Jean Boreen, Ph.D.
Dead Guys Talk: A Wild Willie Mysteryby Barbara Joosse, Abby Carter
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After receiving an unsigned note with an urgent plea for help and a map to the cemetery, best friends and detectives Willie, Kyle, and Lucy discover that someone is planning on relocating the cemetery's bodies and building a new mall on the property. The nature of this case makes the Scarface detectives more than a little nervous, so they hire Chuckie, the neighborhood bully, as a bodyguard, and set about finding out just who is planning on moving the dead guys as well as figuring out a way to stop them. But more puzzling than the case itself is the mystery of who their client is. Could it be Loony Lorraine, the deceased detective whose old office is the detectives' headquarters? Can dead guys talk? Once again, Barbara Joosse has created a hilarious, spooky, kid-friendly story perfect for all 7-to-10-year-olds, particularly reluctant readers.
Jean Boreen, Ph.D.
"Like previous Wild Willie mysteries, this [book] will grab new readers as well as those familiar with the series." Booklist, ALA
"This chapter book is just spooky enough for elementary school readers." Horn Book Guide
- Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
- Publication date:
- Sold by:
- Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
- NOOK Book
- File size:
- 8 MB
- Age Range:
- 6 - 9 Years
Read an Excerpt
Chapter 1 Reeks Like Foot Juice
It was the dead middle of summer. At the beginning of summer, there are a million things to do. Building forts, fooling around, solving crimes. At the end, you have to moosh in all the stuff you forgot. But in the middle?
You know what I mean.
Plus, it was hot outside. Really hot. The kind of melty hot where your leg skin sticks together. The kind of hot where your nose breath is the only air that’s moving. The kind of hot where you don’t like where you are . . . but don’t want to go where you’re not.
One of the reasons my detective partners call me Wild Willie is that I have great ideas. But today? Well, maybe my ideas had boiled in my brain. Because I couldn’t think of a single good thing to do.
My best friend, Lucy, and I were drinking soda in my room. We had shoved some of my stuff under the bed so we could sit on the floor. Which is where we were now. Which is where we had been for an hour.
“Willie,” said Lucy. “Your room really stinks.” “I know,” I said. “There isn’t that much to do in here. And this is a really old house. So we don’t have air conditioning.” “No,” Lucy said. “I don’t mean it’s a crummy room. I mean it reeks, like foot juice.” “Really?” I said.
“Yuk,” said Lucy, holding her nose. “Don’t you smell it?” “I guess not,” I said. “Probably I’m used to it.” “Where’s the smell coming from?” Lucy sniffed the air and followed the stink trail. Her nose got to the garbage. “Here,” she said.
I stuck my nose in there. “Eeew.” “What’s in there, anyway?” Lucy asked.
“Well, some tissues with slimy stuff on them. Some sandwiches that are maybe a little moldy. And a banana I found under my bed. I had to scrape it up with my sock. My sock’s there, too.” “Aha! Under your bed!” said Lucy.
She shot over to the bed, lifted the bedspread, and looked underneath. Stink blasted out. “WILLIE! THIS IS DISGUSTING! It’s even grosser than your garbage. What’s under there?” “I don’t exactly know,” I said. “But old soccer socks, for sure. And some food. Sometimes when Mom makes liver or fish or vegetarian, I hide it under my bed.” “Oooh,” groaned Lucy. “Willie, how often do you clean under there?” “Clean?” I asked.
“STOP!” said Lucy, holding up her hands. Her face looked green, like mold.
“You don’t look so good, Lucy.” I opened the window. But it was hot outside, so even the outside smelled rotten. “Maybe we should go someplace that doesn’t smell so bad. How about headquarters?” “Headquarters is in Kyle’s attic,” Lucy said. “It’s a trillion degrees up there.” “Your house?” I asked.
“Forget it. Mom’s having a meeting. The women are wearing perfume.” So it seemed like we’d be stuck in my room forever. Boiling, stinky hot. With nothing to do. But sometimes, when you least expect it, opportunity knocks.
Knock knock knock.
“WILLIE!” My other best friend, Kyle, rushed into my room. He was waving something. “Look at this! Somebody sent me something.”
Lucy grabbed the envelope out of Kyle’s hand. “You mean, somebody sent the agency something. The envelope says Scarface Detectives. Not King Kyle.” “So open it!” I said. Lucy ripped open the envelope. Inside was a note. It said: HELP!
And that was all.
“Who’s it from?” Kyle asked.
“There’s no signature,” said Lucy. She looked again at the envelope. “And no return address.” “Hey!” Kyle said. “There’s something on the other side of the note.” Lucy flipped the paper over. There was a map on the other side.
It was the dead middle of summer. But an adventure was just beginning.
Did I mention it was dead middle?
Copyright © 2006 by Barbara M. Joosse. Reprinted by permission of Clarion Books / Houghton Mifflin Company.
Meet the Author
BARBARA JOOSSE is the best-selling author of more than thirty books for children. She lives in a little stone house in Wisconsin. Visit her website at www.barbarajoosse.com.
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