|Publisher:||Penguin Young Readers Group|
|Series:||The Whodunit Detective Agency , #8|
|Sold by:||Penguin Group|
|Lexile:||710L (what's this?)|
|File size:||19 MB|
|Note:||This product may take a few minutes to download.|
|Age Range:||7 - 9 Years|
About the Author
Read an Excerpt
Chapter 1: Five Hundred and Fifty Pounds of Pure Gold
It was a beautiful, warm afternoon in July. School was out, and Maya and Jerry had nothing but free time. So far that summer they had spent a lot of time riding their bikes, looking for adventure. That morning they had set out on their bikes as usual. And now, they had joined the police chief on a dock in the harbor. They were watching a wooden crate as it was hoisted out of a big ship.
“Here comes the gold,” said the police chief with excitement. “Five hundred and fifty pounds of solid gold!”
“I wonder how much it’s worth,” said Jerry.
“Let’s see,” said the police chief, pushing his cap to the back of his head. “Probably more like sixteen million dollars, I’d say.”
“Wow,” said Jerry, impressed.
“Why is all this gold coming to Pleasant Valley?” asked Maya.
“Well, it’s not going to stay here,” explained the police chief. “Tomorrow the gold heads to a big bank in another city. But tonight we are responsible for it.”
“Where will the gold spend the night?” asked Jerry. “The hotel, like other visitors?”
“Very funny, Jerry,” said Maya, rolling her eyes.
“We’ll keep it in the safest place in Pleasant Valley,” replied the police chief. “The bank vault, of course!”
The crate was loaded next to another similar-looking crate on the back of a truck. A dark-haired woman in uniform walked over. She saluted the police chief, who saluted her right back.
“Maria Gonzales de la Cruz,” said the woman with a smile. “Head of security at the bank.”
“Randolph Larson,” replied the police chief. “It’s a pleasure to meet you! Are you new at the bank? I don’t think we’ve met before.”
“That’s right.” The security officer smiled. “I’ve been at the bank for about three weeks. Now,” she said, holding out a piece of paper, “I need your signature here.”
“What’s that you’re signing?” Maya asked the police chief. She stood on tiptoe to see what was on the piece of paper. “Gold: five hundred and fifty pounds,” she read. Maya couldn’t see what else it said because the security officer’s thumb was in the way.
“A consignment note,” explained Maria Gonzales de la Cruz, smiling at Maya.
“It shows that we received the gold,” explained the police chief, who signed the bottom.
The security officer tore off a yellow copy and gave it to the police chief, who folded the paper and tucked it in the pocket of his uniform.
“Okay, we’re off to the bank,” said Maria Gonzales de la Cruz as she jumped into the truck.
“Come on, kids,” said the police chief, hopping onto his bike. “Let’s head that way, too.”
When Jerry, Maya, and the police chief reached Pleasant Valley’s bank, the security officer was hard at work wheeling the second crate inside. A bald-headed man in a gray suit watched from a nearby spot. He looked worried.
“Careful there, Maria. Make sure it doesn’t tip over,” he said to the security officer.
“Do you need a hand?” asked the police chief.
The man in the gray suit looked up in surprise. Jerry thought he seemed pretty nervous.
I’d probably be jumpy, too, he thought. That gold is worth a lot of money.
“Thanks for the offer, but I’ve got this,” said Maria to the police chief. After a few more grunts, she disappeared into the bank.
Maya rested her bike against the wall of the building and looked through the window into the bank. She saw the security officer wheeling the crate into a big bank vault. Maya looked at her watch. It showed ten to six.
Then she saw Maria Gonzales pulling the heavy door to the vault closed.
“Well, well, the police chief is here to make sure everything goes smoothly,” said the man in the gray suit.
He walked over to the police chief and held out his hand. The police chief and the man shook.
“This is the bank manager, Larry Mernard,” said the police chief to Jerry and Maya.
Maya looked into the bank again. The security officer was now standing with her back to Maya and the others, adjusting something above the door to the vault. Maya leaned closer to the window but couldn’t see exactly what Maria Gonzales was doing.
“It’s a big day for our little bank here in Pleasant Valley,” continued the police chief.
“And a stressful one,” acknowledged the bank manager. “Just imagine if something were to go wrong!”
Larry Mernard wiped his forehead with a handkerchief.