The Malted Falcon

( 4 )


Freddie Nostrils is a prairie dog with a passion . . . for dessert. In fact, his sweet tooth rivals Chet Gecko's own. That's why when the winning ticket in the Malted Falcon contest goes missing, Freddie hires Chet and his mockingbird partner, Natalie Attired.

Just what is the Malted Falcon? Only the biggest, most chocolatiest, most gut-busting dessert ever imagined. Duh. ...

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The Malted Falcon (Chet Gecko Series)

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Freddie Nostrils is a prairie dog with a passion . . . for dessert. In fact, his sweet tooth rivals Chet Gecko's own. That's why when the winning ticket in the Malted Falcon contest goes missing, Freddie hires Chet and his mockingbird partner, Natalie Attired.

Just what is the Malted Falcon? Only the biggest, most chocolatiest, most gut-busting dessert ever imagined. Duh. But even if Chet finds the stolen ticket . . . will he be able to return it to its rightful owner?

Chet Gecko and his partner Natalie try to find a missing valentine and the winning ticket to a fantastic dessert.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Mysteries of a lighter nature are illuminated in Bruce Hale's The Malted Falcon, the 10th entry from the Tattered Casebook of Chet Gecko, Private Eye. This time the gecko gumshoe and his mockingbird partner, Natalie Attired, track down a winning ticket for a chocolate dessert. With Hale it's the setting, not the solution, that's elementary (as in elementary school), and anything hardboiled is likely to be edible as well. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
School Library Journal
Gr 3-5-With characteristic pizzazz and the help of his mockingbird partner, Natalie Attired, the fourth-grade detective takes on two cases at the same time. Freddie Nostrils hires him to locate his "friend's" lost winning ticket to the Malted Falcon contest-a chance to enjoy a favorite dessert once a week for a year-and Lili Padd wants him to retrieve a valentine. The two cases turn out to have much in common. Hale entertains with a noir style adapted for a young audience, and the full-page, black-and-white illustrations are adorable. Those who haven't read a "Chet Gecko" mystery don't know what they're missing.-Saleena L. Davidson, South Brunswick Public Library, Monmouth Junction, NJ Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
The metaphors fly thicker than flies on ripe garbage in fourth-grade gumshoe Chet Gecko's seventh schoolyard caper. It's a tangled web indeed for Chet and mockingbird sidekick Natalie Attired: a prizewinning ticket good for a year's worth of jumbo desserts from a local mall's sweet shop has been stolen-but by whom, and for that matter, from whom? Suspects abound, from shifty prairie dog Freddie Nostrils and compulsive liar Lili Padd to Sally Monella, tough girlfriend of burly marmot Bert "Sounds like a colorful character" Umber. Being the gourmandizing gecko that he is, Chet takes an intense personal interest in the case-particularly after he's kidnapped by hulking muskrat minions of a shadowy "Mr. Big." Tucking in an occasional black-and-white drawing to mark the high (or low) points, Hale propels his tough-talking shamus all over Emerson Hickey Elementary in search of clues (and snacks), then wraps up the mystery with a kidnapping and a brisk dustup. A teacher turns out to be the real villain, and Chet is left at the end weighing whether to turn the recovered ticket over-or in. The sleuth with the smart mouth shows no signs of slowing down (or graduating, for that matter), and should continue to draw fans like fleas to a dog show. (Fiction. 10-12)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780756943127
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 4/28/2004
  • Series: Chet Gecko Mystery
  • Pages: 132
  • Product dimensions: 5.20 (w) x 7.50 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Bruce Hale

BRUCE HALE is the author of Snoring Beauty, illustrated by Howard Fine, as well as the fifteen Chet Gecko mysteries. A popular speaker, teacher, and storyteller for children and adults, he lives in Santa Barbara, California.

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Read an Excerpt

Fire Drilled

When my morning began with a lumpy bully, a fire drill, a mysterious stranger, and a cootie attack-all by recess-I knew it would be one of those days. A day when you wish you'd strangled your alarm clock. A day when you wish you'd perfected that fake cough and stayed home sick.

Unless you're a detective, that is. We eat trouble for breakfast, with a side order of danger, hold the mayo.

The whole thing started with the plop of a pop quiz onto my desk.

Mr. Ratnose's quizzes are scarier than a broccoli-and-liverwurst smoothie. Especially when you haven't done the homework.

I stared at the sheet. The questions made about as much sense as training wheels on a Tyrannosaurus rex. Cold sweat trickled down my cheek.

Only one thing could save me....

Ring-ah, ring-ah, ring-ah!

The fire bell.

A smile curled my lips. Saved by the drill.

Mr. Ratnose's pointy kisser wore a puzzled frown, but he gave us our marching orders.

"Single file, everyone," he said. "Line up."

We formed a line and trooped out the door. Just my luck, Shirley Chameleon cut right in front of me.

"Oh, hi, Chet," she said, as we walked down the hall.


She had big green peepers and a long, curled tail. If I went for dames, I might have thought she was pretty cute.

But this gecko doesn't go for dames.

"It', would," Shirley mumbled.

"Spit it out, sister," I said.

She turned a delicate pink. "Would you be my valentine?" asked Shirley.


"Really?" she said.

"Yup," I said. "When monkeys fly out of my nostrils."

Shirley's facefell like a kindergartner's home-baked cake. "Chet Gecko, you are so mean!" She rushed off, taking her cooties with her.

I sighed.

Just ahead of me, Bitty Chu, a goody-good gopher, turned in place. She gave me a dirty look.

I gave her a dirtier one. She turned back around. What makes dames so ding-y around Valentine's Day?

By this time, we had reached the playground. Lines of kids covered the grass like army-ant sauce on a sundae. Natalie's class stood by ours, but my mockingbird pal was out of earshot.

Teachers huddled at the front of the line, swapping complaints. We weren't going anywhere, so I checked out Natalie's class.

Like my own, it was packed with mugs, mopes, and misfits. I recognized Wyatt Burp, a bullfrog who could belch like an opera star, and Paige Turner, a spoiled titmouse in a cashmere sweater.

Paige waved at Bitty Chu. They stepped across the gap between the lines and began whispering. All I caught was something about a "moldy falcon."

Secrets fascinate me. I drifted toward the gossiping pair. Then I bumped into what felt like a tree trunk.

"Hey!" said the tree. I glanced up. A tall, spiky reptile with enough peaks on his back for a small mountain range was glaring down at me.

"I'm allergic to hay," I said. "Can we make it clover?" (Not one of my best quips, but why waste the good stuff on a stranger?)

"You bumped me, mate," he rumbled. "Apologize."

"All right. Sorry you got in my way."

The lumpy-looking mug snarled. "Wise guy, eh?"

I smirked. "Not really. I'm a C-plus student."

"I oughta teach you a lesson," he said, clenching his fists. The big guy eyeballed Paige and Bitty, who'd turned to watch.

"Fine." I put my hands on my hips. "You can start by teaching me what kind of wacko reptile you are."

The creature's eyes narrowed. The spikes on his head got spikier.

"What dipstick doesn't know a tuatara when he sees one?" he said.

I drew myself up. "The kind who's never seen a too-ra-loo-ra before, that's who. Dipstick yourself."

We stood toe-to-toe, locked in a sneer-a-thon.

Soft wing tips brushed my arm. "Chet?"

It was my partner, Natalie Attired. A mockingbird with impeccable fashion sense, she was sharper than a vice principal's tongue. Just then, she wore a worried frown across her beak.

When she tugged, I stepped back.

"Ah, you've met our exchange student," she said. "Little Gino, Chet Gecko."

The tuatara bared his teeth. "And he'll be flat gecko if he keeps buggin' me."

Before I could make a snappy comeback, the school bell rang all clear.

"Come along, class," called Mr. Ratnose. "Let's move out."

I nodded at Little Gino.

"Next time, mate," he said with a sneer.

"Promise?" I asked.

As I turned to march back to the room, I reflected. It's a good thing I don't have much to do with Natalie's class, I thought. You couldn't pay me to hang out with those weirdos.

But just like the kid who took a pop quiz blindfolded, little did I know how wrong I was.

Copyright © 2003 by Bruce Hale

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording, or any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher.

Requests for permission to make copies of any part of the work should be mailed to the following address: Permissions Department, Harcourt, Inc., 6277 Sea Harbor Drive, Orlando, Florida 32887-6777.

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Table of Contents

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 17, 2004


    The best book ever! I love these books. I read everyone so far and I love them. Bruce Hale make more these exciting mysteries.This is coming from a kids mouth.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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