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The Hudson River Mystery

The Hudson River Mystery

Titel: The Hudson River Mystery
Autoren: Julie Campbell
A Strange Presence • 1

    TRIXIE BELDEN FLUNG her spade to the ground with a loud groan.
    As of three o’clock, her Sunday was offering about as much excitement and mystery as a punctured balloon. It was bad enough that she and her best friend, Honey Wheeler, were spending the day helping Mrs. Belden with an endless number of late-fall chores in the garden. At least Trixie could sympathize with how frantically busy her mother was. And with Honey to help, even the backbreaking task of working leaves and plant debris into the soil was going as well as could be expected.
    What was harder for Trixie to tolerate was the weather. It was turning uglier and uglier as they worked, which meant that she and Honey would be unable to ride the Wheeler horses later, as they had planned.
    ”Between my baking yak and those clunder-thouds,” said Trixie, ”I definitely think it’s time we took a break.”
    Honey straightened up and put her hands on her blue-jeaned hips. ”Taking a break’s the best idea you’ve had all day,” she said finally. ”But what in heaven’s name was that other thing you said?”
    ”I guess I’ve been talking to Mart and Bobby too much lately,” giggled Trixie, running the cleaner of her two hands through her mop of unruly blond curls.
    Mart was one of Trixie’s two older brothers, her ”almost-twin,” who loved to entertain and confound people by using big words, small words, or indeed any kind of words he could think of. Bobby was Trixie’s younger brother, six years old and always attentive to what the ”big kids” told him. Sometimes Bobby was a little too attentive.
    ”Ever since Mart amused Bobby one afternoon with those things—you know, where you mix up the initial sounds of words—spoonerisms, I think they’re called... well, Bobby’s been fracturing them left and right.” Trixie sat down and smiled wryly. ”He’s driving everyone crazy, in fact. He’s even getting on Brian’s nerves, and that takes some doing.”
    Brian, Trixie’s oldest brother, was the most level-headed and even-tempered of the four Belden children. All the Beldens agreed that he was going to make a perfect doctor. Steady and serious, he had been making plans for a medical career for as long as anyone could remember. His parents encouraged him in his efforts, just as they encouraged all their children. The home life of the Belden family was usually very happy. They enjoyed a quiet but comfortable life at Crabapple Farm, near the east bank of the beautiful Hudson River in New York.
    Honey lived in nearby Manor House, a more luxurious and stately home than Trixie’s. Somehow she felt almost as comfortable at Crabapple Farm as did Trixie. She spent plenty of time there and didn’t even mind giving up part of her Sunday to help Trixie with her chores. She was very fond of Brian, too.
    ”No one has steadier nerves than Brian,” Honey agreed. ”And if he were here, I’m sure he’d know just the perfect cure for your baking yak, by which, I assume, you mean your aching back?”
    Trixie nodded, and Honey added, ”I could massage your neck for you, if you’d like. My mother finds that soothing.”
    Trixie couldn’t conceive of Honey’s picture-perfect mother doing the kind of drudgery that would warrant a massage, but she accepted Honey’s offer with enthusiasm. ”Honey, you’re a peach!” she squealed as Honey knelt behind her.
    ”Better make that ’tomato,’ ” said Honey, kneading Trixie’s neck muscles with one hand and waving the other at a bushel of tomatoes. ”Speaking of which, shouldn’t we take those inside so your mom can finish up with this year’s canning?”
    ”Just a few more minutes with Miss Wheeler’s Health Spa for Overworked Teen-agers,” Trixie begged. ”I’ll even entertain you with some more spoonerisms—let’s see, I guess you figured out that clunderthouds is really thunderclouds, and jeepers, aren’t they getting fierce? Then there’s flutterby for butterfly , and sea poup for pea soup. I like nosy little cook for cosy little nook , and my personal favorite is oderarmdeunderant for underarm —”
    ”You’re starting to sound like Mart,” warned Honey, giggling in spite of herself. She stopped her massage and took up her spade. ”Listen, Trix, let’s get this digging over with. This storm is going to break any minute, and it looks like it’s going to be a dandy. If you think this is hard work, wait till you try digging in the mud.”

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