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Arabella Parker and the Chinese Snakehead Gangsters

Arabella Parker and the Chinese Snakehead Gangsters

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Arabella Parker and the Chinese Snakehead Gangsters

129 pagine
1 ora
Jan 31, 2012


Primrose Primary has a new pupil - Mei Li, a friendly, but shy Chinese girl. Arabella invites Mei Li to her birthday party, but she fails to turn up. Then on a school visit, two horrid Chinese thugs try to kidnap Mei Li, but Arabella flies to her rescue and fights them off.

Why are Mei Li and her family being threatened by a nasty Snakehead gang? What is really going on at Mr Ho's house? And are Arabella and her best friend Lucy, wonderful Great Aunt Agatha, and new pal Alex, embarking on not just a big adventure.....but a really dangerous mission?

Jan 31, 2012

Informazioni sull'autore

Born in London, Ray Murray, the author, was creative director of a large American advertising company, working in both their UK and New York offices where he won numerous awards for his creative TV advertising, and saw his work exhibited and acclaimed in London, New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and Tokyo. Arabella Parker and the Primrose School Revolt is his first children's book. A second Arabella book will be published shortly. He is now working on a third novel in the series. Happily married, he lives in Oxfordshire, England.

Anteprima del libro

Arabella Parker and the Chinese Snakehead Gangsters - Ray Murray




Ray Murray


>P U B L I S H I N G<

Smashwords Edition

Published by Ray Murray at Smashwords

First published in 2012

Copyright © Ray Murray 2012

All rights reserved.

All characters in this book are fictitious and any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, events or locales is purely coincidental.

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior permission of the author and publisher.

The Old Coach House, 14 High Street,

Goring-on-Thames, Reading, RG8 9AR, UK

Blue Jacaranda Publishing Ltd: Reg No 7790913

Cover design: Ray Murray and Steve Banbury


Arabella Parker and the Primrose School Revolt

To Abbie, who flies about all over the sky

(in her case as a busy airline passenger)

and was the original inspiration of the fictionalised Arabella character;

to Dave my editor and publisher at Blue Jacaranda

for his untiring efforts to put it all into print;

and last but very far from least, to my wife, Joan,

who puts up with my long bouts of writing the series.


Mei Li

I give a quick glance along the upstairs landing to see that my mum’s not watching me, then take off and fly down to the hall without once touching the stairs or the banister rail. Another quick glance back up the stairs, makes sure she’s still busy in the bedroom doing things to her face and hasn’t seen me do a double somersault, followed by a two and a half twist, because if she had like the whole place would have shaken to screams of ARABELLA! WHAT HAVE I TOLD YOU ABOUT LIFTING YOURSELF UP? Lifting myself up, being her way of saying flying through the air without touching the ground.

Ever since discovering that I can fly, I’ve felt different to my parents and to everyone else in our town, or even in our country for that matter. I suppose the reason for that is because I am different. Great Aunt Agatha says we’re born with it. It being what she calls our ‘special ability’. There may be other people who can fly but, except for Peter Pan and Mary Poppins and Aunt Agatha, I don’t actually know of any. But then, at one time, I couldn’t. Then, six months ago, suddenly, I could. I think it’s just something that happens.

It seems to me (big sigh), the only one who’s in any way sensible about my special ability is Great Aunt Agatha, and that’s only because she can soar up into the sky, too. In all other ways, she’s nutty as a fruitcake or as mad as a hatter, as my dad keeps telling me, and by far my favourite person. I don’t really know what a hatter is (I suppose it must be something to do with hats), or why a hatter should be mad, but that’s what he says.

My name’s Arabella Parker, aged nine and three quarters, soon to be ten, and in all other ways I suppose I’m quite ordinary. Mum might not agree: she tends to think the Parkers, as a family, are far from ordinary. Ordinary, in her opinion, means common and, in her opinion, we’re certainly not that. And by ‘we’ she means herself, my dad, Great Aunt Agatha and me.

Though she’s less convinced about Aunt Agatha and, if I’m honest, there are times when she’s less convinced about me. The reason being, she thinks we’re both Trouble with a capital T. She’s probably right. Aunt Agatha says she definitely is, then gives me one of her wicked smiles, know what I mean? Really, really cool!

My dad’s a bank manager and dreadfully, screamingly dull - as I suppose all bank managers must be, adding up boring figures all day must attract those kind of people. His main concern always seems to be about what head office might say or the bank’s chairman might think. When I ask, Think about what? he says, Everything, in a gloomy voice that is so like boring.

But enough of all this. It’s the first day back at Primrose Primary after the Christmas break and I’ve at last talked Mum into letting me walk there by myself, with Lucy Davenport, my very bestest friend.

Lucy lives next-door-but-two. She hasn’t always been my bestest friend, at one time I loathed and hated her and she loathed and hated me. But now we’re virtually inseparable. That means not willing to be separated - which isn’t exactly true. That would be like being glued together - but Miss Morgan, our teacher, just sniffs and says that as far as she can see it’s absolutely very nearly true. (The very nearly, I’ve put in.)

Our school’s like only two streets away but Mum has always said it’s much too dangerous for me to walk there on my own as there’s a busy road to cross. Which is silly because we have a lollipop lady to see us safely over. The real truth is, Mum’s only changed her mind about coming with me because, following the Primrose School revolt, last October, when we saved the school from being bulldozed to make way for a megastore, the parents she used to speak to there, are now like no longer speaking to her. Not because any of them are sorry we saved the school, or would have liked to see a shop put in its place, but simply because of the absolutely dreadful way Mum behaved, siding with that awful Lady Gilbert-Thomas. (If you want to know what happened, you’ll have to read the first Arabella book.)

The parents who now no longer speak to Mum are Mrs Barber, the golf club president’s wife, Mrs Jameson, wife of our local doctor, Mrs Dudley-Dupont, wife of a local architect, who Dad says is an important customer of the bank, and Mrs Rawlins, wife of an equally boring accountant.

To be honest, I can’t understand why she can’t just ignore Mrs Jameson, Mrs Barber, Mrs Dudley-Dupont and Mrs Rawlins altogether, and just speak to Mrs Brown, who’s much nicer and married to a local secondhand car dealer, and to Mrs Khaled, who’s from Afghanistan, and the rest of the mothers. But then parents are strange. They never seem to do what’s right, and when they get it wrong they always blame someone else - like me.

I’m off, Mum, I shout up the stairs, swinging my school bag over my shoulder and threading my arm through the strap.

MUMMY, NOT MUM, she shouts down from the upstairs landing. ONLY COMMON PEOPLE CALL THEIR MOTHERS MUM. I forgot to mention my mum has an extremely loud voice that can be heard hundreds of miles away - and very often is.

Sorry, Mummy, I yell back.

THAT’S BETTER, she booms, coming down the stairs. See? You can remember when you try.

Yes, Mummy.

Wrap your scarf round your neck properly, not like that.

Yes, Mummy.

And don’t scuff your shoes when you walk.

No, Mummy.

Now, are you sure you’ll be all right? Watch the lollipop lady. Cross when she says you can. And say ‘thank you’ when you go past.

Yes, Mummy.

OFF YOU GO THEN, she screams, standing, waving, at our front door.

As soon as I’ve turned right at the front gate and I’m out of her sight, I lift myself up, three inches off the ground (so as not to scuff my shoes!), loosen the scarf round my neck so that it hangs down my back, and skim along just above the pavement to land next to Lucy, waiting for me by her front gate.

Wicked! Lucy says with a big grin.

Over the Christmas holidays, Lucy and I have met and told each other what we had for presents, she’s visited me and we’ve played games, dressed up, and talked and made up stories; I’ve visited her and we’ve been to the local pantomime, spent our book tokens and vouchers, so there isn’t like much for us to chat about on the way to school.

Except flying.

Lucy is convinced that I could carry her on my back and we could fly off to somewhere new and exciting. When I say: What about our parents? Won’t they be worried? she says: We’ll be back before they start to worry. Which, in my opinion, doesn’t give us very far to fly. My parents worry even when I go to Mr Aziz at the corner shop to spend my allowance, and that’s less than five minutes walk away.

How about the Tower of London? Lucy says. Or Madame Tussauds? I‘ve always wanted to go there.

We reach the lollipop lady. Come along girls. Cross quickly, she says.

I say: Thank you.

She says: "Why, that’s nice, Arabella. And thank you."

Or we could fly to the Houses of Parliament and sit on top of Big Ben and see the view, says Lucy.

I want to think about this. I’ve never flown over London. I don’t even know whether it’s allowed. Will the Queen think I’m a terrorist and send a fighter plane up to shoot me down? London doesn’t sound like a very good idea to me. Flying, I say, is a ‘special ability‘, not something I’m allowed to play with. I can only use it like for something really important. Not strictly true, but that’s what I’m saying, and if it sounds a bit uppity like, then it is.

Lucy thinks about it. "Like when

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