The Case of the Piggy Bank Thief

BOOK: The Case of the Piggy Bank Thief
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Read all the First Kids Mysteries

The Case of the Rock 'n' Roll Dog
The Case of the Diamond Dog Collar
The Case of the Ruby Slippers
The Case of the Piggy Bank Thief
The Case of the Dinosaur Egg




The author acknowledges the generous assistance of Karen Lee, curator of the National Numismatic Collection of the Smithsonian Institution, and graduate student Evan Cooney. I am also grateful to Dr. Richard G. Doty, director of the collection and author of eight books and hundreds of articles on coins, money, and collecting, including the invaluable and engaging
America's Money, America's Story: A Chronicle of American Numismatic History
(Whitman Publishing, 2008). Finally, I'd like to thank my friend Aracyn Etie and her search dog, Gauge, who lost me in the woods and then found me again.

Text copyright © 2012 by Martha Freeman
Spot art by Chris Russo copyright © 2012 by Holiday House, Inc.
All Rights Reserved
HOLIDAY HOUSE is registered in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

ISBN 978-0-8234-2611-9 (ebook)w
ISBN 978-0-8234-2725-3 (ebook)r

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Freeman, Martha, 1956-
The case of the piggy bank thief / Martha Freeman. — 1st ed.
p. cm. — (First kids mystery ; #4)
Summary: Seven-year-old Tessa and ten-year-old Cammie, the first female
president's daughters, investigate when Tessa's piggy bank goes missing
and gold is discovered on the White House grounds.
ISBN 978-0-8234-2517-4 (hardcover)
1. White House (Washington, D.C.)—Juvenile fiction.
[1. White House (Washington, D.C.)—Fiction.   2. Presidents—Family—Fiction.
3. Sisters—Fiction.   4. Coins—Fiction.
5. Lost and found possessions—Fiction.   6. Washington (D.C.)—Fiction.
7. Mystery and detective stories.]   I. Title.
PZ7.F87496Caq 2012



For my friend and coffee date Rick Bryant,
who gives me all my best ideas


MORE than a million people come to my house every year.

And on Saturday, it felt like they all showed up at once.

Usually my family and I stay out of the way when visitors are downstairs, but sometimes that's just not possible—like when our big, furry, too-energetic dog is out of control, chasing I'm-not-sure-what on the ground floor, which is where tourists enter the White House.

Since January, when my mom got to be president, the White House is where my family lives.

Tessa, my sister, kept yelling at our dog, “Hoo-Hoo-Hooligan!
, which was pointless because when Hooligan gets going, the only thing that stops him is a rock wall or a yummy smell.

Up till a few minutes earlier, things had been pretty normal. Tessa had gone to ballet, and I had gone to soccer, like we always do on Saturday morning. Then we came home and changed into grotty old clothes. That's
because that afternoon we were supposed to go do something cool—help some college students working on an archeology dig out by the pool in our backyard, the South Lawn.

Meanwhile, it was almost lunchtime when Jeremy—he's the tallest Secret Service agent, plus he has this really deep voice—pounded on our bedroom door with his radio going crazy: “Mayday on the ground floor! Urgent action required—send Fireball and Fussbudget! Someone's got to control this dog!”

Fireball, if you're wondering, is Tessa. Fussbudget is me. If the Secret Service has to protect you, they give you your own special code name.

The White House is big, 132 rooms, not counting the two wings where the offices are. You can move through it pretty fast, though, if you know the shortcuts. Tessa and I went from the second floor to the ground floor in two minutes, and there we found all those White House visitors scrambling, scattering, and screaming.

You would've thought Hooligan was Godzilla or something.

Tessa shook her head. “People, people, people—can't you all just simmer down?”

But I felt bad.

Maybe you've never visited the White House, but how it works is, you have to make a reservation way in advance, then wait in a long line at the East Entrance, and you can't bring in a purse, or a camera, or a bottle of water, or anything.

Once you're inside, you pass through the Garden
Room to the East Wing colonnade, which has the Jacqueline Kennedy Garden on one side and the movie theater on the other. From there you enter the ground floor of the residence part of the White House, and you go by the Library and the Vermeil Room, then turn right and go upstairs to the State Floor.

All the time, you have to stay behind ropes, and there are Secret Service officers to answer questions and make sure you obey the rules.

Anyway, Tessa was worried about Hooligan, but I was thinking how these visitors had gone to so much trouble for their White House tour, and here came our dog—ruining everything.

“Sorry! Sorry! Sorry!” I said as we bumped and dodged, trying to catch Hooligan. “Excuse us! He usually doesn't hurt anybody. I am so sorry. . . .”

You can probably imagine that with so many people and such a big dog, it was pretty loud down there, and then—above it all—I heard something shrill and unexpected:

Tessa grabbed my arm. “Is that Humdinger?”

I was going to say, “Can't be,” but a flash of yellow feathers proved me wrong.

Oh, swell.

Now the White House visitors had two rampaging pets to worry about: dog on the ground and canary in the air.

“There he goes again!” Tessa pointed. Humdinger's not much of a flier, so he was using the chandeliers to make progress, short-hop fluttering from one to the next.

Charlotte, the Secret Service agent who had radioed for us, was stationed at the bottom of the main stairs that lead up to the State Floor, and Hooligan was almost in her tackle range when I guess he heard canary wings, because he stopped and looked around before sitting himself down and howling:

Then he repeated his song for anyone who'd missed the first performance.

I stumbled up and grabbed his collar. “Gotcha!”

And Tessa threw her arms around his neck. “Poor puppy, were you scared?”

After that, Mr. Ng came up behind us and reached for Hooligan's leash. Mr. Ng watches Hooligan on weekends, and he told us what had happened. They were on the South Lawn when Hooligan did his frenzy thing—lunged forward, thumped his paws, sprang high in the air and spun so fast he turned blurry.

Tangled up in leash, Mr. Ng had a choice: He could either let go or fall flat. He picked let go—wouldn't you?—and the second he did, Hooligan charged through an open door.

“I don't know what came over him,” said Mr. Ng.

“I do,” said Tessa. “He heard the Humdinger alarm system.”

It was quieter in the hall now, with Hooligan under control, and Tessa elbowed me. “Cammie, you have to say something. Everybody's looking at you.”

“I think they're looking at you,” I said.

“Maybe. But I'm only a second grader.”

I tried not to think how much I hated doing this, stood
up and turned to face the crowd. “Uh . . . hi, everybody. My name's Cameron Parks, and—”

Tessa whispered, “They

I frowned. “Do you want to talk?”

Tessa pressed her lips together; some people laughed, and I felt better. “My sister and I . . . uh . . . and our dog . . . uh . . . and our canary are all really sorry,” I said. “So we hope you'll go ahead and have a really nice day of sightseeing here in our nation's capital.”

“Also,” Tessa added, “don't forget to vote for our mom!”

This time, practically everybody laughed.

Meanwhile, Mr. Ng wanted to know: “What are we going to do about Humdinger?”


MR. Ng had asked a good question. Humdinger was still loose, currently perched on a sculpture of Benjamin Franklin's head. But now, as we watched, he took off flapping toward the stairs to the State Floor.

BOOK: The Case of the Piggy Bank Thief
12.6Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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