Authors: Gertrude Chandler Warner
“We were hoping we could be friends,” Violet said quietly.
“You might not believe this,” Pam said, looking sad, “but I’d already decided not to try to scare you anymore.”
Norah hadn’t said a word for a while. Now she spoke up. “I knew you were unhappy, Pam, but I had no idea why.” She paused and sighed. “I still don’t.”
Pam twisted her hands in her lap. “I love spending time with you, Aunt Norah, but … I miss my parents.” Her face crumbled. “I just wish they wouldn’t go away all summer.”
“Have you ever told them how you feel?” Jessie asked.
Pam lowered her eyes, then shook her head.
“Maybe it’s time you did.” Norah put a hand gently on Pam’s arm. “They’re not mind-readers, you know. Why don’t we give them a call first thing in the morning?”
“I like that idea,” said Pam, giving her great-aunt a watery smile.
“I’m sure you’re always in their thoughts,” Mrs. McGregor added kindly. “And in their hearts.”
Suddenly Violet’s mouth dropped open and she almost spilled her milk. A wild idea was flitting through her head. “We have to go back!” she cried.
“Back … where?” asked Henry.
“Back to the bridge!” Violet was on her feet in a flash. She grabbed the flashlight and headed for the door.
Baffled, the others followed outside. When they reached the middle of the bridge, Violet swept the flashlight beam back and forth. It finally came to rest on the stone with the shape of a heart in it.
“What’s going on?” Henry asked, curiously.
Violet didn’t answer right away. With a finger, she traced the name inside the heart—the name MEG.
“I don’t get it,” said Benny.
“When Mrs. McGregor said Pam was always in her parents’ hearts, it suddenly hit me.” Violet’s eyes were shining. “Look at the name inside this heart.”
Henry scratched behind his neck. “I’m not following you, Violet.”
“Remember the first two lines of Meg’s verse?” she said.
Everybody recited at the same time, “When last goes first, and first goes last.”
Henry suddenly drew in his breath, catching on. “If you switch the letters around, then—”
“MEG becomes GEM!!” finished Jessie, her eyes wide.
“Oh, my!” said Norah. “Meg’s brooch was made from precious gems.”
Henry said, “I think we just found the final clue.”
“Wait right here,” said Norah, heading for the house. She returned a moment later holding a screwdriver. “This is all I could find. But it should do the trick.”
With that, Henry set to work. The mortar crumbled easily as he jabbed away at it. When the stone was finally loose, he put his hands on either side, then he wiggled and pulled with all his might. Slowly the stone came out, revealing a gaping hole.
When Violet shone the flashlight’s beam into the opening, Benny couldn’t stand the suspense. “Do you see anything, Violet?” he wanted to know.
“I’m afraid I can’t—wait!” Violet said.
Everyone gasped when Violet removed a small rotted leather pouch from the hole. For a moment they all remained still, staring at the pouch. Then Violet held it out to Norah.
Untying the drawstring, Norah gently pulled out a small cloth bundle. Her eyes widened as she unrolled the cloth to reveal a dazzling brooch. “Oh!” A broad smile spread across her face.
The Aldens let out a cheer. So did Pam.
“I’ve never seen anything like it!” exclaimed Mrs. McGregor.
“No wonder Meg wanted to keep it safe,” Henry said.
Norah nodded. “But she didn’t want it hidden away forever. So she left clues for her descendants to follow.”
But something was still bothering Benny. “What about the Chattering Bones?” he said, puzzled. “Does it haunt the bridge? Or doesn’t it?”
Norah put an arm around the youngest Alden. “Some questions can never be answered, Benny,” she said. “There will always be mysteries.”
“Well, guess what, Norah?” Benny said with a grin. “Mysteries just happen to be our—”
“Specialty!” everyone said together.
discovered when she was teaching that many readers who like an exciting story could find no books that were both easy and fun to read. She decided to try to meet this need, and her first book,
The Boxcar Children,
quickly proved she had succeeded.
Miss Warner drew on her own experiences to write the mystery. As a child she spent hours watching trains go by on the tracks opposite her family home. She often dreamed about what it would be like to set up housekeeping in a caboose or freight car — the situation the Alden children find themselves in.
When Miss Warner received requests for more adventures involving Henry, Jessie, Violet, and Benny Alden, she began additional stories. In each, she chose a special setting and introduced unusual or eccentric characters who liked the unpredictable.
While the mystery element is central to each of Miss Warner’s books, she never thought of them as strictly juvenile mysteries. She liked to stress the Aldens’ independence and resourcefulness and their solid New England devotion to using up and making do. The Aldens go about most of their adventures with as little adult supervision as possible — something else that delights young readers.
Miss Warner lived in Putnam, Connecticut, until her death in 1979. During her lifetime, she received hundreds of letters from girls and boys telling her how much they liked her books.
The Boxcar Children Mysteries
The Boxcar Children
The Yellow House Mystery
Blue Bay Mystery
The Woodshed Mystery
The Lighthouse Mystery
Mountain Top Mystery
Tree House Mystery
Mystery in the Sand
Mystery Behind the Wall
Bus Station Mystery
Benny Uncovers a Mystery
The Haunted Cabin Mystery
The Deserted Library Mystery
The Animal Shelter Mystery
The Old Motel Mystery
The Mystery of the Hidden Painting
The Amusement Park Mystery
The Mystery of the Mixed-Up Zoo
The Camp-Out Mystery
The Mystery Girl
The Mystery Cruise
The Disappearing Friend Mystery
The Mystery of the Singing Ghost
Mystery in the Snow
The Pizza Mystery
The Mystery Horse
The Mystery at the Dog Show
The Castle Mystery
The Mystery of the Lost Village
The Mystery on the Ice
The Mystery of the Purple Pool
The Ghost Ship Mystery
The Mystery in Washington, DC
The Canoe Trip Mystery
The Mystery of the Hidden Beach
The Mystery of the Missing Cat
The Mystery at Snowflake Inn
The Mystery on Stage
The Dinosaur Mystery
The Mystery of the Stolen Music
The Mystery at the Ball Park
The Chocolate Sundae Mystery
The Mystery of the Hot Air Balloon
The Mystery Bookstore
The Pilgrim Village Mystery
The Mystery of the Stolen Boxcar
Mystery in the Cave
The Mystery on the Train
The Mystery at the Fair
The Mystery of the Lost Mine
The Guide Dog Mystery
The Hurricane Mystery
The Pet Shop Mystery
The Mystery of the Secret Message
The Firehouse Mystery
The Mystery in San Francisco
The Niagara Falls Mystery
The Mystery at the Alamo
The Outer Space Mystery
The Soccer Mystery
The Mystery in the Old Attic
The Growling Bear Mystery
The Mystery of the Lake Monster
The Mystery at Peacock Hall
The Windy City Mystery
The Black Pearl Mystery
The Cereal Box Mystery
The Panther Mystery
The Mystery of the Queen’s Jewels
The Stolen Sword Mystery
The Basketball Mystery
The Movie Star Mystery
The Mystery of the Black Raven
The Mystery of the Pirate’s Map
The Mystery in the Mall
The Mystery in New York
The Gymnastics Mystery
The Poison Frog Mystery
The Mystery of the Empty Safe
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This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, businesses, companies, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
copyright © 2005 by Albert Whitman & Company
This 2011 edition distributed by Open Road Integrated Media
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