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儿童英语读物 The Comic Book Mystery CHAPTER 9 Who Turned Out the Lights?

时间:2017-10-26 04:55来源:互联网 提供网友:qing   字体: [ ]

The sun was barely over the rooftops when the Aldens set out for Hartford. Mrs. McGregor sent them off with a goody bag filled with on-the-road snacks.

Two and a half hours later, Grandfather pulled their car into the entrance to the Century Hotel. The parking lot was packed. Vendors1 unloaded vans along the curb2.

“Wow!” said Violet, peering out the window. “Look at all the people.”

“This comic book convention is a pretty big deal,” Henry said.

They all entered the plush lobby. At the busy front desk, Grandfather checked in and received room keys and a map of the convention floor.

They put their bags in their rooms, then Grandfather left for his meeting downtown.

The excited Alden children took the escalator to the second level, where the convention was being held.

Jessie gripped the handrail as they descended3 into a huge ballroom4 of glittering chandeliers, colorful booths, jostling crowds, and strange sights.

A man on stilts5 stalked by carrying a sign that read, WONDER COMICS—BOOTH 319. Balloons and streamers marked vendors’ booths. Costumed superheroes mingled6 with aliens.

“We should take a picture!” said Violet, who had brought her camera. “Stand next to that cardboard cutout of Captain Fantastic.”

“What’ll we do first?” Benny asked when the picture had been taken.

“Sid asked us to guard his art,” Henry said. “This map says his presentation will be in the Minuteman Room. Let’s check it out.”

Inside the Minuteman Room, chairs stood in rows. A slide projector7 waited on a cart in the center aisle8. In the front of the room were easels on a stage. A sign tacked9 to the end easel said, RESERVED FOR AUCTION10 ART.

“The easels are empty,” Jessie noted11. “Sid probably has his things locked up.”

As the kids turned to leave, they heard a noise.

“What was that?” asked Benny.

“It came from behind the screen,” said Jessie.

The kids cautiously approached the stage. Suddenly, the room went black!

But before the lights went out, Violet glimpsed shoes beneath the screen—red shoes with bows on the toes.

Just as suddenly, the lights came back on. Henry stood by the light switches at the back of the room. But whoever had switched off the lights had slipped away under the cover of darkness.

“Did anybody see anything?” he asked.

“I saw a girl’s shoes,” said Violet. “Red.”

“We know it was a girl,” said Jessie. “But we don’t know why she was here or why she turned out the lights.”

“To steal Sid’s art?” Benny said.

“Good guess,” said Violet. “We’ll never find her in this mob, even looking for red shoes.”

Henry consulted the map. “Here’s Al Conrad’s booth. Let’s pay him a visit instead.”

The ballroom was so jammed, the kids had to wiggle their way through the crowds. At last they reached Al Conrad’s booth. Al was talking to someone dressed as Captain Fantastic.

“Do you suppose that’s Marvin?” Jessie whispered.

Benny stared at the costumed figure. “I don’t know.”

“There’s another Captain Fantastic!” Violet pointed12. “And another one over there by that pole!”

“A lot of people are dressed like Captain Fantastic,” Henry observed.

Benny stared at the figure leaning over Al’s booth. There was something about the costume that wasn’t right.

Then he realized what it was. The boots. In the comic, Captain Fantastic wore knee-high shiny black boots. The boots helped him jump over buildings. This person’s boots were brown and heavy. Captain Fantastic would never be able to jump over a building in boots like that.

The costumed person left and the kids went over to Al’s booth.

“Hello, Mr. Conrad,” Henry said. “Remember us? You sold us Captain Fantastic issue number nine last week at the antiques show in Greenfield.”

“I remember you,” the dealer13 said. “Isn’t this a great show? I hope you’re having a good time.”

“Yes, it’s lots of fun,” Henry said, steering14 Al back to the subject. “You don’t happen to have any more number nine comics, do you?”

Al shook his head firmly. “That comic is very hard to find, as you know. I was lucky to get the one I sold you. I may not see another number nine for months.”

Jessie watched the man’s face. He didn’t act the least bit nervous. If he was guilty of selling a counterfeit15 comic on purpose, he was certainly playing it cool.

Al looked at his watch. “It’s time for Sid Hoyt’s presentation. You don’t want to miss that.”

The kids hurried back to the Minuteman Room. Most of the seats were already taken.

They found chairs in the back near the control panel, where a red-jacketed hotel employee was checking switches and cables. Now red velvet16 curtains covered the stage.

“There’s the Captain Fantastic who was talking to Al Conrad,” said Benny, pointing to a costumed figure sitting in an aisle seat a few rows up. “I remember those boots.”

Jessie noticed that the person wasn’t very big. It could be a small man like Marvin Peabody…or a woman.

Suddenly Benny blurted17, “The house-builders! That’s where I’ve seen those boots before!”

“Those are construction boots,” Henry agreed.

Jessie started to put two and two together.

“There’s another Captain Fantastic on the other side of the room,” said Violet.

“Irene is sitting next to him,” said Henry. “That must be Marvin.”

Sid entered the front of the room. Applause broke out. The curtains parted, revealing his original art propped18 on the easels.

“Welcome,” Sid said to the audience. “Thank you for coming. I’ll start with some slides showing how I work. Then I’ll talk about the art that’s displayed up here from issue number nine.” He waved toward the easels.

The audience went, “Ahhh.”

“And finally, I’ll talk about the mistake I made in that comic and reveal my secret signature,” said Sid. “The panel with the signature will be auctioned19 at the end of the day to benefit the Cartoonists Fund.”

He gave a nod to the hotel employee who was stationed by the control panel. The overhead lights dimmed as the projection20 screen was lowered in front of the easels.

Sid clicked the projector’s remote and images appeared on the screen. Sid showed views of his studio, his cats, and his paintings, as he explained each slide.

Suddenly the projector froze. Then all the lights went out.

Someone screamed. Others laughed nervously21.

The Aldens were sitting by the door, where a little light from the small window filtered into the room. They saw a shadowy shape near the control panel.

“Who is that?” Benny whispered. “The hotel guy is working on the projector.”

The humped shape of the shadowy figure melted into the darkness.

After a minute, the lights came back on. The projector whirred to life again, but the screen was now raised halfway22 to the ceiling. Sid’s slide of his cats was projected onto the easels.

One of the easels stood empty. The kids knew instantly that Sid’s original art panel with his secret signature for issue number nine was missing!

“Both Captain Fantastics are gone!” Jessie reported, scanning the room.

“Quick!” Henry cried. “The thief can’t be far! He’s got the big panel!”

The children dashed out the back door.

“There’s one of the Captain Fantastics!” Benny cried, as a sweep of purple cape23 disappeared into the crowd.

“Where is the one wearing work boots?” Violet wondered. “He couldn’t have that much of a head start.”

Jessie drew in a breath. “That person is probably right in front of us!”

“I don’t see anyone wearing a costume,” said Henry.

“The best disguise is no disguise!” Jessie said. “The person simply took off the costume and is in regular clothes! I know who it is!”


1 vendors 2bc28e228525b75e14c07dbc14850c34     
n.摊贩( vendor的名词复数 );小贩;(房屋等的)卖主;卖方
  • The vendors were gazundered at the last minute. 卖主在最后一刻被要求降低房价。
  • At the same time, interface standards also benefIt'software vendors. 同时,界面标准也有利于软件开发商。 来自About Face 3交互设计精髓
2 curb LmRyy     
  • I could not curb my anger.我按捺不住我的愤怒。
  • You must curb your daughter when you are in church.你在教堂时必须管住你的女儿。
3 descended guQzoy     
  • A mood of melancholy descended on us. 一种悲伤的情绪袭上我们的心头。
  • The path descended the hill in a series of zigzags. 小路呈连续的之字形顺着山坡蜿蜒而下。
4 ballroom SPTyA     
  • The boss of the ballroom excused them the fee.舞厅老板给他们免费。
  • I go ballroom dancing twice a week.我一个星期跳两次交际舞。
5 stilts 1d1f7db881198e2996ecb9fc81dc39e5     
n.(支撑建筑物高出地面或水面的)桩子,支柱( stilt的名词复数 );高跷
  • a circus performer on stilts 马戏团里踩高跷的演员
  • The bamboo huts here are all built on stilts. 这里的竹楼都是架空的。 来自《现代汉英综合大词典》
6 mingled fdf34efd22095ed7e00f43ccc823abdf     
混合,混入( mingle的过去式和过去分词 ); 混进,与…交往[联系]
  • The sounds of laughter and singing mingled in the evening air. 笑声和歌声交织在夜空中。
  • The man and the woman mingled as everyone started to relax. 当大家开始放松的时候,这一男一女就开始交往了。
7 projector 9RCxt     
  • There is a new projector in my office.我的办公室里有一架新的幻灯机。
  • How long will it take to set up the projector?把这个放映机安放好需要多长时间?
8 aisle qxPz3     
  • The aisle was crammed with people.过道上挤满了人。
  • The girl ushered me along the aisle to my seat.引座小姐带领我沿着通道到我的座位上去。
9 tacked d6b486b3f9966de864e3b4d2aa518abc     
用平头钉钉( tack的过去式和过去分词 ); 附加,增补; 帆船抢风行驶,用粗线脚缝
  • He tacked the sheets of paper on as carefully as possible. 他尽量小心地把纸张钉上去。
  • The seamstress tacked the two pieces of cloth. 女裁缝把那两块布粗缝了起来。
10 auction 3uVzy     
  • They've put the contents of their house up for auction.他们把房子里的东西全都拿去拍卖了。
  • They bought a new minibus with the proceeds from the auction.他们用拍卖得来的钱买了一辆新面包车。
11 noted 5n4zXc     
  • The local hotel is noted for its good table.当地的那家酒店以餐食精美而著称。
  • Jim is noted for arriving late for work.吉姆上班迟到出了名。
12 pointed Il8zB4     
  • He gave me a very sharp pointed pencil.他给我一支削得非常尖的铅笔。
  • She wished to show Mrs.John Dashwood by this pointed invitation to her brother.她想通过对达茨伍德夫人提出直截了当的邀请向她的哥哥表示出来。
13 dealer GyNxT     
  • The dealer spent hours bargaining for the painting.那个商人为购买那幅画花了几个小时讨价还价。
  • The dealer reduced the price for cash down.这家商店对付现金的人减价优惠。
14 steering 3hRzbi     
  • He beat his hands on the steering wheel in frustration. 他沮丧地用手打了几下方向盘。
  • Steering according to the wind, he also framed his words more amicably. 他真会看风使舵,口吻也马上变得温和了。
15 counterfeit 1oEz8     
  • It is a crime to counterfeit money.伪造货币是犯罪行为。
  • The painting looked old but was a recent counterfeit.这幅画看上去年代久远,实际是最近的一幅赝品。
16 velvet 5gqyO     
  • This material feels like velvet.这料子摸起来像丝绒。
  • The new settlers wore the finest silk and velvet clothing.新来的移民穿着最华丽的丝绸和天鹅绒衣服。
17 blurted fa8352b3313c0b88e537aab1fcd30988     
v.突然说出,脱口而出( blurt的过去式和过去分词 )
  • She blurted it out before I could stop her. 我还没来得及制止,她已脱口而出。
  • He blurted out the truth, that he committed the crime. 他不慎说出了真相,说是他犯了那个罪。 来自《简明英汉词典》
18 propped 557c00b5b2517b407d1d2ef6ba321b0e     
支撑,支持,维持( prop的过去式和过去分词 )
  • He sat propped up in the bed by pillows. 他靠着枕头坐在床上。
  • This fence should be propped up. 这栅栏该用东西支一支。
19 auctioned 1a9ab53832945db108ff2919e21fccc6     
v.拍卖( auction的过去式和过去分词 )
  • It was sad to see all grandmother's lovely things being auctioned off. 眼看着祖母那些可爱的东西全都被拍卖掉,心里真不好受。 来自《简明英汉词典》
  • TV franchises will be auctioned to the highest bidder. 电视特许经营权将拍卖给出价最高的投标人。 来自《简明英汉词典》
20 projection 9Rzxu     
  • Projection takes place with a minimum of awareness or conscious control.投射在最少的知觉或意识控制下发生。
  • The projection of increases in number of house-holds is correct.对户数增加的推算是正确的。
21 nervously tn6zFp     
  • He bit his lip nervously,trying not to cry.他紧张地咬着唇,努力忍着不哭出来。
  • He paced nervously up and down on the platform.他在站台上情绪不安地走来走去。
22 halfway Xrvzdq     
  • We had got only halfway when it began to get dark.走到半路,天就黑了。
  • In study the worst danger is give up halfway.在学习上,最忌讳的是有始无终。
23 cape ITEy6     
  • I long for a trip to the Cape of Good Hope.我渴望到好望角去旅行。
  • She was wearing a cape over her dress.她在外套上披着一件披肩。
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