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Authors: Gertrude Warner

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“It’s all over,” Mr. Carter whispered to Mike and Benny.

“Where is that man?” asked Mike.

“Well, he is in jail again. This time he will stay there,” said Mr. Carter. “That man was wanted in four states! You boys helped me a great deal. And best of all, you did not talk.”

“Wait till I tell Henry!” cried Benny. “He thinks I can’t stop talking.”

“I’ll tell him myself,” smiled Mr. Carter. “And Jessie will like to know, too. She’s a mother to you, Benny.”

“Yes, I know,” said Benny.

“She always keeps care of you, Ben,” said Mike.

“Takes
care of me,” said Benny.

“Well,
takes
care, then,” agreed Mike. He didn’t even start to argue. Benny was quite surprised.

With everyone gone, the Woods, the Aldens and Mr. Carter were left alone in the big room.

Mr. Carter said, “Please sit down, all of you. I want to tell you something.”

When they were quiet, he said, “The hunt for the man in the blue hat is over. The man has been caught, and the mystery is solved.”

“Oh, how?” asked Aunt Jane in excitement.

Then Mr. Carter told her about the man. He told her about Spotty growling.

“You don’t need to growl any more, Spotty,” said Mr. Carter. He patted the dog’s smooth head. “The man has gone away.”

“Well, I am glad,” said Violet softly. “I know it was exciting for the boys, but I didn’t like it at all.”

“No,” said Mr. Carter, looking at Violet with a smile, “neither did I.”

“Well,” said Mike, “now it’s all over, it was my mystery, wasn’t it?”

“Oh, no, it wasn’t!” cried Benny. “It was mine!”

“My dog found the blue hat!” shouted Mike.

“But my dog helped him. And Watch found the tin can!” said Benny.

Then Mike suddenly stopped. He said, “Yes, Ben, I think it was your mystery after all. Because it was your mine.”

“Well,” said Benny slowly, “maybe it was yours, because it was your house that burned up.”

“Well, well!” said Henry, smiling at Mike. “How you have changed, Mike!”

“That’s what I say,” said Mrs. Wood. “Mike is getting to be a very nice, thoughtful boy. He doesn’t argue so much. I said it did him good to play with Benny.”

Henry laughed. “And you remember I said it was good for Benny to play with Mike! They are quite a pair.”

“Yes, boys, you are quite a pair,” said Mr. Carter. His eyes began to twinkle. “Let me give you something to think about. Maybe you two boys will be together next summer, too. But not here.”

“Where,” cried Jessie, “will we all be together?”

“Well, you children will all be together, but the rest is a secret.”

“Oh, a secret? Grandfather’s secret, I suppose,” said Henry. “He is always a little ahead of us.”

“Yes, I can tell you that much. You children and Mike, and your grandfather are included in the secret.”

“And Spotty and Watch?” asked Mike.

“Yes, Watch, but not Spotty.”

The children were thinking hard. They had no idea what it was all about.

Jessie asked the last question. “Will you be there, too, Mr. Carter?”

“No,” said Mr. Carter. He looked at Jessie with a funny little smile. “And I shall certainly be very sorry for myself.”

After that, Mr. Carter shook his head at every question. He would not tell another thing.

Then Mike said, “I’m not going to ask Mr. Carter any more. He don’t want to tell us, I mean
doesn’t.”

“Well, well, you’re learning, Mike,” said Henry. “Maybe you’ll be a schoolteacher yet.”

“Oh, no, I won’t. I’m going to be an FBI man,” said Mike.

“Yes, and he may,” said Mr. Carter. “He and Benny talk all the time. But I want you all to know that they know when to keep still.”

Benny was thinking. Then he went over to Mr. Carter and put his hand on Mr. Carter’s shoulder. “I think this really was Mike’s mystery,” he said. “It was his dog that found the hat. And he would have found it if I had stayed home with Grandfather, and never come out here at all.”

“Good for you, Benny,” said everyone.

“What a kind boy you are, Benny,” said Mrs. Wood.

“That was good of you, Ben,” said Mike. “Thank you.”

Mike was so polite that everyone laughed. But it was Mike’s mystery forever and ever.

About the Author

G
ERTRUDE
C
HANDLER
W
ARNER
discovered when she was teaching that many readers who like an exciting story could find no books that were both easy and fun to read. She decided to try to meet this need, and her first book,
The Boxcar Children,
quickly proved she had succeeded.

Miss Warner drew on her own experiences to write the mystery. As a child she spent hours watching trains go by on the tracks opposite her family home. She often dreamed about what it would be like to set up housekeeping in a caboose or freight car—the situation the Alden children find themselves in.

When Miss Warner received requests for more adventures involving Henry, Jessie, Violet, and Benny Alden, she began additional stories. In each, she chose a special setting and introduced unusual or eccentric characters who liked the unpredictable.

While the mystery element is central to each of Miss Warner’s books, she never thought of them as strictly juvenile mysteries. She liked to stress the Aldens’ independence and resourcefulness and their solid New England devotion to using up and making do. The Aldens go about most of their adventures with as little adult supervision as possible—something else that delights young readers.

Miss Warner lived in Putnam, Connecticut, until her death in 1979. During her lifetime, she received hundreds of letters from girls and boys telling her how much they liked her book. And so she continued the Aldens’ adventures, writing a total of nineteen books in the Boxcar Children series.

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All rights reserved under International and Pan-American Copyright Conventions. By payment of the required fees, you have been granted the non-exclusive, non-transferable right to access and read the text of this ebook onscreen. No part of this text may be reproduced, transmitted, downloaded, decompiled, reverse engineered, or stored in or introduced into any information storage and retrieval system, in any form or by any means, whether electronic or mechanical, now known or hereinafter invented, without the express written permission of the publisher.

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, businesses, companies, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

copyright © 1960, 1988 by Albert Whitman & Company

ISBN: 978-1-4532-0770-3

This 2010 edition distributed by Open Road Integrated Media
180 Varick Street
New York, NY 10014
www.openroadmedia.com

BOOK: Mike's Mystery
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