Frankfurter's life was cut short by a revolving door--YIP! Moments before he passed, the dachshund overheard a devious plot to rob his owner's hotel. Can the Protector of Undead Pets stop the high-stakes burglary so Frankfurter can make it to the big dog kennel in the sky?
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The hotel’s revolving doors whizzed around three times, then Toby burst into the lobby.
“AWESOME!” he squealed. “Your turn!”
Joe grinned at his little brother. He knew they shouldn’t be playing in the revolving doors, but it was hard to resist . . .
It was a sunny Friday afternoon and the Edmunds family had just arrived at the Grand Hotel in Skipton Sands. Dad had gone to get the rest of the bags. Mom and Sarah, Joe’s big sister, were waiting at the reception desk, and Joe and Toby were supposed to be sitting quietly on the lobby couches.
“Boys!” snapped Mom as the doors spun around again and Joe tumbled out. She gave them that look. The one that meant they were inches away from a mega-blaster scolding!
But Toby was already heading back to the doors.
“Toby!” bellowed Mom. “Stop that at once! You might get stuck.”
“Your mother’s right,” said a voice. It belonged to a silver-haired older lady who had appeared from the office behind the reception desk. “Accidents do happen!”
“Oh, hello,” said Mom. “My name’s Helen Edmunds. We’ve got a booking for two nights.”
The lady glanced down at a big book on the desk. “Oh yes, you’re here for the wedding. Welcome to the Grand Hotel—I’m Mrs. Stanway, the owner. Please call me Sylvia.”
Joe looked around the lobby. It was huge, with a high ceiling and wood-paneled walls. There were lots of weird ornaments everywhere, too—a stuffed fox inside a glass case, a giant vase with a blue whale painted on the side. There was even a collection of samurai swords pinned to a wall.
“Look, Joe!” Toby had found a large brass gong. He picked up a wooden stick that hung next to it . . .
Sarah gave a shriek.
“Toby!” Mom snapped. “Put that down! I’m so sorry,” she added to Mrs. Stanway. “He’s a bit overexcited about staying in a hotel.”
“Oh, don’t worry,” Mrs. Stanway replied. “The gong isn’t valuable. None of my things are. I just like collecting interesting objects.” She smiled at Toby. “You should look at the suit of armor on the landing upstairs. My granddaughter says there’s a ghost inside.”
“Wow!” Toby said breathlessly. “Can I see it?”
“Maybe later,” Mom called, but Toby was already racing up the stairs, two at a time.
Joe was about to follow, when he noticed a small dog sleeping near the bottom of the stairs. It had a long thin body and droopy ears, and it was snoring loudly.
“Joe! Give me a hand!” Dad was struggling through the revolving doors, his arms full of luggage. He shuffled forward, then staggered into the reception area, dropping the bags.
The dog looked up and blinked a few times. Joe noticed it had weird eyes—big and staring and green. The dog stood up stiffly, and Joe noticed its short legs. It was a wiener dog! Then suddenly the dog lunged toward Dad . . .
RUFF! RUFF! RUFF! RUFF! RUFF! It was barking at Dad and baring its teeth.
Dad ignored the dog and calmly picked up the stuff he’d dropped.
The dog leaped forward as though it was about to sink its teeth into Dad’s ankles.
“Watch out!” cried Joe.
But Dad didn’t even look up. “Come on, Joe!” he said impatiently. “Help me with the bags.”
“But . . . ,” Joe began.
And then the dog stopped barking and sat down. “It’s not him. He looked a bit like one of the bad guys for a minute, but he’s not!”
Joe gasped. The dog had spoken. This was no ordinary dog—it was an undead pet! That explained why Dad had ignored it—he couldn’t see it!
“Hello, Joe,” the dog said, turning to face him. “My name is Frankie. I’ve been waiting for you. There’s going to be a robbery, and you’ve got to stop it!”
Joe felt a tingle of excitement. An undead pet was the last thing he’d expected to see! They often showed up when Joe was at home, demanding that he solve their problems—they were unable to pass over to the afterlife until he helped them. But he hadn’t expected to see one at his cousin Megan’s wedding. Maybe the weekend wasn’t going to be quite as dull as he’d thought!
“We need to talk!” yelped the dog, who was pacing unsteadily around the lobby.
Joe noticed it had stitches around its middle, as though it had been chopped in half and stitched back together.
“Are you listening?” the dog snapped impatiently.
Joe nodded, but he couldn’t reply in front of his family—undead pets were invisible to them. In fact, they were invisible to everyone apart from Joe. Thanks to the magical Egyptian amulet that his great-uncle Charlie had given him, Joe was the only person who could see the creatures.
“We’re on the second floor,” said Mom. “Mrs. Stanway says there’s a small elevator that we can use to take the luggage up.” She handed two bags to Joe—the first was his own duffle bag, the other one was pink.
“Hey!” grumbled Joe, forgetting the undead dog for a moment. “Why do I have to carry Sarah’s bag?”
“Because I’m carrying my bridesmaid’s dress!” said Sarah importantly. She pushed past him with a large bag in her arms and followed her parents to the elevator.
Joe rolled his eyes. Sarah being a bridesmaid was all he’d heard about for weeks! She and their cousin Scarlet—another bridesmaid—had been talking on the phone every day about hairstyles and dresses and shoes.
“There’s no room for you, Joe,” Sarah called from the elevator. “Take the stairs!”
The elevator doors closed with a ping, and Joe was left alone with the undead dog. Even Mrs. Stanway had gone back into her office.
“You’d better tell me what’s going on,” whispered Joe, sitting down on the bottom step. “Who are you?”
The dog sat up straight with his nose in the air. “My full name is Felix von Frankfurter. And I live here!” He gave an important sniff. “I belong to Sylvia, the lady who owns this hotel. Or at least, I used to . . . before I died,” he added in a smaller voice.
“How did it happen?” Joe mumbled. “Your death, I mean.”
The dog glanced over at the revolving doors. “I had a bit of an accident . . .”
“What? You got stuck in the doors?”
Frankie nodded. “Dachshunds and revolving doors don’t really go well together.”
Joe looked at Frankie’s long, thin body. He could imagine it would be easy for a dog like that to get a bit tangled up.
“Sylvia never let me near them,” Frankie sniffed. “I was far too important to her. She always took me out the back way. But last Monday was different. I had to use the revolving doors.”
“To chase the bad men!” Frankie growled. His little beady eyes bulged, and the hairs on his coat prickled up like a hedgehog’s.
“Calm down,” said Joe. “Just tell me what happened.”
"I was dozing In the hallway when I spotted Sylvia showing two men around . . . ," said Frankie. "She said good-bye to them and went back to her office. But the men didn't leave--they stood whispering. I was suspicious, so I crept closer to listen. I heard them planning to rob the hotel, so I attacked! They ran out through the revolving doors. I tried to follow! My front half made It through . . . but my back half didn’t."
Frankie stood up and began to pace around again.
“But why did you bark at my dad?” Joe asked.
Frankie came to a wobbly stop. “Because he looked a bit like one of the robbers. He was wearing the same shorts.” Frankie puffed his chest out. “I’ve been keeping watch in case they come back—like a guard dog!”
Joe smiled. Weren’t guard dogs supposed to be big, fierce dogs like Rottweilers and German shepherds?
“And you’ve got to help, too!” added Frankie.
“Help keep a lookout, you mean?”
Frankie nodded. “AND stop them from stealing anything!”
Just then there was a loud ding-dong as a clock chimed in one of the rooms off the hallway.
The hairs on Frankie’s coat stood on end. “Time is running out, Joe! You’ve got to find out what they’re going to steal—and quickly, so we can stand guard tomorrow and stop them!”
“Joe?” Dad was coming down the stairs. “Who are you talking to?”
Joe felt his face go red.
“You’re not still sulking about having to carry Sarah’s bag, are you?”
Joe shook his head.
“Come upstairs and see your room. You’ve got a great view of the beach.”
Frankie gave a whine. “Don’t be long, Joe. I’m depending on you!”
“That’s mine and Mom’s room,” said Dad, once they reached the second-floor landing. “Sarah and Scarlet are sharing that one,” he added, pointing down the corridor. “And you and Toby are in here.”
The room was huge, with two big beds. Toby had already decided which one was his, and was bouncing up and down on it.
“It’s amazing!” he said, panting. “We’ve got our own bathroom! And our own fridge with sodas and chocolate in it!”
“Hey!” said Dad. “You haven’t been raiding the minibar, have you? We have to pay for that stuff, Toby. And stop bouncing!”
Joe kicked off his sneakers and stretched out on his bed. It was bigger than his one at home. And more springy, too!
“Awesome,” Joe said. For a moment, he forgot all about Frankie’s troubles. “Can we go and explore?”
Just then, Sarah poked her head through the door. “Mom wants to know where her bag with the hair things is. Scarlet and I need to practice our bridesmaids’ hairstyles!”
“It’s in the dresser in your room, Sarah,” said Dad. Then he turned to the boys. “Come on, let’s go and check out the beach.”