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What Kids Say About Carole Marsh Mysteries . . . I love the real locations! Reading the book always makes me want to go and visit them all on our next family vacation. My Mom says maybe, but I can’t wait! One day, I want to be a real kid in one of Ms. Marsh’s mystery books. I think it would be fun, and I think I am a real character anyway. I filled out the application and sent it in and am keeping my fingers crossed! History was not my favorite subject until I starting reading Carole Marsh Mysteries. Ms. Marsh really brings history to life. Also, she leaves room for the scary and fun. I think Christina is so smart and brave. She is lucky to be in the mystery books because she gets to go to a lot of places. I always wonder just how much of the book is true and what is made up. Trying to figure that out is fun! Grant is cool and funny! He makes me laugh a lot!! I like that there are boys and girls in the story of different ages. Some mysteries I outgrow, but I can always find a favorite character to identify with in these books. They are scary, but not too scary. They are funny. I learn a lot. There is always food which makes me hungry. I feel like I am there.


What Parents and Teachers Say About Carole Marsh Mysteries . . . I think kids love these books because they have such a wealth of detail. I know I learn a lot reading them! It’s an engaging way to look at the history of any place or event. I always say I’m only going to read one chapter to the kids, but that never happens—it’s always two or three, at least! —Librarian Reading the mystery and going on the field trip—Scavenger Hunt in hand—was the most fun our class ever had! It really brought the place and its history to life. They loved the real kids characters and all the humor. I loved seeing them learn that reading is an experience to enjoy! —4th grade teacher Carole Marsh is really on to something with these unique mysteries. They are so clever; kids want to read them all. The Teacher’s Guides are chock full of activities, recipes, and additional fascinating information. My kids thought I was an expert on the subject—and with this tool, I felt like it! —3rd grade teacher My students loved writing their own mystery book! Ms. Marsh’s reproducible guidelines are a real jewel. They learned about copyright and ended up with their own book they were so proud of! —Reading/Writing Teacher “The kids seem very realistic—my children seemed to relate to the characters. Also, it is educational by expanding their knowledge about the famous places in the books.” “They are what children like: mysteries and adventures with children they can relate to.” “Encourages reading for pleasure.” “This series is great. It can be used for reluctant readers, and as a history supplement.”


MASTERS OF DISASTERS

By Carole Marsh


Copyright ©2008 Carole Marsh/ Gallopade International All rights reserved. First Edition Ebook edition Copyright ©2011 Carole Marsh Mysteries™ and its skull colophon and Masters of Disasters™are the property of Carole Marsh and Gallopade International. Published by Gallopade International/Carole Marsh Books. Printed in the United States of America. Managing Editor: Sherry Moss Senior Editor: Janice Baker Assistant Editor: Mike Kelly Cover Design & Illustrations: John Kovaleski (www.kovaleski.com) Content Design: Darryl Lilly, Outreach Graphics The Weather Channel is a U.S. federally registered mark of The Weather Channel, Inc. Gallopade International is introducing SAT words that kids need to know in each new book that we publish. The SAT words are bold in the story. Look for this special logo beside each word in the glossary. Happy Learning! Gallopade is proud to be a member and supporter of these educational organizations and associations: American Booksellers Association American Library Association International Reading Association National Association for Gifted Children The National School Supply and Equipment Association The National Council for the Social Studies Museum Store Association Association of Partners for Public Lands Association of Booksellers for Children This book is a complete work of fiction. All attractions, product names, or other works mentioned in this book are trademarks of their respective owners and the names and images used in this book are strictly for editorial purposes; no commercial claims to their use is claimed by the author or publisher. Without limiting the rights under copyright reserved above, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise), without the prior written permission of both the copyright owner and the above publisher of this book. The scanning, uploading, and distribution of this book via the Internet or via any other means without the permission of the publisher is illegal and punishable by law. Please purchase only authorized electronic editions and do not participate in or encourage electronic piracy of copyrightable materials. Your support of the author’s rights is appreciated.


Note From the Author I love snow! I know a lot of people don't, especially if they have to live in it all winter and fight it to get to work and school. But I live in the sunny South and love to see enough snow so that it actually covers the grass blades! I collect snow pictures and photographs, especially those with buffalo in them. I don't know why these appeal to me so, but they do. I also love all kinds of snow books, from children's picture books to tales of the Old West on the snowy, lonesome prairie. I even love bad snow stories, such as those of the Great Blizzard of 1888, which struck New York and the Northeast with such fury. A blizzard is when snow ceases to be pretty and fun. Instead, it becomes treacherous and dangerous—and even deadly. My favorite "sad" snow story is about a farm couple on the prairie. During a raging snowstorm, they headed, hand in hand, to the barn to make sure their livestock was safe and warm. On the way back to the farmhouse, their tightlyclasped hands tore loose from one another. The poor farmer's wife blew away! The blizzard raged on and on for days, and the woman was not found until spring, a hundred miles away, frozen to death against a barn. A true story? It is said to be so, which is why I love snow, but fear and respect blizzards! You might also enjoy my book Winter, The "WOW!" Season, which tells more about snow than you ever knew. In the meantime, curl up by a warm fire with some cocoa and enjoy this book! That's where I am,

Carole Marsh


Hey, kids! As you see, here we are ready to embark on another of our exciting Carole Marsh Mystery adventures. My grandchildren often travel with me all over the world as I research new books. We have a great time together, and learn things we will carry with us for the rest of our lives! I hope you will go to www.carolemarshmysteries.com and explore the many Carole Marsh Mysteries series! Well, the Mystery Girl is all tuned up and ready for “take-off!” Gotta go…Papa says so! Wonder what I’ve forgotten this time? Happy “Armchair Travel” Reading,

Mimi


About the characters

Artemis Masters is an absentminded genius. He’s a scientist at the top of his field in the early detection of natural disasters. Everyone looks to him to solve the mysteries of nature…he just needs someone to find his car keys, shoes and glasses! Curie Masters, though only 11, has inherited her father’s intelligence and ability to see things others don’t. She has a natural penchant to solve mysteries…even if it means tangling with those older and supposedly smarter than her. Nick Masters, an 8-year-old boy who’s tall enough to pass as 12, likes to match wits with his sister and has her desire to solve mysteries others overlook. While he’s the younger sibling, he tends to want to protect his sister, and of course, be the first to solve the mystery.


books in this series: #1 The Earthshaking Earthquake Mystery #2 The Treacherous Tornado Mystery #3 The Horrendous Hurricane Mystery #4 The Voracious Volcano Mystery #5 The Behemoth Blizzard Mystery #6 The Ferocious Forest Fire Mystery


Table of Contents 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18

Fire in the Hole! . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 The “Eyes” Have It . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .9 Rabbit Ears . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .15 The Great White Hurricane . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .25 Avalanche! What Avalanche? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .31 Ricocheting Sound Waves . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .41 Oh, My Goodness! . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .45 Peek-A-Boo, I See You . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .49 Walking Through Tar . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .55 Blizzard of the Century . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .59 Bombs Away . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .65 Sensor Sabotage . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .67 Whiteout . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .73 Can A Guy Get A Light Here? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .79 Human Windshield Wiper . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .81 The Guests Have Arrived . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .91 I Can See Clearly Now . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .93 No More Snow! . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .99 About the Author . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .103 Book Club Talk About It! . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .104 Book Club Bring It To Life . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .106 Scavenger Hunt . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .108 Pop Quiz . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .109 Glossary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .110 Blizzard Trivia . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .112 Winter Wonders . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .115 Tech Connects . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .118


CHAPTER ONE:

Fire in the Hole

“Ready?” Nick Masters shouted. “Fire in the hole!”

WHOOSSHH!

The small air cannon launched the temperature probe into the air. A thin wire attached to the back end of the probe trailed it dutifully. As it reached its apex in the sky, it arched back toward the ground two miles downrange. After unpacking the snow around it, Curie Masters, Nick’s older sister, removed the wire spool from the launcher and attached it to the test box.


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The BEHEMOTH BLIZZARD Mystery

“Six down, one to go,” Curie said. “Here’s the last one.” Nick grabbed the probe and set it into the snow next to the launcher. He reset the launcher for its final blast of the day. He was sending the probes two miles out and spacing them two miles apart in a complete circle around the mountain. Curie, 11, hovered over her brother, who was only eight years old but tall for his age. Nick picked up the probe, opened a small curved door on its body, and flipped a tiny switch inside. A red light started to blink, letting Nick know that the probe was activated. He closed the door, set it in the launch tube, and attached its wire spool to the side of the launcher. “Fire in the hole!” Nick shouted again.

WHOOSSHH!

The final probe hurled itself downrange. Its nose, almost as pointed as a spear, penetrated the snow about a foot. Curie


Fire in the Hole

5

quickly attached the last wire spool to the test box. “Let’s get inside the van,” Curie said, slowly feeding out the wire spools as she backed toward the van. “I’m getting cold.” Nick opened the van’s door for his sister. She quickly sat at her desk, removing each wire from its spool and attaching it to pre-labeled test leads on the control panel. The kids heard a commotion at the back of the van. Their father, Artemis Masters, suddenly appeared, carrying one of his newly designed SABER Sensors. Nick had thought of the acronym. SABER stood for Snow And Blizzard Early Response Sensor. Artemis was a scientist who invented devices to help detect natural disasters. With his wild red hair and round glasses perched on the end of his nose, Artemis looked more like a mad scientist than the brilliant one he was. “How are things coming?” he asked the kids. Before either of them could answer, he continued, “Have either of you seen my


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The BEHEMOTH BLIZZARD Mystery

favorite pen? I seem to have misplaced it.” He laid the sensor on Curie’s desk and began to dig into the pockets of his white, oversized lab coat. “It’s in your shirt pocket, Dad,” Nick said. Artemis looked down at his shirt. “Well, I’ll be a monkey’s uncle,” he said. “It was right under my nose all this time.” “We’re almost ready to take the readings…” Nick said. “No,” Curie said, as she tightened the last lead down and connected the test box to her laptop. She quickly booted up the custom software program that Artemis and the kids had written. Nick recorded the information from the computer’s digital indicators into another program. “Okay, Dad,” he said. “We’ve got our baseline readings.” “Great!” Artemis answered, as he sniffled. He pulled out a hanky and wiped his


Fire in the Hole

7

nose. “I hope I’m not getting a cold. You know how I detest colds.” Artemis scanned the faces of his two extremely intelligent children. Nick was named for Nicolaus Copernicus, the first person to propose that the sun is the center of the universe. Curie got her name from Marie Curie, who was famous for her work on radioactivity and a two-time Nobel Prize winner. Although they were young, they were scientists in their own right. “Let’s head down to the bed and breakfast hotel and get settled in,” Artemis said, wiping his leaky nose again. “We’ll get some dinner, and then start setting up the SABER sensors first thing in the morning.” “AHH CHOO!” Artemis let out a loud sneeze. “I sure hope I’m not coming down with something,” he added, pushing back a lock of the wild mop of red hair ringing the sides of his head.


CHAPTER TWO:

The “Eyes” Have It Curie dragged her suitcase out of the van’s storage compartment and set it on the trailer tongue attached to the back of the van. The trailer held three snowmobiles. She scanned the area around the bed and breakfast hotel where they were staying. It’s definitely rustic, she thought, but the Adirondack Mountain scenery is beautiful. The one thing she noticed was that there were no unsightly electric poles sticking out of the ground along the roadside like dead, leafless trees. Curie and Nick lugged their suitcases up the old, rickety wooden porch stairs and


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into the foyer. They stopped just short of their dad. He was engaged in conversation with an older couple. From their accents, Curie figured they must be Irish. “Kids, I’d like to introduce you to Mr. and Mrs. O’Malley,” Artemis said, as he set his suitcase and laptop bag on the foyer floor. “They are the proud owners of this quaint establishment.” “What a fine lad and lass you have here, Mr. Masters,” Mr. O’Malley said, handing the room key to Artemis. “If there’s anything we can be doing for you, please be letting us know.” “Thank you,” Curie said, scanning the interior of the old house. She could tell it wasn’t as lavish as other places they had stayed, but it did have a certain kind of old charm. Mrs. O’Malley was frail looking and a bit pallid, but Irish people were usually very fair-


The “Eyes” Have It

11

skinned. On the other hand, Mr. O’Malley was quite a hardy man for his age. Curie noticed lovely fresh flowers in many of the rooms. They helped cover the musty odor of the old house. Curie decided she liked the place. It had a certain warmth about it. Nick hated the musty odor! It reminded him of old things. Mr. and Mrs. O’Malley seemed creepy. Plus, their accents sounded fake, like they were trying too hard to sound Irish. The house felt like something out of an old horror movie. He thought he might find eyeballs from one of the old portraits along the walls following his every move. He glanced up at a huge painting of a soldier. The eyes looked real, not painted. Mr. O’Malley noticed Curie’s laptop. “I’m sorry, lass, but we don’t get telephone, Internet, or cable service way out here,” he said. “Really?” Artemis asked. “But I made my reservation online at your website.”


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The BEHEMOTH BLIZZARD Mystery

“Yes, well,” Mr. O’Malley replied, “that computer is not here. It’s me brother’s over in Buffalo. We use a satellite phone for people who call in their reservations instead of going online.” “That’s all right,” Artemis said. “We use a wireless satellite link for our laptops, anyway.” Mr. O’Malley smiled slowly. “Well, then,” he said. “I’m sure you’d like to get to your rooms.” The three Masters followed their host as he shuffled up the staircase. “These portraits were handed down through my family for nigh onto 200 years,” Mr. O’Malley said. “We almost lost all of them during the great blizzard in the spring of 1888. From what my grandfather told me, 400 people died in New York City alone. “The entire Northeast from Maryland to Maine felt the effects of the blizzard,” he continued. “It immobilized everyone and everything. Winds toppled telegraph poles,


The “Eyes” Have It

13

and snowdrifts covered houses. The snowdrifts here were up past the second-story windows, and the roof couldn’t hold the weight of the snow. The whole thing caved in. My great, great, granddad rebuilt the place and managed to salvage most of the family paintings. We haven’t had a blizzard that bad since then.” Mr. O’Malley stopped at a room near the end of the hall and unlocked the door. “We’ll be serving dinner in about an hour,” he said, handing the key to Artemis. “Will you be joining us?” Artemis started to say something, but sneezed instead. “I think the children will be down for dinner,” he said. “But I’m going to go to bed early to try and head off this cold.” “Well,” Mr. O’Malley said. “I’ll be bringing up a fine bowl of me wife’s homemade chicken soup for you. It will warm your heart and heal your ills.” “Thank you,” Artemis said.


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As Nick passed by the towering portraits, he could swear that several of the eyeballs in the paintings were following his every move.


CHAPTER THREE:

Rabbit Ears “I’m telling you, there’s something odd about this place!” Nick said, as he hung his coat in the tiny closet in the room he shared with his sister. “I think we’re being watched.” “Nick!” Curie said. “Why would anybody want to watch us?” “Exactly!” Nick said. “Exactly what?” Curie asked. “Ahh! Well,” Nick said, “I don’t know exactly yet, but I will. I just hope they make normal food, like cheeseburgers or pizza. I don’t want any strange stuff like haggis or something.”


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The BEHEMOTH BLIZZARD Mystery

“The Scots eat haggis,” Curie said, looking at her watch, “not the Irish. Speaking of which, it’s time to go down to dinner. Why don’t you go ahead? I’m going to check on Dad and make sure he’s okay. I’ll meet you down there.” “Okay,” Nick said. “But hurry up. I don’t want to be stuck down there talking to the creepy O’Malleys by myself.” “They’re nice people,” Curie said, “so stop picking on them.” “Yeah,” Nick said, “I’ll do that as soon as they stop creeping me out.” Nick headed down the stairs toward the dining room, but thought he heard someone talking down the hall, at the base of the stairs, in what looked like an office. He tiptoed in that direction as he instinctively tried to eavesdrop on the conversation. The door was cracked open a couple of inches.


RABBIT EARS

17

As he peeked through the opening, all he could see was the back of a desk and some blue and yellow cables hanging from it. The funny thing was that he was hearing a TV weather news report, but Mr. O’Malley had said that they didn’t have cable at the house. “Rabbit ears,” a voice behind Nick said. Nick jerked upright. Mr. O’Malley was standing behind him. “What are rabbit ears?” Nick asked, trying to be nonchalant. For an old man, he really moves quietly, Nick thought. “Good grief, lad,” Mr. O’Malley said. “Haven’t you ever seen an old movie where they have a set of antennae on top of the TV? Those are rabbit ears. They pick up the local TV stations. Dinner will be served in the dining room, laddie. Follow me.”

Curie knocked gently on her father’s door. “Come in,” she heard him say. When she peeked into the room, she saw him lying in


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The BEHEMOTH BLIZZARD Mystery

bed with a thermometer in his mouth. She walked over and took it out. “It says you have a low-grade temperature of 100.8 degrees,” Curie said. “It’s good you decided to go to bed early. How was Mrs. O’Malley’s chicken soup?” Artemis made a face. “I wish I knew, but I really couldn’t taste it,” he said. “This cold’s got my taste buds out of whack!” “Well, hopefully, you’ll feel better tomorrow,” Curie said. “But if you aren’t, don’t worry. Nick and I can handle putting out the SABER Sensors.” “Are you sure?” Artemis said, seeing the confident look on his daughter’s face. “Okay, but I hope I’m feeling up to going with you. I was looking forward to trekking around on the snowmobiles.” “Dad, what do you think about Mr. and Mrs. O’Malley?” Curie asked. “What do you mean?” he asked, feeling his pajama pocket and then running his hand over the nightstand looking for his glasses.


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21

Curie moved them from the top of his head down onto his nose. “Nick thinks there’s something strange about them,” she said. Artemis smiled. “You know Nick,” he said. “He’s always looking for a mystery.” Curie thought for a moment. “Yeah! He does tend to do that, doesn’t he?” she said. “But, sometimes, he’s right on the money. We should probably keep a close eye on the two of them, just to be safe.”

Nick found a seat just as Curie strolled into the dining room. “So, what are you children doing up here with your father?” Mr. O’Malley asked, dumping a blob of mashed potatoes on his plate. “Our dad is a scientist,” Curie said. “His specialty is weather-related disasters. He was hired by a group of ski resorts in the area to come up with a way to create an early warning system for blizzards.”


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“For blizzards?” Mrs. O’Malley said, almost choking on a forkful of corn. “Why would they be wanting to do that?” she asked. “Well,” Nick said, preparing to sample the slice of pork roast on his plate, “if they know when a blizzard is coming, they can prepare better for it, which will save them money. They’ll be able to notify the resort’s guests so they can get out before the passes get clogged with snowdrifts. Then they can reduce their personnel to minimum staffing.” Nick noticed Mrs. O’Malley looking over at Mr. O’Malley. She didn’t seem happy. “Wouldn’t the resort make more money by keeping the people stranded at the resort?” Mr. O’Malley asked. “What they make in money, they lose in unhappy guests,” Curie observed. “In the long run, that costs them money. Think about it. If you had to pay a lot of money to sit around for days during a blizzard and never got a chance to go skiing, you would probably blame your misfortune on the resort and its staff.”


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23

“That’s not very logical,” Mrs. O’Malley observed. “You’re right,” Curie said. “But as my dad always says, people are often emotional instead of logical.” “True,” Mr. O’Malley said. “But how can you be detecting blizzards?” “Actually,” Curie said, “it’s simpler than you might think, but the cost may be more than anyone wants to pay.” “Yeah!” Nick said, taking a drink of hot apple cider. “That’s why all the resorts are banding together so they can split the costs.” “There are many factors that go into detecting a blizzard,” Curie said. “From the barometric pressure, which shows the pressure of the atmosphere, to wind speed and the amount of moisture in the clouds, plus much more. Our dad has invented a sensor,” she continued, “called a SABER Sensor, or Snow And Blizzard Early Response Sensor, that compiles all that information with other data brought in


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The BEHEMOTH BLIZZARD Mystery

from satellite signals, like surrounding weather patterns, and other stuff.” “Tomorrow,” Nick said, “we’re going to place the sensors in specific locations around the area so we can run our final tests before it’s approved for use by the resorts. The group of individual SABER Sensors will send their information to a computer, which analyzes all the data to determine if a blizzard is coming.” “How many of these sensors will you be putting out?” Mr. O’Malley asked. “In order for the software to compile the data properly, we need to have a minimum of 24 sensors reporting back to us,” Curie said. “Okay,” O’Malley said, putting his napkin on the table. “You lost me at barometric pressure.” He stood up and pushed his chair to the table. “You kids be careful out in that snow tomorrow. There are a lot of dangerous things out there, and it’s very easy to get hurt,” he added. “Sometimes, it’s not good to be so intrepid in your pursuits.”


The Behemoth Blizzard Mystery