Jerry and Maya, classmates and best friends, are on the case again and ready to solve the latest caper in this international best-selling series
Circus Splendido has come to Pleasant Valley! But so have pickpockets who are stealing wallets, cell phones, and jewelry from the audience as they watch the performers under the big top. Once again, the police chief asks Jerry and Maya to help him collect clues and sniff out suspects. Will the friends be able to crack the latest caper in town?
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Martin Widmark was born in 1961 in Sweden and today lives in Stockholm with his family. He has worked as a middle school instructor and a Swedish teacher for immigrants, but he is now a full-time children's book author. Over his career, he has also written several textbooks. He is fascinated by life's little oddities and anything unique, from food and music to languages and people. Widmark is considered a literary giant of contemporary children's fiction in Sweden. Both his Nelly Rapp and LasseMaja series are consistently on the bestseller lists and have received critical acclaim. His books have been translated into more than 20 languages.
Helena Willis was born in 1964 in Stockholm, Sweden, and now lives outside the city with her husband and two daughters. She's been working as a freelance illustrator since she graduated from Beckmans College of Design in 1991.
Chapter 1: Pickpockets and Ice Cream
It was summertime in the town of Pleasant Valley. The sun had been shining brightly all day, and a gentle breeze rustled through the leaves of the trees in town.
“Hi there, kids!” someone called out to Jerry and Maya as they bicycled down the street.
It was the police chief, who was standing in front of a little newspaper stand enjoying an ice-cream cone. Jerry and Maya pedaled over to him. The police chief was an old acquaintance, and it was always good to talk to him.
“What a fantastic day,” he said. “Perfect ice-cream weather, don’t you think?”
“Absolutely,” replied Jerry. “Maya and I are on our way to the beach for a swim.”
“Lucky things,” the police chief said with a laugh. “We poor police officers have to keep our noses to the grindstone day in and day out.”
Jerry and Maya looked at each other and winked. The police chief didn’t exactly seem overwhelmed with work.
“Have you been busy at the station?” asked Maya, curious all the same. The two friends ran a small detective agency together, and Maya was always on the lookout for an exciting new case.
“I shouldn’t really tell you this,” said the police chief. “But you have helped me before, and I’m sure you can keep a secret, can’t you?”
Jerry and Maya nodded eagerly.
The police chief leaned forward and lowered his voice to a whisper. “Pickpockets! At the circus outside town! Several people were robbed at the first performance yesterday. I’ve called the police stations in the other towns where the circus has performed, and it’s always the same thing: Cell phones, necklaces, and wallets disappear after each show.”
The police chief nodded thoughtfully and continued, “But as soon as the circus leaves town, the thefts stop, too. It seems as if the thief is part of the circus.”
The police chief leaned in even closer, and Jerry saw that the scoop of melting ice cream was about to plop right out of the waffle cone in the chief’s hand. The police chief narrowed his eyes and whispered: “I’m going to the circus to check it out—in plain clothes, of course. It takes a trained eye like mine to spot a skilled pickpocket. I’m going to both shows this evening: the one at 6:00 p.m. and the one at 8:00 p.m.”
With a splat, the chief’s ice cream fell out of the cone and landed on the sidewalk. The police chief frowned at the sticky puddle at his feet, but before he could react, his cell phone rang.
The police chief answered it in a serious voice: “Hello. Police chief of Pleasant Valley speaking.” Then he covered it with his hand and whispered to Jerry and Maya:
“What a coincidence! It’s the ringmaster.”
Jerry and Maya didn’t want to interfere with official police business, so they waved good-bye and cycled on.
Just a block away at Market Square, Maya surprised Jerry by suddenly turning right instead of left.
“Wrong direction, Maya! The beach is this way.”
“Forget the swim, Jerry! We have a job to do!”
Of course! Jerry understood exactly where Maya was heading: to the circus!
The Whodunit Detective Agency had a new case to solve.
Chapter 2: An Angry Woman
Jerry and Maya rode their bikes to the grassy field at the base of the big sledding hill where the kids of Pleasant Valley played in the winter.
At this time of year, there weren’t any sleds to be seen. Instead, half a dozen circus tents had been pitched in an enormous circle, and in the very center stood a gigantic striped tent. Jerry and Maya hopped off their bicycles and walked toward the tents.
In addition to the striped circus tents there were several colorful trailers, all marked CIRCUS SPLENDIDO in big red letters. The first trailer was the ticket booth.
Jerry and Maya knocked on the ticket-booth window, but there was nobody there.
“It’s probably too early,” said Maya. “There’s still an hour until the first show starts.”
“That gives us plenty of time to investigate,” said Jerry as he turned and walked toward another trailer.
“But . . . ,” said Maya uncertainly, looking around.
Then she shrugged her shoulders and followed Jerry, who had already crept in between two of the circus trailers. There was a RINGMASTER sign on the door of one.
It was nice and cool in the shade of the tall trailers. The window on one end of the ringmaster’s trailer was open, and Jerry and Maya jumped when they heard a woman shout from inside, “I should have married Bobo instead of you, you . . . you washed-up failure of a ringmaster! Bobo brings me roses . . . and you can’t even afford daisies!”
Jerry and Maya realized that they had stumbled upon an argument.
“Now then, Greta, my little dove,” they heard a cautious male voice say.
That’s probably the ringmaster, thought Jerry.
“Things will be better soon,” continued the man’s voice. “When people realize what world-class performers I have, the money will start rolling in.”
“World-class performers?!” the woman said with a snort. “Ha! You have a magician who learned his tricks in prison and a strong man who breaks the audience’s noses, and Bobo the clown seems to have more money than you. And, worst of all, there’s your daughter, Alice—who’s best friends with a monkey! She’s not the kind of stepdaughter I imagined having!”
The woman caught her breath and continued: “And to think I once enjoyed selling popcorn for you! I can’t live like this anymore!”
Jerry and Maya heard a crash as a dish was thrown against the wall of the trailer. Soon, cups and glasses came flying out the window.
“Come on,” whispered Jerry. “Let’s get out of here!”
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Book Description Grosset & Dunlap 2015-01-22, 2015. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Hardcover. Publisher overstock, may contain remainder mark on edge. Bookseller Inventory # 9780448480718B
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