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儿童英语读物 The Mystery of the Spider's Clue CHAPTER 9 A Tangled Web

时间:2017-10-18 06:44来源:互联网 提供网友:qing   字体: [ ]

The Aldens pedaled downtown as fast as they could. They left their bikes in the parking lot behind the office building on Elm Street. As they raced around to the front of the building, they saw well-dressed people with briefcases1 coming and going.

The Aldens hurried inside the office building and up the stairs to the second floor. They walked along the hallway until they came to a door with PAINTNER AND BRADLEY written across the front in shiny black script.

As the door swung open, Melissa Campbell looked up from behind her desk.

“Hello, Melissa,” Jessie said politely as they stepped inside. “Remember us?”

The woman’s dark eyes narrowed in a frown. “Oh, yes.” Her tone made it clear she wasn’t pleased to see them.

“We came to visit Thomas,” Benny piped up. Then he quickly added, “He told us it was okay.”

“Mr. Paintner is busy with a client at the moment,” Melissa replied in an icy voice. “Maybe you children should come back another time.” She turned away.

But the Aldens didn’t give up.

“We don’t mind waiting,” said Henry.

Melissa faced them again. “I’m afraid Mr. Paintner already has someone waiting.”

When the children looked around, they noticed a young man sitting in the reception area. He was wearing a blue baseball cap with the letters GN on the front.

“We don’t mind waiting, too,” Henry said, a little more firmly this time. “We have all day.”

He went and sat down in the reception area. Jessie, Violet, and Benny did the same.

Melissa glared over at them. “This is a place of business,” she snapped, “not a playground.”

“That’s true,” said Jessie, who refused to be rude. “And we’ll try not to bother you.”

Benny looked at Violet. “Wow,” he said, his voice scarcely above a whisper. “Melissa doesn’t like us very much, does she?”

But Violet was only half listening. Out of the corner of her eye, she was watching the man in the baseball cap. She remembered seeing him earlier that morning at the Hollow Tree Restaurant. But the more she looked at him, the more certain she was she’d seen him somewhere else, too. Where was it?

Just then Thomas Paintner stepped out of his office. He looked surprised to see the Aldens sitting in the reception area.

Thomas walked over to them, smiling. “What’s up, kids?”

Henry got to his feet. So did his brother and sisters.

“We were hoping you might have time to talk,” began Henry. “It’s about—”

Melissa stood up so quickly, her chair scraped against the floor. “There’s a gentleman here to see you,” she broke in. “And he’s been waiting for quite some time.”

The man in the baseball cap suddenly stepped forward. “Ray Munch2,” he said, holding out his hand to Thomas. “I’m here about the inheritance.”

The children could hardly believe their ears. They held their breath.

“What . . . ?” For a long moment, Thomas looked at the young man.

“I got this in the mail.” Ray Munch reached into his pocket and pulled out an engraved3 invitation. He handed it to Thomas. “It says I’ll get an inheritance if I come up with the right code word.”

“You got this in the mail?” Thomas stared down at the invitation. He looked confused.

Jessie and Henry exchanged glances. Why did Thomas find it so hard to believe?

“You bet I did,” replied Ray. “And I’ve got the code word all figured out.”

Benny couldn’t stand the suspense4. “What is it?”

“Shakespeare,” Ray said. “The secret code word is Shakespeare!”

Thomas shook his head. “That’s not the secret code word at all.”

The four Aldens let out the breath they’d been holding.

Ray Munch looked over at Melissa in surprise. “But . . . I was so sure.”

The children caught the look. Thomas had seen it, too.

“What do you know about this, Melissa?” Thomas demanded.

Melissa looked angry. “How would I know anything about it?” she sputtered5. “Why, I’ve never even seen that . . . that man before today.”

Violet suddenly gasped6. Everyone turned to look at her.

“What is it, Violet?” asked Henry.

“I’ve seen him before.” Violet turned to Ray Munch. “The letters on your ball cap . . .” She paused for a moment. “‘GN’ stands for Greenfield Nursery. Right?”

“So what?” Ray shrugged7. “What’s it to you where I work?”

Benny suddenly recognized the man who’d almost bumped right into him. Putting his hands on his hips8, the youngest Alden looked accusingly at Ray and Melissa. Then, turning to Thomas, he said, “We heard them at the nursery the other day. They were talking about a big chance for something.”

“Is this true?” Thomas asked Melissa.

“I told you it wouldn’t work,” Ray muttered. “Didn’t I tell you?” Then, without another word, he stormed out of the office.

Melissa’s face turned a deep shade of red. She opened her mouth to speak, then closed it again. Suddenly her shoulders slumped9, and she sat down in her chair, looking defeated.

“I think you have some explaining to do, Melissa,” Thomas said in a stern voice.

After a moment’s silence, Melissa began to speak. “Ray Munch is my cousin,” she confessed. Then she looked at Thomas. “I happened to pick up the phone the other day when you were talking to Sam Snow. He wanted to know if the invitation he got was genuine. You told him all about your client and the inheritance. When I heard you say you didn’t know who was on your client’s mailing list, it started me thinking.”

Melissa told them the rest of the story. When Sam read the invitation aloud over the phone, she wrote it down word for word. Then she had an invitation made up for her cousin. Their agreement was to split the inheritance. It seemed like the perfect plan. The only hitch10 was getting hold of the clues. By a stroke of luck, though, Melissa met the Aldens. That’s when she saw her chance.

“You stole my notebook,” guessed Jessie. “And Grandfather’s street map.”

Melissa didn’t deny it. For the first time she looked directly at the Aldens. “When you kids mentioned your boxcar, I decided11 to check it out. I thought I might find some clues for tracking down the secret code word.” She paused. “I was only there long enough to grab the notebook and the map. I got out pretty fast.”

Benny put in, “Only you broke the heel of your shoe getting away.”

Melissa looked at Benny and nodded. She didn’t seem surprised by what the Aldens knew. “I realized what good detectives you were when I looked through that notebook. Everything was in there. All Ray had to do was check out the spider plant at the restaurant.” She let out a long, weary sigh. “I can’t believe he botched it up.”

“And I can’t believe you actually stole from the Aldens,” said Thomas, disappointment in his voice.

“I’ve done a lot of things I’m not very proud of,” replied Melissa. She sounded sad.

Thomas shook his head. “I won’t be needing your services anymore, Miss Campbell,” he said. “Please clear out your desk as soon as possible.”

Just then the door opened. Sam Snow and Rose Hill stepped inside.

Sam was wearing his best shirt and pants, while Rose was dressed in pink again. Even her purse had a pink rose on the front.

As Benny looked over at the owner of the Hollow Tree Restaurant, he suddenly figured out the answer to one mystery. His mouth dropped open.

Rose Hill was Pinky!


1 briefcases 03140fc6a6b7373e02cb9379249f4d4d     
n.公文[事]包( briefcase的名词复数 )
  • Portfolio, Name Card Holder, Pen, Briefcases, Computer Bags, Bags and Cases. 采购产品文件夹,名字备置卡片烛台,钢笔,公文包,计算机袋子,袋子和情形。 来自互联网
  • We have quite an array of leather briefcases. 我们有相当的一批公文包。 来自互联网
2 munch E1yyI     
  • We watched her munch through two packets of peanuts.我们看她津津有味地嚼了两包花生米。
  • Getting them to munch on vegetable dishes was more difficult.使他们吃素菜就比较困难了。
3 engraved be672d34fc347de7d97da3537d2c3c95     
v.在(硬物)上雕刻(字,画等)( engrave的过去式和过去分词 );将某事物深深印在(记忆或头脑中)
  • The silver cup was engraved with his name. 银杯上刻有他的名字。
  • It was prettily engraved with flowers on the back. 此件雕刻精美,背面有花饰图案。 来自《简明英汉词典》
4 suspense 9rJw3     
  • The suspense was unbearable.这样提心吊胆的状况实在叫人受不了。
  • The director used ingenious devices to keep the audience in suspense.导演用巧妙手法引起观众的悬念。
5 sputtered 96f0fd50429fb7be8aafa0ca161be0b6     
v.唾沫飞溅( sputter的过去式和过去分词 );发劈啪声;喷出;飞溅出
  • The candle sputtered out. 蜡烛噼啪爆响着熄灭了。 来自《现代英汉综合大词典》
  • The balky engine sputtered and stopped. 不听使唤的发动机劈啪作响地停了下来。 来自辞典例句
6 gasped e6af294d8a7477229d6749fa9e8f5b80     
v.喘气( gasp的过去式和过去分词 );喘息;倒抽气;很想要
  • She gasped at the wonderful view. 如此美景使她惊讶得屏住了呼吸。
  • People gasped with admiration at the superb skill of the gymnasts. 体操运动员的高超技艺令人赞叹。 来自《现代汉英综合大词典》
7 shrugged 497904474a48f991a3d1961b0476ebce     
  • Sam shrugged and said nothing. 萨姆耸耸肩膀,什么也没说。
  • She shrugged, feigning nonchalance. 她耸耸肩,装出一副无所谓的样子。 来自《简明英汉词典》
8 hips f8c80f9a170ee6ab52ed1e87054f32d4     
abbr.high impact polystyrene 高冲击强度聚苯乙烯,耐冲性聚苯乙烯n.臀部( hip的名词复数 );[建筑学]屋脊;臀围(尺寸);臀部…的
  • She stood with her hands on her hips. 她双手叉腰站着。
  • They wiggled their hips to the sound of pop music. 他们随着流行音乐的声音摇晃着臀部。 来自《简明英汉词典》
9 slumped b010f9799fb8ebd413389b9083180d8d     
大幅度下降,暴跌( slump的过去式和过去分词 ); 沉重或突然地落下[倒下]
  • Sales have slumped this year. 今年销售量锐减。
  • The driver was slumped exhausted over the wheel. 司机伏在方向盘上,疲惫得睡着了。
10 hitch UcGxu     
  • They had an eighty-mile journey and decided to hitch hike.他们要走80英里的路程,最后决定搭便车。
  • All the candidates are able to answer the questions without any hitch.所有报考者都能对答如流。
11 decided lvqzZd     
  • This gave them a decided advantage over their opponents.这使他们比对手具有明显的优势。
  • There is a decided difference between British and Chinese way of greeting.英国人和中国人打招呼的方式有很明显的区别。
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