Bullets Across the Bay


Diana Orgain read the following excerpt from Carolyn Keene’s Trade Wind Danger (2005).

Trade Wind Danger
SAN FRANCISCO IS THE MOST BEAUTIFUL CITY I’ve ever seen—and that’s saying a lot, because I’ve also seen Paris. Anyway, here I was on a cool spring morning, having just arrived with my two best friends, George Fayne and Bess Marvin. And I couldn’t imagine anything better.

   “Are you sure you have enough suitcases, Bess?” George asked, eyeing Bess’s four designer suitcases piled on the porter’s trolley outside our hotel. “I’m worried you’ve forgotten something.”

   “Me? Forget clothes?” Bess replied, ignoring her cousin’s sarcasm. “Impossible.” She dug a light jacket from one of her bags and pulled it over her tank top. Shaking back her blond hair, she added, “My guidebook warned that San Francisco weather can be crazy—sunny, rainy, cold, and warm, all in the same day. I don’t want to be caught unprepared.”

   “My motto is One Vacation, One Backpack,” George said, setting her backpack next to my duffel bag on the trolley. “Two pairs of jeans, shorts, T-shirts, and a rainproof sweatshirt. How is that not prepared?”

   “I smiled as my two friends teased each other. Even though Bess and George are cousins, they couldn’t be more different. Bess is blond, sweet, and stylish, without a competitive bone in her body. Dark-haired George has a dry wit, shrugs at the mention of a clothing sale, and as for competitive bones—well, let’s just say she’s one of the best athletes I’ve ever known. But Bess and George are alike in this way: They’re devoted to each other, and to me.

   “Got everything, girls?” the elderly cab driver asked after I paid him. “You’ll love San Francisco. You may even leave your hearts here,” he added, paraphrasing a line from an old song. “Anyway, you’re sure to meet some odd ducks. All sorts of colorful characters flock to this city. It attracts them. Anyway, toodle-oo!” He waved out the window as he drove away.

   “The characters in San Francisco seem almost as colorful as the ones in River Heights,” George commented as we watched the cab race another one up a nearby hill. “I mean, does that guy realize he’s pushing eighty?”

   “This place is famous for its eccentrics,” I said, “like the beatniks in the nineteen fifties.”

   “Hippies in the sixties,” Bess chimed in.

   “And don’t forget all the techies who invented new computer systems in their garages later on,” George said.

   “I bet you’ll find a mystery on this vacation, Nancy,” Bess said. “If this city is so wild and crazy, there must be tons of them around.”

   I smiled. I couldn’t help myself. The thought of tons of mysteries surrounding me was exciting. Hey, I’m a detective. What can I say?

~Trade Wind Danger (2005) by Carolyn Keene, p. 1-3


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