Take the following quiz.
Try your best.
This is not a test about the book, it is about solving mysteries and what the book taught you.
Questions and Answers
The Case of the Ruined Roses
"That was a neat program on UFO's" said Nina to her cousin Max as they walked down the street. "I think what really amazed me was that UFO's were reported as early as 1800."
"That's pretty hard to believe" said Max. "Anyway do you really believe there are such things?" Nina started to answer when they heard a loud scream coming from Coach Thornton's house.
"Come on" shouted Max. They ran into the yard where the coach was staring at ten rose bushes that had been pulled from the ground.
"Look at that!" he demanded. "Just look at that."
"That's terrible" cried Nina. "Who could have done it?"
Coach Thornton looked disgusted. "I had to bench three of my best football players for cutting class. They were pretty mad at me."
"First thing we'd better get these roses back in the ground" said Max. "Then we'll figure out who did it."
Nina and Max helped Coach Thornton replant the roses. Then he invited them in for milk and cookies.
"Now" said Nina. "Am I right? You benched Sam Cartland Mike Brooks and Alex Avery."
"And you lost the game" added Max.
The coach rubbed his eyes. "I know but rules are rules."
"I'll bet one of them did it to get even" said Nina. "How about we nose around a little?"
"Let's see" said Max after they left. "Coach said the roses were all right when he looked out at nine. But shortly after ten he found them pulled up."
"So we check to see who doesn't have an alibi between nine and ten. Look!" Nina pointed. "There's Alex Avery over at the Dairy Bar."
Alex looked up as they came in. "Hi kids" he drawled.
"Hello yourself" said Max. "We missed seeing you in the football game."
"That was a bummer all right. But I guess the coach didn't have any choice."
"Where you been all morning?" asked Nina.
"I've been right here since nine." He turned to the girl behind the counter. "Isn't that right Amy?"
"Uh huh. You helped me carry in that heavy box."
"So you weren't anywhere near Coach Thornton's house?" asked Max.
Alex looked surprised. "No I'm not mad at him but I don't intend to visit him."
After they left Nina looked down the street. "That's Sam Cartland's house. Let's see what he's been doing."
"What do you two want" growled Sam when he came to the door.
"Hey lighten up Sam" said Max. "Can we talk with you?"
"Sure come on in." He pressed a button on his remote control and turned off his VCR. "I've been watching some football tapes to improve my game."
"We wondered what you were doing between nine and ten this morning" said Nina.
"I was right here watching that program on UFO's."
"That was a good program" said Nina. Remember when that guy from Roswell New Mexico insisted he had been abducted?"
"Yeah" laughed Sam. "The one with the bushy hair. Funny how this has been going on for so long. That pilot Kenneth Arnold started it back in 1947 with the stuff he saw."
"Very interesting" said Max trying not to look bored. "But we have to get going."
"Maybe we can find Mike Brooks working out at the gym" said Nina as they left.
"Probably" agreed Max.
They found him on the treadmill. "Hey you two want to join down here? It's a great place to work out."
"Not right now" said Max. "We were wondering about what you were doing from nine to ten this morning."
"Right here. You can check the log book. Why?"
"Just curious" said Nina with a smile as they went back to the desk. Sure enough Mike had signed in at five of nine.
This is great" Nina groaned. "They all have alibis."
"I'm not so sure of that" said Max.
Whom does Max suspect?
The Case of the Disappearing Dimes
Nina had expected her great-great uncle's house to be like mansions in the movies with marble columns and rose gardens not peeling paint and a weed- filled lawn. But Dad explained that Waldo hated spending money except on his collections.
Nina's parents thought the kids were playing outside. Instead they snuck into the candlelit parlor.
"Your Mom will freak out if she catches us" Nina's cousin Max muttered.
"I know. But Uncle Waldo traveled a lot and I never got to meet him while he was alive. I just want to see what he looks like."
"At least turn on some lights" Max grumbled. "This is creepy."
"Didn't you hear the lawyer talking to Mom and Dad? Uncle Waldo called the parlor his 'candle room.' He never had it wired for electricity." She crept over to the coffin and peered inside.
Waldo wore a tuxedo with a ruffled shirt and red cummerbund. His white hair was neatly combed his nails manicured and his diamond stickpin and silver cufflinks glittered in the candlelight.
"He looks nice" Nina whispered.
Max took one glance inside then pulled Nina away from the coffin. "Weird" he said. "I didn't think people wore tuxedos when they were buried."
"He liked it. Dad said Uncle Waldo even had his portrait painted wearing this exact same outfit. He put it in his will that he wanted to be dressed for his funeral exactly the way he is in that portrait."
Max shivered. "I wonder who had to dress him?"
"Harvey Waldo's assistant."
"Like a butler?"
"So he really was rich. Hey your Dad was kidding about inheriting twenty cents right?"
Nina led her cousin back down the hall. "Well Waldo did leave Dad two dimes. But Mercury is facing the wrong way or something and that makes them worth a lot of money. Mom said it was enough to pay my way through college someday."
"Uncle Waldo's daughter Fiona inherited the house and all this stuff." They entered the study where Nina's parents were talking to the lawyer Mr. Baxter. Max gawked at Waldo's "collections." Display cases everywhere were filled with jewel-encrusted objects.
Harvey Waldo's assistant handed glasses of lemonade to the kids then left. Nina thought he looked as sour as the drink tasted.
"Fiona arrived earlier but you probably won't see her until the funeral tomorrow" the lawyer was saying. "Waldo requested burial near his gazebo. Harvey will dig the grave himself."
"Poor Harvey" Dad murmured.
Baxter nodded. "At least Waldo set up a trust that will continue to pay Harvey's salary small as it is. Now would you like to see the dimes?"
In the master bedroom upstairs the lawyer twirled the combination lock on a wall safe while Nina studied the painting of Waldo that hung above the fireplace. Decked out in his tux ruffled shirt jade cufflinks and diamond stickpin he seemed to wink down at her.
Baxter removed a box from the safe and opened it.
Everyone gasped. The box was empty.
"Impossible!" the older man exclaimed. "They were here an hour ago."
"The safe isn't damaged" Mom remarked. "How many people know the combination?".
He frowned. "Just myself Fiona and Harvey. I'd better call the police."
"Go ahead" Dad said. "But no matter who stole the dimes they're small enough to be hidden anywhere. Even if the police tear the house apart I'll bet they never find them." Nina stood up staring at the portrait. "I think I know who took the dimes" she whispered to Max. "And if I'm right I know where they are."
Whom does Nina suspect?
The Case of the Sneak Thief's Sneakers
It was Saturday afternoon and Max and Nina were playing space aliens in the woods. "Something's different" Max said as they took a break between battles. "I know. Mr. Reed's not practicing."
Mr. Reed was the school's music teacher. The woods lay right by his property and every Saturday as they played the young cousins were always serenaded by solo clarinet music coming from the shack behind Mr. Reed's house.
Nina climbed down from the tree house they were using as their star cruiser. "You're right. I hope nothing's wrong." The words were barely out of her mouth when they heard a distant shout. "That's him."
Max and Nina ran to the edge of the woods. In front of them was Mr. Reed's field. In the middle of the field was the shack. Mr. Reed was there peering through the shack's open door.
"I've been robbed" he shouted for the fourth time. "Max. Nina. Hello." He was trying to control his anger. "I'd just unlocked the door when I noticed a split reed on my clarinet. I went back to my house to get a new one. I left the shack unlocked just for a few minutes. And now look."
Max and Nina had never seen the inside before but they'd heard about it. Mr. Reed's music shack had been burgled last year everything in stolen. When the music teacher brought in new furniture he bolted it all to the floor-- the table in the center the single chair by the table even the file cabinets.
At first glance nothing seemed out of place. But then Nina saw the broken pieces of pink pottery on the table. "Someone broke open your piggy bank?"
Mr. Reed looked embarrassed. "It held my rare silver dollar collection." He crossed the room and stretched his tall frame up to the blank space on his only shelf. "I kept it right here."
"A crime of opportunity" Max said as if he dealt with this every day. "The thief saw the unlocked door and was looking for something to steal. He or she grabbed the piggy bank broke it open on the table--"
"Look" Nina interrupted. "Footprints. Those aren't yours are they?"
"No" Mr. Reed replied examining the path of prints on the dusty floor. "I haven't been in here since last Saturday. Being in the middle of a field this place gets dusty pretty fast."
Very carefully Max followed the prints from the door over to the shelf then back to the table. After that a jumble of prints led all around the room. "I wonder what he was doing?"
Nina was on the other side of the shack by a pair of nailed down file cabinets. "These look like knee-prints" she said pointing to a pair of round impressions between the cabinets. "Why would the thief kneel down?" She knelt down in the two knee prints. Right away a glint of metal between the two cabinets caught her eye. Nina reached her arm through the narrow gap and pulled out a silver dollar. "The thief was trying to reach this" she said proudly and handed the rescued coin to Mr. Reed. "He was wearing 'SkyMaster' sneakers." Max stood up and wiped a little floor dust from his nose. "It's printed on the tread. Don't worry Mr. Reed. We'll find your thief."
Max and Nina got on the case immediately. This was a lot more fun than fighting space aliens.
Their first stop was Garvey's the only shoe store in town. Mr. Garvey informed them that "SkyMaster" was a new brand of sneaker. "Since getting them in last week I've made three sales" he said checking his computer. "The first pair went to Todd Jones. You know him?" "Sure" Nina said. Everybody knew Todd "Beanpole" Jones. He resembled a seven foot tall skeleton and was the center of the high school basketball team.
"I sold the second pair to Ollie Infree. You kids probably don't know Ollie."
But they did. Ollie Infree was a petty criminal whose taste for red suits made him look like a fireplug or like a short Santa without the beard. He'd been arrested several times once on Max's and Nina's suggestion. But he always managed to avoid conviction. The third pair had been bought by Mona Everest a human mountain as tall as Beanpole and as stocky as Ollie. Mona had made a career for herself as a professional wrestler. Two years ago she retired from the ring and moved to Harborville in order to breed toy poodles.
"We'll have to spy on them all" Nina whispered as they left the store. "Maybe break into their houses and see--" "We're not breaking into anyone's house" Max insisted. "I already think I know who the culprit is."
Whom does Max suspect?
The Case of the Disappearing Signs
Nina was eating cold pizza for lunch at Max's house one hot July day. Mrs. Decker came in looking warm and weary.
"I'm so disgusted" she said. "Remember that old house over on Norton Drive that I listed? I put a FOR SALE sign up in the yard early this morning. Just drove by now and it's gone. This is the third one this month that has disappeared."
"Why would anyone steal a realtor's signs?" Nina asked. "What would anybody do with them?"
"Who knows?" Mrs. Decker poured herself a glass of lemonade. "Probably some kids with nothing better to do. I suppose they could use the signs to build something. They were the wooden ones."
Max nudged Nina. "Want to bike over and see what we can find out?"
"Not much there to see" his mother told him. "Only two houses on that whole street. An old lady-Mrs. Stearns-lives in the house next to the empty one."
"Maybe she saw something" Nina said. "Let's go ask."
Half an hour later the two were biking toward the end of Norton Drive. A pick-up truck was parked in front of the empty house. A man was standing on the sidewalk looking in all directions.
"You kids know anything about this place?" he asked. "I'm from out of town and my nephew has been checking houses for me this past month. He thought I might like the one at the end of Norton Drive so he let me borrow his truck to drive over here. But I don't know if this is the house he meant. There aren't any signs."
"This house is for sale" Max told him. "My mom is the real estate agent."
"Great! Then can you tell me her name and company? I'd like to ask about this property. Paul tells me that houses in this part of town sell fast. He says this one has been on the market for quite some time. Glad I got here before it was sold! Just couldn't get over here any sooner."
As soon as Max gave him the information the man drove off. Nina stared after the truck. "Know what? His nephew Paul might have taken the signs. Maybe he didn't want people to see that the house was for sale until his uncle had a chance to look at it. You can put lots of things in the back of a truck."
Max nodded. "Let's ask this Mrs. Stearns if she saw anything this morning."
Mrs. Stearns came to the screen as soon as the two knocked. She was gray-haired but she stood straight and tall. "Oh I think I know who might have taken those signs" she told them. "Freddie Swanson. He lives a block away but he's always up to mischief."
She held the door open as she talked so Nina peeked inside. She liked the cozy living room. The sofa and chairs were velvet-covered antiques. Lace doilies covered the end tables. A large painting hung over the intricately- carved fireplace mantel and a cheerful fire crackled below.
"I know Freddie" Max said. "And I know where he lives. Let's go see him."
Freddie was putting a lawn mower in the garage when they reached his house. He mopped his brow as he talked to them. "Why would I take a dumb old sign?" he asked. "Besides I've been out here doing yard work all morning." Nina stared past him at the garage. Her parents could hardly get their car in her garage at home because of all the stuff in it but this one was practically bare. Then she noticed a crudely built tree house in the yard. The boards were gray and weather-beaten.
She and Max talked as they biked back to his house. Mrs. Decker was washing the lunch dishes when they banged into the house.
"We think we know who took the signs" Nina told her.
Whom does Nina suspect?
The Case of the Snack Shack
Harborville's Beach Snack Shop had been open only an hour when Max stopped in and noticed a new poster announcing a price increase. "I put the sign up this morning" Mr. Levine told him. "Had to raise my prices ten percent because I have so many new expenses. Like now I need a new window for my back room. Somebody broke it trying to get into my store last night."
"Have you called the police?" Max asked.
"No. Nothing was stolen." He led Max to a small storeroom in the back. "I use this space as an office. Sat here and made my price change poster last night. Soon's I was done I left it on that old desk. When I went out I locked the door to the main part of my store. So whoever got in was stuck in this little storeroom. Nothing here to steal."
When Max left he wandered down to the break wall where Nathan and Trevor were fishing. "Did you hear that somebody broke a window at the Shack?" he asked.
"Nope" Nathan said. "We've been here since dawn. Haven't talked to anybody." Trevor gestured to the bucket. "We've caught some big ones." Nathan stood. "But now I'm starving. I've got a dollar left from my allowance. If Mr. Levine is there now I'm going up to the Shack to get a Big Beach Bun."
"Better get another dime from somewhere" Trevor told him. "A dollar's not enough any more. As for me I'm going home to get a couple sandwiches for myself."
"You both stay right here" Max said. "I know which one of you broke that window. You'd better think of a way to pay for it because I'm telling Mr. Levine."
How did max figure it out?
The Three Feathers
Megan lay on the table while the six of us stood around her with just our fingertips under her. We chanted "light as a feather stiff as a board" and waited for her to rise up. Then we all screamed out because Megan didn't just rise up she...
turned into a feather a very stiff feather. We did not read the fine print on the bottom of the paper which told us how to make people float. It said that if the person turns into feather go to the back of the book. All of a sudden we heard a knock on the door. It was Nick Megan's dad.
"What are we going to do?" we all whispered.
I reached and locked the door so he could not come in a find his daughter gone.
"Girls" Megan's dad called from outside the door "I have some cookies and milk for you all! I also brought a movie and some popcorn."
"Oh ummm...we will be right there. We are changing--hold on!" I said.
"OK I will wait!" Nick replied.
"Go and turn on Meg's shower so her dad will not worry about where she is!" I whispered to one of the girls to do.
"OK you may come in now" I called to Nick.
"Hey were is Megan?" Nick asked.
"Oh...she is in the shower" said Jennifer one of the other girls at the party.
"Why?" Nick asked.
"She wanted to freshen up" I said.
"Oh alright" Nick said.
We had placed Megan--in feather form--on the windowsill and we had forgotten that Nick was allergic to feathers. He started to sneeze so he opened the window and Megan flew out the window! She landed in a pile of leaves. We all gasped.
"What is wrong? Nick asked us.
"Oh nothing...we just...ummm--"
"We just...ummm...we just love your popcorn so much!"
"Well thank you. I need to run to the store. I will be back in an hour or so. Is that OK with you girls?" Nick asked us.
"Yes that is fine with us." We all answered.
After we saw Nick pull out if the driveway we rushed to the front yard. We started looking franticly through the leaves. Then three of us found three different feathers that looked exactly alike! We started thinking: Jennifer remembered that Megan was stiff as a board so we checked the feathers. Two of them were stiff as a board so we threw the feather that was not stiff out the window. We set the feathers on the table in Megan's room. We opened the back of the book and it said we would need the right feather. We looked down at the two feathers. I kept reading.
"Hey you guys it says here that if you do the wrong feather it will turn into a pen!" I said to the girls.
"So?" Jennifer asked.
"So We can do both feathers!" I said.
"Yeah" we all said!
I was getting out the ingredients out of the cabinets when Nick reappeared.
"Hey girls" Nick called from his car. "Can you came help me?"
"We will be right there!" I called.
"OK" Nick called back.
"What are we going to do?" I mumbled "Megan is still a feather! And we are missing this stuff called...Magic Butter? We might have to go to the store or something I don't know" I told the girls while walking to Nick's car.
"Hi girls where is Megan?" Nick asked us while handing us some bags of food.
"Oh she is upstairs the on the phone with her mom!" I told Nick.
"OK" he said. "Have you eaten all of your popcorn yet?" Nick asked us while we were all putting away the food.
"No not yet." I replied.
"Good because I got this stuff called "Magic Butter. You can put it on your popcorn and it will taste better!" Nick said passing it to us.
"We would love to use--I mean try--it!" I said.
We all ran up to Megan's room and we followed the instructions on how to turn Megan back. We all stood around the feather with just two fingers under her and chanted: "Megan Megan come back now." We poured the Magic Butter on the feather put Megan's favorite food on top of it and chanted again: "Megan Megan come back now." And POOF! She was lying on her desk in her real body and we all screamed in delight!
"We are glad to have you back Megan!"
What question would you write in order to solve a solvable and mysterious story like the one above?
The Darkmaster's Challenge
I kept glancing at the clock while I played my Mazecrawler game on the computer. Maybe Randy forgot that he was supposed to come over with a brand new game. Or maybe he was just late like usual.
I was thinking about calling when I heard my Mom holler "Dennis Randy's here." A second later he came blazing into my bedroom and whipped off his backpack. "Check this out" he said taking a package out of the pack.
"'Realm of the Darkmaster'" I read off the cover "I've never even heard of this one."
"Me neither. But I found this really neat little store over on Sixth street and the guy in charge told me that this was the coolest game ever made! It's the test version so he gave it to me free! C'mon let's play!"
Randy is in sixth grade with me and he's probably the number one computer freak in the school. If anyone could find the coolest computer game in the world it would be him. I popped the disk into my CD ROM drive and waited for it to install. But instead the screen went completely black. Then a face slowly began to appear on it.
The face was thin pale and completely hairless not even eyebrows and the way it seemed to be looking right at me gave me the willies.
"I am the Darkmaster" the face said "and I challenge you to enter to my realm if you dare. Click on the green shield and you will be taken on an amazing adventure but beware: there is only one way out.
Are you smart enough and brave enough to discover the secret?" The face then started to laugh which made the hairs on my neck stand up. I was about to suggest playing something else when Randy clicked on the green shield icon. Then lightning struck my room. That's the only way I can describe it. A sudden flash knocked me over and the next thing I knew Randy and I were on our hands and knees in some kind of a hot stuffy stone room. There were lit torches and I could see picture writing on the walls. "Egyptian hieroglyphics!" I said. "This is totally nuts but we're inside a pyramid!"
But he was too busy screaming to hear me. I turned and saw what he was screaming at. Leaning against one wall was a mummy case and the lid was creaking open! When it opened all the way the wrinkled bone-bag inside raised its head and looked at us!
We ran into each other at first but then toward a passageway that led out of the chamber. From behind us we heard footsteps...the mummy was chasing us!
We kept running until the passageway split into two. "Which way?" I asked but our decision was made by the gray scurrying thing that came out of the passageway on the right. "Eeew a rat!" Randy screamed.
"I think it's only a mouse" I said "but I still don't like it. Let's go the other way."
After going on for what seemed like ten miles the passageway ended in front of two huge wooden doors."This one" Randy decided though I think he was just guessing. It took both of us to push the heavy door open. On the other side was a huge wooden room like the kind you see in old castles. Standing on platforms against each wall was a huge suit of armor complete with a battle sword and shield. The weird thing was they were all different colors: one was blue one red one yellow and one black. On the other side was another door. And there were mice in this room too.
"You know what's happened don't you?" Randy said and I didn't even have to answer. I knew. Crazy as it sounded somehow we'd been pulled into the game itself!
"Maybe that's the way out" I said and we headed for the other door but a clanking metal sound stopped us. Looking over I saw that the blue suit of armor had stepped down and was now walking towards us! We turned to run back but the red suit of armor cut us off. Then the black and the yellow ones moved in on us and before long we were surrounded! And if this wasn't bad enough a mouse was crawling on my shoe!
"Now what?" Randy cried.
"That Darkmaster creep said there was one way out we just have to find it."
The knights were closing in swords raised!
The mouse was now trying to crawl up my pantleg. "Aw man!" I shoutedshaking my foot but just then an idea hit me. "No" I said "that can't really be the way out it's too corny."
"Who cares?" Randy hollered. "If you've got an idea go for it!"
"Okay." Reaching down I forced myself to pick up the mouse. It wriggled and squirmed in my hand and I almost dropped it but I managed to hold on. "Green means go so red must mean stop." I turned to the red knight and held the mouse up to its shield then made a clicking sound with my tongue. In an instant there was another flash of lightning and when I opened my eyes we were back in my room!
"Man" Randy panted "what did you do?"
"The secret was a sick joke. To start the game we mouse-clicked on a green shield right? So to get out "
"You clicked a mouse on a red shield" Randy groaned.
"Sorry but this disk is going in the trash" I said opening my CD ROM drive. But the disk wasn't there!
The next day we decided to visit the little store where Randy had gotten it. But when we got there he nearly had a cow because there was no store only a vacant lot.
"But it was here!" he cried.
"Hey what's that?" I said pointing to an envelope on the ground an envelope with our names on it! With shaking hands I picked it up opened it and read: "You won and therefore I must go back and make my game more challenging. Perhaps we shall play again someday."
It was signed: "The Darkmaster
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