Kerri's hotel is under sabotage…will it last the summer? After a demolished kitchen, a member of staff knocked out, a theft, a fire and a threatening note, Kerri isn't sure it will.
My whole family sat around the table in the attic facing each other. It wasn't very often we got together like this…but the circumstances were too severe for us to be thinking about pleasant family time. Nancy, she's only 10, was looking scared out of her wits. Even mum was looking shell-shocked! Dad didn't look scared or worried…just angry, or grim…or sinister. Obviously I have no idea what I looked like, probably determined since that's what I felt inside.
"I think you all know why we're here…" Dad started.
"I'm not exactly sure," Nancy said nervously. "I know something is wrong and someone knocked John out, but apart from that…"
Mum looked troubled and started to reassure her that it was nothing really, but Dad cut in.
"She isn't a little girl any more Effie, she has the right to know exactly what's going on!"
I started to explain. Mum looked as if she wanted to stop me, but a glance from Dad told her to remain quiet.
"Look, Nancy, first of all £300 was stolen from the deposits at the swimming pool. Then the very same day, a fire was started in room 512, which I discovered and nothing was really damaged. But the fire fighters reckon that the fire was started deliberately to harm one of the maids. "Then today in the kitchens Luigi went to the larder in the basement and in the half an hour he was gone, John was knocked on the back of the head, and when he was unconscious the kitchen was wrecked completely. And then, pinned to the back of the door there was a note which said…"
"A note?" Mum said, sitting bolt upright. "There was a note? What did it say? Why didn't you tell us?"
"Oh! I forgot!" I said, surprised. "Here," I fished it out of my pocket and handed it to my parents. I watched their eyes skimming it, and my dad mouthing the words "won't just be the rooms…"
My mother suddenly slumped back in her chair. She'd fainted.
"Effie!" my Dad shouted, slapping her cheeks.
Coming to slowly, my Mum looked worried sick. "Nancy and Kerri are to go and stay with their Gran until this is sorted," she said determinedly. "Christopher, you phone the police."
Dad disappeared. Nancy looked all but prepared to stay in the hotel…she'd probably have rather stayed in a cannibal-infested swamp than where she was in danger of viscous frying pans. Poor kid.
But I didn't want to go somewhere else. For some reason, I was drawn to this mystery like a magnet…I was determined to solve it. All I needed was a suspects list!
"Mum," I said, thinking up an excuse fast. "You need to run the hotel with dad, so you'll need someone to help and stay behind to keep you two sane! I'm mature enough, I'll stay."
Mum smiled. "My little girl," she said happily.
"Who, me?" I asked horrified, almost dropping my adoring daughter disguise.
"Yes…well, if that's what you want love," she said.
Yes! I got up and bounced down the stairs leaving Nancy to pack.
Sneaking into the office I had to root through countless drawers until I found a list of all the people who worked here…my god, it was a long list! And the only people who weren't suspects were…err…John! And I couldn't forget the guests, it could be one of them…no, that was impossible, the main corridor is closed that early in the morning. So, of the 15 cleaners, 3 receptionists, 7 waiters 9 poolstaff, 2 mechanics and 1 chef…one person was clear! Still another 37 suspects! No scratch that, minus Jane, the cleaner…she couldn't have started the fire, since she had an alibi, she fell asleep in the staffroom with witnesses!
Absentmindedly I leafed through files…and noticed something. It was a letter…but it was coded!
TREV NVGS VNLM VBHL LMXS IRHB LFIU ZNRO BRHR MWZM TVID ZGXS BL FIHG VK
What the hell was this? Wondering if I should ask Dad, since it was his office, I walked out of the room…
Suddenly a bloodcurdling scream pierced through the air…
AN: All the characters belong to me in this; by the way. I hope you like the story…I've got no idea where the…idea comes from but I hope it's good. I think my main inspirations are the Nancy Drew® mysteries!