The Secret of the Little Dutch Doll
Perfect Bound Softcover
Vacation in the Caribbean islands? Twelve-year-old Matthew Winfield was ecstatic! A chance to dive for the rare blue coral that he has dreamed about near the Netherlands Antilles.
What he doesn't know, however, is that a notorious international diamond thief, known as the man with a thousand faces, is also on his way to the islands on a mission.
How Matthew handles the kidnapping of his little sister who falls into the hands of the thief, the appearance of an Interpol officer, and a surprise near the treacherous Shadow Island is an action-packed adventure, a thrilling novel for children and adults of all ages.
Matthew returned to the lobby, peeked into the coffee shop, the gift shop, and finally the sports shop.
There was another corridor, long and empty, and seemed to turn a corner several yards ahead of him. Beyond, a stairway led down to a large door. Gently pushing the door open, he was surprised to find himself looking at a partially landscaped area behind the hotel. He stepped outside and closed the door. No one in sight. He moved carefully around mounds of tropical wild flowers and thick green foliage planted against the gray stone wall of the hotel. He peeked under bushes, expecting to find Andrea asleep tucked under one of them. It wouldn’t be the first time she had ever done that.
Stumbling over a large loose rock, he lost his balance, falling head first into a gaping hole in the dirt covered by shrubbery. Rolling over and over, down into a wet, musty place, he landed with a thud on a very hard floor. His head was still spinning as he sat up, blinking into total darkness.
A faint sound of the sea alerted him. He must be somewhere under the hotel. Another eerie moaning sound startled him. Didn’t the bellboy say the original underground rooms were haunted by ancient pirates?
There it was again. He stopped breathing. Whatever it was, he wasn’t staying to find out. He tried to stand up but hit his head on something hard. Feeling around above, his fingers touched a stone ceiling. There was a wall on either side, damp and slimy. Could this be part of the old castle?
The smell of salt filled the musty air. There had been sea water in here. If the tide comes in, it would flood this place. He hurried along the wall. Was this a hallway? He felt his way, listening for that strange sound. Yes, there it was, louder now, like a wailing animal. An animal wouldn’t come in here. The ghost of a pirate?
Another thought flashed through his mind. “Andrea?” he called. Holding his breath, he listened for a response. The hissing of the sea reminded him that the hallway might soon be flooded. Don’t panic, he told himself. Go for help. But how? As he groped around, pushing at the slimy wall, the rushing sound of the waves grew louder. Once again he shouted, “Andrea! Are you here?”
“Matthew?” a tiny voice wavered.
Frantically, Matthew clawed at a soft spot where the floor met the side wall. He ran his hands up and down the wet stone. “There’s got to be a door around here somewhere,” he muttered aloud. His finger struck a hard lump. Taking a deep breath, he pushed on it as hard as he could. Part of the wall gave way. He put his shoulder against the wall and shoved with all his weight. An avalanche of wet, moldy debris cascaded down over him. He wiggled his way out, spitting mud and sand. The heavy, woody smell of aging wine drifted by his nose.
“Matthew! You found the door?”
Matthew wiped the sand from his face and blinked at a small bundle of ruffled pinafore squirming on the floor against a wooden barrel. Straining to see through the dim shadows, he saw more barrels and wine bottles swathed in sandy cobwebs.
“This is the old wine cellar! How did you get in here, Andrea? Mom and the police are looking for you--and me, too, by now.” He crawled over to her. “Your arms are behind you. Are your hands caught in something?”
“Yes,” she sobbed, trembling in shock. “He took my doll and left me here.”
“Who? Was it that sailor we saw down at the dock?”
“I think so. Be careful untying my hands.”
Matthew struggled with the sailor’s knot. “He didn’t have to tie your hands. How did he bring you in here? Why would he leave you here?”
“I don’t know. I tried to call to Mom, but he put his hand over my face. How did you find me?”
“Never mind that now. We’ve got to get out of here!”
Matthew squinted up at the ceiling. We can’t crawl back up through that hole; it’s several feet straight up. There must be an opening somewhere. The gushing sound of waves getting louder warned him to act quickly.
He pointed toward a hazy glimmer of light. “Looks like an opening ahead. Maybe a beach. We’re going to get wet, Andrea, but we’ve got to beat the tide or drown. Can you hold your breath under water?”
Andrea’s eyes widened in terror. “Matthew, I can’t swim!”
About The Author:
At the ripe old age of seven I wrote my first novel, “The Adventures of Cubby Bear.” At age 13, and a few more stories, I entered high school. English, French, world geography, and commercial art were easy and fun. Typing and shorthand were magic tools. University brush-up, adding creative writing, poetry, human figure drawing, and architecture were all I needed to handle a professional position as a federal civil service employee. World travel was my goal. After a quick view of Canada and Mexico in my younger years, I was anxious to explore other countries.
As secretary in a federal government agency I learned how our government is run in foreign countries. My job in Rabat, Morocco, North Africa, went far beyond taking dictation. My duties, as a civilian, included top secret clearance, editing military training manuals, editing medical research manuscripts published in medical journals, a by-line in a military newspaper reporting civilian news updates, and much more, continuing for five wonderful and busy years. On off-duty times I roamed around Europe, British Isles, and Africa, making friends, learning different cultures and languages.
When I returned to the United States I polished my writing at the Institute of Childrens Literature in Connecticut learning the art of writing for children and young adults. Instructors are professional published award-winning authors. I completed two graduate courses and received my degree. After retiring from government service I worked for a local newspaper for three years, writing and editing ads and overseeing commercial illustrations. Now writing for children full time.
Perfect Bound Softcover
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