Dew Drop Dead (Sebastian Barth Series)
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Dew Drop Dead (Sebastian Barth Series)

4.4 11
by James Howe
     
 

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Something strange is going on at the Dew Drop Inn.
The hand-lettered wooden sign dangles from a broken, rusty chain; the lawn is overgrown; the paint is peeling; the whole place looks forlorn and abandoned. But one of the boarded-up windows of the old inn has been forced open, and Sebastian and his friends decide to investigate.
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Overview

Something strange is going on at the Dew Drop Inn.
The hand-lettered wooden sign dangles from a broken, rusty chain; the lawn is overgrown; the paint is peeling; the whole place looks forlorn and abandoned. But one of the boarded-up windows of the old inn has been forced open, and Sebastian and his friends decide to investigate.
What will they find?
Nervously, they follow the flickering beam of Sebastian's flashlight to the only open doorway. They huddle together as the light bounces eerily off objects in the room. Then it catches something...
There's a body on the bed!
But by the time the terrified sleuths bring the police back to see their horrifying discovery, the body is gone! A dead body can't disappear — or can it?

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The fourth mystery by the creator of Bunnicula to star 13-year-old sleuth Sebastian Barth addresses a timely topic, as a homeless man is suspected of murder. Ages 8-12. (Sept.)
Children's Literature - Christopher Moning
If there's one thing Sebastian Barth likes, it's a good mystery. And when Sebastian and his friends, Corrie and David, find a body in an old abandoned restaurant called the Dew Drop Inn, a good mystery is exactly what they have. Especially when they lead the police to the Dew Drop, only to discover that the body has vanished. The cops speculate that the body was in fact a drunken derelict who spent the night at the inn and then went on his way. The kids become involved in an effort to feed and clothe homeless people in their town. Returning to the Dew Drop, they find the body again--this time in a nearby field. A resident of the shelter is implicated in murder, and Sebastian and his pals must deal with the harsh realities of poverty--and of death. This is part of the "Sebastian Barth Mystery" series. 2000 (orig.
School Library Journal
Gr 4-7-- In his fourth appearance, Sebastian Barth and his friends Corrie and David discover what appears to be a dead body in the long-abandoned Dew Drop Inn. But when they return with the police, the body has vanished. Police theory--that the ``body'' was a homeless man passed-out drunk--is refuted when the kids find the body again in the woods, undeniably dead and possibly murdered. On the homefront, the Barths are concerned that Sebastian's father is about to lose his job at a radio station, while Corrie's father, a minister, starts providing food and shelter for the homeless at the church. One of the men sheltered there--who calls himself Abraham--becomes a prime suspect in the murder. Howe instills in his characters more depth than those found in most other juvenile mysteries. Corrie gets involved helping the homeless, and her unreserved compassion is contrasted with the wary stance of her friends. The homeless, too, are not stereotypical, but are believable individuals. In addition to enough suspense to keep readers turning pages, the book includes a realistic approach to pending unemployment. When Sebastian's father finally does lose his job, there are no neat solutions, but the reality of unemployment proves to be not as bad as they had anticipated, for they can now make plans. For an older audience than Howe's ``Bunnicula'' stories (Atheneum), Sebastian Barth is an above-average mystery sleuth. --Anne Price, Ann Mersereau School, Bronx, NY

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780689807602
Publisher:
Atheneum Books for Young Readers
Publication date:
01/28/2000
Series:
Sebastian Barth Series
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
160
Sales rank:
717,689
Product dimensions:
5.12(w) x 7.62(h) x 0.60(d)
Lexile:
670L (what's this?)
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

Read an Excerpt

They moved through an open door into a spacious entrance hallway. "Wow," Corrie said. To their right was a tall grandfather clock stopped at twelve-five. Above them was a delicate chandelier with lighting fixtures meant to look like candles. And to their left a majestic staircase wound its way to the second floor.

"Well, at least the clock isn't ticking," David said. "And there isn't blood dripping off the chandelier."

"David, stop it," said Corrie, crossing to the grandfather clock and touching it gently. "It's beautiful, isn't it? I love this kind of clock, with the moon and the sun on its face. If anyone were going to commit a robbery, this is what they would take. Do you have any idea how valuable this is?"

"And so easy to get out of a window," David said.

He could not see Corrie glare at him in the darkness that suddenly engulfed them when the light went out again.

Sebastian gave the flashlight a shake and said, "Let's go upstairs."

"What?" David said. "Tell the truth, Sebastian. Now that you're no longer a radio celebrity, are you hoping to make news as a famous murder victim? I say, let's get out of here while we still have all our body parts." He looked to Corrie for her support. He didn't find it.

"This place is amazing," she said, her eyes following the path of the staircase. "I mean, it's scary and all. But it's neat, too. I'm dying to find out what's up there."

David sighed. "I'll try not to take that literally." he said.

Sebastian.

"You can wait down here, chicken heart," said

"No, thanks. If you and Corrie are going to get murdered, I wouldn't want to miss the fun."

"Let's go then."

As they made their way up the stairs, their fears grew witheach step. David was so nervous he forgot to worry about giggling, although the inside of his cheek hurt from where he was biting it.

When they reached the top, they found themselves in the middle of a long hallway. Sebastian swept

his light to the left, then to the right. All the bedroom doors but one were closed. No one spoke, even when Sebastian set off in the direction of the open door.

The darkness wrapped itself around them as they followed the flickering light down the carpeted hall. Sebastian muttered, "Don't fail me, light. Come on, don't go out. That's it, just a few more steps."

By the time they'd covered half the distance between the stairs and the open doorway, they were in the grip of a terror so real they had all begun to wonder what had possessed them to enter that open window. It was as if they had passed into another dimension, one in which time had stopped as surely as it had on the face of the grandfather clock downstairs. They were a million miles from their homes, their families, their real lives. They were in a dream.

A few feet from the door, a thought came to Sebastian. It was something he'd seen, something that hadn't registered -- until now. The magazine he'd looked at in the sitting room had been dated. It was this month's issue.

There was a good chance they were not alone.

Sebastian almost turned back when he realized he was standing in the open doorway and his light was shining through. David and Corrie huddled close to him, shivering, they told themselves, because they were cold. The sight of the room, its commonplace and seemingly untouched furniture, came as such a relief it made them laugh. David laughed so hard he got the hiccoughs, and that made them laugh all the harder. Corrie begged them to stop because she had to go to the bathroom. The beam of light bounced off the objects in the room as Sebastian's hand jiggled and shook. Then it caught something. And their laughter died.

There was a body on the bed.

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Meet the Author

James Howe is the author of more than ninety books for young readers, including the modern classic Bunnicula and its highly popular sequels. In 2001, Howe published The Misfits, the story of four outcast seventh-graders who try to end name-calling in their school. The Misfits is now widely read and studied in middle schools throughout the country, and was the inspiration for the national movement known as No Name-Calling Week (NoNameCallingWeek.org), an event observed by thousands of middle and elementary schools annually. There are three companion novels to The Misfits: Totally Joe (2005), Addie on the Inside (2011), and Also Known as Elvis (2014). Howe’s many other books for children from preschool through teens frequently deal with the acceptance of difference and being true to oneself. Visit him online at JamesHowe.com.

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