Authors: Gertrude Chandler Warner
Tags: #ebook, #book
The Mystery of the Stolen Music
GERTRUDE CHANDLER WARNER
Illustrated by Charles Tang
& Company, Chicago
2Â Â Â The Party
3Â Â Â The Score
8Â Â Â Spies
re we ready or not?!” six-year-old Benny asked eagerly as he danced around the kitchen.
The Aldens' dog, Watch, awoke from his nap and barked excitedly.
Benny's older sister, Jessie, was making small round sandwiches. “Be patient, Benny,” she said. She was twelve years old.
“I don't want to be late,” Benny explained. “It isn't every day a famous orchestra comes to town.”
“That's for sure,” Jessie said. “Greenfield is a small town. Usually, orchestras tour big cities.”
Benny hadn't thought about that before. “Why
they coming here?” he asked.
“The Civic Center is a good place for them to play,” their fourteen-year-old brother, Henry, answered. “People will come from all over the area to hear them.”
“But they're not only going to perform,” Jessie reminded him. “They've set up all those workshops to teach people about music, too.”
“The conductor lived here when he was a boy,” Violet added. She was ten years old and loved music. She played the violin and had been reading everything she could about the orchestra. “It was in Greenfield that the conductor first became interested in music. He wants to share his love for music with the people here.”
All this talk about the orchestra made Benny even more excited. “Could we
hurry?” he urged.
Henry poured punch into a gallon jug. “We won't be late, Benny,” he said. “Besides, the reception can't start without us â we're bringing the food.”
“And the decorations,” Violet added. She stepped back from the kitchen table to look at the centerpiece she had made. Cardboard musical instruments circled colorful spring flowers. “There,” she said. “It's finished.”
“It's beautiful!” Jessie said. “You did a great job, Violet.”
“I cut out some of the instruments,” Benny reminded them.
“You were very helpful,” Violet told him.
“Not helpful enough,” Benny said, “or we'd be ready to go.”
Henry laughed. “You can help me,” he said.
Benny pulled a stool over to the counter and climbed on top. “What do you want me to do?”
“Put the tops on the jugs when I've filled them,” Henry told him.
Benny nodded and set to work. When he had screwed on the last top, he jumped down from the stool. “Now what can I do?”
“I'd ask you to put the sandwiches in the boxes,” Jessie teased, “but I'm afraid you'd eat them all.”
Benny turned up his nose. “Cucumber sandwiches?” Even though they weren't his favorite, he took one and popped it into his mouth.
“Stop that,” Jessie said, “or I'll have to make more and we'll be late.”
“Is that the only kind you made?” Benny asked.
“No. There are other kinds,” Jessie told him, “but they're all packed.”
Benny looked in the boxes. Sandwiches of all kinds and shapes were stacked inside. They were all small. “I like big sandwiches,” he said.
Jessie began putting the lids on the boxes. “These are tea sandwiches,” she said, “to serve at afternoon parties.”
“They look pretty on the plates,” Violet added.
“I don't care how they look,” Benny said. “Just so they taste good.”
Everyone laughed. They knew how much Benny liked to eat.
“That does it,” Jessie said as she covered the last box.
“So what are we waiting for?” Benny asked.
“Grandfather,” Henry answered.
Mr. Alden had gone to pick up Soo Lee. The Aldens' cousins, Joe and Alice, had adopted her from an orphanage in Korea. The Aldens were orphans, too. They had lived alone in a boxcar until their grandfather had found them and taken them in. They were very happy living with him.
Just then, Grandfather Alden came in from outside. Seven-year-old Soo Lee was with him.
“You look pretty, Soo Lee,” Violet said to the girl. She was wearing a pale lavender dress with a purple sash. “Those are my favorite colors.”
Soo Lee smiled. “I like these colors, too,” she said.
“Are we ready?” Mr. Alden asked. “We don't want to be late.”
“Wait a minute,” Benny said. “The cookies! Soo Lee, where are the cookies?!”
They had spent the previous afternoon baking at Soo Lee's house. Benny did not want to forget the cookies.
“They are in the car,” Soo Lee told him.
“Great!” Benny ran to hold the door open. “Let's go,” he said.
The others gathered up the boxes and jugs and ran out. Watch stood looking after them.
“We'll be home soon,” Jessie told him.
He wagged his tail and went back to lie down on his rug.
Once the boxes were stacked in the back of the station wagon, the Aldens climbed inside.
“Off to the Civic Center,” Mr. Alden said as he headed out the driveway.
Violet sighed. She had been looking forward to meeting the musicians â especially the violinists. Secretly, she hoped one of them would ask to hear her play. She had been practicing extra hours just in case. “I am so nervous,” she said.
“Think of it as being
Mr. Alden told her.
Violet laughed. “Well then, I am
excited,” she said.
“Me, too,” each of the other Aldens agreed.
he Civic Center was buzzing with activity. People ran this way and that checking on last-minute details. A long table was set up in the reception hall. Arms full, the Aldens headed toward it.
“The orchestra has arrived at the hotel!” someone said.
“Hurry!” Benny urged. “They'll be here soon!”
Henry and Jessie spread a long white cloth over the table. Then, Violet placed her centerpiece. Henry poured the punch he had made into two large bowls. Soo Lee and Benny arranged the cookies on plates. Jessie put out the sandwiches.
They had just finished when Mr. Alden walked up. “Here's someone I'd like you to meet,” he said. He turned to the young woman at his side. “This is orchestra member Melody Carmody.”
Benny repeated her name silently. It had a musical sound.
She had curly red hair and a warm smile, and was wearing a pretty blue dress. “I'm happy to meet you,” she said and put out her hand.
“Melody?” Benny asked as he shook her hand.
“Yes,” she answered.
“That's a good name for a musician,” he said.
She laughed. Even her laugh was musical. “I come from a musical family,” she explained.
“What instrument do you play?” Violet asked.
violin,” Mr. Alden added.
Violet's eyes grew big. She was talking to the most important violinist in the orchestra.
“Violet plays violin, too,” Benny said. “Our cousin Joe taught her. Soo Lee here is his daughter. He's teaching her to play now.”
Melody looked at Violet and Soo Lee. “Perhaps you'd play for me while I'm here,” she said.
Soo Lee shook her head. “I'm just learning,” she said.
“Next time, then,” Melody said. “How about you, Violet?”
Violet sputtered. “Oh, I â ”
Melody nodded and smiled. “Then it's settled.” She looked around. “I wonder what's keeping Victor,” she said.
“Who's Victor?” Soo Lee asked.
“Victor Perrelli, the conductor,” Violet told her.
“Was he at the hotel?” Mr. Alden asked.
“He took a later plane,” Melody said. “But he should be here by now.”
Just then, a large man entered. His gray hair stood up at odd angles. He wore a rumpled sweater and slacks, and a pair of old sneakers. He stood just inside the door looking uncertain. And he was humming!
“Oh, there he is,” Melody said, and headed toward hm.
Mr. Alden, who was on the welcoming committee, followed her.
“That's the great Victor Perrelli?” Henry said aloud.
They were all surprised. This man was
what they had expected.
“I wonder why he's dressed like that,” Violet said.
Everyone else was dressed up.
“Maybe he didn't know about the party,” Jessie suggested.
“Let's find out,” Benny said.
They went over to join the others.
“Oh, Victor, I was wondering where you were,” Melody was saying. “Did you forget about the party?”
“Oh,” he answered mumbling. “I started thinking about the Mozart symphony. We need to work on the tempo before the concert.”
“We have plenty of time for that,” Melody assured him. “The concert is Friday evening â that's five days away.”
“I'm afraid I got so involved that I lost track of time,” Victor explained. “Then, I couldn't find my luggage anywhere.”
“Did you remember to pick it up at the airport?” Melody asked.
Mr. Perrelli ran his hands through his hair. “Did I? Now, let me think.”
“No, you didn't remember,” a voice said, “but I did.” A man carrying a suitcase and a garment bag came up beside them.
Victor said, “Thank you,” and wandered off toward the food table, humming.
Melody sighed. “What would he do without you, Bob?” she said.
Looking at them over his half glasses, the man shrugged.
“This is Bob Weldon,” Melody said to the Aldens.
Bob Weldon said, “Hello.” Then he hurried off, saying, “I have to check the auditorium.”
“Is he a musician?” Violet asked.
“No,” Melody answered. “He's our manager.”
“What does a manager do?” Soo Lee asked.
“Everything!” Melody answered. “He schedules our tours. Makes sure we get where we're going and that everything is right when we get there. Sometimes, he settles arguments. The orchestra couldn't do without him.”
“It sounds like an interesting job,” Henry said.
“It sounds like a hard job,” Benny put in.
Melody laughed. “It's both those things.”
“Mr. Weldon doesn't seem to like it very much,” Soo Lee said.
a little grumpy at times,” Melody said. “I don't think he knows how much we appreciate him.”
“We certainly couldn't have scheduled this week without him,” Mr. Alden said. “He helped us plan everything.”
“I'll show you something else he helped plan,” Melody said as she started across the room. “It's what makes this tour
The Aldens were puzzled. It seemed to them that everything about this tour was extra special.
elody led them to the lobby. She stopped before a glass case on the wall.
Pointing to several sheets of music displayed inside, she said, “Look at those!”
“Aren't they amazing?” a woman who had been staring at them said.