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Authors: James Howe

Dew Drop Dead

BOOK: Dew Drop Dead
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About the earlier Sebastian Barth mysteries


“Readers will enjoy sifting through the clues and digging deeper into the multilayered story. Howe's characterizations are strong.”

“Chock-full of suspense. Readers will find this a book they will not want to put down until it's finished. An excellent book for the beginning of a new and exciting series.”
The Parkersburg New


“Truly delightful and entertaining. [Howe] keeps the reader guessing until the final clue has been discovered and the mystery is solved. Hats off to James Howe—keep the words flowing.”
—Best sellers

“A well-plotted mystery that features attractive characters, including the resourceful Sebastian . . . uses its theatrical setting to best advantage.”


“Howe weaves a good tale with plenty of red herrings and an ending that comes as a complete surprise. A chilling dust jacket will draw readers in and the clever plotting will keep them turning the pages.”

“As original and well-constructed as Howe's Stage
What Eric Knew
. Readers will be dazzled by the triple shock in the windup.”
—Publishers Weekly

Right now and probably always, I'm hooked on Sebastian. He's great! It's so realistic I'd swear it's true . I'm an avid mystery reader and Sebastian is about the only really realistic sleuth. I love the combination of comedy and drama.”
—Letter from a twelve-year-old reader

nooping around the mysteriously abandoned Dew Drop Inn, Sebastian Barth and his best friends, David Lepinsky and Corrie Wingate, are startled to come upon what they are certain is a dead body. Sebastian is the first to put into words what they all believe: A muder has been committed.

When they return with the police, however, the body is gone! “A homeless man sleeping off a drunk.” is the police chief's explanation. But Sebastian and his friends are not ready to believe that. They are sure the body they saw was dead, not unconscious.

As the three undertake their own further investigation, more and more questions arise: Who was the man? Was he alone? And most important of all, is there a connection between the man they saw and one or more of the homeless people Corrie's father, a minister, is trying to help? The answers to the questions do not come until the three have made a number of discoveries, some of them more horrifying than they had expected.

Dew Drop Dead
is the fourth mystery in the Sebastian Barth series. Using rural Connecticut as a background, this tension-filled story is told with a unique blend of humor and seriousness, as it unravels a challenging puzzle and explores a difficult social problem.

is the author of numerous books for children, including the popular series about Bunnicula, the vampire rabbit, and his friends, Harold, Chester, and Howie. Among his other books are
Morgan's Zoo, A night Without Stars
, and three other Sebastian Barth mysteries:
What Eric Knew; Stage Fright;
Eat Your Poison, Dear.

The author lives in Hastings-on-Hudson, New York.

Jacket illustration copyright © 1995
by Richard Parisi


& S


Other Atheneum Books by James Howe

Bunnicula: A Rabbit-Tale of Mystery (
with Deborah Howe
Howliday Inn
The Celery Stalks at Midnight
A Night Without Stars
Morgan's Zoo
Teddy Bear's Scrapbook (
with Deborah Howe
There's a Monster Under My Bed
Pinky and Rex
Pinky and Rex Get Married

Sebastian Earth Mysteries
What Eric Knew
Stage Fright
Eat Your Poison, Dear

Atheneum Books for Young Readers
An imprint of Simon & Schuster Children's
Publishing Division
1230 Avenue of the Americas
New York, New York 10020

Copyright © 1990 by James Howe
All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in
whole or in part in any form.

Printed in the United States of America
12  14  16  18  20  19  17  15  13  11

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Howe, James.
Dew drop dead: a Sebastian Earth mystery/by James Howe.
I st ed. p. cm.

A Jean Karl book
Summary: While setting up a homeless shelter at the church,
Sebastian and his friends Corrie and David solve the mystery of a
dead man found in an abandoned inn
ISBN 0–689–31423–6
[1. Mystery and detective stories. 2. Homeless persons
1. Title
PZ7.H83727De 1990 [Fic]
89–34697 CIP AC

ISBN-13: 978-1-44245-239-8 (eBook)

To Betsy—for her love, her encouragement, and her paper clips


Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Chapter 20

Chapter 21

Chapter 22

Chapter 23

Chapter 24

Chapter 25

Chapter 26

Chapter 27

Chapter 28

Chapter 29

Chapter 30

Chapter 31

Chapter 32

Chapter 33

Chapter 34

Chapter 35

Chapter 36


sat listening to his parents argue. His hand rested on a piece of paper, blank but for the words
Dear Koji.
He'd hoped that writing a letter to his pen pal in Japan would distract him from the fighting; unfortunately, it seemed to be working the other way around. Each time he thought of something to write, angry words flew up through the floorboards of his room and buzzed his brain like a swarm of attacking bees.

“I don't
to move any more than you do,” he heard his father say.

“What makes you think
work is all that matters?”

“I'm not saying that.”

“Well, what
you saying?”

“Come on, Katie—”

“Don't take that patient tone with me, William Barth. It's condescending and you know it.”

“For crying out loud—”

Dear Koji, How's everything with you? I'm having a pretty good year in school. Mom and Dad are fine. Gram is
busy with all her projects, as usual There's not much happening here.

Lies, Sebastian thought. Why don't you just write the truth? Dear Koji, Guess what? I lost my radio show and it looks like Dad's about to lose his job. We might even have to move because there aren't many radio stations around here where he can find work. Mom's having a fit because she doesn't want to leave her restaurant. Even Gram is depressed.

How's the weather there? It's been really cold here. We've had snow and it isn't even Thanksgiving yet. I think we're in for a rough winter

“You're not listening to me, Will!”

“I'm listening, I'm listening. I'm just not hearing anything!”

Well, at least that part's true, Sebastian thought. We're definitely in for a rough winter.

A door slammed. A second door slammed. All he heard now was the murmuring of his grandmother's reasonable tones. He wasn't sure who was left for her to be talking to; he imagined it was one of the cats.

He looked out his window at the house across the street. There was a car in the driveway. Good, he thought, they're back. Sebastian shoved his feet into
his sneakers and charged down the stairs. Before his grandmother could ask where he was going, he grabbed a jacket and was out the door.

It was three-thirty. There was still time to salvage what had thus far been a thoroughly rotten Saturday.


the bathroom and my father's having a crisis and I'm helping,” said Rachel Lepinsky as she opened the door. Rachel was the nine-year-old sister of Sebastian's best friend. She turned away, then said, “Wait. As long as you're here, what do you think of this title?” Consulting a notebook, she read,
“The Case of the Mysterious Thing.”

“Catchy,” said Sebastian. “What's it about?”

don't know. I'm just coming up with titles. It's my dad's job to write the stupid books.”

“Oh. Well, that sounds like a perfect title for a stupid book.”

Rachel glared at Sebastian and left the room. A moment later, he heard her voice coming from down the hall near her father's office. She was reading him her title. Then he heard Josh.

“Please, Rachel, I appreciate your desire to help. But all I want right now is to be left alone. Close the door on your way out.”

By the time Rachel came back into the living room, she was no longer carrying her notebook. “I have decided that writing is a pointless profession,”
she said. “It makes you cranky and not fun to be with. Besides, all you do all day is sit in a room by yourself and make up stories. It's not very down-to-earth, if you ask me. Whatever I do when I grow up, it will be down-to-earth, that's for sure.”

“Hey, Rachel, I've got the perfect profession for you,” David Lepinsky shouted as he came down the stairs. “It's down-to-earth, and you never have to be by yourself.”


“Mud wrestling.”

“Very umfunny,” Rachel said. She fell back into a chair and crossed her arms.

“Let's go somewhere,” David said to Sebastian. “It's bad news around here today.” To Rachel, he said, “Tell Dad I went out.”

“Sure,” Rachel said. “I'll tell him you ran away to join the circus.”

“Do that.”

“Boy,” said Sebastian once they were outside, “I thought things were grim around
house. What's going on?”

“It's my dad,” David said. “He's got writer's block. We went to the mall for clothes and all he could talk about were story ideas. See, he's owed his editor a book for almost a year now and he's stuck. Last night, he had this dream that the publishing company came and took away his word processor.”


“And today while Rachel was trying on shoes, he got this idea for a mystery where the murderer is a shoe salesman who kills people by cutting off their circulation at the ankles. The worst part was that he was serious. That's when we came home.”

“I've never seen him like this.”

“Yeah, it's pretty bad. What's happening at your house? Does it still look like your father's going to get fired?”

BOOK: Dew Drop Dead
5.82Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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