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The Dana Girls #9: The Mystery at the Gatehouse

June 25, 2007

In The Mystery at the Gatehouse, Louise and Jean help investigate the disappearance of Mr. Warrington, a wealthy businessman who lives near Starhurst and is being investigated by the government for reasons that are never fully explained.

The Dana girls are walking in the woods one day when they encounter and stop to chat with an elderly woman named Mrs. Zerbe. While they’re talking, Mrs. Zerbe receives a telegram from Mr. Warrington, her former employer, telling her not to tell anyone about the secret of the gatehouse, and she accidentally lets the girls see it. Not long afterwards, she dies.

The girls become friendly with Mr. Warrington’s daughter, Evangeline, after helping to return some lost dogs, and when Mr. Warrington goes missing, Eve is happy to accept the Dana girls’ help. There’s a detective, too — Mr. McCarter — but he mostly just admires the cleverness of Louise and Jean.

As far as I can tell, Mr. Warrington would never be found if it wasn’t for Louise, Jean, and Eve jumping to an incredibly stupid conclusion that turns out to be right. See, they’re in a small restaurant somewhere in the mountains, and they over hear the conversation of a group of hunters at the next table.

Hunter named Thomas: I was up in the woods yesterday, and I came across this deserted cabin —

Other hunters: You tell the strangest stories, Thomas.

Thomas: — only it wasn’t deserted, so I tried to buy some tobacco from the guy inside.

Other hunters: You’re making this up, aren’t you, Thomas?

Thomas: But the guy said that he was taking care of a crazy man who might get dangerous, so I had to leave without any tobacco.

Other hunters: Thomas, you’re such a liar.

The girls, overhearing this, decide not only that Thomas is telling the truth, but that the person that the man in the cabin is taking care of is not a crazy man, but the imprisoned Mr. Warrington. And then they turn out to be right, which is just ridiculous.

Oh, and eventually they discover that Mr. Warrington was adopted, and is actually the son of Mrs. Zerbe. But no one except Mr. Warrington seems to be particularly bothered about that.

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