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Half Moon Investigations - Eoin Colfer - And Another Thing... - Eoin Colfer – Douglas Adams's Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy: 6of3

And Another Thing… by Eoin Colfer

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Half Moon Investigations

Half Moon Investigations

Synopsis

Meet Fletcher Moon. Half-pint schoolboy and fully qualified private investigator. Since graduating online, he has solved all sorts of minor mysteries at school and at home. It was only a matter of time before things got serious. When Fletcher investigates a spate of crimes in the town of Lock, the finger of suspicion is soon pointing in the direction of shady brothers Herod and Red Sharkey.

Extract

The First Rule of Investigation

My name is Moon. Fletcher Moon. And I’m a private detective. In my twelve years on this spinning ball we call Earth, I’ve seen a lot of things normal people never see. I’ve seen lunch boxes stripped of everything except fruit. I’ve seen counterfeit homework networks that operated in five counties, and I’ve seen truckloads of candy taken from babies.

I thought I’d seen it all. I had paid so many visits to the gutter looking for lost Love Hearts that I thought nothing could shock me. After all, when you’ve come face to face with the dark side of the school yard, life doesn’t hold many surprises.

Or so I believed. I was wrong. Very wrong.

One month ago a case came knocking on my door that made me consider getting out of the detective business for good. I’d just turned twelve and already I had a dozen successful investigations under my belt.

Business was good but I was ready to start solving actual crimes. No more kids’ stuff. I wanted real cases that paid real money, not just whatever the kid happened to have in his pocket at the time.

It all went wrong the day I decided to break Bob Bernstein’s first rule of investigation: Be invisible. Put the pieces of the puzzle together, but never become one of those pieces yourself.

Herod Sharkey made me forget that rule.

As every private investigator knows, Bob Bernstein is the legendary FBI agent turned PI who founded the Bernstein Academy in Washington to train aspiring investigators properly. He also wrote the Bernstein Manual, which every student needs to know by heart if they are to have any hope of qualifying. I knew the manual from cover to cover, and I had qualified at the top of my online class, though I had to use my dad’s birth certificate to do it. Luckily we both share the same name.

September twenty-seventh. That day is as clear to me as a high-resolution photograph. The end of our first month back in school after the summer holidays. Unfortunately the summer didn’t know it was over and was pouring on the sunshine. The heat came off the tarmac yard in sheets, wrapping itself round the students of St Jerome’s Primary and Secondary School.

I arrived at the gates around the usual time. Eight fifty. I like to be ten minutes early wherever I’m going. Gives me time to get my finger on whatever pulse is beating. Private detectives need to be in touch with our environment. The Bernstein Manual says that: A detective never knows where his next case is coming from. For all he knows, it could be a puzzle that he has already solved, if he’s kept his eyes open. So I keep my eyes wide open. I can tell you which kids have wart acid on their fingers. I know who’s passing lovey-dovey notes around in the senior yard and even which teachers stop off in Burger Mac on their way to school.

But nobody can possibly see everything. Not even the legendary detective Bob Bernstein. That’s why I needed my informants. Doobie Doyle was the best one I had. An eight-year-old snot-nosed snitch with sharp eyes and a big mouth. Doobie would sell out his own mother for a sweaty handful of jelly beans. Unfortunately, when I say Doobie was snot-nosed, it’s not just a turn of phrase. Doobie never went anywhere without a couple of green yo-yos hanging from his nostrils, which he then snorted back up so hard that they wrapped round his brain. Actually, it was the perfect disguise. It was all people noticed about him. If Doobie ever wiped his nose, his own mother wouldn’t be able to pick him out of a line-up.

On that morning, the twenty-seventh, he was at the gates waiting for me. I was surprised. Usually I had to track him down. This must be important.

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