The three children detectives Ingo, George, Enzo, and Lisa have Christmas holidays. Strange headlines arouse their interest. A snow monster should rage in the forest. The children detectives do not believe that and investigate this case as IGEL-Team. They follow the traces and their investigations lead quickly into a great adventure.
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1. Strange newspaper headlines
The children were happy because the Christmas holidays had begun. The four kids sat at the table and had breakfast in the early morning. Ingo adjusted his glasses and looked out the window thoughtfully, and his gaze wandered perpetually to this newspaper article. It was bitterly cold outside. Thick snowflakes danced down from the grey sky, and the front garden, the hedge strips, and the trees already were white.
Ingo clutched with both hands his warm cup with hot chocolate. He still stared out the window, lost in his thought, and his breath fogged the glass. George, Enzo, and Lisa looked at him questioningly.
Lisa sipped on her chocolate and asked, “What do you think about the newspaper article?”
“I don't know what I should think about it,” said Ingo without turning his gaze from the window.
George took the newspaper and read aloud for gave Ingo a possible brainstorming, “Lives a snow monster in the Palatinate Forest? Many hikers had seen a snow monster in the forest. Last Monday at afternoon, people saw a tall hairy animal in the forest nearby the town Bad Bergzabern. Wanderers were afraid and fled. The people fear, and therefore, come more and more tourists, but fewer and fewer hikers.”
Lisa thought for a moment. “Why come more tourists but fewer hikers? That is contradictory.”
Ingo shook his head. “Tourists want to take pictures of the monster and walk along the edge of the forest. No one dares to go into the forest, and therefore come fewer hikers.”
Enzo got goosebumps and rubbed his upper arms unconsciously. “I can understand these people too well. It’s a very terrible mind if a monster lives in our forest.”
Ingo moved his glasses and shook his head. “I'm sure there's no monster.”
“I'm sure, too. Someone had played a joke,” George said confidently.
“I know that too,” Enzo said indignantly, “Whether it's real or not, there's a monster in our woods, and that's really scary.”
Lisa nodded in agreement with Enzo. “Yes, there is no monster. It's just a silly prank.”
“A silly prank? I wouldn't say that,” replied Ingo.
“Why wouldn’t you say that?” Enzo asked.
Ingo thought for a moment and said, “Two different reactions were triggered. At first, more tourists are coming. Second, fewer hikers are coming.”
“What do you mean?” George asked.
“The perpetrator benefit from one of these motives or maybe from both,” Ingo said convinced.
Their conversation interrupted when Mother warned, “As long as the snow monster isn't caught you don’t go into the forest.”
“Yes, Mom,” George said grumpily.
Enzo pointed at the ceiling. That meant he wanted to continue the conversation in the bedroom upstairs. His friends understood his clue. Therefore, they got up and went upstairs into Ingo's bedroom. Ingo sat down on his bed and put his laptop on his lap. George, Enzo, and Lisa sat down on the white wool carpet.
“Keep in your mind, guys. I have Mom promised we wouldn't go into the forest,” George said critically.
Ingo grinned crookedly. “We won’t go into the forest either but we’ll just go to the edge of the forest. We need weatherproof clothing, sturdy shoes, a warming mat, a hiking map, ropes, cereal bars, a thermos jug with hot fruit tea and pepper spray. “
“Does this mean we'll investigate this case?” Enzo asked.
“Sure. Don’t forget, we are detectives,” Ingo said reproachfully.
“Wow, that’s great,” cheered George, Enzo, and Lisa simultaneously.
“Did you say we need pepper spray?” asked Lisa uncertainly.
“What else would you do if the Snow monster attacks us?” asked Ingo.
George frowned. “Where can we get spray?”
Ingo smiled mischievously. “What would you do if a can of pepper spray directed towards you?”
“What's a question being that?” George asked, “No way, I'd run away.”
“Would you run away after you got sprayed in your eyes?” Ingo asked.
“No. Certainly not,” George said horrified. “I'd run before. Why are you asking?”
Ingo smiled. He tapped the laptop, plugged the printer into the wall socket, and shortly afterward the printer hummed.
“What are you printing?” asked Lisa curiously.
Ingo pulled the sheet out of the printer and held it out to the others. “And what do you think now?”
“You're a genius,” Lisa said when she saw the black, freshly printed pepper spray label.
“We just stick it to a spray can,” said Ingo.
“If someone gets too close, we'll just show the spray can. He'll think it is pepper spray and run away,” said Enzo enthusiastically.
George went into the bathroom and came back with a can of deodorant spray on which they stuck the label. The kids looked at their work proudly.
“Our fake pepper spray can is really great,” said George in amazement, “What more do we need for our mission?”
“We need ropes,” said Lisa remembering, “I'll go to the garage, and get some.”
A little later, they had put the ropes next to the wrong pepper spray can on the bed. Ingo added the hiking map and the thermal mat. “We need to dress warm, make tea, and pack cereal bars and then we are ready.”
“That sounds good,” Enzo said and licked unconsciously his lips because he thinks on the food.
While George prepared tea and put it into the thermos, the others kids stowed the equipment and the cereal bars in their backpacks. Therefore, they put on their thick thermal pants, thermal jackets, and woolen caps. They shouldered their backpacks and went off the way to the forest.
2. The forest hiking tour
It was still snowing and a cold day. The children went through the city, which covered with snow. The roads were slippery and the sidewalks covering with ice and powdery snow. Shortly after, the kids left the city and came over a narrow dirt road to the forest. They turned off the path and went along the edge of the forest. The ankle-high snow crunched under their soles.
Enzo looked at the forest anxiously. “Are you really sure, that isn’t a real monster?”
Ingo, George, and Lisa started cordial laughing.
“Oh,” said George, “Here are no monsters.”
“Do you think we meet it randomly?” asked Lisa.
“I'm not sure,” doubted Ingo, “Two days have passed since it was last seen. We need a lot of luck.”
Enzo smiled. “Maybe we have luck if we don't see it.”
The walk through the high snow was exhausting and cost a lot of strength.
After about three kilometers of an arduous walk, Enzo moaned, “I'm so hungry. Let's take a break, or I'll break down right now.”
Lisa, George, and Ingo agreed with him. They spread out their thermal mat on a fallen tree and sat down. It was a nice place. They drank the steaming hot fruit tea, looked over the snowy city, and ate crispy granola bars with pieces of cranberries and blueberries.
“Do you have a second plan, if we can't find the snow monster?” asked George to Ingo.
Ingo shook his head. “No I haven’t, but I'm sure, I’ll come up with a better idea.” After eating, the granola paper fell down. It slid like a butterfly along the tree trunk elegantly and lowered behind him on the forest floor.
Ingo turned back and leaned down as he stopped suddenly. “What’s that?”
George turned around quickly. “These are footprints, but these are normal soles.”
Ingo's lips tightened, giving the impression, that he was annoyed. “Sure, these are normal soles. Our monster is not a real monster. Therefore, it is likely to wear shoes. By the way, the traces are quite fresh.”
Lisa also looked at the footprints. “Why do you think, these are traces from the monster? It’s a usual footprint.”
“You have to look carefully, Lisa,” insisted Ingo, “Around the footprints, you can see a blur. That's probably from a fur.”
The children were of one mind, that they had indeed found a footprint of the snow monster.
Ingo pulled his digital camera out of his backpack. He placed his meter tape next to the footprint in the snow and photographed it. “Now we know, that this monster is a human,” he said with a smile.
Enzo winced. “You were not sure?”
George grinned amusedly. “You can never exclude everything for one hundred percent.”
Enzo laughed. “You just want to scare me.”
Lisa looked into the forest. “The footprint is fresh. Could the monster still be nearby?” She reached into her backpack and pulled out the faked pepper-spray.
“I'm really scared now,” replied Enzo and peering through the undergrowth.
George's glances roamed the woods. “Hello is anybody here?” he shouted suddenly, causing the other kids to flinch in shock.
“Gosh, George,” revolted Enzo, “What's the point? Shall we scare ourselves to death?”
Ingo scowls. “Did you seriously think, the monster would answer you if it had hidden somewhere here?”
Enzo shouted, “Okay. There is no one; we can let the dog go!”
He growled angrily and barked loudly like a real dog. A shadow darted through the forest suddenly, and all screamed in unison, “The monster!”
The brown-haired shaggy beast stopped for a moment and stared at the children. Lisa pointed of him with the spray can, while Ingo photographed the flabbergasted monster.
Enzo bent down behind the tree trunk, growled and barked. George peered down at him. “Snap, Hasso! Grab the beast!”
The beast fled through the undergrowth and disappeared as fast as it had come.
There was silence, and Enzo could hear his heartbeat. “Is it gone?”
“I think so,” replied George.
“It doesn’t matter. Let us go home, people! We've our clues,” commanded Ingo.
The team went off the way at home. A sharp cold wind blew the snowflakes crossly. Powder snow swirled up; one hardly saw the hand in front of the eyes.
“That is a disgusting weather,” moaned Enzo.
“Yes,” Lisa confirmed, “You get all the snow in the face.”
“I'm soaked, too,” added George.
“Now, of all times, we come in a blizzard,” complained Ingo.
“When it rains it pours,” said Lisa.
Soon, the children came home, changed their wet clothes, and retired to Ingo's bedroom to discuss the matter. George was sitting on the bed next to Ingo. Lisa and Enzo were sitting on the carpet opposite him.
Ingo connected his camera to the laptop and uploaded the proof photos. He typed in the necessary information and looked at the monster photo.
“Is something wrong?” asked George.
Ingo nodded hesitantly. “We have to go back and measure the tree next to the monster, that we get a comparison for its height.”
“What’s about the footprint?” asked Lisa.
Ingo tipped in his laptop, and after a few seconds, he said, “The footprint indicates the shoe size 43.”
“This shoe size should be a man. That’s sure,” said Enzo.
George grinned. “Or it’s a woman with big feet.”
“We go back to this tree for measure it. So we can calculate the height of the monster,” said Ingo.
George pushed the curtain aside and looked out of the window where whirled around the snow. “What a bad weather. Today we could make it only heavy.”
“I think, it’s better to go tomorrow,” said Ingo.
All was one mind of him. Therefore, the rest of the day, they stayed in the house. They played cards to train their memory and went to bed early in the evening to be fit for the next day's investigations.
3. A fantastic find
The next morning had stopped snowing and the sunbeams found their way through the cloud cover. After breakfast, the children wandered to the place, where they had seen the monster on the day before. Lisa, George, and Enzo were already drinking their fruit tea while Ingo measured the height of the tree.
“Hey! Look!” he shouted and holding up a piece of paper.
Lisa's eyes narrowed. “What's this?”
“This is a receipt from the gas station in the street Kurfürstenstraße, which the supposed monster had lost certainly,” informed Ingo.
Lisa snapped her fingers. “The gas station’s owner is the aunt of my classmate Carol.”
George shrugged his shoulders. “Can that help us?”
Ingo stared at the receipt. “It depends on, how many customers had refueled for 38 Euros there yesterday morning.”
“There is a time on the receipt?” asked Enzo.
Ingo shook his head. “Unfortunately, not. There only are the date and the amount.”
“Carol can find out who had refueled for 38 Euros yesterday,” said Lisa confidently.
George looked ironic. “Do you think the gas station has the name and the address from their customers?”
“It's of course not. However, if he has a loyalty card, the address will be in the gas station's customer database,” said Ingo.
“Do you think Carol will do this favor for us?” asked George.
“Yes, I think, she does it,” replied Lisa.
In the fact, Lisa's female friend Carol took the data of the customers secretly, which had tanked for 38 Euros on the day before. Lisa just told her, it would be a secret mission and Carol should not tell anyone about it. Lisa could trust Carol.
There have three men with loyalty cards fueled for 38 Euros for their cars. Those were Mr. Brown, Mr. Weaver, and Mr. Scholz.
Ingo sat at his laptop; Lisa, George, and Enzo waited curiously.
After a while, he finally closed his laptop. “Mr. Brown is a postman; he lives at the edge of the forest. Mr. Weaver owns a restaurant in the city center, and Mr. Scholz is a journalist and works for the newspaper.”
“Mr. Brown, who lives at the edge of the forest, would be interested that come fewer hikers. That can be because the people fear to go into the forest,” suggested George.
“For the restaurant owner Mr. Weaver, more tourists would be a motive. These are certainly many onlookers, who want to take pictures of the monster and come to the city only for this reason,” added Lisa.
Enzo added, “Mr. Scholz would be interested in an exciting newspaper article. He would become famous.”
“So, all three men would benefit from this snow monster,” said Ingo.
“We urgently should talk with the men to find out more about them,” clarified Lisa.
“One of the men has already seen us and will recognize us,” said Enzo.
“Who is it?” wondered George.
“The man, who disguised himself as a monster,” said Lisa.
George hit on his forehead with the palm of his hand. “Oh yes. That's right.”
Ingo adjusted his glasses thoughtfully. “That can be our advantage. If we see his reaction, we know that he was the monster.”
“How can we do, talk to these people? Do you think they let's questioned for no reason?” asked George ironically.
Ingo thought for a moment. “We say, we write an article about the snow monster in the school magazine and would like to ask them about it.”
All thought that would be a good idea. Therefore, a little later, Ingo sat at his laptop and typed in the questions, which they for the interview worked out.