Chapter One: Trouble...Take One!
"I think I've seen every movie Lucy Webb was in," eight-year-old Nancy Drew said.
"Wow!" Nancy's best friend Bess Marvin said. "That's a lot of movies."
Nancy's other best friend, George Flayne, whistled. "That's a lot of popcorn."
It was Saturday. A movie was being filmed right in River Heights. It was called Totally Tina, and it starred the girls' favorite nine-year-old actress.
A few days earlier, a group of kids from Carl Sandburg Elementary School had been picked to be in the movie. Three of them were Nancy, Bess, and George.
Now Mrs. Marvin was driving the girls to where the movie was being made.
"I heard that Jason, David, and Mike were picked, too," Mrs. Marvin said.
"The boys?" Bess groaned.
"I didn't know this was a monster movie," George said.
"Let's not think about the boys," Nancy said. "We're finally going to meet Lucy."
"And she's visiting our school on Monday," George added.
"I'm going to wear my new pink sweater on Monday," Bess said, twirling a strand of her blond hair. She turned to George. "What are you going to wear?"
George shrugged. "Whatever's clean."
Nancy smiled. Bess and George were cousins, but they were totally different.
Mrs. Marvin stopped the minivan on Main Street. "Here we are," she announced.
The girls climbed out of the van. They looked around with wide eyes.
"Are you sure this is Main Street?" Nancy asked. "It looks like Hollywood!"
Trucks and trailers were parked everywhere. Wires and ropes lay on the sidewalk. Every few feet there were cameras and lights.
"Welcome to the Totally Tina movie set," a woman wearing glasses said. "My name is Vera. I'm the director's assistant."
Vera showed the girls where to sign in. Then Mrs. Marvin arranged to meet them at the corner of Main Street in three hours.
"Does anyone see Lucy?" Bess asked as Mrs. Marvin walked back to the van.
"No. But here comes Rebecca Ramirez," Nancy said.
"I'm ready for my close-up, everyone," eight-year-old Rebecca called. She peeked over a pair of dark sunglasses.
George looked up at the sky. "It's not even sunny, Rebecca," she said.
"I know," Rebecca said. "But if I'm going to be in a movie, I might as well look like a movie star."
Nancy knew that Rebecca always wanted to be an actress.
"Don't you hope this movie makes us all famous?" Rebecca asked.
"Nancy already is famous," Bess said. "She's the most famous detective in our school."
Nancy blushed a little. But Bess was right. She loved solving mysteries. She even had a blue detective notebook where she wrote down all her suspects and clues.
George pointed to the bright purple sneakers on Rebecca's feet. "Pretty cool sneakers, Rebecca," she said.
"Thanks," Rebecca said. "I read in a magazine that Lucy's favorite sneakers are purple. So I wanted a pair, too."
"Why?" Bess asked.
"Because I want to be just like Lucy," Rebecca said. She wiggled one sneakered foot. "From my head to my toes."
"Let's look around," Nancy suggested. "Maybe we'll find Lucy."
"Good idea," George said. But as they were about to explore the movie set, a boy shouted out.
"Stop! Don't move a single inch."
Nancy whirled around. It was Orson Wong, from their school.
"Why not?" Nancy demanded.
Orson pointed to a wad of gum stuck to the sidewalk. "Because I have to have that," he insisted.
"The chewed-up gum?" George asked.
Bess scrunched her face. "Gross."
Orson kneeled to scrape up the gum. He dropped it into a plastic bag.
"Nothing that once belonged to Lucy Webb is gross," Orson said. He held the bag open. "Check it out."
Nancy peeked inside the bag. "A scrunchie...a penny...a tissue?"
"It's my collection of Lucy Webb souvenirs," Orson said. "Neat, huh?"
"How do you know all this stuff belonged to Lucy?" Rebecca asked.
Orson grabbed the bag away. "Because I found it around her trailer, that's why."
The girls looked at one another.
"Orson has a crush on Lucy!" George sang. "Orson has a crush on Lucy!"
Orson's face turned bright red. "Will you pipe down?" he said. Then he turned around and ran down Main Street.
Rebecca gave a sigh. "There are big pests and little pests. Orson is somewhere in between," she said.
"And speaking of big pests," George said. "Look who's over there."
Nancy turned and saw Brenda Carlton standing in front of a trailer. She was tapping her foot impatiently.
"Don't tell me Miss Snooty Pants is in the movie, too," Rebecca said.
Nancy saw a pad and pencil in Brenda's hands. "She's probably writing some article for the Carlton News," she said.
"You mean the Carlton Pe-ews," Bess said with a giggle.
The Carlton News was Brenda's own newspaper. She wrote it at home on her father's computer.
Just then the door to the trailer swung open. A girl with curly brown hair stepped out.
"It's Lucy!" Nancy said excitedly.
Nancy, Bess, George, and Rebecca ran toward the trailer. Brenda jumped in front of them. She held up her hand.
"Back off!" Brenda shouted, waving her pad. "I saw her first."
The girls stared at Brenda as she stepped in front of Lucy.
"A few questions for the Carlton News," Brenda said. "Is it true you pour orange juice on your cereal?"
"I'm sorry. I don't have time for an interview today," Lucy said politely.
"What!" Brenda gasped.
"How about tomorrow?" Lucy suggested.
Brenda stomped her foot. "Tomorrow is Sunday. I have a birthday party to go to."
"Give me a break," George muttered.
"I'm really sorry," Lucy told Brenda.
"So am I," Brenda said meanly. "And I hope Totally Tina is a total flop!" Brenda flipped her long brown hair and stomped off.
"What's her problem?" Lucy asked.
Nancy shook her head. "She's just being Totally Brenda," she said.
Nancy, Bess, George, and Rebecca introduced themselves. Then Lucy had to leave to try on a costume.
"See you later," Lucy said. She looked over her shoulder and grinned. "Oh, and I don't pour orange juice on my cereal."
"She's really nice," Nancy said after Lucy left.
"Do you think she noticed my sneakers?" Rebecca asked.
"How could she not?" George asked. "You kept wiggling your foot."
"It was asleep!" Rebecca insisted.
Just then they heard Vera calling their names. "You're in the pizza parlor scene, girls," she said. "Follow me."
"Ye-es!" Nancy said excitedly.
Nancy hardly recognized the inside of Phil's Pizza Parlor. It was filled with cameras and lights. People wearing Totally Tina caps scurried around everywhere.
"Hi, girls," a man with a beard said. "I'm the director, Steven Bluestone."
Rebecca held out her hand. "Rebecca Ramirez. Actress and future star."
Mr. Bluestone showed the girls to a table. On it was a hot, steaming pizza.
"Oh, great," George whispered as they sat down. "The boys are in this scene,too."
Nancy saw Jason Hutchings, David Berger, and Mike Minelli at a nearby table. They were laughing and sticking pieces of pepperoni over their eyes.
"Okay. Here's the scene," Mr. Bluestone called out. "Lucy just lost the big spelling bee. She runs into the pizza parlor and yells, 'Quick! I need an emergency pepperoni pie with extra cheese!' Any questions?"
Mike raised his hand. "Can we eat the pizza?" he asked.
"Yes," Mr. Bluestone said.
Rebecca raised her hand. "How about if I tell Lucy to order the mushroom instead of the pepperoni?" she asked. "And she's so grateful that we become best friends forever and ever and ever -- "
"You don't have any lines," Mr. Bluestone interrupted.
Rebecca pouted and sank in her chair.
"Ha, ha," Jason snickered.
Mr. Bluestone gave a signal. The lights flashed on brighter than ever.
"And ACTION!" Mr. Bluestone shouted.
The door flung open. Lucy ran in.
"I just lost the spelling bee," she groaned. "I need a -- "
"Eeeeeek!" Bess screamed. She jumped up from her seat. "Something is crawling on our pizza!"
Copyright © 1999 by Simon & Schuster Inc.