Sam takes a break from her sleuthing in SEARCHING FOR A STARRY NIGHT, A MINIATURE ART MYSTERY, to talk to her new pal, Gus, from Mary Cunningham's CYNTHIA'S ATTIC series about what's going on in her life.
"Hey, Gus, you know, you and me are a lot alike. You say you're a tomboy? I'd rather go fishing than put on a dress anyway. Well, okay, I'm going to do that once. Me and Lita, my bff, are going to dress up for our friend, Helena Sanchez's wedding to pet shop owner, Mr. G. But just that once! Hey, tell me; how come you're called Gus?”
"Hate my given name, Augusta Lee, so everyone better call me Gus or risk getting a kick in the shins!"
"Okay, okay, sheesh, don't get all riled. I hear ya. Only one that calls me Samantha is my mom, and that's when she's mad! My friend, Lita, was telling me you and your bff, Cynthia, have a magic trunk? Awesome! But I don't know...I, um, am kind of skeptical, I guess. I mean you actually go places in it, like a flying carpet? That sounds kind of cool."
Gus nodded. "All the adventures we've had through the magic trunk have given me a little more self-confidence in being able to solve problems and work on my insecurities. They've also given me a greater sense of family loyalty and an even closer friendship with Cynthia."
Sam thought about it a minute. "When you put it that way, guess I can't doubt you. I'd do anything for my friend, Lita, too. Hey, you have to track down an ancient curse, too? Wow. Lita really got spooked when Petey - that's our friend's Dachshund - dug up an old family curse, too. Another thing we have in common!"
Sam snapped her gum and turned to her new friend. "Hey, I wonder...is there a way you could let Lita take a trip down South with you? You know, in your trunk? She sure misses her brother in Mississippi. Never mind. You're right. What if something went wrong? Maybe she'd end up in some jungle or never come back. You've tried it, but you've still had some scary moments, right?"
"Scary? Wow. We never expected to meet a Cajun guide named Mud Bug in a Louisiana bayou!" Gus said. "New Orleans was pretty wild back in 1914. Then there's the pirates...Don't think I want to go back there again!"
"P-Pirates? Oh, wow, I'd love..." Sam paused and brushed back her auburn hair, which was just a shade lighter than Gus's copper-color. "Oh, I guess you don't mean funny Captain Jack kind of pirates. Hmm. I see what you mean. Maybe time- traveling is pretty scary." Sam smiled. "Okay, let's forget that. What else do you like to do?"
"Now I take piano lessons, but can't seem to learn to read music. So frustrating!"
"You should talk to Lita," Sam said. "She took piano lessons. Maybe she can help. She's pretty talented. Not me."
"I love to swim," Gus said. "I'd rather be outside all summer."
"Me, too. Wouldn't it be fun if you and Cynthia came and visited here in Wisconsin this summer? We'd have a lot of fun!"
"We'd love to do that," Gus said. "You could come by and visit us, too. Do you like to eat?"
"Do I?" Sam asked. "That's my second-favorite thing to do!"
Gus gave a big smile. "Maybe we could get a hot fudge sundae sometime at the drugstore soda fountain. Cynthia won't eat sugar. Says it'll rot her perfect, white teeth. Ha!"
Sam laughed with her. "Your friend sounds just like Lita! She'll pig out on that fake banana candy, but she won't eat chocolate! I think we'd have a lot of fun. I hope we can spend more time together. I'd love to see how your magic trunk works!"
"Cynthia and I'd love to spend more time with you, too. Who knows what adventure we'll be facing next?"
-- In THE CURSE OF THE BAYOU, book three of the CYNTHIA'S ATTIC series, adventurous, twelve-year-old best friends Cynthia and Gus find themselves in 1914 New Orleans. There, they search for answers in the disappearance of Cynthia's great-grandfather, Beau Connor, who was on his way down the Mississippi River to sell a flatboat full of produce.
A warning to stay away from the orneriest pirate this side of the Muddy, his gang of misfits and their thieving parrot, falls flat as the duo instead fall straight into his evil clutches! A mysterious treasure and heart-stopping adventure lead to a final confrontation that'll leave you cheering for the girls as they fight to save Great Granddaddy Beau.
--In Searching For A Starry Night, A Miniature Art Mystery, bff’s Sam and Lita, and a mischievous Dachshund named Petey, face a cranky housekeeper, a dog-hating gardener, and an ancient family curse as they search for a missing miniature replica of Van Gogh’s “Starry Night.”
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