Monday, January 14, 2013

The Riddler's Fearsome Secret

By Louise Hendricksen
Young Adult, 272 pages
Cover art by Richard Stroud

Four cousins visit their grandparent’s ancient mansion, learn their grandmother has found old silver coins on the beach...and discover a ship loaded with wealthy passengers had wrecked outside their grandparent’s beach. This revelation sends them on a series of perilous adventures that uncovers a dreadful one-hundred-year-old secret.

The children sat on the floor of Sara’s room giggling at sight of their green faces as they peered through the night vision glasses the men had let them keep.

“Woo-ee! What a night,” J.J. gave a chuckle and scooted closer to Ben. “Bet they were surprised when they opened that manhole entrance in the floor.”

Ben grabbed his arm. “Did you tell them where it was?”

“No! Didn’t you?”

“Oh-my-god!” Ben smacked his forehead and jumped to his feet. “They were in such a hurry I took them through the pantry to save time.” He glanced at Sara and Tristan. “Did either of you mention it?”

Tristan shook his head.

“Me neither,” Sara said, her voice quavering. “And-and that’s the one Skip used, I-I just know it...”

“Yeah,” Tristan added with a ferocious frown. “And that means his buddies know too.”

“Yep.” Ben grabbed his packsack and sleeping bag. “I gotta make sure they don’t get in!” He eyed each of his companions in turn. “Keep the door locked. Don’t open it for any reason.” He headed for the door.

“Wait, Ben,” Sara cried. “You can’t be down there all by yourself.”

“I’m the one who messed up and Grampa’s too old to be creeping around in the dark.” He shrugged. “So, who else?”

“Us.” Sara, J.J. and Tristan said as one.

“Where you go, we go big bro.” J.J. jabbed his fist in the air. “What do we need, Ben?”

“I can’t let you kids go with me.”

“We’re going.” Sara swallowed hard and grasped Tristan’s hand.

“Yeah,” J.J. said, “and you can’t stop us.”

Ben ran a hand over his face. “If you come, you have to do as I say.” He fixed the boys with a fierce look until they both nodded then went on. “We’ll need a couple sleeping bags, our backpacks, and...and some kind of weapon.” He thought for a moment. “I have a baseball bat in my room, and if we use the North Room panel we can grab some of the fireplace tools.”

A knock sounded on the door, and they all froze.

“Time for you kids to settle down in there,” Gram said.

“We will,” they all chorused and blew out their breath with relief.

Tiptoeing here and there about the room, they gathered their gear. Ben caught hold of Sara’s arm and whispered. “What if she comes back later?”

Sara took a key from her pocket. “I’ll lock up when I leave.”

Nodding, Ben made certain everyone had their night vision glasses on, told Mac to 'stay,' and eased the door open.

No comments: