The Mystery of DARKSON HOUSE
By Marcus Clark
1. DON’T READ THIS PAGE IF YOU ARE FROM AUSTRALIA !
(Because you know all this )
This is really an introduction to the story because there are a few unusual things about this mystery which you need to know. It happened in Australia, which is the largest island in the world, or the smallest continent. Either way it is below the equator.
Australia is in the Southern Hemisphere where all the seasons are upside down. At Christmas-time everyone is sweating and going to the beach, or lying around swimming pools eating ice creams. In July people put on coats and turn on their heaters.
Not only are the seasons upside down, but so are the light switches. When you go into a dark room, you flick the switch DOWN to turn the lights ON. Oh, and a couple more things you may need to know: we drive on the wrong side of the road!
The steering wheels on our cars are on the right-hand side, and we drive on the left side of the road. Perhaps I should also explain that a meter is about the same length as a yard, and a kilometer is a little over half a mile in length. Temperature is measured in Celsius, 38 degrees is the same as 100 degrees f.
Apart from that Australia is remarkably like America: we speak English, kids (and adults), watch The Simpsons, play Nintendo and Playstation, and eat at McDonalds.
This is the story of two girls, Karen and Jodie who, even when they are just sitting around wishing for a swimming pool, seem to get caught up in mysteries.
Karen and Jodie are best friends, but they don’t always think about problems the same way. Jodie’s fave subject is science, and she likes to think things through logically.
Karen loves art, and can’t always follow Jodie’s thinking, she uses intuition: seeing with the mind’s eye, feeling with the heart, and looking for that surprising flash of inspiration to provide answers. But this is their mystery, so I’ll let them tell it just the way it happened.
‘So you believe the story about the people in Darkson House being vampires?’ Jodie asked me.
‘When you say it like that it sounds silly, but I’m beginning to think they might be. Look at the evidence.’
‘Nonsense. Vampires don’t exist! Think of another explanation.’
I sat thinking for about a minute while Jodie ate another melted chocolate biscuit. The weather was unbearably hot, the temperature reaching thirty-nine degrees at noon; sweat dripped from my arms and the air was like a steam bath.
The only explanation seemed to be vampires, but I didn’t want to say that again. ‘Jodie, I can’t think of anything else. You try.’
‘Well Karen, if we’re going to work this mystery out, we should first gather all our facts, then try to analyse them so we can come to a conclusion. Scientific method.’ Jodie was always analysing things. She cleared a spot on her bedroom desk. ‘Let’s list the facts. I’ll write them down.’
‘Well maybe,’ I suggested, ‘we should start with the newspaper article in last month’s paper.’
‘All right, cut it out and I’ll paste it into this old exercise book.’