Authors: Heather Vogel Frederick
This book will self-destruct if it falls into the wrong hands. Make that paws. Rat paws. [You know who you are.]
After being tipped off by an anonymous source (known only as âDeep Rodent'), Heather Frederick knew what she had to do. She had to go undercover. She had to find out for herself the truth of what was happening beneath the floorboards.
Now she has broken cover to write books about the spy mice. âThe world needs to know the peril facing the brave members of the Spy Mice Agency,' she reports. She refuses to divulge her code name on the grounds that it would place her in danger. In addition, all the names in this book have been changed to protect active undercover rodent operatives.
Books by Heather Vogel Frederick
Spy Mice: The Black Paw
Spy Mice: For Your Paws Only
Spy Mice: Goldwhiskers
Illustrated by Adam Stower
Published by the Penguin Group
Penguin Books Ltd, 80 Strand, London
Penguin Group (USA) Inc., 375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014, USA
Penguin Group (Canada), 90 Eglinton Avenue East, Suite 700, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
(a division of Pearson Penguin Canada Inc.)
Penguin Ireland, 25 St Stephen's Green, Dublin 2, Ireland (a division of Penguin Books Ltd)
Penguin Group (Australia), 250 Camberwell Road, Camberwell, Victoria 3124, Australia
(a division of Pearson Australia Group Pty Ltd)
Penguin Books India Pvt Ltd, 11 Community Centre, Panchsheel Park, New Delhi â 110 017, India
Penguin Group (NZ), 67 Apollo Drive, Rosedale, North Shore 0632, New Zealand
(a division of Pearson New Zealand Ltd)
Penguin Books (South Africa) (Pty) Ltd, 24 Sturdee Avenue, Rosebank, Johannesburg 2196, South Africa
Penguin Books Ltd, Registered Offices: 80 Strand, London
First published in the USA by Simon & Schuster, Inc. 2007
First published in Great Britain in Puffin Books 2007
Text copyright Â© Heather Vogel Frederick, 2007
Illustrations copyright Â© Adam Stower, 2007
All rights reserved
The moral right of the author and illustrator has been asserted
Except in the United States of America, this book is sold subject to the condition that it shall not, by way of trade or otherwise, be lent, re-sold, hired out, or otherwise circulated without the publisher's prior consent in any form of binding or cover other than that in which it is published and without a similar condition including this condition being imposed on the subsequent purchaser
British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data A CIP catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library
For my true-blue sisters Lisa and Stefanie,
with whom I shared a happy childhood interlude in England
At exactly one minute past midnight, a large black taxi turned into the sweeping drive in front of London's Savoy Hotel.
A mouseling stepped out of the shadow of the kerb as the vehicle approached. Its headlights caught the hopeful gleam in his bright little eyes. He watched as the cab pulled up smartly in front of the entrance. It swished through a puddle as it did so, drenching him with icy water.
The mouseling slumped back against the kerb, the hopeful look instantly extinguished. He'd thought that perhaps his luck had finally changed. It hadn't. Not one bit. He swiped dejectedly at his sodden face with a grimy paw and sneezed. What a horrid night!
The skies were spouting the kind of cold, sleeting rain that only London in late December could produce â and now this. His slight body shook violently, and the mouseling wrapped his tail tightly round himself in a vain attempt to keep warm.
Shivering, he watched as the cab driver hopped out and trotted round to open the door for his passengers. The mouseling's tummy rumbled. Not only had he had no luck tonight, he'd had nothing to eat either. He hadn't earned it yet. âOnly mouselings who sing for their supper get their supper,' Master always said.
And the mouseling desperately wanted to please Master. Master was the giver of all that was good: food, warmth, praise. The mouseling owed Master his life. Before Master, he'd been nothing. An urchin. A throwaway. âNobody wants worthless street trash like you,' Master reminded him often. Reminded all of them often. âNobody but me.'
Still shivering, the mouseling peered over the kerb as two pairs of feet emerged from the taxi: a lady's and a gentleman's. His tiny heart began to beat a little faster. Maybe his luck had changed after all. The gentleman's shoes were highly polished and expensive-looking. The lady's stylish sandals
criss-crossed her pale toes with narrow straps. Useless for walking, especially in this weather, but perfect for making an impressive entrance at one of London's poshest hotels. Which was just the sort of thing that toffs liked to do.
âYou can always tell a toff by his shoes,' Master had instructed. âThat and his bags. Toffs like to spend money on shoes and bags.'
The cab driver removed a trio of suitcases from the taxi's boot and placed them on the pavement. The mouseling watched intently. He lifted his grubby little nose into the air and sniffed. Leather! Expensive leather. Hope soared in him once again. This was what he'd been waiting for all evening. These were just the sort of bags that toffs liked to take to fancy hotels.
And toffs â upper-crust, well-heeled, wealthy humans â were what the mouseling was after tonight. What all Master's mouselings were after in every corner of the city tonight.
The small mouse's tummy rumbled again.
. Time to get to work if he fancied any supper. He shouldered his soggy duffel bag (made from the toe of a sock) and with a practised leap swung himself up over the kerb. As the taxi pulled away, he tumbled
into the cuff of the gentleman's well-cut trousers, and a moment later the Savoy's doorman ushered the two human guests â and one unseen mouseling â inside the hotel.