At first glance, Mr Ambrosius Nosegoode seems to be a perfectly ordinary older gentleman. After retiring, he has moved from the big city to a small town, where he spends his days growing radishes, playing the flute and taking walks with his dog, Cody.
But appearances can be deceiving: this unimposing man was once a famous detective, and his dog isn't an ordinary mutt either - he can talk! When a mysterious man with a fake black beard comes to town and a music box goes missing from the workshop of clockmaker Mr Ignatius Blossom, the two friends begin to investigate.
|Product dimensions:||5.70(w) x 7.80(h) x 0.60(d)|
|Age Range:||8 - 12 Years|
About the Author
Jerzy Flisak (1930-2008) was a well-known Polish illustrator and designer of film posters and stage sets. He illustrated more than 70 books over his long career.
Read an Excerpt
Ambrosius Nosegoode, Cody and Blackbeard
The clock on the tower struck six times, and Lower Limewood awoke from its slumber. The smell of fresh baking filled the air, milk churns jangled, and vegetable carts rolled out onto the streets. Caretakers opened doors and set about their morning cleaning. Sleepy faces appeared in the windows. A new day had begun.
A few minutes after six o’clock, the inhabitants of a little house in Skylark
Lane, Mr Ambrosius Nosegoode and his friend Cody, woke up as well.
Ambrosius was a retired detective, the author of an outstanding book called
How to Unmask a Thief and, once upon a time, the bane of criminals everywhere.
Now he was a considerate, kind-hearted elderly gentleman.
Indeed, it was hard to believe that this chubby figure could once have caused such panic in the criminal world. Or that his grey, balding head could once have solved the toughest of cases. Or that the name of Ambrosius Nosegoode had been well known not just in the big city, where he had lived and worked, but far and wide beyond its borders. Yet it was all true. Those were wonderful times! Still, they were gone. Old age came, and Ambrosius felt the need for peace. He returned to his native
Lower Limewood, bought a little house, and settled in it with Cody. He spent his time relaxing, growing radishes and playing his flute in the evenings. He didn’t in the least suspect that it would be here, in quiet Lower Limewood, that he would have one last adventure.
Cody was a dog. He was an ordinary, shaggy mutt, but Ambrosius would never consider swapping him for another dog of a more noble breed, even if such a dog came with a gold collar studded with gems. Cody, in addition to all his virtues
(and a few minor flaws), possessed one extraordinary skill: he could converse with his master! He learned this art from Ambrosius, and it happened very naturally. Like many people who live alone, Ambrosius enjoyed talking to himself. Or rather, to himself and to his dog. He spoke about his adventures, about hard times and about a hundred other things. Cody listened. Listened and nothing more. Then one day, when
Ambrosius asked him how he was, Cody replied, as if it were the most natural thing in the world, ‘I’m very well, thank you, except the fleas are bothering me.’
It’s not hard to imagine what a shock Ambrosius must have experienced when he heard these words. He almost took ill. But after that, his conversations with his dog were no longer one-sided.
And now, this morning, Ambrosius had jumped out of bed first and was pulling on Cody’s ear.
‘Wakey-wakey, you sleepy head! Mrs Cracker’s cockerel is hoarse from crowing and you still haven’t budged. Time to wake up!’
Cody blinked a few times and yawned.
‘I had a beautiful dream,’ he said sleepily. ‘I dreamt I was a butcher. I was standing behind the counter, surrounded by sausages, hams and bones… What a sight it was! The smells alone were making me dizzy… I was just about to take a bite out of the tastiest-looking ham when suddenly I heard your voice.’
He yawned again and asked, ‘Ambrosius, don’t dreams come true sometimes?’
Ambrosius looked pensive. ‘Yes, that’s what I’ve been told. My aunt once dreamt that she had broken her leg. And imagine: the very next day, something did break. Only it wasn’t anything of my aunt’s, and it wasn’t a leg – it was her neighbour’s ladder. Even so, my aunt insisted that her dream had come true. Maybe yours will too.’
‘Maybe. But before it does, could you make us something to eat? That dream really gave me an appetite.’
‘In less than ten minutes, we’ll have a breakfast fit for a king!’
‘Well, all I need is one that’s fit for a dog,’ Cody replied humbly.
After breakfast, the two friends started getting ready to go out. Every morning,
they would walk together to the nearby newsagent’s to buy newspapers. As usual, the detective picked up his small briefcase, which he always carried with him everywhere, called Cody over, and the two of them went out into the street.
Skylark Lane was undoubtedly the quietest street in Lower Limewood. Singlestorey houses with green gardens lined the pavements and cats slept peacefully next to flowering geraniums in the windows.
But not in all windows. As they passed Mrs Hardtack’s house, Cody pulled on
Ambrosius’s trouser leg and whispered, ‘Look in that window! Blackbeard is at his post!’
Ambrosius glanced discreetly to his right and noticed a silhouette behind the net curtain. He had no doubt that it was Blackbeard. He also had no doubt that a couple of watchful eyes were following him and Cody from behind the curtain.
The two friends had been intrigued by Blackbeard since the previous day.
That’s when the big sign that had been hanging on Mrs Hardtack’s front gate – ‘Room for rent, full board and laundry services’ – had been taken down, and a mysterious man with a bushy beard had moved in.
There would have been nothing extraordinary about this if it hadn’t been for the fact that the stranger seemed excessively interested in Mr Nosegoode and his dog.
Right after his arrival, he had questioned Mrs Hardtack about them, and then over the course of the day, Ambrosius and Cody bumped into him three times. It couldn’t have been a coincidence. And here he was again…
‘I’m liking this less and less,’ said Cody. ‘And anyway, my left ear has been itchy for the past three days, which is a sure sign that something unusual is going to happen. I’m convinced that there’s a connection between this itch and that bearded man. Listen, maybe he’s some kind of a criminal whom you sent to prison? Maybe he got out and now he’s looking for revenge?’
‘I don’t think so. He doesn’t look like a criminal to me.’
‘Doesn’t look like a criminal? What do you mean?’
‘Have you looked closely at his beard?’ Ambrosius asked.
‘Of course. It’s black and thick.’
‘You haven’t noticed anything else?’
‘Then you’ve missed the most important thing: it’s fake! And not only that:
it’s badly attached.’
‘Fake?’ Cody repeated, surprised. He recovered a moment later. ‘You see! It’s clear proof of his bad intentions. If he didn’t have bad intentions, he wouldn’t put on a fake beard.’
‘But maybe this beard is precisely what proves his innocence?’ Ambrosius replied mysteriously.
‘How so?!’ Cody said with indignation. ‘You’re joking, right?’
‘I’m not joking. I’m completely serious.’
Cody looked at his master doubtfully, as if to check that he really wasn’t joking, and then decided to let it go. No, it was clear that they wouldn’t see eye on eye on this topic. It was a good thing that he, Cody, didn’t allow himself to be deceived by
Blackbeard. After all, someone had to remain vigilant, he thought as he felt the weight of responsibility settle on his shoulders.
Just at that moment, they reached the newsagent’s stand and their conversation came to an end, since nobody except Ambrosius knew about Cody’s ability to speak.
‘Good morning, Mr Loop!’ Mr Nosegoode greeted the newsagent. ‘Do you have anything for us today?’
‘Of course, of course!’ Mr Loop replied, passing Ambrosius the latest editions of The Morning News and A Dog’s Friend, the two papers which the retired detective liked to read regularly.
Accompanied by his dog, Mr Nosegoode headed for a bench in the nearby square and opened the first newspaper. He started reading aloud in a lowered voice,
since Cody was also interested in politics – not to mention the fact that he eagerly devoured all news from canine circles. But Cody couldn’t concentrate on what was being read. His thoughts were occupied with Blackbeard.