The Curse of the Pharaoh #1

The Curse of the Pharaoh #1

by Steve Stevenson, Stefano Turconi

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Agatha: Girl of Mystery is a fanciful and fabulous new mystery series about a headstrong girl detective who jets off on exotic and international adventures with the help of her hulking bodyguard and loyal cat named, aptly, Watson. The first mystery in this series sees young detective Agatha Mistery traveling to Egypt. Rumors of a mysterious tablet

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Agatha: Girl of Mystery is a fanciful and fabulous new mystery series about a headstrong girl detective who jets off on exotic and international adventures with the help of her hulking bodyguard and loyal cat named, aptly, Watson. The first mystery in this series sees young detective Agatha Mistery traveling to Egypt. Rumors of a mysterious tablet unearthed in the Valley of the Kings may be just the clue that Agatha needs to unlock the secret curse of an ancient Pharaoh.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
A 12-year-old aspiring mystery writer with a photographic memory is the globe-trotting eponymous heroine of the Agatha: Girl of Mystery series (originally published in Italy), which gets off to a running start with this lighthearted caper. Beyond the Christie reference for the title character, Stevenson (a pseudonym for Italian author Mario Pasqualotto) has fun name-checking other famous writers and characters of the genre. Agatha comes to the aid of her 14-year-old cousin, Dashiell, when he’s assigned a tricky mission at his prestigious London detective school: find a stolen ancient tablet that will disclose crucial information about an unknown Egyptian pharaoh’s tomb. Armed with Agatha’s superior sleuthing skills and Dash’s high-tech spyware, the two travel to the Valley of Kings (along with Agatha’s cat, Watson, and burly butler, Chandler), where they attempt to crack the case. Turconi’s cartoons (a mix of spot art and single- and double-page scenes) have lots of personality, and the plot’s over-the-top leaps only enhance the mix of comedy and adventure. Due simultaneously: The Pearl of Bengal. Ages 7–10. (Feb.)
Children's Literature - Lisa Colozza Cocca
If your last name is Mistery can you avoid solving mysteries? For twelve year old Agatha Mistery it does not seem so. Agatha wants to be a writer—of mysteries, of course. She has a keen eye for details and the skill it takes to put them all together. Her cousin Dash wants to be a detective. Unfortunately, he is too lazy to do his homework on his own. When he is assigned the task of finding a stolen ancient tablet that is proof of an unknown Egyptian Pharaoh's tomb, he knows he needs help. His sleuthing class at the London School for Detectives is the only class he is doing well in. He cannot blow the exam, so he turns to his younger cousin for help. Agatha responds to his call. With the help of her butler, Chandler, her cat, Watson, her poisonous cactus (a gift from her parents) and Dash's high-tech spy gadgets, the pair solve the mystery. The book blends comedy and fast-paced adventure well. Black-and-white illustrations appear as spot art, full page illustrations, and double page spreads. Agatha will likely build a following among young mystery readers. Part of the "Agatha Mistery" series. Reviewer: Lisa Colozza Cocca
School Library Journal
Gr 2–5—Precocious Agatha, 12, is an international detective. With the help of her cousin-in-training, her butler, her sleuthing cat, and a poisonous cactus, she takes Egypt by storm in pursuit of a stolen artifact. With the smarts of Nancy Drew and the charm of Eloise, Agatha is an exciting addition to the girl-detective canon. Action-packed black-and-white illustrations are scattered throughout and range in size from small insets to full spreads. The story is fast-paced and contains enough surprises to keep readers engaged. The illustrations will entice those transitioning to chapter books, but the sometimes-challenging vocabulary make this a pick for those with a higher reading level. A fun, modern-day detective story with an international flair.—Sarah Townsend, Norfolk Public Library, VA
Kirkus Reviews
Twelve-year-old Agatha Mistery journeys to Egypt's Valley of the Kings with her cousin, Dash, her butler, Chandler, her cat, Watson, and a handy petrifying cactus to find a stolen artifact. For his final exam in Investigation Techniques, hapless student detective Dash has to find the fragile tablet showing the location of an undiscovered tomb. Naturally, he enlists the help of his cousin Agatha, an aspiring mystery writer whose prodigious memory and attention to detail he needs. Chandler, posing as Agent DM14, provides an adult presence while the two work. Dash's school-issued EyeNet gadget does everything from track warm bodies to identify the chemical composition of bits of dust. Fast-paced action, plentiful dialogue, humor and intriguing technology combine in this promising launch for an original paperback series focused on Agatha's international adventures. Stevenson is the pseudonym of Italian writer Mario Pasqualotto. His text has been ably translated by Kelly and adapted by Gold. Turconi's illustrations, ranging from spot art to a full double-page spread, provide cartoony images of the characters and add to the exotic sense of place. A cast of characters and mission description appear just after the title page, and the book concludes with a hint of adventures to come--in Bengal. A lively and auspicious beginning. (Mystery. 8-12)

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Product Details

Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date:
Agatha: Girl of Mystery Series
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.34(w) x 7.50(h) x 0.40(d)
720L (what's this?)
Age Range:
7 - 10 Years

Read an Excerpt




Twelve years old, an aspiring mystery writer; has a formidable memory


Student at the prestigious private school, Eye International Detective Academy


Butler and former boxer with impeccable British style


Obnoxious Siberian cat with the nose of a bloodhound

Aunt Patricia

Lives in a lavish Luxor villa…and breeds camels!


Egypt: Valley of the Kings


To discover who stole an ancient artifact from an archaeological dig in the Valley of the Kings—where the sun sets and the pharaohs have slept in their tombs for thousands of years. And beware of Tutankhamen’s curse.

Table of Contents

The penthouse sat high atop of Baker Palace, fifteen floors above street level. Its roof was covered with state-of-the-art solar panels, and if you stood on the wraparound terrace and peered in through the tinted-glass windows, the first thing you’d see was a mass of high-tech electronics—monitors, Wi-Fi antennas, and routers—surrounded by pizza boxes, fast-food bags, and dirty socks.

The only person at home was a lanky fourteen-year-old boy, sprawled out snoring on the couch with his dark hair flopped over his face. He had left his seven computers on all night long, downloading data from around the world. His face was lit up by LED lights flashing like fireflies in the darkened room.

Outside the penthouse London, England, was already bathed in a milky haze. It had been a sweltering summer, too hot for tourists, and the Thames River looked like a strip of shiny tar.

Not far from Baker Palace, the famous Big Ben clock tower chimes struck six times. The low notes rattled the walls, but Dashiell Mistery slept like a rock.

Dash was not a morning person. He liked lazing around the penthouse all day and never started his homework till late at night, usually with the music cranked. His report cards said it all: Dash was getting straight As in Surveillance Technologies, but he was flunking everything else.

“Instead of going to that crazy detective school, why don’t you study engineering?” his mother would beg on the rare occasions when they had a real conversation. “The Mistery family could use a few people with practical skills.” Dash shrugged and said, “Don’t forget Grandpa Ellery, Mom. He’s at CERN in Geneva studying subatomic particles. That’s pretty hardcore.” And the conversation would end with his mom sighing, “He’s a nuclear physicist, not a normal engineer. All you Mistery men have to do something different!”

Dash secretly liked being known as a “Mistery man.” After her divorce, his mother never missed a chance to label the Mistery family a pack of oddballs. First and foremost was her ex-husband, Edgar Allan Mistery, a champion curler. (Curling is an Olympic sport played with brooms and polished rocks on an ice rink; it isn’t exactly mainstream.) Every one of Edgar’s relatives was part of her roll call of hopeless eccentrics.

6:15 a.m.: Second wake-up attempt. The words RED ALERT flashed on a monitor screen, accompanied by the theme from Star Trek, and a metallic voice that kept repeating, “Man the lifeboats!”

This time around, Dash’s forehead was targeted by a laser-tag strobe light. The room looked like the bridge of an alien spaceship.

But it was no use: Dash just rolled over and buried his head in the pillow. Within seconds, he was out like a light.

6:30 a.m.: Final attempt. First the phone rang several times. Then the automatic blinds rolled up, buzzing, while a wall of speakers blasted the latest hit.

A neighbor banged on the door, yelling, “This isn’t a nightclub, you slacker!”

Still nothing.

Finally at precisely 6:36 a.m., in the middle of all the deafening chaos, there was a tiny blip. It came from a titanium gadget, shaped like a cell phone, which hung from a charger cord over the couch.

That faint blip rang in Dash’s ears like a volley of gunfire. Without getting up, he reached out, grabbed the gadget, and pressed a few buttons.

A dreadful message flashed onto the screen.

The second that Dash read it, his eyes bulged. “Today?” he yelled. “There’s absolutely no way!”

He jumped to his feet. This was a total disaster. He grabbed various remotes, clicking off the alarms, ringtones, and speakers. “There’s no time to sort all this out. I have to…I have to…what do I have to do?!” he exclaimed.

He perched on the arm of a chair, quickly booting up his seven computers, which came to life with a flash of white light. “I’ll email Agatha!” he said aloud. “But will she read it in time?” He checked the gadget again, with a grimace. “No, better not. If they hack into my email, it’s all over.”

Where did he put that cordless phone? He found it under a burger wrapper. Feverishly he scrolled through his contacts, “Adam, Adrian…Agatha! Got it!”

He started to text her, but stopped. What if they’d put a bug on his phone? They were experts at stuff like that!

“Okay, don’t panic, Dash,” he whispered. “Concentrate. What’s the best way to get a message to Agatha without anyone listening in?” He ran a hand through his floppy hair and made a decision.

Dash stepped onto the terrace, unlatched the door to his aviary, and grabbed his trusty carrier pigeon. “Time to put you to work, buddy. The Mistery Cousins need you!”

As the pigeon soared over the suburbs of London, the patchwork of roofs and yards gave way to a wide swath of green: three acres of flowering meadows, fountains, lily ponds, botanical gardens, and quiet, leafy lanes.

Smack in the middle of the park was a Victorian mansion with a lavender roof: the Mistery Estate, home of twelve-year-old Agatha Mistery and her parents.

Agatha was taking a morning stroll in her slippers and bathrobe, dodging the rotating jets of the sprinkler system. The scent of freshly mowed grass tickled her nose—her small, upturned nose, a Mistery family trait.

She carried a cup of steaming tea, which she savored in tiny sips. It was top-quality Shui-Hsien, with a scent like honey and a fruity aftertaste. In a word: superb.

She followed the path to a gazebo, where she sat on a purple swing, resting her teacup next to a pile of letters. Mostly junk mail, bills, and silly postcards from friends on vacation. Agatha didn’t bother to read them.

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