Hudson Valley Halloween: Sleepy Hollow Sleepover by Ron Roy
Dink got up and walked over to the window. It had grown dark outside.
Then he heard it again, a thudding noise. Then he saw a light among the dark trees. "Guys, come here!" he said.
A horse raced out of the trees, past the cabin window. A rider carrying a jack-o'-lantern sat on the horse's back. The horse stopped, and the rider held the jack-o'-lantern high in the air.
Dink noticed the flowing cloak, just like on the rider he'd seen in the bank window. Only this one wasn't fake. This was a real man and a real horse.
Then Dink looked above the man's shoulders. There was nothing there!
"IT'S THE HEADLESS HORSEMAN!" Ruth Rose screamed.
Dink's dad is treating Josh, Ruth Rose, and Dink to a Halloween sleepover in Tarrytown, the setting of Washington Irving's classic tale of the Headless Horseman. First it's ice cream cones in the village, where the kids see the mechanical headless horseman in action in the local bank window and watch an armored car deliver sacks of money under armed guard to the bank.
Then it's off to unpack at their cabin, the Haunted House, where skeletons pop from the bureau and Dink spots the mysterious headless rider galloping past. Next the kids join other visiting kids for the "Haunted Hayride" sponsored by the Tarrytown Police Department. Their cloaked driver suddenly drops his pumpkin head among them and soon picks up a costumed zombie rising from the graveyard as they wend their way to the big bonfire and cookout in the woods. It's all frightfully fun, until, as Dink accidentally rolls his pumpkin bowling ball into the woods, he catches a glimpse of two suspicious masked men hanging out around the parked hay wagons.
But just then the kids are called to a campfire marshmallow session, and something happens that is outside the Police Department's Halloween script. Their hay wagons suddenly burst into flames and burn to the ground as the horrified horses dash away into the woods. Then the officers discover that their police cruisers' tires have been slashed. The kids and the Tarrytown police are marooned in the woods.
Finally back in town the next day, the kids learn that the bank where they watched the mechanical horseman has been robbed, leaving Bonnie the teller tied up in the floor. Then, as the novelty company truck comes to pick up their mechanical rider from the window display, Dink has a Sherlock Holmes moment and quickly climbs into the back of the truck where the figure has been loaded.
Under the tarp covering the load, Dink discovers bags of money hidden inside the horse's control panel. Josh and Ruth Rose crawl in to see what's up, and while Dink is silently showing them the stash under the tarp, the two men come back and climb into their truck. The three kids are trapped and on their way who knows where with two bank robbers inside the cab in front of them. Ruth Rose pulls out her trusty cell phone to call Dink's dad for help, but there's no signal! How can the three signal for help from the speeding truck?
Ron Roy may have covered the 26 letters of the alphabet already, but he's back in fine fettle in this Super Editon of his mega-popular A to Z Mysteries beginning chapter mysteries. A to Z Mysteries Super Edition #4: Sleepy Hollow Sleepover (A Stepping Stone Book(TM)) offers a well-delineated trio of resourceful young gumshoes, each with his or her own contributions to the sleuthing, plenty of suspense, and a superbly detailed and foreshadowed mystery which tests the youthful reader's own detecting skills along the way. There is even an "I-Spy" mystery coded message to be solved hidden within the fine full-page illustrations contributed by John Steven Gurney.
Pair this one with Ron Roy's earlier The Zombie Zone (A to Z Mysteries), set evocatively in the Louisiana bayou country, for a delightful duo of Halloween-time treats.