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Moira, Gerald, Darla, Justin & Violet's Adventure Series


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The Mystery at the Fun-Fair

Moira, Gerald & Darla were joined by their cousins Violet and Justin this summer. Their aunt and uncle were busy redecorating 'Russet Villa'. The neighbourhood of 'Snowhite Cottage' was getting geared up for a fun-fair. The money raised would be used for the upliftment and improvement of the various parks in the township. Every member of this small town was pitching in to make the coming event a huge success.

"Aunt Susan, tell us how we can help during the fair," said Justin. "Yes, I want to help you aunt in whatever you are going to do at the fair," added Violet. "Well, I have decided to make book-marks and greeting cards to sell at the fair. You can help me decorate them together with Moira, Gerald and Darla," said Susan. "I don't think Darla should help. She is so clumsy," spoke up Justin in a hurry. "No, I'm not," sulked Darla. "Oh! Alright! Don't start fighting you two," said Moira.

The children spent a good part of each day helping Susan prepare book-marks and greeting cards. Violet has a flair for sketching and Moira was good at painting and colouring. The pile of greeting cards were looking beautiful and so were the bookmarks. Gerald, Justin and Moira were busy making envelopes for the greeting cards.

One early afternoon, Mrs. Baxter from next door arrived at 'Snowhite Cottage'. She was a sweet, short and stout woman in her mid-fiftees with short, curly hair and a smiling, cheerful disposition. "Hi children! How's it going? How many cards have you got ready?" "Come, come Mrs. Baxter. You are just on time for some freshly bakes cashwenut and honey cookies," invited Susan.

"What are you making to sell at the fun-fair Mrs. Baxter?" asked Violet. "I have prepared embroidered handkerchiefs to sell at the fair," said Mrs. Baxter. "I have finished making three dozen hankies and hope people will want to buy them," smiled the sweet old lady. "Oh yes, aunty, you embroider very well. Surely, you will be able to sell all of them," piped in both Justin and Violet. "Thanks kids. I hope so too."

"What are Beth and Judy going to sell at the fair Susan?" asked Mrs. Baxter. Beth and Judy were two sisters who lived nearby in two identical houses. Beth's husband was the local librarian and Judy's husband was the local policeman. "Well, I think Beth and Judy are going to surprise us on the day of the fair. They have kept everything under wraps," said Susan, pouring hot delicious tea for her guest. "I am sure Beth and Judy aunties are going to bring something really nice. They are good at all types of handicraft," said Violet happily.

"Shall we go over and try and peep through their window to see if we can find out what they are preparing?" asked Darla excitedly. "No, you will not be able to see anything. There are curtains on all doors and windows," replied Justin making a disappointed face. "Well, never mind kids. We will come to know very soon. The fair is on next Sunday, isn't it Susan?" asked Mrs. Baxter. "Yes, so it is," replied her hostess. "I better be going. Thanks for the lovely tea and cookies," smiled Mrs. Baxter. "You are welcome. Bye for now," Susan said bidding goodbye to her guest.

At last, the day of the fun-fair dawned bright and clear. Guest from the neighbouring towns and villages started coming to buy whatever they needed at the various stalls. Susan was ready with the bookmarks and greeting cards, nicely displayed at her stall. All the children were dressed in fine clothes and could hardly contain their excitement. Mrs. Baxter had her stall next to Susan.

Beth and Judy arrived with big packets and started arranging their stall a little distance away. The five cousins gasped in awe when they saw what the two sisters had prepared. There were handmade dolls of all sizes dressed in various costumes.

The dolls were wearing traditional outfits of different countries. The sisters had also made extra garments for the dolls, together with shoes, handbags, clips, hairbands and other accessories. The colourful stall looked too good to be true. The children decided to buy a doll each from their favourite country.

Jackie and her sister-in-law Julie made all types of confectionery items including cakes, pastries, patties, quiches, cookies, buns, sandwiches, tarts and marzipan. Their stall had people gathering very soon to taste the goodies.

Linda and her neighbour Wendy had put together all types of handmade products such as pen-stands, gift-bags, hand-bags, cell phone covers, coin pouches, sandwich covers, jewellery boxes and stationery boxes. Some more stalls at the fair had handmade artificial flowers, table cloths, bed sheets and bed covers, tea cosy and tray covers. One of the ladies had made blankets for children. They had motifs of Tom & Jerry, Mickey & Minnie, Donald Duck, Pluto, Winnie the Pooh, etc.

Soon, large groups of visitors could be seen at the fair. Mostly there were all ages of kids with parents, grand parents, aayas with babies in prams and young couples holding hands.

By late afternoon, most of the morning visitors had departed, their hands full of packets and boxes. Most of the dolls at Beth and Judy's stall were sold out. Mrs. Baxter had made quite a lot of dough because all the ladies were fond of embroidered kerchiefs. The food stall was half empty. All five kids with their favourite dolls were munching goodies from Jacky and Julie's stall.

Early evening saw more visitors at the fair and by 5:30 pm, the stall owners decided to pack up. Just then, Jackie screamed, "Where's all the cash? Julie, have you kept the cash box?" "No, I was packing the leftover food. I didn't even see the box." Mrs. Baxter spoke in her soft melodious voice, "You are right Jackie. My money has gone too."

All the cash boxes at the various stalls had been fleeced by a clever thief. There was commotion at each and every stall as all the owners looked and looked in boxes, packets and the ground around them but there was no sign of any cash.

Moira and the gang decided to get to the bottom of this mysterious disappearance. They went to Judy and Beth and asked, "Did you see anyone coming near the cash box Aunty Beth?" "No Moira, I didn't." Judy joined in, "The cash box was kept absolutely near us. No one could have taken it." They received the same answer from all the stall-owners. "I wonder who could have done such a horrible thing. The money collected was going towards a good cause," said Susan, feeling very bad indeed. "We must find the thief and hand him over to the police," said Linda.

The children had a quick meeting and decided to search the near-by area to see if they could find a clue. Moira, Gerald and Darla went behind the stalls. Voilet and Justin searched the grounds.

"Any one of the visitors could have stolen the cash," said Beth. "I don't think so," said Mrs. Baxter. "After all, the money being collected was for the benefit of everyone living in this neighbourhood." "That's true but it could have been someone from the neighbouring villages," said Judy. "Well, everyone who visited my stall was known to all of us. We meet them regularly at church meetings, picnics and parties," said Jackie. "Exactly. Each and everyone came and ate one of our delicacies," added her sister-in-law.

Meanwhile, the children were busy searching for clues. Just then, Justin whispered, "Look, Violet there is someone behind those bushes. Let's go and investigate, but be very quiet." Both of them peeped behind the overgrown bushes. They saw a middle-aged man sitting and counting bank notes. Near him, sat a small girl. "Good job sweetie. I will buy you a gift when we go back." The girl smiled and spoke, "No one will ever guess it was me who emptied the cash boxes papa."

"Run, Justin and get Uncle David and his friends. I'll keep watch. Don't make a sound," said Violet, getting really angry. Just as Justin left, the father and daughter also started getting up with their loot. Without wasting a minute, Violet moved towards them and started screaming, "Moira, Gerald, Darla, come quick. Here are the thieves." Voilet caught hold of the man's right leg, stopping him from leaving.

Hearing Violet scream, Moira, Gerald and Darla came running towards them. Darla held the girl's hands and Gerald & Moira caught hold of the man's shoulder and hands. By then, David and the others arrived. Justin had told them what had happened.

They pounced on the man and the children caught hold of the girl. Hearing the commotion, all the women arrived to inquire what had happened. "How on earth did you manage to steal the cash from right under our nose?" asked Susan. To everyone's surprise, the girl answered truthfully, "I was very, very careful. When everyone was busy packing up, I quietly crept near the cash box and pulled out the money, keeping it in my bag." "My God! We didn't even notice you!" said Judy.

Soon, the police arrived and took charge of the girl and her father. Everyone got back their cash and thanked the kids for their quick thinking. Everyone went back happily talking about the mystery at the fun-fair.

Also in the Series

The Mystery on the Paradise

The Mystery of the Missing Man

The Mystery at the Circus

Contributing Story Teller:  Amita enjoys writing stories and poems, especially for kids. She has strong editing and translation skills. [email protected]

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