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  • Nobody's There
  • Written by Joan Lowery Nixon
  • Format: eBook | ISBN: 9780307823434
  • Our Price: $6.99
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Nobody's There

Written by Joan Lowery NixonAuthor Alerts:  Random House will alert you to new works by Joan Lowery Nixon

eBook

List Price: $6.99

eBook

On Sale: October 31, 2012
Pages: 208 | ISBN: 978-0-307-82343-4
Published by : Yearling RH Childrens Books
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Synopsis|Excerpt

Synopsis

A game of private detective turns deadly for an unlikely sleuth combo.

How did Abbie Thompson end up a sidekick to Edna Merkel, Senior Citizen Pseudo-Sleuth? It all started when Abbie was so furious at her father for breaking up their family that she acted without thinking and was arrested for malicious mischief. The judge decided to give Abbie a chance at a clean record and arranged for her to volunteer in a program in which teens are matched with the elderly.

Abbie's "friend," Mrs. Merkel, is a cranky, difficult woman who's a member of the Buckler's Bloodhounds. The Bloodhounds provide the police with information about scams or frauds in the community. But Edna Merkel is too active a member, and after she brags that she's on to something big, she's attacked and ends up hospitalized. Suddenly the private investigator game is real and, with the help of Mrs. Merkel's indecipherable notebook, only Abbie can figure out who did it. But will Abbie get to the assailant before the assailant gets to her?

Excerpt

CHAPTER ONE



Trembling, her legs so wobbly it was hard to stand, Abbie Thompson clung to the rough trunk of an oak tree and waited for her father to appear. As a garish yellow porch light over the nearest apartment suddenly gleamed, Abbie sucked in her breath and slid farther back into the darkness behind the wide tree trunk.

Abbie knew she shouldn't be here. She shouldn't be spying. She'd die if her father saw her. Fearing to be seen, she had pulled a scarf over her strawberry-blond hair, which was light enough to stand out in the darkness. She must not be caught lurking, but she had to know. She had to!

The door of the apartment opened, and Davis Thompson stepped out, hand in hand with a young, very pretty, dark-haired woman. Both of them tall, trim, and attractive, they moved as though they knew they were an exceptionally good-looking pair. Laughing, they drew close to each other, and he bent to kiss her.

It was a light, quick kiss, but Abbie doubled

over in pain. It felt as if someone had socked her

hard in the stomach.

She watched her father and the woman run to his low-slung red sports car. Before she could react, before she could think, the car had driven away.

Abbie let herself slide to the ground, sitting cross-legged in the dark. She stared at the stillbright front window of the apartment, hating the woman who lived there and hating her father.

All through the seventeen years of her life, Davis Thompson had called Abbie "Daddy's girl," and she had loved this special nickname. He had been a real daddy then. He'd played ball with her and gone to her Fathers' Night dinners at school and applauded her piano playing at recitals. Lately, though, he had become so different that Abbie wondered if he could possibly be the same person.

Davis Thompson known to nearly everyone in the south Gulf Coast town of Buckler, Texas, as Dr. Davis Thompson, professor of English at Buckler College suddenly dyed his hair to cover the gray at his temples, wore expensive sports coats over cashmere turtleneck sweaters, bought a car that would fit a movie star's lifestyle, and walked out on his family.

"You must understand, Sandra, I'm not being fulfilled any longer," her father had told Abbie's mother just before he left. "Life should be rich and complete.''

"Davis, are you serious?" Mrs. Thompson's

voice had wavered with shock.

He raised his voice as if he were arguing not only with her, but with himself. "I've given this sincere and weighty consideration," he said. "For a long time I've felt that my life here is nothing."

Frozen in the hallway, Abbie couldn't help overhearing the conversation. She had gasped and leaned against the wall for support. Mom and Davy and she were nothing?

"Is there someone else?" Abbie's mother had asked. Her voice came out raspy and choked, and she had to ask the question again.

"Be reasonable," Dr. Thompson had said. "It wasn't working with us. You know that."

"No, I didn't know. I thought . . . well . your moodiness . . . I mean, when you didn't get the promotion to department head, I assumed .

"Perhaps I would have got it, if I'd had more support from you," Dr. Thompson had snapped.

"More support?" Mrs. Thompson's voice had risen. "After all I've done But the back door had slammed shut. Realizing that her father had left, Abbie had run to cling to her mom.

Now Abbie dug her fingers into the circle of freshly turned earth that surrounded the tree. As her hands slid over the ring of small, smooth stones that bordered the circle, she whispered to her absent father over and over, "How could you not want us? How could you?''

She tried to look away from the lighted apartment window. Behind the golden glow lived the woman with the dark hair, the woman who had kissed her father.

The pain in Abbie's mind and body turned to an anger hot and intense. Breathing heavily, she unconsciously gripped the stones, pulling them from their ring as she rose to her feet. She stepped out from under the wide limbs of the oak, aimed at the window, and threw the stones as hard as she could.

"I hate you! I hate you!" she yelled.

The glass smashed, gold-red splinters flying to each side like starbursts. There was a moment of total silence, as though the air had stopped moving. Then a young woman in a robe, her blond hair wet and stringy, ran screaming from the apartment. Doors of other apartments opened, and people scurried out, scrambling without direction like ants whose hill has been disturbed. A beefy man in his undershirt grabbed Abbie's arms. A plump woman kept yelling that she had called the police.

Abbie stood numbly, the red anger draining from her mind and body, as she tried to remember what she had done.

Like an automaton Abbie moved through the next few hours. She was driven in a police car to the station, where someone asked her a million questions, then fingerprinted and photographed her.

Her mother appeared, tear streaks on her face.

"Oh, Abbie! Oh, darling, I'll help you. This is all

your stupid, stupid father's fault."

Dr. Thompson arrived, scowling. "What a foolish thing to do, Abbie! What could you have been thinking? You can thank me for talking Jamie and her roommate out of pressing charges."

But local officials had recently waged war on malicious mischief. Getting tough on these troublemaking kids was a priority, and Abbie found herself sitting in an office opposite a man who introduced himself as Judge Arnold Wilhite.

The judge reminded Abbie of her late grandfather Bill, with his thin hair combed over his bald spot, and crinkle lines around his eyes. Judge Wilhite leaned back in his office chair and rested his tooled cowboy boots on his desk. "I want to hear what you have to say, Abigail. Why'd you throw rocks through Miss__" He stopped and glanced at the paper on his desk. " through the window of Miss Jamie Lane's apartment?"

So that was her name Jamie Lane, Abbie thought. "I guess I don't have a good reason," she told the judge. She stared at her hands, which were clenched in her lap. "I just did it." The numbness she had felt began to slide away, and Abbie was frightened, She breathed in small, shallow gasps, trying to steady herself,

Judge Wilhite studied Abbie for a few minutes, Then he said, "The D.A.'s office is talking about prosecuting you for malicious mischief. Is that what you'd call what you did? Malicious mischief?"

Abbie raised her head and looked at him, "It wasn't mischief, It was hate, I hated her, and I was angry.

"Had you given this act some thought? Had you planned to come to Miss Lane's apartment and throw rocks?"
Joan Lowery Nixon

About Joan Lowery Nixon

Joan Lowery Nixon - Nobody's There

Photo © Gittings

“In every story I write I give a great deal of thought to the main character, because the story is his, or hers. The direction of the story is determined by the main character’s ambitions and reactions. The main character is the one to whom the readers will relate.”—Joan Lowery Nixon

Joan Lowery Nixon is the only four-time winner of the Mystery Writers of America Edgar Allan Poe Award and a two-time winner of the California Young Reader Medal.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Whether it’s engrossing historical dramas, chilling mysteries, suspense-filled page-turners, or adventure stories, kids, teachers, and librarians love the books of Joan Lowery Nixon.

Nixon is half Californian, half Texan. She has a degree in journalism and credentials in elementary education. Nixon has written over 130 books for children from preschool age through young adult—including science books, co-authored with her husband, geologist Hershell Nixon. Her books have garnered numerous awards and accolades, including the Western Writers of America Golden Spur Award for Best Western Juvenile and the Texas Institute of Letters Award. Many of Nixon’s books have won state children’s choice awards. She is the only four-time winner of the Mystery Writers of America Edgar Allan Poe Award for Best Juvenile Mystery. Nixon has four children and several grandchildren.

Nixon describes the pleasure she gets from writing mystery and suspense: “When I was young I discovered an evening radio program called I Love a Mystery. It was intriguing, suspenseful, and at times absolutely terrifying, and the title was correct. I did love a mystery—on radio, in films, and especially in books. Maybe I’m really a detective at heart because much later in my life, when I began to write books for young people, I discovered writing mysteries was even more fun than reading them.

“A mystery begins to develop in my mind when something sparks an idea and a question grows from it. What would it be like to move into a house in which a murder had taken place? How would I feel if my best friend were arrested for murder on circumstantial evidence? As a question develops into an answer, I give a great deal of thought to my main character. She is the most important part of the story, and I see it take shape through her eyes. Before I write a word of the story I know how I’ll begin it and how I’ll end it, making sure to put in honest clues and distracting red herrings—just to make the mystery all the more fun to solve. I love mysteries, and I want my readers to love them, too.”

In creating the acclaimed Orphan Train Adventures, Nixon explored a time and place in America’s recent past that is not widely covered in history lessons. She explains, “It was a part of history I hadn’t known: that beginning in 1854, over 100,000 homeless children were rescued from the streets of New York City and sent by train to new homes in the West. As I researched early journals, I found many letters—some hopeful, some sad—and reports which told of tears as brothers and sisters were separated or a child was not chosen. I wanted to bring history and fiction together in an exciting, adventurous time and place, to tell the stories of those who could have traveled west on the Orphan Train.”

Many of Nixon’s readers have written to her asking how to get published. Her novel The Making of a Writer, a part memoir, part how-to book, is her answer to them. From her first publication at age 10—a poem titled “Springtime”—to her graduation from Hollywood High during World War II, Nixon shares the incidents from her childhood that helped her to develop as a writer.


PRAISE

THE KIDNAPPING OF CHRISTINA LATTIMORE
“A fast-moving, entertaining mystery with an intelligent and spunky heroine.”—Booklist

MURDERED, MY SWEET
“Another solid Nixon mystery without too much violence and lots of suspense.”—Booklist


THE NAME OF THE GAME WAS MURDER
“Another successful page-turner. . . . Reluctant readers and mystery lovers alike will welcome a trip to this mansion.”—School Library Journal

SEARCH FOR THE SHADOWMAN
“Thrilling . . . a riveting tale of suspense set against a background of fascinating historical context brought up to date through e-mail and the Internet.”—School Library Journal

SPIRIT SEEKER
“Enriched with family troubles, guilty secrets, and a whiff of the supernatural, this page-turner will please the legions of Nixon fans.”—Kirkus Reviews

THE WEEKEND WAS MURDER!
“Masterfully constructed. . . . Ingeniously plotted, fast-paced and lighthearted, this mystery manages to blend an engrossing double murder brainteaser with the blossoming of a self-conscious teen into a self-assured young woman.”—Publishers Weekly

WHISPERS FROM THE DEAD
“Nixon’s reputation as the grande dame of mysteries for young readers remains solidly intact with this thriller . . . a topnotch choice.”—Starred, School Library Journal


THE ORPHAN TRAIN ADVENTURES

A FAMILY APART
“As close to perfect a book. . . . The plot is rational and well-paced; the characters are real and believable; the time setting is important in U.S. history; and the values all that anyone can ask for.”—VOYA

IN THE FACE OF DANGER
“This exciting and touching novel projects an aura of historical reality.”—School Library Journal

THE ORPHAN TRAIN CHILDREN SERIES

LUCY’S WISH
“There is suspense, surprise, and heartfelt emotion, and there is a useful historical note at the end.”—Booklist
Praise

Praise

"An engaging suspense story with diverse characters, plenty of plot twists, and a satisfying ending." — Booklist

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