Mystery in the Old Attic

Mystery in the Old Attic by Gertrude Chandler Warner Read Free Book Online

Book: Mystery in the Old Attic by Gertrude Chandler Warner Read Free Book Online
Authors: Gertrude Chandler Warner
Sarah’s research project with her.”
    â€œOh, sorry,” Jessie said, looking flustered.
    â€œUh, we were just leaving,” Henry muttered.
    â€œWhy is he always so rude to us?” asked Benny as the Aldens hurried down Jasper Lane.
    â€œI guess he doesn’t like to be interrupted when he’s talking to a student,” said Jessie.
    â€œLet’s not think about him,” said Violet. She stopped in the middle of the street and pointed to a run-down house with yellow shutters. “This is number 42.”
    â€œThis house is not in very good shape,” Benny whispered as he climbed the sagging porch steps.
    â€œNo, it’s not,” agreed Jessie. The paint was peeling. The shutters hung crookedly from their hinges. The doorbell wasn’t working.
    â€œKnock loudly,” Jessie suggested to Henry.
    A tall, thin man with long red hair answered the door. He looked like he was in his early thirties.
    â€œCould we speak to Adam Tormala, please?” asked Henry.
    â€œYou’re speaking to him,” the man said gruffly.
    â€œReally? You’re Adam Tormala?” Henry asked. Adam did not look at all the way Sam had described him.
    â€œIsn’t that what I just said?” Adam shivered a little in the cold, but he did not invite the Aldens inside. “What do you need to speak to me about?”
    â€œYou sold a ring that belongs to our family,” Benny blurted out.
    â€œWhat?” Now it was Adam’s turn to look surprised. “What are you accusing me of?”
    â€œYou see,” Henry began, “we’re relatives of Sophie Taylor, and we’re staying in her house right now.”
    The man nodded. “Yes, I heard you people were going to sell that old place. I knew Sophie Taylor.” He seemed a little less gruff now that he knew who the Aldens were.
    â€œWould you like to come inside? I’m getting cold talking to you in the doorway.” Adam held the door open wider.
    The Aldens followed Adam through a small entryway and into the living room. Everywhere they looked, books and files were stacked against the wall. Adam did not own much furniture. The only two chairs in the living room looked like they would fall apart if anyone sat on them. Henry and Jessie sat on the lumpy couch. Violet and Benny sat on the wooden floor.
    They told Adam about finding Emily’s diary, about the clues she had left, and about the ring — the very same ring they had just seen in the pawnshop.
    â€œI’m telling you, I don’t know anything about your ring,” Adam said.
    â€œWere you in Sam’s Pawnshop recently?” asked Henry.
    â€œWell, yes, but I was in there pawning some of my furniture. You see, I’m trying to raise enough money to pay next semester’s tuition. I hope to graduate this spring with my degree in history,” Adam said.
    â€œHistory,” said Violet. “Do you know Professor Schmidt?”
    Adam nodded. “Yes, I know him. He’s my adviser. I sometimes do research for him.”
    â€œHe’s one of the tenants in our house,” Benny said.
    â€œI know,” said Adam. “I’ve been up there to deliver some of my papers to him.”
    â€œOh, so you’ve been in the house,” said Henry.
    Adam leaned forward and frowned. “Yes, I’ve been in the Taylor mansion. Most people in Brockton have, especially the ones who are interested in local history. That doesn’t mean anything. How do you know the ring in the pawnshop is really Emily’s?” Adam asked.
    â€œThere’s a picture of it in the diary. The ring in the pawnshop looks exactly like it,” Henry answered.
    â€œWell,” said Adam, “I was not the one who pawned it. Maybe you children should check your facts better. Sam has written records of whatever he buys.”
    â€œI’m pretty sure he was checking his records when he gave us your address,” said

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