The Curse of the Pharaoh #1 (Agatha: Girl of Mystery)

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9780448462172: The Curse of the Pharaoh #1 (Agatha: Girl of Mystery)

Agatha: Girl of Mystery is a fanciful and fabulous new mystery series about a headstrong girl detective who jets off on exotic and international adventures with the help of her hulking bodyguard and loyal cat named, aptly, Watson. The first mystery in this series sees young detective Agatha Mistery traveling to Egypt. Rumors of a mysterious tablet unearthed in the Valley of the Kings may be just the clue that Agatha needs to unlock the secret curse of an ancient Pharaoh.

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About the Author:

Sir Steve Stevenson is the pseudonym used by Mario Pasqualotto, an Italian writer who spent many years writing for Italian gaming magazines. Currently, he is focused on writing novels for young readers.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

FIRST MISSION

Agents

Agatha

Twelve years old, an aspiring mystery writer; has a formidable memory

Dash

Student at the prestigious private school, Eye International Detective Academy

Chandler

Butler and former boxer with impeccable British style

Watson

Obnoxious Siberian cat with the nose of a bloodhound

Aunt Patricia

Lives in a lavish Luxor villa...and breeds camels!

DESTINATION

Egypt: Valley of the Kings

OBJECTIVE

To discover who stole an ancient artifact from an archaeological dig in the Valley of the Kings—where the sun sets and the pharaohs have slept in their tombs for thousands of years. And beware of Tutankhamen’s curse.

Table of Contents

The penthouse sat high atop of Baker Palace, fifteen floors above street level. Its roof was covered with state-of-the-art solar panels, and if you stood on the wraparound terrace and peered in through the tinted-glass windows, the first thing you’d see was a mass of high-tech electronics—monitors, Wi-Fi antennas, and routers—surrounded by pizza boxes, fast-food bags, and dirty socks.

The only person at home was a lanky fourteen-year-old boy, sprawled out snoring on the couch with his dark hair flopped over his face. He had left his seven computers on all night long, downloading data from around the world. His face was lit up by LED lights flashing like fireflies in the darkened room.

Outside the penthouse London, England, was already bathed in a milky haze. It had been a sweltering summer, too hot for tourists, and the Thames River looked like a strip of shiny tar.

Not far from Baker Palace, the famous Big Ben clock tower chimes struck six times. The low notes rattled the walls, but Dashiell Mistery slept like a rock.

Dash was not a morning person. He liked lazing around the penthouse all day and never started his homework till late at night, usually with the music cranked. His report cards said it all: Dash was getting straight As in Surveillance Technologies, but he was flunking everything else.

“Instead of going to that crazy detective school, why don’t you study engineering?” his mother would beg on the rare occasions when they had a real conversation. “The Mistery family could use a few people with practical skills.” Dash shrugged and said, “Don’t forget Grandpa Ellery, Mom. He’s at CERN in Geneva studying subatomic particles. That’s pretty hardcore.” And the conversation would end with his mom sighing, “He’s a nuclear physicist, not a normal engineer. All you Mistery men have to do something different!”

Dash secretly liked being known as a “Mistery man.” After her divorce, his mother never missed a chance to label the Mistery family a pack of oddballs. First and foremost was her ex-husband, Edgar Allan Mistery, a champion curler. (Curling is an Olympic sport played with brooms and polished rocks on an ice rink; it isn’t exactly mainstream.) Every one of Edgar’s relatives was part of her roll call of hopeless eccentrics.

6:15 a.m.: Second wake-up attempt. The words RED ALERT flashed on a monitor screen, accompanied by the theme from Star Trek, and a metallic voice that kept repeating, “Man the lifeboats!”

This time around, Dash’s forehead was targeted by a laser-tag strobe light. The room looked like the bridge of an alien spaceship.

But it was no use: Dash just rolled over and buried his head in the pillow. Within seconds, he was out like a light.

6:30 a.m.: Final attempt. First the phone rang several times. Then the automatic blinds rolled up, buzzing, while a wall of speakers blasted the latest hit.

A neighbor banged on the door, yelling, “This isn’t a nightclub, you slacker!”

Still nothing.

Finally at precisely 6:36 a.m., in the middle of all the deafening chaos, there was a tiny blip. It came from a titanium gadget, shaped like a cell phone, which hung from a charger cord over the couch.

That faint blip rang in Dash’s ears like a volley of gunfire. Without getting up, he reached out, grabbed the gadget, and pressed a few buttons.

A dreadful message flashed onto the screen.

The second that Dash read it, his eyes bulged. “Today?” he yelled. “There’s absolutely no way!”

He jumped to his feet. This was a total disaster. He grabbed various remotes, clicking off the alarms, ringtones, and speakers. “There’s no time to sort all this out. I have to...I have to...what do I have to do?!” he exclaimed.

He perched on the arm of a chair, quickly booting up his seven computers, which came to life with a flash of white light. “I’ll email Agatha!” he said aloud. “But will she read it in time?” He checked the gadget again, with a grimace. “No, better not. If they hack into my email, it’s all over.”

Where did he put that cordless phone? He found it under a burger wrapper. Feverishly he scrolled through his contacts, “Adam, Adrian...Agatha! Got it!”

He started to text her, but stopped. What if they’d put a bug on his phone? They were experts at stuff like that!

“Okay, don’t panic, Dash,” he whispered. “Concentrate. What’s the best way to get a message to Agatha without anyone listening in?” He ran a hand through his floppy hair and made a decision.

Dash stepped onto the terrace, unlatched the door to his aviary, and grabbed his trusty carrier pigeon. “Time to put you to work, buddy. The Mistery Cousins need you!”

As the pigeon soared over the suburbs of London, the patchwork of roofs and yards gave way to a wide swath of green: three acres of flowering meadows, fountains, lily ponds, botanical gardens, and quiet, leafy lanes.

Smack in the middle of the park was a Victorian mansion with a lavender roof: the Mistery Estate, home of twelve-year-old Agatha Mistery and her parents.

Agatha was taking a morning stroll in her slippers and bathrobe, dodging the rotating jets of the sprinkler system. The scent of freshly mowed grass tickled her nose—her small, upturned nose, a Mistery family trait.

She carried a cup of steaming tea, which she savored in tiny sips. It was top-quality Shui-Hsien, with a scent like honey and a fruity aftertaste. In a word: superb.

She followed the path to a gazebo, where she sat on a purple swing, resting her teacup next to a pile of letters. Mostly junk mail, bills, and silly postcards from friends on vacation. Agatha didn’t bother to read them.

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