THE KIDNAPPER'S CONUNDRUM
Just before 12-year-old Simon Hardt’s parents went missing, his father entrusted him with a necklace. Now the owner of the necklace –a librarian in the mysterious town of Drumwick – has gone missing too, and Simon is on trial, suspected of being involved.
Unable to convince Drumwick’s council he's innocent, straight-A Simon is placed under house arrest. Luckily, being trapped in a four-walled prison is no match for Simon's best friend, Abby – a nine-year-old interested in anything that lets her skip school. Free and with necklace in hand, they snake through the alleyways and secret passages of Drumwick, searching for clues to his parents' location. Instead, they encounter everything from crawling snickets to spotted honknuckles, but the mystery deepens when Simon discovers a hidden store-house belonging to the real kidnapper. The criminal is still nearby and desperate to find the necklace. Turns out the pendant is something much more than a piece of old, broken jewelry.
Between conspiratorial conversations, dodging cops, and destroying an entire library, Simon is thrown into some serious detective work. There's a culprit to catch, and if Simon can’t clear his name before someone else goes missing, he might never see his family again.
Thirty-seven minutes ago, a bush winked. Granted, Simon never truly believed in monsters, but his eight-year-old sister Emily wouldn’t shut up about the creatures hiding in the forest. It was starting to get to him — he hadn’t slept for two days.
“Surprised to see you this far from the RV,” his father commented.
“I needed a break.” Simon spun on the rotten bench. A tall man, Jim Hardt had more hair on the sides of his head than on top, and a permanent watch tan decorated his wrist. In one hand he carried two fishing poles, both twice Simon’s height, and in the other, a rusty tackle box. “Emily woke me up again last night with her creepy stories.”
“If I remember correctly, you went through a similar period.” He ruffled Simon’s overgrown hair. “You claimed something lived under your bed.”
“At least that’s normal,” Simon grumbled. A few Christmases ago, he unwrapped a book from Santa: Mystical Wonders of World’s Legends. Amazing pictures and exciting stories about creepy creatures from different areas of the world — also happened to give him nightmares for a month straight.
“Fishing might get your mind off Emily.” His father held up the poles. They were quite loved – and bent. “The nice old couple down the road let me borrow them.”
“Can I dig for the worms?”
The ground turned out rockier than expected, and worms a bit sparse, but Simon eventually found a handful. The stream, on the other-hand, was a pleasant surprise.