Authors: Julie Campbell
The TRIXIE BELDEN Series
1 The Secret of the
2 The Red Trailer
3 The Gatehouse
4 The Mysterious
5 The Mystery
6 The Mystery in
7 The Mysterious
8 The Black Jacket
9 The Happy Valley Mystery
10 The Marshland
11 The Mystery at
12 The Mystery of
the Blinking Eye
13 The Mystery on
14 The Mystery of
15 The Mystery on
16 The Mystery of
the Missing Heiress
17 The Mystery of
the Uninvited Guest
18 The Mystery of
the Phantom Grasshopper
19 The Secret of the
20 The Mystery
21 The Mystery of
the Castaway Children
22 The Mystery at
23 The Mystery of
the Queen’s Necklace
24 The Mystery at
25 The Sasquatch
26 The Mystery of
the Headless Horseman
27 The Mystery of
the Ghostly Galleon
29 The Mystery of
the Velvet Gown
30 The Mystery of
the Midnight Marauder
31 The Mystery at
32 The Mystery of
the Whispering Witch
33 The Mystery of
the Vanishing Victim
34 The Mystery of
the Missing Millionaire
35 The Mystery of
the Memorial Day Fire
36 The Mystery of
the Antique Doll
37 The Pet Show
38 The Indian Burial
39 The Mystery of
the Galloping Ghost
Copyright © 1986 by Western Publishing Company, Inc.
All rights reserved.
Printed in the
of this book may be reproduced or copied in any form without written permission
from the publisher. GOLDEN®, GOLDEN &
DESIGN,® A GOLDEN BOOK®, and
TRIXIE BELDEN® are trademarks of Western Publishing Company, Inc. Library of
Card Number: 85-81569
ISBN 0-307-21562-8/ISBN 0-307-61562-6 (lib.
characters, and events in this story are entirely fictitious.
four-teen-year-old Trixie Belden exclaimed. She turned to look out the side
window of the car,
around to look out the back. Facing forward again, she rested her forearms on
the seat ahead of her.
you really don’t believe it, just look— there’s another lake,” Honey Wheeler
said from the front seat. “
is the land of ten thousand lakes, and I’ll bet we’ve seen a thousand of them
since we left the Wadena airport!”
saw another nine thousand from the air,” Trixie added. “It was so beautiful—all
those little pools of deep blue water, surrounded by all those deep green
fields and forests.” She leaned back against the seat and closed her eyes,
remembering the trip from
, where she and Honey
lived. Then she quickly opened her eyes and sat up again, afraid of missing a
single new sight.
what I love about riding in a small plane like the one Daddy’s company owns,”
Honey said. “It flies closer to the ground, so you get to see everything much
I love about your father’s plane is that it’s one reason I was able to come on
this trip,” Trixie said.
love is a little silence while I wrestle with this infernal
machine,” the driver of the car said gruffly.
girls looked at Bill Regan, who had hardly spoken since they’d set off from the
airport in the rented car. Though the Wheelers’ groom knew everything in the
world about horses, he’d always admitted that he didn’t understand or like
cars. Now he was driving a strange car over strange roads, and his usual
easygoing personality was temporarily altered.
put her finger to her lips. Trixie nodded and sat back.
I don’t want to do
to ruin this vacation,
had all come about quite suddenly—as suddenly as an evening phone call from
Honey Wheeler, who’d said, “Guess what! We’re going to
for two whole weeks!” Honey was so
excited that the whole story had come out in bits and pieces, interrupted by
all because of the
,” Honey had said. “They’re
horse breeders and trainers, and they’re from
Won’t it be a wonderful place to visit? The
aren’t wealthy and can’t afford expensive breeding stock or high-priced
trainers, but they produce really outstanding Arabian horses. Daddy met the
at a horse show, and he was impressed with them. So
he’s sending Regan out to study their operation, and I convinced Daddy to send
us along. Don’t you just love it?”
do!” Trixie had
her freckled face already
radiant. “My parents won’t, though. You know how they feel about taking advantage
of your parents’ generosity, and I can’t possibly afford a dream trip like this
knew you’d say that,” Honey had retorted. “But look, Regan is flying in Daddy’s
company plane. One passenger or three won’t make any difference in the cost.
Once we’re there, we’ll stay with the
of charge. The trip will hardly cost anything. Besides, if you don’t go, it
will wreck my vacation. So how can you say you’re taking advantage?”
knew that Honey had meant what she said. With some difficulty, she’d managed to
convince her parents, as well. Two days later, the girls were in northern
wouldn’t want to make a trip without Honey, either,
Not that there would be much danger of that. In a big family like
mine, vacations don’t come along too often.
family consisted of her parents, her two older brothers—Brian and Mart—and a
younger brother, Bobby. The
were a very
close-knit family. Trixie squabbled frequently with her older brothers, but
they never doubted her loyalty or affection. And, although she complained about
having to baby-sit for six-year-old Bobby, she enjoyed reading him stories and,
most of the time, answering his endless questions.
I hope I don’t spend the whole two weeks feeling homesick.
Honey exclaimed just then, pointing straight ahead.
looked and saw a huge bird in flight. It was gray, with a tiny head and a long,
thin neck. The bird might have been laughable, if it hadn’t been for the slow,
graceful motion of its long wings. “If
came back as a bird, that’s what he’d look like,” Trixie said.
giggled at that.
turned to look out the side window once again, her homesick spell ended.
almost as if Honey knew I needed a distraction,
sensitive to other people’s feelings.
She looked fondly at her best friend,
whose blue eyes were sparkling with excitement.
had always been sensitive, but the sparkle in her eyes hadn’t always been
there. When the Wheelers had first moved into the Manor House, just down the
road from the
Farm, Honey had been thin, frail, and shy. An
only child, she’d grown up in boarding schools and summer camps, while her
throughout the world.
Manor House was to be a real home for Honey. One of her favorite teachers, Miss
, had been hired as a full-time manager. It was
also a place for Matthew Wheeler to indulge in some hobbies, such as a stable
of purebred horses and a well-stocked game preserve that occupied hundreds of
acres around the house.
all its attractions, the Manor House had done a lot to improve Honey’s outlook.
But Honey’s friendship with Trixie Belden and her brothers had done even more.
And almost immediately, Trixie and Honey had befriended a runaway orphan named
Jim Frayne, who eventually was adopted by the Wheelers, giving Honey the older
brother she’d always wanted.
the thought of Jim, Trixie felt another pang of homesickness.
I wish the
boys could have come along,
But they couldn’t do that
work as junior
at camp later this
do all the fix-up projects our parents have lined up for
Lynch and Dan
also had other summer plans. Di
and Dan—plus Trixie, her older brothers, Honey, and Jim—made up the Bob-Whites
of the Glen, a club devoted to having fun and helping others.
Belden, of course, would have been more than willing to come along, but neither
of the girls was eager to spend a summer vacation looking after a rambunctious
it’s just the two of us, for once,
Trixie concluded silently. Aloud
she said, “Are we almost there?”
straightened his shoulders and, with an effort, relaxed his grip on the
steering wheel. “We must be getting pretty close,” he said, sounding eager for
the car trip to end.
our exit,” Honey exclaimed after double-checking the directions the
turned off the highway onto a two-lane blacktop road lined with towering maple
trees. “This must be so pretty in the fall, when the leaves change.” Trixie
yes. We’ll have to come back to see!” Honey said with a laugh.
Finally they came to a sign that said Fair-haven
Ranch, and they turned onto a long gravel driveway.
was another quarter of a mile before they came to a clearing that held the
house, the stable, and the corral, as well as the many other outbuildings that
occupy a horse ranch. Regan parked the car at the edge of the clearing, where
it would be out of the way—and, Trixie suspected, out of his thoughts for the
next two weeks.
dog had begun barking as soon as the car stopped. Now it came toward them, a
large golden retriever, barking and wagging its tail at the same time.
the dog came a tall, slender man who looked around fifty. His face was tanned
under his straw cowboy hat, and his neck was burned red under the open collar
of his blue
. “That dog’s bite is a lot
worse than his bark,” the man teased. “You girls don’t have to worry, though.
Not enough meat on your skinny little bones for him to bother with.” He winked
at the girls, and held out a large, calloused hand to Regan. “I’m Bill
Mur-row,” he said.
introduced himself and the girls. In response to their host’s inquiry about the
trip, Regan could only say, “I’d rather have come on horseback.”
Murrow gave the red-haired young man a knowing look. “You like your horses one
at a time, under a saddle, instead of a hundred at a time under a hood, right?
Come on up to the house. I’ll give you a cup of
my wife’s good strong coffee. It’ll make you so nervous, you’ll forget all
about the drive!” Trixie, already giggling, looked at Honey, who rolled her
eyes. It was going to be a memorable trip, all right.
Murrow was just as calm and low-key as her husband was high-spirited. She
quickly took charge of getting everyone settled in. For the girls, there was a
small but comfortable twin-bedded room that had belonged to her daughter, now
grown and married. To Regan, she said, “You have a choice of the guest room
here, or the living quarters above the stable, which you’d share with Pat.”
After Regan quickly—and predictably— opted for the room above the stable, Honey
asked, “Is Pat your hired hand?”
Bill replied. “He’s slave
Mrs. Murrow exclaimed in a scandalized tone. Turning to the girls, she said,
“He’s our son. And if he’s a slave, it’s to his passion for horses. Why, the
day he turned sixteen, he announced that he was moving into the apartment he’d
fixed up over the stable. Since then, I can’t even drag him into the house,
except for meals.” As if suddenly remembering the subject of meals, Charlene
began bustling about the kitchen.
and Bill left for the stable, and Trixie and Honey went to their room to
unpack. “That Bill is certainly a character, isn’t he?” Trixie said in a low
nodded, a smile coming to her face as she remembered his antics. “Mrs. Murrow
is, too, in her own way. She pretends to be shocked by Bill, but I think she’s
just playing along.”
can hardly wait to see what Pat is like,” Trixie said.
so attached to his horses, he probably looks like one—buck teeth, bulging brown
eyes, and one lock of hair hanging down over his forehead.”
description of a
human made Trixie picture
a humanlike horse seated at the
’ big kitchen
table. She began to giggle. In a moment, Honey had caught the giggling fit, and
both girls were lying on their beds, holding their sides.
how are we going to face Pat Murrow now?” Trixie wailed.
soon as they calmed down, they went to the kitchen and offered to help Mrs.
Murrow prepare supper. She put them to work peeling carrots and washing celery,
slicing homemade bread, and setting the table. An hour went by quickly and
wonderful aromas filled the air.
Murrow stepped out onto the screened back porch and rang an old-fashioned dinner
bell. Trixie and Honey exchanged amused looks, but didn’t dare whisper Pat
Murrow’s name, for fear of setting off another giggling attack.
later, the girls heard the sound of heavy boots on the porch. The door opened
and Regan stepped inside, followed by Bill Murrow, who guided his guest down
the hall to show him where to wash up. The last person inside was a tall,
slender teenager, too muscular to be called thin. He had high cheekbones and a
long, straight nose. He did, indeed, have
brown eyes and a lock of brown hair that strayed
across his forehead, but the effect was far from
this is Trixie Belden,” Mrs. Murrow said.
answer was just a nod.
this is Matt Wheeler’s daughter, Honey,” Mrs. Murrow concluded.
stepped forward and held out her hand. Pat stared at her, but made no immediate
attempt to take the hand. After an awkward pause, Honey dropped her hand—just
as Pat offered his. Realizing he was too late, Pat dropped his hand—just as Honey
raised hers. Honey shrugged helplessly and giggled. Pat turned and headed down
the hall to the bathroom.