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Book 3 in the Crime-Solving Cousins Mysteries

Will they find the spy—or will the spy find them first?

When twelve-year-old cousins Sophie and Jessica take a class at a chocolate factory, they don’t expect to see bad guys in such a sweet place. Strange happenings make them wonder if they’ve uncovered another mystery, and they’re soon in danger. Can they find The Chocolate Spy in time?

The Chocolate Spy is the third book in the Crime-Solving Cousins Mysteries. If you (or the eight- to ten-year-olds in your life) like Nancy Drew, Theodore Boone, or the Hardy Boys, then you’ll love Shannon L. Brown’s fun, fast-paced books for kids.

Buy The Chocolate Spy and go undercover with Sophie and Jessica today!

Something’s Up

Chapter One

Jessica Ballow put her sunglasses on and lay down on her towel on Pine Lake’s sandy beach.

Her cousin, Sophie Sandoval, sat on a beach towel next to her. “So what should we do now?”

Jessica let out a big sigh. “This is pretty good. My heart isn’t racing every fifteen minutes now that we’ve wrapped up our last mystery. My summer in small-town Pine Hill has been much more exciting than I expected, even more exciting than back home in the big city of London, England.”

“Even I’m not quite ready to search for a new mystery. But if one found me, I guess I’d be open.”

Jessica laughed. “You are always ready for a mystery.”

Sophie pointed into the distance. “Hey, there’s Tony over on Main Street, handing something out to people.”

Jessica sat up and slid her sunglasses down her nose. “He’s coming this direction. Is my hair okay?” She smoothed her blonde hair, then tucked it behind her ears.

Sophie looked her over. “Great, as usual.”

They watched Tony Donadio make his way across the street and toward them on the sand. Tony’s parents owned Donadio’s Deli, where Jessica and Sophie often ate. He was also more than a little bit cute, went to the same church Sophie and Jessica attended, and was super smart like her.

When he reached the girls, he handed a sheet of paper down to Sophie. Jessica leaned over to peer at it. On it was printed: Have a sweet summer. Learn how to make chocolates. Classes at Sweet Bites Chocolates now open.

“Hmm,” said Sophie. “Are you interested, Jessica? It’s at a chocolate factory not far from here.”

Jessica turned toward Sophie. “It doesn’t involve a mystery. And it’s chocolate? Do you even need to ask?”

Sophie laughed, and Tony grinned.

Tony said, “I knew you’d ordered hot fudge sundaes a couple of times over at the deli, but I didn’t realize you had a thing for chocolate.”

“Oh yeah. The resort makes those awesome triple chocolate shakes, and there are the sundaes you’ve made for me at Donadio’s Deli. How could I have missed a chocolate factory while I’ve been visiting here?”

“Not only is it a factory, but my uncle owns it. I’m handing these out for him.” Tony held up the stack of papers.

“Your uncle?” Sophie asked. “My class went to see a chocolate factory a couple of years ago, but I thought it was owned by a family named the Wongs.”

“My Uncle Sal bought it from them earlier this year. He lived all over the world while he was in the Army and wanted to settle down someplace when he got out.”

“Your uncle learned to make candy in the military?” Sophie asked.

Tony laughed. “No. He repaired helicopters in the army. Uncle Sal liked it here when he visited my family, the business was for sale, and he loves chocolate, so he was pretty excited to buy it. The good news is that my family gets samples every once in a while.”

Jessica looked at the flyer again. “I wonder if we’ll get samples if we take this class.”

Tony shrugged. “Probably.”

Sophie sighed. “Jessica has been trying to get me to like chocolate. It’s okay. But I don’t want to run toward it every time I see some.”

Jessica said, “And I do. For cousins, we’re very different.”

“That’s true!” Tony and Sophie said together.

The three of them laughed.

“Sophie, let’s go see your mom and ask if we can take this class.”

“I think Mom will be very happy to know where we are while the classes are going on—and that we aren’t in the middle of a mystery.”

“You two managed to get into the middle of some danger with The Feather Chase and The Treasure Key,” Tony said.

“Not just the two of us, Tony. You were right in the middle of it too. Three twelve-year-olds solved the mysteries.”

Tony shrugged. “We have had some exciting times this summer. I hope you’ll let me know if you find another mystery.”

Jessica shuddered. “Whew. I hope that doesn’t happen.”

Sophie nudged Jessica with her elbow. “You know you had fun. But could we find another mystery this soon? Even I wonder about that.”

A loud sound came from over the hills in the direction of Cutoff Trail. Sophie, Jessica, and Tony all turned toward it. A helicopter flew toward heir direction, barely above the many tall pine trees that gave this town its name. Sand blew around them as it passed overhead.

Jessica covered her eyes with her hands, only pulling them away when the sound faded. The aircraft now hovered in the sky on the opposite side of town, then dropped below the trees and buildings.

Sophie stood and brushed herself off. “Wow! A helicopter! I think it landed near the resort.”

Jessica combed her hair with her fingers. “What’s so unusual about a helicopter? I see lots of them.”

“Not in Pine Hill. I only remember seeing a couple. And it turned out later that someone was very sick, and the helicopter had come to take them to the hospital. Oh no! I hope everyone there is okay.”

Sophie grabbed her towel and shook it out. Jessica stood and did the same. They both rolled their towels up as they started walking toward the helicopter’s landing spot at the top of a nearby hill with Tony at their side.

When they crested the hill and could see the front of the fancy resort hotel, they also saw people they knew crowded around in front of it. Businesses around town must have closed with the sound of the helicopter so their owners and workers could rush to see what had happened.

Tony said, “There’s a landing pad on top of the resort. The construction crew came into our deli and bought lunch a few times while they were building it a few months ago. I didn’t think anyone would ever use it.”

One person was pointing at the roof, so Jessica guessed it was as Tony had suggested: the aircraft had landed on the roof of the resort. Mrs. Bowman, the owner of Bananas Bakery, was among the onlookers, and they all knew her, so they hurried over there.

When they reached her, the older woman glanced briefly at the trio, then returned her gaze to the roof. Before they could even ask what happened, Mrs. Bowman said, “Did you see it? A helicopter just landed up there. Tony’s dad went inside to check and make sure someone isn’t sick. If they are, we could get Doc Adams to come over here to help. The people working at the resort may not know about him.”

Mr. Donadio came out of the resort with a smile on his face and said to the small crowd, “Everything’s fine. We can all leave. They had a guest arrive in a helicopter. I guess that can happen now that they have the helipad on the roof, so we don’t need to worry every time we hear the flapping sound of a helicopter.”

Someone said, “Good!” and others agreed.

“Mrs. Bowman and I should mention that you can have a wonderful lunch at Donadio’s Deli and follow it up with a delicious baked good, such as a muffin or a piece of cheesecake, over at Bananas Bakery.”

“Please do,” added Mrs. Bowman.

Smiles on faces told Jessica that some of the people in the crowd might do that.

Jessica watched everyone walk away, including Tony, who headed back with his parents to the deli. “Sophie, do you think he minds working in the summer?”

“No. I asked him once. He likes helping out his family, and he still gets to do other things, like when he works with us.” Sophie looked in the direction of the deli. “It’s downtown, so it’s also close to a lot of things.”

“I’m not sure I’d be that nice,” Jessica said.

Just then, a man came out of the resort and hurried away. He glanced over his shoulder as he went around the corner of the building and toward the center of Pine Hill. The man wore a suit and tie and sunglasses, and he reminded her very much of Agent Dallas, the FBI agent they’d met while working on a mystery.

“Sophie? Did you see that man go around the side of the building?”

Sophie turned back. “What? Where?”

Jessica pointed.

“Did he seem suspicious or mysterious?” Sophie asked with too much excitement in her voice, more than Jessica wanted to hear. She’d had enough of mysteries forever.

Jessica shrugged, trying to act casual so that Sophie wouldn’t become too interested and try to follow him. “He was a man in a suit. I know you’ve said before that there aren’t very many of those in town.”

“It’s probably just another man here to do business.”

Jessica didn’t say anything, but she wondered about that. Could the helicopter have brought a new mystery to Pine Hill?

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