The Mystery Cruise

The Mystery Cruise by Gertrude Chandler Warner Read Free Book Online Page B

Book: The Mystery Cruise by Gertrude Chandler Warner Read Free Book Online
Authors: Gertrude Chandler Warner
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Captain,” Max said quietly, beckoning the captain to move closer. “It’s urgent that I know. Will we be in Nassau on time?”
    The captain looked grave. “Well, I didn’t want to alarm the whole ship, but we’ve had another problem with the engine,” the captain told Max in hushed tones. “We can’t travel at the usual speed. So we’ll be delayed another couple of days.”
    Benny glanced at Jessie and smiled. Now he knew what she’d whispered to the Captain and Max.
    Henry smiled, too. Jessie had told the cap tain to fib a little—to tell Max there’d be a delay, when truthfully the ship was right on time. And to say it just loud enough for Tom to overhear.
    Violet watched Tom. He was leaning closer to hear the captain’s words. She saw a nasty grin light up his face. Tom glanced at Max to see how he took the news.
    â€œIsn’t there anything you can do?” Max asked.
    â€œNo, I’m afraid not,” the captain said.
    When Max excused himself abruptly and left the table, Tom almost laughed aloud. He didn’t realize that Max was only pretending to be upset. Everything was going according to Jessie’s plan. The captain had played his part perfectly.
    Then why did she still have this uneasy feeling?

    The Guilty One Confesses
    O n Saturday morning the Aldens leaned over the rail as the West Wind sailed into Nassau, the capital of the Bahama Islands, and docked at Prince George wharf.
    â€œIt will take a while before we’re able to go into town,” Grandfather said. “They need to prepare the ramp for disembarking. Right now, let’s have breakfast.”
    â€œI can’t wait to see Nassau’s Straw Market,” Violet said.
    â€œIt’s big,” Grandfather said. “You’ll have fun there.”
    The children went through the line, heaping their plates with their favorite food and fruit.
    â€œThe steward told me we’ll be free to go ashore in one hour,” Grandfather said.
    â€œGood!” Benny said. “It’s our last stop before we go home, and I want to see everything.”
    â€œAnd you will,” Grandfather promised, chuckling.
    While they were lingering over breakfast, Max rushed toward them. “The captain and I are going to confront Tom Bishop. Will you come along?”
    â€œYou bet!” Henry said, jumping to his feet.
    Jessie hurried alongside Henry, her heart beating hard. What would Tom say? What would he do?
    â€œMaybe he’s in the exercise room,” Benny said.
    â€œLet’s try his cabin first,” the captain said. “Usually when we’re about to go ashore passengers are getting ready in their rooms.”
    The captain rapped on Tom’s door. No answer. He knocked louder.
    Finally, Tom flung open the door and stared sleepy-eyed at the captain, Max, and the Aldens. “What do you want?” he asked in an annoyed tone. “You woke me up!”
    â€œWe need to talk to you. It’s about what’s been happening on my ship,” the captain said sternly.
    â€œWhat are you talking about?” Tom asked angrily, his face flushing a deep red. “I had nothing to do with the ship’s delay or anything else!”
    â€œYes, you have!” Max said. “What about this?” And he thrust the telegram in Tom’s face.
    Tom grabbed the wire, and his face grew white.
    â€œYou’re in this with Carla, aren’t you, Thomas?” Max said, folding his arms across his chest and waiting for an answer.
    â€œNo, I’m not!” Tom sneered. “And you’d better watch who you’re accusing or you’ll end up with a lawsuit!”
    Suddenly, Benny shouted, “What’s this?” And he dashed toward an iron box sticking out from under the bed. He pulled it out.

    â€œIt’s a toolbox,” Henry said, kneeling down and examining hammers, pliers, and screwdrivers.
    â€œSo what

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