Lately, Kit has been stymied by a rash of break-ins from a teen gang the cops have dubbed the "Wolf Pack". But there is a lot more going on in this book than just house-breaks. Add in an auto theft ring and counterfeiting and you have a triple mystery! Angie, along with her pal Jess, become embroiled in all three and it ultimately falls on Angie to prove to her big sister, that it's not her imagination running wild.
The book "Angie's First Case" was first published by Four Winds Press in 1981 and written by Donald J. Sobol (of "Encyclopedia Brown" fame.) The original book was illustrated by Gail Owens (see first cover.) A later edition published by Apple Paperbacks (under Scholastic) has a totally different cover done by Nancy Stahl, that depicts one of the scenes from the book. Using illustrations 3&4 below, one can connect the whole scene together: Angie and Jess are found snooping at a marina and are subdued (Angie's kidnapper uses a tight grip on her neck, the cad!) Both are blindfolded and cleave-gagged only, as they are taken to a salvage yard and roughly shoved into a storage building, which is then locked. To make things worse, a sheet of steel siding is secured over the only window. As the story takes place in July, the room gets rather hot and stuffy. Angie and Jess strip off their blindfolds and gags and discover the room is full of old cars parts and general junk.
At one point, their captors leave them with a meagre dinner of burgers and milkshakes. Neither kid has much of an appetite but the food comes in handy for "Charlie" ("Charlie" being the Doberman pinscher that guards the salvage yard!) Jess is able to pick the wimpy lock with an old dipstick he finds among the junk piles and the duo race to a nearby van and hide in there. With Charlie on constant guard, they eventually fall asleep in the back of the cargo van and are not discovered until crooks drive the van to the next intended house robbery.
Without giving away who's behind all this, both kids are led in through the back of the house and into the living room and told to stay put...or else. While the one crook goes to look for the swag, the other watches the kids (more or less out of sheer boredom.) Angie forms an escape plan and acts as a decoy. Unfortunately, she's quickly recaptured and her captor takes pleasure in dragging her into the kitchen. He rips the phone off the wall (reading this part led me to believe he does this to put a bigger scare into Angie.) He then trusses Angie up with some handy dish towels and gags her (presumably with another dish towel, though the gag isn't described.) The crooked duo can't find Jess and assume he's gone to a neighbour's and called the cops by now, so they lam. Jess soon returns (he'd been hiding in another part of the house), and frees Angie. Seeing as how the two haven't eaten in over 24 hours, they decide to raid the fridge! Of course, Angie's sister Kit has already put out an A.P.B., after Angie failed to return home the night before.
Near the end of the story, Angie convinces Kit about the third mystery (the counterfeiters), and in civilian clothes Kit sets out with Angie in tow. What happens there-after holds some under-lining thoughts on "male machismo" if you will, not to mention a bit of hidden sexism, as one by one, three of the crooked gang are subdued by Kit (who is well versed in police "take-down" maneuvers.) But if one can believe some the outrageous take-downs pulled in the Nancy Drew books, one will accept that a six-foot, blond, 18 year old female (police officer) can do the same...with a little help from her little sis.
All in all a fun read and if you're not afraid of the implied and hidden political incorrectness, I recommend you try to find a copy and have a read. The only thing that really left me stymied was that it is never revelad how Kit came to join the police force, especially at such a young age. When one reads the book, she's made out to be a seasoned veteran of the force.
|Kit returns home|
|Followed by the blue car|
|Angie & Jess captured|
|No escape from Charlie|
|Distracted by the cuckoo clock|
|Angie & Kit subdue crooks|