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The Chameleon Wore Chartreuse (Chet Gecko Mysteries)


The Chameleon Wore Chartreuse (Chet Gecko Mysteries) Cover





The Case of the Long-Gone Lizard

Some cases start rough, some cases start easy. This one started with a dame. (Thats what we private eyes call a girl.)

It was a hot day in September. The kind of day when kindergartners wake up cranky from their naps. The kind of day when teachers pull their hair and dream of moving to Antarctica.

In other words, a normal school day.

I was watching a fly. He zigged and zagged over my desk. He flew barrel rolls and loop-de-loops. Near as I could tell, he was getting ready to sing "The Star Spangled Banner."

So I shot out my tongue and zapped him. Bulls-eye. Midmorning snack.

"Nice shot, private eye."

I looked up. She was cute and green and scaly. She looked like trouble and she smelled like . . . grasshoppers.

Shirley Chameleon leaned on my desk. Her chartreuse scarf tickled my nose.

"Hey, Chet," she said.

"Hey, Shirley," I answered.

"Havent seen you around for a while," she said. "Whereve you been?"

"Duh. Right here in class." Ive always been fast with a comeback.

"Listen, I need your help," she said.

I checked out the classroom. Old Man Ratnose was busy grading papers. Tony Newt was scribbling rude designs on Walter Pigeons tail feathers while his brother stifled giggles. The other students were reading their books or quietly torturing each other. Kids.

"Okay, Shirley," I said. "Lets step into my office."

We walked back behind the aquarium.

"Sit," I said. She sat. She turned a deep brown, to match the chair. Chameleons do that.

"Spill your guts," I said. She spilled.

"Its my little brother, Billy," said Shirley.

I knew the kid. He had Day-Glo stripes and a bad attitude. He liked to light matches off his scales and put them out in his nostrils.

Pretty tough for a first grader.

"Whats up with Billy?" I asked Shirley. "Did he steal some kindergartners lunch money?"

"No, its not that, its— oh, never mind." Shirley shook her head and stood up. One tearful eye looked at me while her other eye watched a gnat flying above us. Chameleons do that.

"Yuck, stop it," I said. "Look at me with both eyes."

She did.

"I cant help Billy unless you tell me whats wrong," I said. "I need a lead."

"A what?"

"A lead. A place to start."

She dabbed at her eyes with a handkerchief. I zapped my tongue out and nailed the gnat. No sense in wasting good food. But I almost choked on the bug when she finally answered.

"Billy has disappeared," she said. "He never showed up for school. I found his book bag on the playground, and I— I just know somethings wrong." Shirley turned a lovely shade of blue.

She was the kind of girl I could have fallen for. If I liked girls.

"Couldnt Billy be playing hooky?" I said.

"The last time he played hooky without me, I tied his tail into a knot."

I blinked. No wonder Billy had a bad attitude.

"Still, have you checked his usual hangouts?" I said. "You know, the mall, the sandbox, the tattoo parlor?"

"I tried all those places," said Shirley. "No luck. Hes gone."

"I wonder where he went," I said.

"Oh, thats great." She pouted. "Youre some detective. Youre supposed to know these things."

"Im a detective, not a mind reader," I said.

She grabbed my arm.

"Chet, youve got to find him today, before the football game."

"Why? Has he got the football?" I chuckled.

"Its not funny. My family is coming to the game, and Im supposed to watch Billy. If hes not there, my mom will kill me."

Shirley shuddered and turned a little green around the gills (or where her gills wouldve been, if shed been a fish).

"So, you dont have anything for me to go on?" I said.

"There is one thing," she said. "At breakfast he said he had to meet with someone named Herman." She looked down. "I think Hermans nickname is Monster, or something like that."

Swell. Just swell.

The first case of a new school year, and already things were looking bad. The last time Shirley saw her little brother, he was talking about meeting a Gila monster named Herman.

And most first graders would rather spend summer vacation in a box with the bogeyman than spend a few friendly minutes with Herman the Gila Monster.

It was going to be a long day.


Copyright © 2000 by Bruce Hale

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording, or any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher.

Requests for permission to make copies of any part of the work should be submitted online at www.harcourt.com/contact or mailed to the following address: Permissions Department, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company, 6277 Sea Harbor Drive, Orlando, Florida 32887-6777.

Product Details

Hale, Bruce
Harcourt Paperbacks
San Diego, Calif.
Animals - Reptiles & Amphibians
Mysteries, Espionage, & Detective Stories
Mystery and detective stories
Humorous Stories
Children's 9-12 - Fiction - Mysteries / Detective
School & Education
Lost and found possessions
Mysteries & Detective Stories
Children s Middle Readers-General
Edition Description:
Trade Paper
Chet Gecko
Series Volume:
Publication Date:
April 2001
Grade Level:
from 3 to 6
7.5 x 5 in 0.22 lb
Children's Book Type:
Picture / Wordless
Age Level:

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The Chameleon Wore Chartreuse (Chet Gecko Mysteries) Used Trade Paper
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Product details 112 pages Harcourt Paperbacks - English 9780152024857 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , Some cases start rough, some cases start easy. This one starts with a missing first grader named Billy Chameleon. His sister, Shirley, promises Chet Gecko a big piece of stinkbug pie if he can find the little brat.

But Shirley has more cooties than clues, and Chet's investigation turns up so many riddles he could write a joke book. He and his partner, Natalie Attired, may have bitten off more than they can chew.

But they'd better chew fast: If they don't find the kid in time, it's going to be bye-bye, stinkbug pie.

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