Real Fake (Nancy Drew: Girl Detective Super Mystery Series #3)

( 4 )


When Bess and George dared me to try out for the new reality TV show Mystery Solved!, I never thought I'd actually get picked. But the next thing I knew, I was off to Paris for the shoot.

I was all set for a fun-filled adventure in the City of Lights...until I started getting creepy e-mails from a strange address. It looks like the real mystery is going on behind the scenes.

The other contestants are so eager to win, I wonder how far they're ...

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When Bess and George dared me to try out for the new reality TV show Mystery Solved!, I never thought I'd actually get picked. But the next thing I knew, I was off to Paris for the shoot.

I was all set for a fun-filled adventure in the City of Lights...until I started getting creepy e-mails from a strange address. It looks like the real mystery is going on behind the scenes.

The other contestants are so eager to win, I wonder how far they're willing to go. There's Chen, a video game designer and master hacker; Tyler, a businessman who will do anything to make a buck; Wendy, an aspiring actress who seems smarter than she's letting on; and that's only the beginning.

I just hope I can separate fact from fiction and avoid these obnoxious cameras long enough to figure out what's up.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781416938811
  • Publisher: Aladdin
  • Publication date: 7/10/2007
  • Series: Nancy Drew: Girl Detective Super Mystery Series, #3
  • Edition description: Original
  • Pages: 224
  • Sales rank: 1,018,705
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.12 (w) x 7.62 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Carolyn Keene is the author of the ever-popular Nancy Drew books.
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Read an Excerpt

Chapter One: A Surprising Invitation

When the phone call came, it wasn't at the most convenient moment. I was in my bedroom, crawling around my hands and knees, searching for an elusive running shoe.

"I know you're here somewhere," I said out loud as I peered under the bed, the desk, the dresser.

I loved solving mysteries, but locating missing footwear was not my idea of fun. At least I knew where the left one was; I was wearing it, along with a T-shirt and sweats. It was a beautiful, sunny autumn day, and I was about to go for a run...if only I could crack The Case of the Missing Right Shoe.

Just as I was fishing a dust bunny-covered scarf out from under the nightstand, the phone started to ring. From down the hall, I heard my father call out: "Can you get that, Nancy? I'm on my cell!"

I jumped to my feet, bumping my head on something along the way. "Ow," I muttered under my breath as I picked up the phone. "Hello?" I said, probably a shade abruptly.

"Could I speak to Nancy Drew, please?"

I didn't recognize the fast-talking female voice. "Speaking."

"Hi, Nancy, this is Dee Darby from Mystery Solved!"

I did a mental double take. Mystery Solved! was one of the most popular reality shows on television. It involved regular people acting like professional detectives and solving made-up mysteries. Each episode took place in a different part of the world. One episode had involved a kidnapped heiress in Hong Kong. Another had featured a rare orchid thief in Brazil.

Dee Darby was the show's creator, executive producer, and host. She was Mystery Solved!" Why was she calling me?

"Hi, Ms. Darby," I managed after I'd gotten over my total shock.

"I'm sure you know what this is about," Dee Darby said briskly. Before I had a chance to say "Not in the least," she breezed on. "You, Nancy Drew, have been selected to compete in the next episode of Mystery Solved! Congratulations!"

My jaw dropped. I felt for the edge of my bed and sat down slowly. I realized that I was still holding the dusty scarf in my hand. I couldn't believe I was going to be a contestant on a reality show!

It had all started six months ago, with an innocent Saturday night of TV watching with my two best friends, George Fayne and Bess Marvin. The three of us had been at George's house, watching the Hong Kong episode and chowing down on a new brand of organic microwave parmesan cheese popcorn that Bess had discovered. When the call for entrants flashed across the TV screen, the two cousins had launched into a full-court press: "Come on, Nancy, you've got to do it!" "You're the best detective in River Heights!" "You're way smarter than that Bucky person who found the missing heiress!" "We dare you!" "We double-dare you!" Et cetera, et cetera.

I had said no about a hundred times, but it hadn't done any good. I finally agreed, just to shut them up. Right then and there, George had logged onto the show's website on one of her many laptops and I had filled out the online entry form, complete with a 250-word essay on why I would be a great Mystery Solved! contestant. Among other things, I had mentioned that I'd solved lots of local crimes and cases as an amateur detective-slash-concerned citizen-slash-mystery lover.

It's just for fun, I had told myself. There's no harm in playing along. The chances of getting picked are a zillion to one....

"My assistant producer Elizabeth will overnight the paperwork to you," Dee Darby was saying in her mile-a-minute voice. "Make sure you read the show's rules and regulations handbook with a fine-tooth comb. We'll need the contract back from you within the week, signed and notarized. Oh, and do you have a recent color photo of yourself that you could e-mail to us in jpeg format — say, this afternoon? And before I forget, we have to schedule a time to send a crew to your house. As you know, we like to get footage of the contestants at home. Next Tuesday work for you?

I willed my brain to mobilize. "Next Tuesday," I said, scrambling for a pad of paper and a pen. "Um, I think that's okay. But I'll have to check my calendar and call you back."

"No problem!" Dee Darby exclaimed. "Gotta run, I have to take a meeting. So glad you're on board. We'll talk again soon. Don't hesitate to call if you have any questions."

She rattled off a phone number with a Los Angeles area code as well as an e-mail address where I could send my color photo. Did I have a cool-enough photo? I wondered. One that didn't involve me making goofy faces at George and Bess? Or spilling pancake batter all over my lap, like the one our housekeeper, Hannah Gruen, took last Sunday?

Before Dee Darby hung up, I remembered to ask her the most important question of all. "Ms. Darby?" I said quickly. "What's the location for this episode?"

"Brush up on your français, Nancy Drew," Dee Darby replied. "You're going to Paris!"

"Did you remember to pack the black miniskirt that I picked out for you at the mall?" Bess asked me for what seemed like the twentieth time.

I craned around to grin at Bess, who was sitting in the backseat of George's car. I was up front with George. The two of them were taking me to the airport for my red-eye to Paris. They had insisted on driving me so I would be on time for my flight. They know me well: Punctuality isn't one of my strong suits.

"Yes, Mom, I packed it," I teased Bess. "And I packed the red top that goes with it too."

"Not red. Magenta," Bess corrected me.

"Okay, magenta," I said. Bess was a fashion freak, to put it mildly. It was one of her lifelong dreams to try to get me to wear something other than my comfy old jeans and the first shirt I grabbed from my closet.

"Let's get our priorities straight here, Cousin," George said. She flicked on her right blinker and merged onto the road that led to the airport. "Nancy is going to be solving a mystery. She needs to focus on clues and suspects, not her wardrobe."

"Of course she needs to focus on her wardrobe, George," Bess argued. "She's going to the fashion capital of the world. And she's going to be a TV star."

"Don't worry, Bess. I won't embarrass you on national television," I promised.

"Besides, Nancy's under major pressure to win," George went on. "She promised to donate her prize money to River Heights Relief to help build the new homeless shelter, remember? And Mrs. Rackham is matching whatever prize money Nancy brings home. So the stakes are kind of huge."

"Thanks for reminding me, George," I said.

The Mystery Solved! grand prize was $100,000. There were eight contestants in all. The contestants could solve the mystery as a team of eight, as miniteams of seven or fewer, or go solo. Allegiances and strategies were constantly changing, so you could start out as part of a team of eight, then split off into a miniteam, then jump ship to another miniteam, then go on your own — and so on and so on. In the end, the prize money was divided among all the winners — or kept by just one winner, as the case may be.

At the airport, George parked the car at the curb. As she retrieved my suitcase from the trunk, she turned to me and said, "Do you have the PDA I gave you?"

"The PD — what?" I asked, puzzled.

"PDA. Personal digital assistant. The one I gave you so we can e-mail each other while you're in Paris," George reminded me patiently.

"Oh, right." I nodded and patted my backpack. "Got it."

George was a computer and electronics expert. She was generously loaning me this high-tech gadget — which she had custom-tailored with my e-mail address — so we could stay in touch across the Atlantic Ocean. There was a strict rule in the Mystery Solved! handbook against calling or e-mailing friends or family for help. "I just found this clue in French, Aunt Martha, can you translate it for me?" appeals would not be permitted. There would be periodic spot checks by the crew to enforce this rule. If any contestant broke it, he or she would be asked to leave the show — no exceptions.

Personal calls and e-mails were allowed during downtime, though. The PDA would come in handy for that.

"Don't forget to charge the PDA every night," George said, looking at me meaningfully. She knows that I have a slight, um, problem remembering to charge my cell phone. Apparently, these PDAs required the same care and feeding routine.

"I won't forget," I reassured her.

"And don't forget to carry around extra batteries for the recorder," George added. She was also loaning me her voice-activated microcassette tape recorder. The contestants were allowed to use tape recorders to record witness interviews, personal notes, and so forth. George's was small enough that I could stash it in a jacket pocket.

Bess held up her wrist and tapped on her watch. "Nancy, you've gotta go. It's already after six, and check-in and security can take forever."

I set my suitcase down on the sidewalk and gave Bess and George big hugs. People milled around us, hurrying to their own flights or jockeying for cabs. "I wish you guys could come along and be on my team," I said wistfully. "I always do my best mystery solving with you guys."

"We'll be with you in spirit," George said, hugging me back. "Whenever you hear that voice in your head saying 'Don't trust that suspect,' that'll be me."

"And whenever you hear that voice in your head saying 'Wear the silver necklace with the black dress,' that'll be me," Bess joked.

I laughed. I knew I'd miss the two of them. I was going to have to use George's PDA a lot.

I said my final good-byes and headed into the terminal with my backpack and suitcase. I found the check-in counter for my flight and got in line behind several dozen people. Standing there, I wondered what was waiting for me in Paris. What was the mystery going to be? And who were the other seven contestants?

An hour and a half and several lines, security checks, and cups of Darjeeling tea later, I finally took my seat on the plane. I was wedged in between a young guy with dreads and a mother with a baby on her lap. The baby stared at me, his blue eyes huge. I smiled at him and wiggled my fingers hello. His face twisted, and he started to cry.

"Oh, I'm so sorry," I apologized to the mother.

The mother smiled wearily and reached into her bag for a snack. "Oh, please don't worry. He's just hungry and tired."

"Aren't we all," the guy on the other side of me remarked.

Just then, something started beeping in my backpack. What was that noise? I wondered. I reached down and tried to find the source.

Shuffling through my backpack, I located a small blue plastic thing. It was George's PDA. The mailbox icon was flashing. My first e-mail! It was probably George doing a test run. Or maybe it was Bess with a last-minute fashion tip.

The baby stopped crying and stretched a jam-covered hand for the PDA. I gently moved it away, which unfortunately made him start crying again. I pressed several buttons, just as George had taught me to do. After a moment, a message flashed across the tiny screen:


I frowned at the screen. Get ready for a bumpy ride? What did that mean? And who had sent it?

Maybe George and Bess are playing a joke, I thought.

I pressed several more buttons to back up to the original screen. The sender was neither one of my friends. It was someone named DOOMSDAY246.


Who was this person? How had he or she gotten my e-mail address? I felt a shiver of apprehension.

The plane's engines rumbled to life. "Fasten your seat belts," the pilot announced over the loudspeakers. "Please turn off all cell phones, pagers, laptops, and other portable electronic devices." I quickly switched off the PDA.

Outside the window, dozens of lights twinkled against the night sky as planes began to taxi toward the runway. Who was DOOMSDAY246? I wondered again. And what did his — or her — message mean?

Copyright © 2007 by Simon and Schuster, Inc.

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Table of Contents


1 A Surprising Invitation

2 The Competition

3 A Parisian Puzzle

4 Another Clue

5 The Enigma

6 The Graveyard Shift

7 A Spy in the Midst

8 Restless Sleep

9 The Reluctant Redhead

10 The Imposter

11 A Mysterious Conversation

12 Game Over

13 Wild Oscar's

14 Picture-Perfect

15 Take Two

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 4 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 19, 2008

    Love it!

    This was my first nancy drew book ever, and i loved it! It takes place in Paris, which is awesome! And they compete for 50,000 dollars for solving a fake mystery on 'mystery solved'. I recommend this book a full 100%.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 3, 2011

    Extra, Extra, Extra, Read all about Nancy Drew!

    Nancy goes on a reality TV show called Mystery Solved! They're searching for a diamond necklace that cost a million dollars! I wonder who the suspect is..............

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 26, 2008

    3 stars...Woah!

    I love Nancy Drew but this is not the best. Still Awesome but I need Ned! :)

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 18, 2007


    it is a very excitng book to read. i would definatly reccomend it!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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