Murder, My Tweet: A Chet Gecko Mystery

Overview

Right in the middle of a run-of-the-mill case, the powers that be finger Chet's fine-feathered partner, Natalie Attired, as a no-goodnik blackmailer and boot her out of Emerson Hicky quicker than you can say, "Boot her out of Emerson Hicky."

Chet, of course, tackles the case for free. Mess with his partner, mess with—well, somebody. (Natalie's the brains of the outfit.) But just when Chet thinks he might clear her name, Natalie disappears, leaving behind a reddish smear that ...

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Overview

Right in the middle of a run-of-the-mill case, the powers that be finger Chet's fine-feathered partner, Natalie Attired, as a no-goodnik blackmailer and boot her out of Emerson Hicky quicker than you can say, "Boot her out of Emerson Hicky."

Chet, of course, tackles the case for free. Mess with his partner, mess with—well, somebody. (Natalie's the brains of the outfit.) But just when Chet thinks he might clear her name, Natalie disappears, leaving behind a reddish smear that looks kind of like cherry ladybug jam. . . . Is it murder, or something serious?

Detective Chet Gecko and his associate, Natalie Attired, take a case tailing what they think is a cheating boyfriend but are instead led to a school mystery that involves blackmail and robots.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
Number ten in the "Chet Gecko Mystery" series, Bruce Hale keeps up the nonstop puns and takeoff of the hard-boiled detectives of book and movie fame. It is hard to believe that Chet Gecko is a fourth grader; he really talks and acts much older. At least he admits that he is the brawn while his partner, a mocking bird named Natalie Attired, is the real brains. This time Chet has to try to prove that Natalie is not a blackmailer and get her reinstated in school. There are plenty of missed cues, red herrings and mayhem to keep readers turning the pages. The story takes an odd twist, but that is what makes it interesting—you never know what will happen next. Even though the story is short, it is targeted to middle readers because there are plenty of puns, which caused this reviewer to groan now and then. It is all in good fun, and the text is sprinkled with black and white drawings by Bruce Hale that pick up on the images of those movie detectives like Humphrey Bogart. The back of the book contains a brief synopsis of the other cases that feature Chet and Natalie. 2004, Harcourt, Ages 8 to 12.
—Marilyn Courtot
School Library Journal
Gr 3-6-Chet Gecko is on a case again. This time he must clear the name of his mockingbird partner, Natalie Attired, who has been accused of blackmail by the school's tough vice-principal, Ms. Shrewer. The fourth-grade gecko pools all of his wits and wittiness to track down and capture the mastermind behind the scheme. As he has in previous titles, Hale saturates the story with wacky wordplay, corny jokes, and droll humor. This mystery is just right for young readers willing to suspend belief and enjoy a lighthearted ride. The author's black-and-white illustrations highlight the action.-Deanna Romriell, Salt Lake City Library, UT Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
From the Publisher
"Mystery buff—and newcomers to the genre—will devour Hale's funny chapter books."—The Horn Book
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780152050122
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 10/1/2004
  • Series: Chet Gecko Series , #10
  • Pages: 136
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Product dimensions: 6.38 (w) x 8.24 (h) x 0.67 (d)

Meet the Author

Bruce Hale

BRUCE HALE is the author of five picture books as well as ten 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

Sneak and Ye Shall Find

Never take on a wacko as a client. It wastes your time, and it annoys the wacko.

Somehow I had forgotten this. And so, recess found me tailing a parakeet's boyfriend to see if he'd been stepping out on her. (That's detective talk for seeing another dame on the side. And a dame is a girl. And on the side is...on the side.)

I shadowed T-Bone LaLouche through the halls of Emerson Hicky Elementary. Like any good detective, I used kids, bushes, and the odd teacher as cover. (And believe me, we have plenty of odd teachers.)

T-Bone LaLouche was a lean and shifty ringtail. Ringtails have a cat's body, a fox's face, and a raccoon's tail that's been dipped in goo and slammed in a door.

Oh, and one other thing: If you startle them, they give an ear-piercing shriek and shoot this funky musk from their butts.

Don't ask me how I know that.

I watched as T-Bone stopped near the library to chat with a simpering mole in a tutu. Heads together, they seemed awfully chummy. Could this be his extra-credit baby-cake?

When I leaned around a skreezitz bush for a better look, T-Bone suddenly glanced up. I dived for cover-kronch!-right into the bush.

Through the spiky leaves, I could see the ringtail frowning my way, but he went back to his confab. Soon, the mole waved toodle-oo and toddled into the library. T-Bone took to his heels.

I tagged along.

In the hall by the cafeteria, the ringtail approached a fluffy European rabbit. (I could tell she was European by her spiffy scarf and her world-weary ways.)

Miss Fluffy leaned against a pole and toyed with her whiskers. T-Bone cozied up. She passed him something-a love note?-and they giggled like a couple of teenage girls at a Brad Spitt movie.

Man, this guy wasn't just two-timing my client; he was three-timing her.

Sensing something, T-Bone raised his head and started to turn.

Fa-zoop!

I scrambled up the wall, out of sight. In my racket, sometimes it pays to be a wall-crawling lizard.

I crept along quietly. Then my foot slipped. Strange. We geckos can scale almost anything, including glass. I shook the foot and crawled closer...just across from the cuddly pair.

A strange sight distracted me: squatty machines being wheeled into the cafeteria. And they were wearing what looked like...aprons? Was head chef Mrs. Bagoong getting some new cooking gizmos?

I shook my head. Better focus on the job at hand.

Miss Fluffy was saying, "...after you do me this favor, you and I can..."

Someone had taped a WET PAINT sign to the pole she was leaning on. Silly rabbit. Didn't she know-

Fffffwwip!

Suddenly, everything slipped. I scrabbled desperately, clawing a paper sign from the wall. It read, WET PAINT.

Duh. The pole hadn't been painted; the wall had.

"Whoooah!" I cried, plummeting like a duck after a pond-scum sandwich.

SKREONCH! A shrub broke my fall.

"AAIIEEE!" T-Bone shrieked, like an air-raid siren singing opera. Under his scream, something went ffrappp!

The rabbit and I clapped our hands over our ears. A second later, we covered our noses instead.

The ringtail had blasted a paint-peeling musky stench, fouler than a roadkill casserole. It spread down the hall, clearing kids and teachers with its potent funk. Miss Fluffy fled.

Eyes watering, I coughed and hacked and staggered to my feet.

With as much dignity as he could muster, T-Bone stood tall and glared at me. "It's your own fault," he said. "Maybe you shouldn't startle kids like that."

"Maybe you shouldn't have had the cabbage-and-cheese breakfast burrito."

The ringtail snorted. "Oh yeah? Maybe you shouldn't sass someone bigger than you." He loomed over me.

"Oh, really? Maybe you shouldn't be two-timing your girlfriend," I said.

"My girlfriend?" he asked.

"Yeah, your bubby-cakes, your doll-face, your smoochie-poo. Anne Gwish?"

His face froze. "Anne what?" said T-Bone. "Who's she?" He stalked away.

Still holding my nose, I stumbled in the opposite direction.

From above, a clap-clap-clap reached my ears. I glanced up.

It was Natalie Attired, my spiffy mockingbird partner. An ace investigator, she thought she was quite the joker (but she was really just a card). Perching on the roof's edge, Natalie looked me up and down, from my paint-smeared feet to the twigs in my hat.

I held up a hand. "I know, I know. I'm scratched and filthy, and I smell like a ringtail's butt."

"So, other than that," she said, "how was your day, dear?"

Copyright © 2004 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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First Chapter

Sneak and Ye Shall Find

Never take on a wacko as a client. It wastes your time, and it annoys the wacko.

Somehow I had forgotten this. And so, recess found me tailing a parakeet's boyfriend to see if he'd been stepping out on her. (That's detective talk for seeing another dame on the side. And a dame is a girl. And on the side is...on the side.)

I shadowed T-Bone LaLouche through the halls of Emerson Hicky Elementary. Like any good detective, I used kids, bushes, and the odd teacher as cover. (And believe me, we have plenty of odd teachers.)

T-Bone LaLouche was a lean and shifty ringtail. Ringtails have a cat's body, a fox's face, and a raccoon's tail that's been dipped in goo and slammed in a door.

Oh, and one other thing: If you startle them, they give an ear-piercing shriek and shoot this funky musk from their butts.

Don't ask me how I know that.

I watched as T-Bone stopped near the library to chat with a simpering mole in a tutu. Heads together, they seemed awfully chummy. Could this be his extra-credit baby-cake?

When I leaned around a skreezitz bush for a better look, T-Bone suddenly glanced up. I dived for cover-kronch!-right into the bush.

Through the spiky leaves, I could see the ringtail frowning my way, but he went back to his confab. Soon, the mole waved toodle-oo and toddled into the library. T-Bone took to his heels.

I tagged along.

In the hall by the cafeteria, the ringtail approached a fluffy European rabbit. (I could tell she was European by her spiffy scarf and her world-weary ways.)

Miss Fluffy leaned against a pole and toyed with her whiskers. T-Bone cozied up. She passedhim something-a love note?-and they giggled like a couple of teenage girls at a Brad Spitt movie.

Man, this guy wasn't just two-timing my client; he was three-timing her.

Sensing something, T-Bone raised his head and started to turn.

Fa-zoop!

I scrambled up the wall, out of sight. In my racket, sometimes it pays to be a wall-crawling lizard.

I crept along quietly. Then my foot slipped. Strange. We geckos can scale almost anything, including glass. I shook the foot and crawled closer...just across from the cuddly pair.

A strange sight distracted me: squatty machines being wheeled into the cafeteria. And they were wearing what looked like...aprons? Was head chef Mrs. Bagoong getting some new cooking gizmos?

I shook my head. Better focus on the job at hand.

Miss Fluffy was saying, "...after you do me this favor, you and I can..."

Someone had taped a WET PAINT sign to the pole she was leaning on. Silly rabbit. Didn't she know-

Fffffwwip!

Suddenly, everything slipped. I scrabbled desperately, clawing a paper sign from the wall. It read, WET PAINT.

Duh. The pole hadn't been painted; the wall had.

"Whoooah!" I cried, plummeting like a duck after a pond-scum sandwich.

SKREONCH! A shrub broke my fall.

"AAIIEEE!" T-Bone shrieked, like an air-raid siren singing opera. Under his scream, something went ffrappp!

The rabbit and I clapped our hands over our ears. A second later, we covered our noses instead.

The ringtail had blasted a paint-peeling musky stench, fouler than a roadkill casserole. It spread down the hall, clearing kids and teachers with its potent funk. Miss Fluffy fled.

Eyes watering, I coughed and hacked and staggered to my feet.

With as much dignity as he could muster, T-Bone stood tall and glared at me. "It's your own fault," he said. "Maybe you shouldn't startle kids like that."

"Maybe you shouldn't have had the cabbage-and-cheese breakfast burrito."

The ringtail snorted. "Oh yeah? Maybe you shouldn't sass someone bigger than you." He loomed over me.

"Oh, really? Maybe you shouldn't be two-timing your girlfriend," I said.

"My girlfriend?" he asked.

"Yeah, your bubby-cakes, your doll-face, your smoochie-poo. Anne Gwish?"

His face froze. "Anne what?" said T-Bone. "Who's she?" He stalked away.

Still holding my nose, I stumbled in the opposite direction.

From above, a clap-clap-clap reached my ears. I glanced up.

It was Natalie Attired, my spiffy mockingbird partner. An ace investigator, she thought she was quite the joker (but she was really just a card). Perching on the roof's edge, Natalie looked me up and down, from my paint-smeared feet to the twigs in my hat.

I held up a hand. "I know, I know. I'm scratched and filthy, and I smell like a ringtail's butt."

"So, other than that," she said, "how was your day, dear?"

Copyright © 2004 by Bruce Hale

All rights reserved.
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