' Clementine looked up at the woman's watery blue eyes.

Violet Appleby brushed at the side of her face. ‘Yes, yes. I'm fine. I just haven't thought about Edmund and Davina much recently. You're right, though – your grandmother did have a lovely smile.'

The woman turned to Clementine and promptly changed the subject.

‘Are you ready?' she asked.

Clementine nodded. ‘I think so, except for the butterflies having a boxing match in my tummy.'

‘Well, you tell them to calm right down,' Aunt Violet instructed. ‘Take a few deep breaths and you'll be fine.'

The child had been looking forward to this moment for weeks. Ever since she landed a starring role in their neighbour Basil Hobbs's documentary about Penberthy House, Clementine had counted down the days until the end of the school term, when filming was scheduled to begin. While her mother and Uncle Digby had both helped Clemmie to learn her lines, it was Aunt Violet who had made sure that she was word perfect.

Clementine was very good at remembering things off by heart. It had started when she was much younger, when Uncle Digby would teach her poems which she would then recite for Granny and Grandpa. But this was different. This time there was a camera to capture her every move.

Clementine peered over the banister into the entrance foyer below. Basil was talking to her mother while fiddling with a huge movie camera on a tripod. He wore a bright-yellow waistcoat and a matching bow tie with red spots on it. Clementine thought Basil looked
even more stylish than usual, particularly with the addition of a navy beret, which he'd told her was his lucky director's hat.

Close by, a tall man wearing a large set of headphones fiddled with a long stick that had a furry microphone attached to its end. A small boy with dark-brown hair stood beside him, watching his every move.

Basil looked up at Clementine and waggled his eyebrows excitedly. ‘We're almost ready. Would you like to join us downstairs, Aunt Violet? You can watch from here.'

Clementine was wearing a pretty navy-blue dress and her favourite red patent Mary Jane shoes. Mrs Mogg, the owner of the village shop, had made the dress especially for the occasion.

Aunt Violet gave the child a quick once-over and adjusted the red ribbon in her hair. ‘Perfect,' she said with a wink.

Clementine lunged forward and hugged the old woman around her middle. ‘Thank you for helping me. I really 'preciate it,' the child said.

‘The word is
a-
ppreciate, Clementine,' Violet Appleby tutted, making her way down the stairs. ‘One of these days I'll teach you to speak the Queen's English.'

Clementine looked at Basil, awaiting his instruction.

‘In a minute I'll snap the board and call “action”,' he explained. ‘You can start anytime you like.'

‘Okay,' the child replied. ‘But are you sure I can do it again if I make a mistake?'

‘Of course,' Basil said with a nod. ‘And remember to enjoy yourself. I always do!'

Clementine grinned.

‘Good luck, sweetheart,' Lady Clarissa called. ‘You'll be wonderful.'

Digby Pertwhistle walked into the hallway and stood beside Aunt Violet. The pair of them smiled up at Clementine.

‘Penberthy House introduction, take one … Action!' Basil called before snapping the clapper board like a castanet.

Clementine took a deep breath and looked directly into the camera. ‘Hello, my name is Clementine Rose Appleby and this is my home, Penberthy House Hotel. When my granny and grandpa were alive –' Clementine looked up at the portraits of her grandparents on the wall, then back at the camera – ‘it was just Penberthy House without the hotel.

These days we have lots of guests coming and going. It's the best place to live in the whole wide world, especially since we got the new roof and we don't have to put buckets out every time it rains.' Clementine gave a small grin. ‘I hope you love learning about our house as much as I love living –'

Just as Clementine was about to finish the sentence the telephone in the hallway rang.

‘Cut!' Basil called out.

Lady Clarissa apologised and ran to answer it.

‘Why didn't you take it off the hook, Pertwhistle?' Aunt Violet glared at Uncle Digby. ‘Honestly.'

The man ignored her.

Clementine looked over the banister at Basil and the others.

‘That was fabulous, Clemmie.' Basil gave her two thumbs up. ‘We'll do it again once your mother comes back.'

Clementine nodded.

It was quite a while before Lady Clarissa returned to the group, and when she did her face was flushed.

‘Are you all right, Mummy?' Clementine asked.

‘Yes, of course, darling.' The woman gave a pinched smile.

Aunt Violet arched an eyebrow at her niece. ‘You don't fool me, Clarissa,' she whispered. ‘What was that about?'

Lady Clarissa lowered her voice. ‘It was the local council. It seems they've received an anonymous complaint about Penberthy House. They're sending their Health and Safety Inspector to do a full assessment of the hotel.'

‘I'm sure it's nothing to worry about,' Uncle Digby reassured her in hushed tones. ‘When is the inspection?'

Clarissa winced. ‘Tomorrow.'

‘Tomorrow!' Aunt Violet exclaimed. ‘That doesn't work at all. We're shooting a movie.'

‘I tried to put them off but they insisted,' Lady Clarissa said helplessly.

‘Well, surely the inspector will only be here for the day,' Aunt Violet said.

‘I'm afraid we've got Mr Doncaster for as many days as he needs to be certain of his findings,' Clarissa replied.

‘That's ridiculous!' Aunt Violet huffed. ‘Clearly the council enjoy paying people to have holidays. I'll take care of him. You know I can be utterly charming when required.'

‘Clearly that's not required very often,' Digby mumbled.

Aunt Violet shot the man a look that would have stopped a charging rhino in its tracks.

Clementine wondered what her mother and Uncle Digby and Aunt Violet were talking
about. Whatever it was had given them all frowny faces.

‘Ready, Clementine?' Basil called out.

The child nodded. A tiny flutter tickled her tummy again.

Basil held up the clapperboard. ‘All right, everyone. Penberthy House introduction, take two … Action!'

‘So how did you enjoy your first day on set, Clementine?' Basil Hobbs's eyes sparkled as he sipped his tea.

Filming had finally wrapped for the day and Basil, his sound engineer and assistant cameraman, Drew, and Drew's seven-year-old son, Will, were enjoying afternoon tea in the kitchen with the Appleby household.

‘I loved it!' Clementine replied, her blue eyes as round as saucers. ‘But I didn't know it would take so many times to get it right.'

Drew looked across at the girl. ‘That's because Basil is a perfectionist. Not only does he make great movies, he's like Sherlock Holmes when it comes to sniffing out the facts. If there are any skeletons hidden in the Appleby closet he's bound to find them,' Drew said with a wink.

Aunt Violet shifted uncomfortably in her seat.

‘We have a skeleton,' Clementine said matter-of-factly, ‘but it's in the attic, not the closet.'

The adults grinned. ‘That's not quite what Basil meant, Clemmie,' her mother said.

Basil nodded. ‘I just don't see the point in doing some thing if you're not going to give it your best.'

Clementine bit her lip and wondered if Basil really was happy with her performance that day. Her introduction had been filmed another twelve times before he'd decided he had exactly what he needed. The group had then moved into the sitting room to film a short scene. Even though Clementine had
only a couple of lines of dialogue, they had done seven takes before Basil was satisfied.

‘And you, my dear girl, gave it your best and more,' Basil added enthusiastically.

Clementine beamed and all doubts about her performance disappeared.

‘Can I pour you some more tea, Drew?' Clarissa offered.

‘That would be lovely, thanks,' he replied.

As Drew reached for another plump scone, he accidentally brushed Clarissa's hand and a spark of static electricity passed between them. The woman jumped, spilling tea all over the tablecloth.

‘Oops!' Drew grabbed his napkin and mopped up the liquid. He smiled at Clarissa, whose cheeks blushed a fiery red.

Uncle Digby and Aunt Violet raised their eyebrows at one another. Clementine spotted their funny looks and hoped they weren't about to start squabbling.

Basil thumbed through a thick wad of papers in front of him. ‘We'll start at nine in
the morning, and I'll need Clementine dressed as her great-great grandmother, Clarissa,' he said.

‘How exactly is this film going to play out, Basil?' Violet Appleby asked. She placed her teacup back onto its saucer with a rattle.

The man looked up from his notes. ‘I have a rough plan. Some of the old family papers have given me ideas, although it would have been wonderful to find a diary and include a few more anecdotes in the film.'

‘I was sure Granny had one,' Lady Clarissa said, ‘but I've searched everywhere and I can't find a thing.'

‘Never mind,' Basil said. ‘Having Clementine narrate various sections allows me to introduce the different generations of the Appleby family who have lived in the house. In answer to your question, Aunt Violet, today we filmed Clementine as herself, but tomorrow she's going to play the role of her great-great grandmother. I think it's Thursday that she's pretending to be you, although we're taking
some poetic licence with that one. It's a pity there are no photographs of you as a child.'

‘I don't remember there ever being many. I suspect, being a girl, I wasn't interesting enough,' Aunt Violet explained with a flick of her hand.

Clarissa gave the woman a quizzical look. She'd found plenty of pictures of her father when he was a boy and she couldn't imagine that her grandparents only took photographs of their son. Though, she had searched the house from top to bottom and had been very disappointed to find just a couple of snaps of Aunt Violet as a baby. It seemed quite odd, really.

‘What did you look like when you were little, Aunt Violet?' Clementine asked.

The old woman snorted. ‘How would I know, Clementine? I didn't spend all day looking at myself, did I?'

‘Really?' Uncle Digby teased. ‘I don't think I've ever seen you walk past a mirror without sneaking a glance.'

‘Very funny, Pertwhistle,' Aunt Violet quipped. ‘Perhaps you should try looking in one occasionally.'

‘If that portrait on the stairs is anything to go by, you were extremely pretty,' Drew said.

Aunt Violet smothered a smile. ‘Oh, Drew, don't be so silly.'

‘Yes, Drew, don't be so silly,' Uncle Digby parroted.

Aunt Violet gave the butler a withering look.

‘So how long have you two been married?' Drew asked, looking at Aunt Violet and Uncle Digby.

The old woman sputtered her tea and Uncle Digby went green. ‘Married!' they wheezed in unison.

Drew grimaced. ‘Sorry, I didn't mean to offend anyone.'

To everyone's relief, the front doorbell rang. Digby Pertwhistle shot up from his chair and went to see who it was.

Clementine looked over at Drew. His hair was the colour of salt and pepper, and he smiled
with his eyes. When he laughed, Clementine thought it sounded like church bells ringing.

‘Do you like working on movies?' she asked him.

The man nodded. ‘I started running around with a camera when I was just a bit older than you, and I can't imagine doing anything else. In fact, Will has just started making movies too.'

‘Really?' Clementine's eyes widened.

The boy gave a small nod. ‘I could teach you,' he said quietly.

‘Would you?' Clementine asked brightly, then frowned. ‘But we don't have a video camera.'

‘Didn't you win one earlier this year, Clarissa?' Aunt Violet reminded her niece.

‘Oh, yes.' Lady Clarissa scurried into the pantry and returned a minute later, holding a box. ‘I hadn't unpacked it yet. I was thinking of donating it to the school, but you can use it.'

Clementine pumped her fists. ‘Yes! We could have a movie night and show the film of my ballet concert too. When it's ready, of course.'

‘Settle down, Clementine. You haven't even switched the thing on yet,' Aunt Violet tutted.

Basil glanced at his watch and began to collect his papers. ‘I better get going. I promised Mintie I'd help her finish the concert video this evening. See you all in the morning!'

‘Bye, Basil,' the group chorused as the man walked out the back door. Clementine's teacup pig, Lavender, gave a grunt and Aunt Violet's sphynx cat, Pharaoh, meowed from their basket beside the cooker.

Drew chuckled. ‘Do those two always talk to the guests?'

‘Lavender does,' Clementine said with a nod.

‘She's cute,' Will said, glancing over at the pair.

‘She's adorable,' Clementine agreed then turned back to her mother, who had begun unwrapping the camera. Clementine clapped her hands together excitedly. ‘We can have the movie night in the library and use the proper projector and eat popcorn. I can help Uncle Digby make –'

‘I most certainly
did
make a booking!' a woman barked in the hallway, interrupting the girl. ‘It was for
this
week and it's in your
best
suite.'

Digby Pertwhistle poked his head around the kitchen door. His forehead was creased with wrinkles and his cheeks were flushed pink. ‘Clarissa, may I have a quick word?'

‘Of course.' Lady Clarissa stood up and hurried away.

Clementine turned the camera over in her hands, examining the buttons and dials.

A few minutes later Lady Clarissa reappeared.

‘Is everything all right?' Aunt Violet asked.

‘I'm afraid we have an unexpected guest.' Clarissa walked over to the reservations book, which sat on the sideboard near the telephone. She opened it but found nothing listed for that day apart from the information about the filming. ‘Aunt Violet, do you remember taking a booking for a Finley Spencer?' Lady Clarissa asked. ‘She said she spoke to an older woman.'

‘I didn't mess up any bookings,' Aunt Violet snapped.

Clarissa sighed. ‘I just wanted to know if you recalled that name.'

Aunt Violet thought for a moment. ‘Actually, it does ring a bell. I had assumed that Finley Spencer was a man.'

Lady Clarissa flicked forward a week and ran her finger down the page. ‘Here it is. She's booked in for next week, in the Blue Room.'

‘If it helps, Will and I would be happy to move,' Drew offered. ‘The Blue Room's lovely but, honestly, we're fine anywhere.'

‘Are you sure?' Clarissa asked.

Drew smiled. ‘Just point us in the right direction. We'll help you change the sheets and I'll wheel Will's foldaway bed into the new room.'

‘Godfathers no!' Aunt Violet protested. ‘Pertwhistle can change the bed.'

Drew shook his head with a chuckle. He had no doubt the old woman would have enjoyed delivering that news.

‘I would like to keep Ms Spencer happy, if you and Will don't mind,' Clarissa said apologetically. With the Health and Safety Inspector due the next day, the last thing she needed was another disgruntled lodger.

‘We'll go and get our things,' Drew said, standing up.

‘Thank you,' Lady Clarissa replied. ‘I'll take Ms Spencer through to the sitting room. Clemmie, please show Will and Drew to the Peony Suite. Aunt Violet, could you organise a fresh pot of tea for Ms Spencer?'

‘Me?' the old woman grumbled. ‘What do I look like – a waitress?'

Clementine giggled behind her hand and Drew gave her a wink before the three of them disappeared up the back stairs.

BOOK: Clementine Rose and the Movie Magic 9
9.73Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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