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Can you believe the snow, Mary-Kate?" my sister Ashley said to me. She pointed out the window of our room at the Big Ski Mountain Lodge. "It's perfect for skiing!"
"I know," I agreed. "This is going to be so great. Five whole days of skiing. And I can't wait for the snowman-building contest!"
Ashley and I were at Big Ski Mountain with our whole family -- except for our dog, Clue. We were really excited. It was the winter holiday. No school. No homework. No mysteries to solve.
Of course, we don't mind solving mysteries. We run the Olsen and Olsen Mystery Agency out of the attic of our house. We love being detectives. But we also love vacations, too.
And right now it was time to hit the slopes!
Ashley and I grabbed our parkas and hurried out of our room.
"Hey, you guys, wait up!" a voice called out.
We turned around. Natasha Benson had just come out of her room. We met her when we got here last night. She's our age, with long dark hair that she wears in a ponytail. She's been to Big Ski Mountain lots of times.
"Wrong." I laughed. "I'm Mary-Kate."
Natasha looked confused. No wonder. Ashley and I are twins. We look exactly alike, with strawberry-blond hair and blue eyes.
We don't act alike, though. Ashley is very logical. She likes to think and plan before she does something. I just jump right in and do it.
"Don't worry," I told Natasha. "You'll know which one of us is which after a while."
"Let's go get some breakfast," Natasha suggested. "Then I'll show you guys the best slopes. I know them all!"
The three of us started down the wide pine staircase. A man wearing a red parka passed us on his way up. He had a thick brown beard and sunglasses.
Natasha stared after him. "He is so cool!" She sighed.
"Who was that?" I asked.
"Didn't you recognize him? It was Tony King, the rock star!" Natasha declared excitedly.
"Are you sure? Tony King doesn't have a beard," Ashley said.
"It's fake," Natasha said. She lowered her voice to a whisper. "He's in disguise, so his fans won't bother him."
"How do you know all this stuff?" I asked. "And how can you tell it's him? That guy didn't look anything like Tony King!"
Natasha didn't answer. She just gave us a mysterious look.
Ashley and I glanced at each other. We saw Tony King at a concert last summer. We got his autograph, too, so we stood close to him.
No way was that man Tony King, even, without the beard!
Boy, Natasha had a wild imagination. Last night, she told us that another man was an escaped prisoner. She'd seen his picture on the TV show Criminals on the Loose.
Later, Ashley and I found out the man was the assistant manager of the lodge.
We walked through the lobby toward the dining room. "Look out!" Ashley cried.
The three of us jumped aside as a woman came rushing through the dining room doors. She wore a long white fur coat and dark glasses. She didn't even see us. She was too busy muttering into a cell phone.
"I wonder what her hurry is, I said.
"I think she's a spy," Natasha said. Spies always wear fur coats."
I rolled my eyes at Ashley.
"Look!" Ashley pointed into the dining room. "Something's wrong."
We stared into the big room. It was full of people. But they weren't eating breakfast. They were standing around, looking totally confused.
We soon saw why -- there was no breakfast. Three waiters stood in the middle of the room, yelling and waving their arms.
"Something must have happened in the kitchen," I said. "Let's go see!"
Ashley, Natasha, and I hurried through the crowd and peeked into the kitchen.
The room was a total wreck. Fruit and vegetables had been tossed out of the big steel refrigerators. Pots and pans were scattered all over the place. Smashed eggs and flour and cocoa powder covered the floor.
"What a mess!" Ashley said.
Natasha peered over my shoulder. "I know who did this!" she gasped. "It was the Big Scare Mountain Monster!"
Excerpted from The Case of the Big Scare Mountain Mystery with Other by Carol Ellis Copyright © 1999 by Carol Ellis. Excerpted by permission.
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