It's finally vacation time, and the Mistery cousins are enjoying a cruise on a luxurious transatlantic ship called the King Arthur. Unfortunately, crime never takes a rest! Agatha and her friends get caught up in a spy conspiracy, in which they must retrieve a top-secret document and capture an unstoppable killer. And they have to pull it off without Uncle Sam, Larry's nosy father, catching on!
|Publisher:||Penguin Young Readers Group|
|Series:||Agatha: Girl of Mystery , #10|
|Sold by:||Penguin Group|
|Lexile:||720L (what's this?)|
|File size:||14 MB|
|Note:||This product may take a few minutes to download.|
|Age Range:||8 - 12 Years|
About the Author
Read an Excerpt
Capture the top secret–document thief who murdered a notorious spy, before the luxury ship King Arthur reaches its next destination!
PRELUDE: The Investigation Begins . . .
Dashiell Mistery was a lanky fourteen-year-old boy with the muscle tone of wet spaghetti. His long black hair always looked as if he’d just rolled out of bed, or off the couch where he often spent all morning sleeping. He stayed up till all hours every night tinkering with all the amazing high-tech devices in his penthouse on the top floor of London’s Baker Palace. His friends had nicknamed Dash “Doctor Jekyll” because of his night-owl habits, which reminded them of a mad scientist locked away in his lab.
When he first heard the nickname, Dash laughed and tried to shrug it off. But there was no way to deny that everyone in the Mistery family was a little . . . well, odd. They were deeply eccentric people with unusual jobs, living in every corner of the globe. Dash had an unusual job of his own, which he kept well-hidden from almost everyone. With a few rare exceptions, nobody knew about his stunning success as a teenage detective!
Even his father, Edgar Allan Mistery, knew nothing about all the dangerous missions that Eye International Detective School had assigned to Dash, investigating thefts, kidnappings, and other crimes. Edgar had divorced Dash’s mother a long time ago and remarried recently. When his ex-wife enrolled their son at the prestigious academy, Edgar had made Dash promise to study hard and ace all his tests so that someday he’d be the director of London’s famous Scotland Yard. Then Edgar had burst out laughing, always a sign he was throwing down some kind of challenge. A former Olympic athlete, he was a very competitive man, and nothing made him as happy as winning.
Ever since then, Dash had struggled to do his best in his classes and on every investigation to which he was assigned. But not this week—he was about to go on a vacation! No high-pressure final exams, no unsolved mysteries lurking on the horizon. The aspiring detective had seven whole days of blissful relaxation ahead. There was only one hitch: He’d be spending this otherwise perfect week with his dad.
“Same old story whenever I see him,” Dash grumbled, climbing the ladder to the high diving board. When he got to the top, he grabbed hold of both rails. The turquoise pool shimmered on Deck Twelve of the majestic ocean liner King Arthur as it plowed through tall waves off the Norwegian coast. Wherever he looked, the young detective saw water: the endless, foaming sea, the sun glinting off waves in a thousand broken reflections. The emerald-green fjords shone in the distance, with waterfalls plunging down from a great height. And way down below was that tiny square pool.
“What are you waiting for, Dash?” his father yelled from the side of the pool where he stood with his video camera, ready to shoot yet another video clip of his son doing something he hated.
Tanned, fit, and boyish, Edgar still looked like the top athlete he’d been.
“Are you planning to lose every challenge?” he said with a mocking laugh. “I already beat you at swimming and holding your breath underwater. You’re such a wimp!”
Dash gritted his teeth as he inched forward on the wobbly diving board. Why had he ever agreed to go on this cruise with his dad? He knew it would be unbearable.
Sun, fun, and endless free food, he reminded himself.
The best way to settle this once and for all was to prove to his father he wasn’t a loser. So Dash took a deep breath, trying to fight back his fear of heights, and stepped to the edge of the diving board.
“Let’s see what you’ve got!” Edgar Mistery said with a cackle. “Did you see what a big splash I made with my double back somersault? Try and beat that, if you can!”
“Yeah, right . . . This time I’ll show you,” Dash muttered without much conviction. He set his feet carefully at the edge and spread his arms wide for what he hoped would look like a magnificent swan dive. “I’m . . . um . . . almost ready!”
But something distracted him.
A crowd of onlookers stood next to the pool, cheering and catcalling. The only person missing was his father’s new wife, Olympic speed skating champion Kristi Linstrid. She sat under a large umbrella slathering sunscreen on little Ilse, the latest addition to the Mistery family. Dash’s baby sister shared his blue eyes, his long legs—and his obsession with shiny high-tech devices. She had spotted his EyeNet in his unzipped sports bag, and was fooling around with its buttons.
“Oh no!” mumbled Dash. “If she turns it on, I’ll be in big trouble. Good thing I encrypted the passcode.”
The shiny prototype, designed to look like a trendy cell phone, was only available to students of Eye International. Hidden inside the EyeNet’s titanium shell was a high-powered hard drive with a wealth of secret archives, online databases, and state-of-the-art apps to assist with investigations.
“Go, Dash! You rock!” cheered a group of teen girls on the edge of the pool. He peered down and blushed beet red as they waved and blew kisses at him.
“What a heartbreaker!” Edgar Mistery declared proudly. He turned to the noisy group of bikini-clad fans. “We’re throwing a party for my son tonight. Want to come?”
The girls squealed happily, as though they’d been invited to a private party with a rock star.
Embarrassed, Dash covered his face with his hands. It was official: This was the most awkward vacation ever. All he’d wanted was to spend a few days away from his boring homework routine, and he’d bent over backward to get permission from his school . . . for this?
Tormented by these thoughts, Dash thought about giving up on Edgar’s challenge. He could climb back down the ladder, join Kristi and Ilse, and stretch out on a deck chair, relaxing in peace. As he turned his gaze toward them, a scene unfolded as if in slow motion.
This is what he saw. The EyeNet started screeching and blinking like crazy, and little Ilse freaked out and flung it away. It flew through the air, clattering over the slippery tiles and sliding toward the pool.
Dash had been assigned a new mission, and his EyeNet was about to drown!
Without stopping to think, Dash launched himself off the diving board with a spectacular twist. He plunged into the water with perfect style and popped up the edge, resurfacing just in time to grab the EyeNet a second before it hit the water.
“Got it!” Dash gasped.
He turned it on to make sure it was still working. It was. He was so relieved that he didn’t notice that everyone was gaping at him with their jaws dropped, amazed by his champion dive. The girls broke into cheers, but Dash had already shot out of the pool, grabbed his T-shirt and flip-flops, and charged off to find his cousin Agatha in the ship’s library. He ran past the lifeguard and into the hall, dripping water all over the carpet, ignoring every one of the ship’s many rules. He pressed the elevator button, his eyes never leaving the EyeNet’s screen.
The message from Eye International wasted no words. He reread it twenty times:
MANHUNT ON THE KING ARTHUR. CODE NAME: “OPERATION BISMARCK.” DETAILS IN ATTACHED FILE. PROCEED WITH UTMOST URGENCY.
PS: SORRY TO WRECK YOUR VACATION!
The elevator doors opened, and Dash pushed in between the stunned passengers. Wreck his vacation? Not in the least! The boy breathed a sigh of relief. An investigation was the perfect way to escape from his dad.
CHAPTER ONE: Library at Sea
Aspiring writer Agatha Mistery had memorized every inch of the King Arthur. When the towering ship had first launched from the docks of Southampton a few years before, there had been hundreds of newspaper articles and television programs describing its elegant British design and state-of-the-art navigation systems.
Bigger than the Titanic, and powered by massive turbine engines, the King Arthur carried five thousand passengers and crew members on cruises all over the world. It boasted all the usual tourist attractions, distributed over its sixteen decks: restaurants, movie theaters, swimming pools and jacuzzis, gyms, a day spa, ballrooms, a casino, and luxury stores.
But Agatha had no interest in any of these entertainments. Wearing a classic beribboned white hat and a cool linen dress, she sat scribbling notes into her trusty notebook. From the moment they set sail, she had been happily lost among the rare maritime books and ancient maps in the ship’s library on Deck Six, a quiet place organized in the best Oxford tradition.
What a gold mine for mystery stories! Her imagination ran wild.
“What do you think about a dark creature from the abyss coming up to the surface to menace our heroes?” she whispered to Chandler. She was plotting a mystery novel set on a cruise ship lost in the icy waters of the Arctic Circle.
The smart, pretty twelve-year-old often found inspiration in the far-flung places she and Dash got to visit. Sailing along the Norwegian fjords evoked images of stark contrast: the striking beauty of the picturesque landscape and the terror of the high seas. She pointed to a dramatic painting of a giant tentacled creature, framed on the library’s wall.
“They might think their ship has been seized by the legendary kraken,” she went on, tapping the tip of her small upturned nose.
Chandler approached the painting and bent his enormous ex-heavyweight frame to examine it closer. “Did you just say kraken, Miss Agatha?” he asked. “The giant squid from the Viking sagas?” Without waiting for her to answer, he rubbed his square jaw and observed, “It might seem a little implausible.”
A brilliant smile lit the girl’s face. “It’s a ‘red herring,’ a plot device to raise the tension,” she said with a nod. “Of course the kraken won’t ever show up. It only exists in the characters’ imaginations.”
“Um, yes . . . well, of course.” Chandler coughed.
The Mistery House butler and jack-of-all-trades adjusted his tie and petted Watson, who sat on his shoulders. Every so often, the white Siberian cat raised his nose and immediately dropped it back down, mewing in protest. The ship was kept sparkling clean, and the scent of disinfectant bothered his sensitive nose.
“Oh no, I got lost in my story again!” Agatha said, laughing and checking her watch. “It’s almost dinnertime, and we’re supposed to join Uncle Edgar tonight at the welcome dinner.”
Dash’s dad was the brother of Agatha’s own father, Arthur Mistery. Along with his love of competitive sports, Edgar was fluent in dozens of languages. Always ready to change careers at the drop of a hat, he was just as impatient with marriage and had recently tied the knot for the third time. He had three children, one from each marriage. The oldest son was the Parisian painter Gaston, followed by Dash, and now Ilse. Edgar, Kristi, and Ilse had boarded that morning at the Norwegian port of Bergen, joining Agatha, Dash, and Chandler, who had set sail from England the previous day.
“If you don’t mind, Miss,” Chandler said gallantly. “Let me carry your books.”
“It’s a pretty big pile,” she admitted, eyeing the mountain of volumes she would read later, immersed in the calm of her cabin. “Are you sure you can manage?”
“No problem,” declared the butler.
He picked them all up in one strong arm, while Watson reached down to swipe at a rolled-up map. Chandler gently moved it away and was about to leave the library when a great commotion broke out at the door.
“Stop right there, sir!” somebody yelled.
“You’re dripping water all over!” another voice shouted.
A tall, lanky boy, drenched from head to toe, was being chased by two uniformed stewards.
“Arrrrrgh!” cried Dash, dodging first one, then another clumsy attempt to tackle him. “I have to speak with my cousin . . . GAAAH!”
He crashed into Chandler. Books scattered all over the carpet, the Siberian cat’s back arched, and Chandler went down with a tremendous thump.
Dash found himself sprawled across the butler’s stomach, astonished that he’d knocked the former champ onto the carpet.
“Did I hurt you?” asked Dash, momentarily shaken. Then his eyes narrowed and he blurted as if nothing had happened, “Agatha! Where is she? I need her!”
“Right behind you, dear cousin,” said Agatha, sounding reproachful. She was staring at him with her arms folded.
“It’s just . . . you see, I got a . . . ,” Dash tried to explain, but a stern look from Agatha stopped him in mid-sentence.
“Is your poor mother still running a fever?” Agatha improvised, feigning concern. “Summer flus can be brutal, especially in London’s humidity. Let’s go ask the ship’s doctor for his advice. Come with me!”
Hearing her words, the stewards calmed down. They walked away, grumbling that even when someone was sick, rules should be respected. Agatha’s ruse had worked. Since Dash was still dripping wet, the group left the library and entered the hall, which was filled with passengers from all over the world.
As soon as they found a secluded nook, Agatha took control. “Spit it out, Dash,” she urged. “What sort of mission have you been given?”
“H-how did you know I’m on a mission?” Her cousin was stunned.
Chandler responded first. “No offense, Master Dash, but whenever you choke your EyeNet in your fist like that, it’s a classic sign there’s a red alert.”
“Exactly.” Agatha nodded. “But get to the point. What can you possibly do? We’ll be at sea all night, sailing from Bergen to Trondheim. We won’t be able to leave the King Arthur till dawn. Not to mention we’re with Uncle Edgar . . .”
“Dad can’t get involved!” Dash blurted. “If
he knew about my investigations, he’d try to take over!” Frowning, he checked to make sure there was no one nearby, then clicked on his EyeNet and showed them the message. “There’s no need to leave,” he said smugly. “The manhunt will take place on board the King Arthur!”
Chandler raised an eyebrow in surprise, while Watson peered down from his shoulder, his ears pricked.
“‘Operation Bismarck’ is a strange name,” mused Agatha, peering at the screen. “If my memory serves me correctly, Otto von Bismarck was a great Prussian leader in the nineteenth century. He unified Germany and was the nation’s first chancellor.”
“Is that so?” asked the butler, smoothing
his hair. “I’ve wondered about the origins of eggs Bismarck for years.” Agatha’s parents
were often away on business trips, so he had become an accomplished chef.
“You can throw out the keys to your memory drawers this time, cousin.” Dash smirked like a know-it-all. “Bismarck is the code name of a famous spy!”
“How do you know that?” asked Agatha.
Dash chuckled. “I just read the file!”
“What else did it say?” she pressed.
Dash shook his head. “Um, well . . . I only gave it a quick glance . . . I’ll need to connect the EyeNet to my laptop to access the rest.”
Agatha turned toward the elevators, and the others followed. “I bet our spy is a German in his sixties,” she said. “Code names are rarely as random as people think.”
“Is that just a guess?” asked Dash, hurrying to keep up.
“Not at all,” she said calmly. “You’ll see, I’ll be right.”
Moments later, they reached Dash’s cabin on Deck Eight. It was so messy, it looked as if it had been hit by a typhoon. He dug out his laptop from between rumpled bedsheets and checked the files he had downloaded.
It didn’t take long to find out that, as usual, Agatha’s theory was correct.