Authors: Mike Blyth
Tags: #ebook, #book
and the case of
The Golden Haggis
Inspector Rumblepants and the Case of the Golden Haggis
Â© 2013 Mike Blyth. All rights reserved.
No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, digital, photocopying, or recording, except for the inclusion in a review, without permission in writing from the publisher.
This is a work of fiction. All of the characters, names, incidents, organizations, and dialogue in this novel are either the products of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously.
Published in the United States by BQB Publishing
(Boutique of Quality Books Publishing Company)
Printed in the United States of America
Library of Congress Control Number: 2012952394
dedicate this book to my children: Alexander, Amber, Christopher, Brook, and Megan Blyth (although Brook and Megan were not yet born when the book was written). The characters are based on Inspector Alex Rumblepants (my oldest son, Alexander), Agent Amber (my oldest daughter, Amber Rose), and Inspector Nailard (my youngest son, Christopher). Sergeant Widebottom is based on my brother, who is a police officer in the Devon and Cornwall Constabulary. Colonel Smithering Blyyd is based on my father, a retired colonel from the Royal Corps of Transport.
Future Inspector Rumblepants stories include all of my five children. They have brought so much laughter, wonder, and light to the lives of their parents.
I hope that this book will inspire readers to perfect their own powers of observation and deduction. As such, as you read this book, can you spot the hidden anachronisms? A list of some appears at the end of the book.
My thanks to my wife, Kristen, who has encouraged me to write these stories and have them printed for our children. I hope my children (and other readers) take as much pleasure in reading these stories as I did in writing them.
Upcoming Inspector Rumblepants Books
The Inspector Rumblepants series closely follows the astounding adventures of Inspector Rumblepants, Agent Amber, Captain Chris, Professor Brook, and Sergeant Widebottom.
â¢ Inspector Rumblepants and the Case of the Crown Jewels
â¢ Inspector Rumblepants and the Case of the Stolen Buffalo
â¢ Inspector Rumblepants and the Case of the Eiffel Tower
â¢ Inspector Rumblepants and the Case of the Pharaoh's Mummy
â¢ Inspector Rumblepants and the Case of the Kaiser's Sword
â¢ Inspector Rumblepants and the Case of The Great Wall of China
or an entire rainy afternoon in 1865, a hidden Thief peered between the wet branches of a small, thorny bush. He was squinting at a distant, Scottish castle perched on top of a high, rocky outcrop. The rock jutted out, like a giant's bony finger, from the rolling Scottish fields. His small, beady eyes glimmered with evil, and his thin lips were pressed into a nasty smile. The Thief believed that his plan was perfect and that by morning he would be one step closer to ruling the world. He rubbed his cold hands with glee. Behind him, his brown pony nibbled on the wet grass, its shiny coat slick with rain.
The Thief watched the castle's granite walls, looking for a sign of weakness. “Ho, eh, ho,” he chuckled as he looked through his battered, brass telescope. He observed the castle guards pacing on top of the walls, the fading sun flashing on their armor. They would be powerless against his secret weapon. Again the Thief let out a horrid little chuckle. He scrambled from beneath the wet bush, brushing damp leaves off his arms. He led his pony back to a small cave hidden behind thorn-covered brambles and waited for night.
Far in the distance, Stirling Castle and its rock dominated the landscape, which was windswept and bleak. Flocks of dirty-white sheep dotted the fields. Shepherds with long staves and yapping dogs strode quickly with their bleating flocks toward pens with uneven walls made from grey slabs of rock covered in moss. On the horizon, clouds gathered, dark and brooding. Lightning sparked through the sky, and thunder rumbled across the valley. Darkness settled like a dirty cloak over the countryside below the castle.
In the small cottages spread across the valley, families lit roaring fires against the clammy evening and approaching storm. People gathered to have supper and settle down for the night. By candlelight, they told stories to their very young children until the little ones fell asleep, snuggled in their parents' arms.
The town of Stirling was at the base of the rocky hill. Gusts of cold wind swept through the village, ahead of the approaching storm. Flickering gas lanterns cast dancing pools of light to the streets. The town was alive with noise. Chattering people rushed to their warm, safe homes after a busy day. Small ponies carried carts of hay past the houses. With clattering hooves and breath billowing like steam, they cantered down the muddy roads, children jumping out of the way, laughing.
From the bottom of the hill came the sound of marching feet, stomping and thunderous. A large troop of tough soldiers trudged up the streets and through quickly parting crowds. They had on bright-red uniform jackets with gold buttons, and thick, woolen kilts. Their swords clinked and clanked. They glared forward with hard, steely eyes under huge, bushy eyebrows.
Boots stamping, the troops splashed through puddles. People scattered out of their way. Mud speckled their long, red socks and pasty-white legs, their shiny, hobnail boots sent up sharp echoes and the occasional spark. Children leapt in their wake, hooting, shouting, and waving small wooden swords, as mothers tried to coax them indoors for their supper and baths. The soldiers were the castle's night watch, sent every evening by the Captain of the Guard to replace the soldiers who by day guarded the castle and its secret treasures.
Past lines of small, thatched cottages the troops strode, with pigs grunting and squealing in muddy gardens. The men clattered past the enticing smell of cooking dinners to go to their job as night guards of the castle. They continued up the narrow road that led to the castle gates. Then they disappeared inside the castle's huge stony walls and came to a halt with a deafening shout from their huge Sergeant.
Silence finally settled over the town below. High on top of the castle walls, watch fires were set, flickering brightly in the darkness. Soldiers, armed with short swords and long, sharp halberds, paced the castle ramparts and towers. Soon guards clustered around the watch fires to keep warm. Rain began to patter against the slate roof of the castle, until soon the castle was lost from sight behind a screen of falling rain. Some soldiers huddled under oilskin cloaks to keep dry. The storm hit the castle with the fury of a roaring beast.
The Thief stirred like an evil spirit in his hidden spot. From the cave he emerged, cackling and wheezing. He loaded his secret weapon on his small pony. He knew that no one would see him approach the distant castle, and tonight he would change the world. It was after midnight when he rode his pony across the soaked fields to the castle walls. He stopped beneath the huge, granite cliff. The soldiers had not noticed his slow, steady approach across the meadows, because he had been hidden by the night and the driving rain. The guards, instead of closely watching the fields, had been forced by the rain to sit with their heads covered by their cloaks. When they tried to look out from under their cloaks, the rain drove with stinging force into their eyes. All they could hear was thunder and the moaning wind whipping around the ramparts, slamming and rattling loose castle doors and windows.
The Thief looked up at the castle above. He was almost invisible, because the rain poured from the sky in gusty sheets. He huddled in his long, flowing cloak to keep off the rain and the cold. The mysterious Thief's face was hidden in shadow. When lightning speared the night, his eyes glinted like a cat's. Beneath a rocky outcrop, he tied the pony to a tree. Then he pulled a small sack from a pack strapped to the pony. On the sack was written the word “loot” in small, gold letters. Quickly, he looked around the empty fields, peering in the darkness for a few moments to see if anyone had noticed him.
Satisfied that he was alone, the Thief smiled to himself. Making small noises such as “ho, eh, ho . . . thrrrpp,” the mysterious man pulled from the sack a long piece of rope with a metal hook tied to one end. He whirled the hook with some spare rope around his head four times and threw it high in the air. The hook and rope disappeared in the darkness, but suddenly there was a faint clanking sound from high above him. He gleefully muttered, “hee, hee,” and he tugged hard on the rope.
When the rope was taut, he pulled harder and started to climb, hand over hand, like a monkey. Alas, the rope abruptly lurched and shuddered in his hands, and the hook came loose. The Thief looked up in surprise as he tumbled down and fell on a wet bush. Quickly struggling to his feet, he looked around for a moment, anxious about whether he had been heard. In the next second, the hook appeared, tumbling down out of the darkness, hitting him on the head with a thud.
He slowly fell over, landing with a splash in the soggy ground. Stunned, he softly mumbled, “mon-a-me,” and passed out. The pony looked at him for a moment and then went back to nibbling the lush grass. Soon the sound of the Thief's snoring filled the night air.
Several hours later, he woke up, soaked and cold. It was still night, and the rain was still falling. He slowly climbed to his feet, shivering. He muttered angrily to himself as he rubbed a big lump on his head. He spotted his fallen rope with the metal hook on the grass nearby, in a puddle of water. His pony was still safely tethered to the tree.
He was not discouraged. Again he whirled the hook around in the air, throwing it high. It clanked against the rock. He pulled on the ropeâalthough this time, he watched above very carefully, because one sore lump on his head was enough for one night. This time, the line seemed more secure. He climbed the rope quickly, hand over hand.
Moments later, he had completely scaled the castle wall and had slid unseen over the top of the wall. He knew where he was headed. He darted from one shadow to the next, avoiding light from the glowing embers of the watch fires. He crept silently between the sleeping guards, who were wrapped in their wool blankets and did not hear him. He entered a room of the castle through a stout wooden door blown open by the wind. He locked the door behind him. In the darkness of the castle, he silently wound his way along smoky corridors filled with flickering gas lamps. Making his way down the winding stairs, he pushed deeper into the castle.