Nancy, Bess, and George can’t wait to check out Flutter House, an awesome new museum that’s all about butterflies! The girls are thrilled when they get to see the beautiful creatures up close and personal.
But soon after their class leaves, the rarest butterfly, a Blue Morpho, goes missing! It’s up to the Clue Crew to get the valuable butterfly back safely. But with a long suspect list and not many clues, it’s going to be a tough case for Nancy and her friends.
About the Author
Peter Francis lives in Brighton, UK, where he spent a number of years as an illustrator for children’s television before turning to books. When not painting in his studio, he enjoys long coastal walks, exploring local history, and growing vegetables.
Read an Excerpt
“This class trip is going to be awesome!” eight-year-old Nancy Drew exclaimed.
“Super awesome!” Bess Marvin agreed.
“Totally super awesome!” George Fayne added.
The three best friends were very excited to visit Flutter House, the cool new butterfly exhibit in their town. Thanks to their third-grade teacher, Mrs. Ramirez, their wish was about to come true!
“I heard there are hundreds of butterflies inside Flutter House!” Quincy Taylor said as the class followed Mrs. Ramirez to the Flutter House building.
“How do you think they got hundreds of butterflies in one place?” Nancy wondered as she brushed her reddish-blond bangs aside.
“Hundreds of butterfly nets!” Quincy joked.
Mrs. Ramirez stopped the class in front of the main entrance. The building was shaped like a caterpillar with a glass dome as its head!
“Today’s a special day,” Mrs. Ramirez said as they waited for their guide. “Does anyone know what it is?”
A few hands went up, but Antonio Elefano shouted, “It’s Friday!”
Nancy rolled her eyes. Antonio was the class pest. He was always shouting before raising his hand.
“It’s not just Friday!” Deirdre Shannon piped up. “Today is the first day of spring. Right, Mrs. Ramirez?”
“Correct, Deirdre,” Mrs. Ramirez said with a smile.
But Antonio wasn’t smiling.
“First day of spring!” Antonio mimicked meanly. “Is that why you’re wearing that goofy hat?”
Deirdre glared at Antonio under the brim of her big flowered hat.
“For your information,” Deirdre snapped, “it’s to remind everyone about my Mad Hatter Tea Party this Sunday.”
Deirdre then turned to Nancy, Bess, and George and added, “Those who were invited!”
“Deirdre,” Mrs. Ramirez warned. “Be nice.”
Nancy, Bess, and George knew they weren’t invited to Deirdre’s party. Deirdre was always mad at the girls for something. This time she was mad at Nancy for getting the class job she wanted—watering the plants. Instead Deirdre got the worst job of all—cleaning the stinky turtle tank.
“Too bad we’re not invited, Deirdre,” George said. “I would have worn my favorite hat, too.”
“You have a favorite hat?” Deirdre said, looking George up and down. George was wearing her usual faded jeans and a sweatshirt.
“Sure!” George said. She pointed to her dark curly-haired head. “My lucky ball cap with the mustard stain!”
“George!” Bess groaned, rolling her eyes.
Nancy giggled. She had been friends with Bess and George since kindergarten and still couldn’t believe they were cousins. Bess was totally fashion forward. George was fashion backward and proud of it. Bess loved building gadgets. George loved gadgets too, as long as they were electronic. She loved her mom’s minitablet, and she even was allowed to borrow it today!
Deirdre turned her nose up at the girls. She shifted her big tote bag on her shoulder, then walked over to her best friend, Madison Foley.
“I don’t like tea anyway,” Bess whispered, flipping her long blond hair.
“Hey, boys and girls!” a voice called out.
Everyone turned. A man not much older than college-age was walking over. He wore a Flutter House polo shirt and a big smile.
“I’m Josh, your butterfly guide!” Josh said. “But before we check out some awesome butterflies—everyone must learn the butterfly wave!”
Nancy and her classmates copied the move Josh was doing. They pressed their hands together and waved their fingers like butterfly wings.
“Mrs. Ramirez, your class gets an A,” Josh said. “Now, who’s ready for a butterfly safari?”
“Me, me, me!” Harper shouted. She raised her hand high in the air while hopping up and down.
Nancy liked Harper, the new girl in class who loved butterflies. She wore a denim jacket with butterfly patches. And a different color butterfly barrette every day!
“I guess you like butterflies!” Josh said to Harper.
“I’m hatching some in my room, but they’re not butterflies yet,” Harper said. Her eyes lit up. “Can I take some butterflies home? I’m sick of watching caterpillars!”
Josh shook his head. “You can’t take any,” he said. “But we have some toys and games in our gift shop.”
“Like this?” George said. She pulled out the minitablet. “Check out this cool app I downloaded last night. It’s called Butterfly Spy!”
Nancy smiled at the word “spy.” She, Bess, and George weren’t really spies, but they were detectives. They loved solving mysteries in their town of River Heights. They even had their own detective headquarters in Nancy’s room.
“How does it work?” Josh asked.
“You just hold the tablet over a butterfly, click, and boom,” George explained, “the name of the butterfly pops up on the screen.”
“Neat!” Tommy Maron exclaimed.
“It is neat,” Josh admitted. “But no electronics are allowed near the butterflies.”
Josh then pointed to Antonio eating a big red apple left over from lunch.
“And no food, either,” Josh said.
“Okay, okay,” Antonio muttered. “I’ll throw it away.”
Everyone lined up while Josh opened the door. Nancy saw Antonio slip right behind Deirdre. She then saw something that made her frown. Antonio had dropped his half-eaten apple core into Deirdre’s bag!
“I saw you put that apple in Deirdre’s bag, Antonio!” Nancy said. “Take it out or I’ll tell Mrs. Ramirez!”
“You better not!” Antonio warned before pushing his way to the front of the line.
“That apple is going to turn all brown and mushy in Deirdre’s bag,” Bess said, wrinkling her nose.
“Yeah,” George said with a smile.
The girls forgot about Antonio as they filed into Flutter House. They followed Josh down a long hallway decorated with butterfly posters and mobiles. Also in the hall was the gift shop. Nancy could see fun butterfly toys and colorful butterfly-shaped pillows through the glass window.
“Cool!” Nancy exclaimed.
At the end of the hall was a room. When they were all inside, the kids looked around. Where were the butterflies?
“This room keeps the butterflies from flying outside the building,” Josh explained.
“You mean escaping?” Tommy asked, wide-eyed.
“Don’t worry,” Josh said proudly. “No butterfly has ever escaped Flutter House!”
Josh walked to the back wall and lifted a curtain. “See for yourselves,” he said.
Mrs. Ramirez’s class filed through the curtain into another room. It was shaped like a dome and filled with—
“Butterflies!” Bess swooned.
Everyone started oohing and ahhing as dozens of colorful butterflies soared over their heads or rested on plants and flowers.
“It feels like summer in here!” Nancy said.
“Butterflies love warm weather,” Josh explained. “That’s why you see so many in the summer.”
“What do butterflies eat, Josh?” Mrs. Ramirez asked.
“Most butterflies drink the nectar from flowers or fruit,” Josh said.
“I knew that!” Harper declared.
A yellow-and-orange butterfly landed gently on Nancy’s shoulder.
“Quick, Nancy!” Bess said. “Make a wish.”
“Why?” Nancy asked.
“There’s a saying that if you make a wish on a butterfly, it will come true!” Bess said excitedly.
“I didn’t know that!” Harper admitted.
Nancy thought of some wishes but picked just one. She squeezed her eyes shut, then made her secret wish.
When Nancy opened her eyes, everyone was pointing to Josh. An even bigger butterfly had landed on his shoulder—a big blue butterfly!
“Wow!” Marcy Rubin said. “What kind of butterfly is that?”
“Meet our only blue morpho butterfly,” Josh said.
“Morpho?” Peter Patino repeated. “Sounds like a superhero!”
“He’s super, all right!” Josh smiled. “In fact, the morpho comes to us all the way from South America!”
“And now he’s coming with me!” a woman’s voice demanded. Then—
Nancy’s eyes popped wide open as a sheer white butterfly net dropped over Josh’s head and shoulders.
“Oh no!” Nancy gasped. “Who did that?”