Mystery of the Mixed-Up Zoo

Mystery of the Mixed-Up Zoo by Charles Tang Read Free Book Online

Book: Mystery of the Mixed-Up Zoo by Charles Tang Read Free Book Online
Authors: Charles Tang
Tags: Ebook
Benny had an impish twinkle in his dark eyes.
    Yes, he was a lucky man to have found his four loving grandchildren. To think that not too long ago they had hidden from him in an old boxcar, believing that he was a mean man who wanted to hurt them. If Violet hadn’t become ill, he might never have found them. It was the doctor, a friend of his, who had led him to them. Yes, indeed, he was truly lucky. Never had he known children that were so ready to help, and not only him, but others as well.
    Benny leaned forward. “Are we going, Grandfather?”
    â€œWh-what?” Grandfather stammered, coming back from his memories. “Oh, yes, yes.” Smiling, he stood, paid the bill, and they left for the zoo.
    They arrived at closing time as people were streaming out the front gates.
    Jessie tugged at Henry’s sleeve. “Isn’t that Mac Thatcher from the bookstore?” she whispered, as a tall thin man went by.
    Henry saw Thatcher walking down the sidewalk to a black car and unlocking it.
    â€œThat’s him,” Henry said firmly. “He doesn’t look like the type who comes to the zoo for enjoyment!”
    â€œThere’s the bad man from the bookstore,” Benny shouted, pointing at the black car pulling away from the curb.
    â€œThat’s him,” Violet agreed. “What do you suppose he was doing here?”
    â€œMaybe he was making the birds cold and the bears hot,” Benny stated.
    Thoughtfully, Jessie shook her head. “No, Benny, the temperature changes happened early this morning.”
    Pat Kramer hurried forward as the gates clanged shut. “I’m glad you’re here,” she said. Her usual smiling face was sober.
    Alarmed, Violet stared at Pat. “Is something wrong?” she asked in a shaky voice.
    â€œYes,” Pat said shortly. “Come with me and you can judge for yourself.” She headed for Edward’s office.
    Without a word the children followed her. Grandfather, grim-faced, walked so fast that it was hard to keep up with him.
    In the zoo office they were astonished to see Edward sitting slumped in his chair, his head in his hands.
    â€œWhat is it?” Mr. Alden asked.
    Edward lifted his head and opened a drawer in a file cabinet. It was empty. “Someone came into the office in plain daylight and stole all the animals’ papers.”
    â€œHow could that happen?” Henry asked.
    â€œPat and I were busy checking the animals. I didn’t get to the office until late this afternoon.” He sighed and ran his fingers through his hair. “The thief cleaned me out.”
    â€œWhat do the papers say?” Benny asked.
    â€œInformation about the animals,” Edward answered. “Special diets are recorded, when they had their vaccinations, when they arrived at the zoo, and where they came from, facts I need to know.”
    Pat bit her underlip. “This is the worst prank yet!”
    â€œI’d call it more than a prank!” Grandfather exclaimed. “It’s vicious and damaging to the animals.”
    Edward shot his old friend a grateful glance. “You’re right, James. I’ll have to start over, recording all that information. I can remember a few things, but only a few.”
    â€œBetween the two of us,” Pat said, “we’ll manage.”
    Papers were scattered on the floor, as if the robber had made a quick exit. The saddest sight, though, was the empty file drawers.
    â€œDon’t you think you should call the police now?” Henry asked.
    Edward hesitated before replying. “I’d like to, but if I do, I know the zoo will close down. This is just the ammunition Helen Brooks is looking for!”
    â€œPerhaps the police will be able to solve the case before Helen Brooks can find out,” Jessie said, sitting down.
    â€œBelieve me, Jessie,” Edward said, “I want to bring the thief to justice, but I can’t risk having my zoo closed

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