No Rules, the fourth book of the hilarious Friday Barnes Mystery serieswritten by R. A. Spratt and with illustrations by Phil Gosierbrings even more trouble for this genius girl detective.
Friday Barnes has been deported to Switzerland . . . but we need her back!
With their go-to detective gone, Highcrest Academy has descended into chaos. Someone's fired all the teachers as an epic prank, and suspicion falls on Ian Wainscott, Friday's nemesis (who's also desperately in love with her). There's also the problem of the new vice principal and his questionable behavior. It's hard to take someone seriously when he's wearing tie-dyed shirts, right?
Can Friday prove Ian's innocence, find the prankster, and save her school? If it involves running, then probably no, but if not . . . Friday's on the case!
Praise for the Friday Barnes Mysteries:
“This second book in the Friday Barnes series is even funnier and quirkier than its predecessor.” School Library Journal on Under Suspicion
“Spratt continues to hit just the right mix of dry humor and suspense. Her characterization of her protagonist shines . . . Readers know that, like Sherlock Holmes, Friday will solve every mystery; the book’s fun is in seeing how she does it . . . A cliffhanger ending will have readers drumming their fingers as they wait for the next episode.” Kirkus Reviews on Under Suspicion
“With off-the-wall plot turns and small mysteries scattered throughout, this is the perfect choice for mystery fans with a silly sense of humor, and the cliff-hanger ending promises more sleuthing on the horizon. Gosier’s black-and-white spot illustrations add to the charming atmosphere. A sheer delight.” Booklist, starred review on Girl Detective
“Spratt’s (the Nanny Piggins series) effortlessly funny narration will keep readers laughing from start to finish.” Publishers Weekly, starred review on Girl Detective
“Quirky, tongue-in-cheek . . . delightfully eccentric . . . A good choice for voracious readers who enjoy a blend of humor and mystery.” School Library Journal on Girl Detective
“Spratt begins this new series with a nifty, engaging protagonist who can keep readers laughing and help young geeks feel good about themselves . . . Delightful, highly logical, and well-informed fun.” Kirkus Reviews on Girl Detective
Read all the Friday Barnes Mysteries:
Girl Detective: A Friday Barnes Mystery
Under Suspicion: A Friday Barnes Mystery
Big Trouble: A Friday Barnes Mystery
No Rules: A Friday Barnes Mystery
About the Author
R.A. Spratt is an award-winning author and television writer. Her Nanny Piggins series went into nine best selling volumes in Australia. She lives in Bowral, Australia with her husband, two daughters, and a puppy called Henry. Like Friday Barnes, R.A. enjoys wearing a silly hat.
Phil Gosier is an independent art director and designer working in the Washington, DC, area. His illustration and design clients include Kellogg’s, the Discovery Channel, Marvel and DC Comics, and Macmillan. He graduated from the University of Maryland and lives in suburban Maryland with his family.
Read an Excerpt
Where We Left Off
Friday was in a good mood as she entered the dining hall at Highcrest Academy with the Headmaster, her best friend, Melanie Pelly, and Ian Wainscott, the most handsome boy in school. The Headmaster had promised Friday an extra serving of dessert for helping Highcrest avert their latest near disaster. An impostor had impersonated a member of the Norwegian royal family and gone on a school-wide theft spree.
But Friday and her friends would never get to eat that ice cream.
As they walked in, Friday's Uncle Bernie was there waiting for her, and with him were a man and a woman wearing dark gray suits and sunglasses.
"Who are they?" asked the Headmaster.
"The big scruffy man in the creased suit is my Uncle Bernie," said Friday.
"Perhaps soon to be Ian's stepdad," added Melanie. (Love had blossomed between Uncle Bernie and Mrs. Wainscott when he helped her find some diamonds and she helped him stitch up a dog bite on his rear.)
"He is not!" said Ian.
"And the other two," said Friday, "given their suits with a high polyester count and ostentatious wearing of sunglasses, I deduce are some sort of government officials."
"Friday!" exclaimed Uncle Bernie as soon as he saw her. "I'm so sorry. There's nothing I can do."
"About what?" she asked.
The woman pulled an identification card from her pocket. "I'm Agent Torres from the Department of Immigration. Are you Friday Barnes?"
"Yes, that's me," said Friday.
"Then you'll have to come with us," said Agent Torres.
"Why?" asked Friday.
"You're being deported," said Uncle Bernie.
"Hang on, I'm headmaster here, I'm responsible for this child," said the Headmaster, stepping forward.
"All the paperwork is in order," said Agent Torres. The other agent handed a sheaf of paperwork to the Headmaster. He started flicking through it.
"On what grounds can you deport her?" asked the Headmaster. "She hasn't committed a crime. Well ... not one that's been proven, anyway."
"We're deporting her because she's not a citizen," said Agent Torres.
"Yes, I am," said Friday.
"Is it true you were born in Switzerland?" asked Agent Torres.
"Well, yes," conceded Friday.
"And you have never applied for citizenship or even a green card," said the agent.
"I was a baby," said Friday. "I assumed that was all sorted out when my parents brought me home ... Oh no, my parents! They never filled in the paperwork, did they?"
"No, they didn't," said Uncle Bernie. "If I'd known about it sooner, I could have done something."
"The Department of Immigration has been writing to them, phoning them, and even visiting them repeatedly over the years," said Agent Torres. "They have ignored all our correspondence. Dr. Evangeline Barnes and Dr. Rupert Barnes are no longer residents of the country. You are a Swiss citizen who has been illegally residing in this country for twelve years. You will be deported today."
"But ..." protested Friday.
"If you want to appeal the decision," said Agent Torres, "you'll have to take it up with our embassy in Geneva."
"But wait until Wednesday," advised Melanie. "We've got PE on Tuesday and we're playing dodgeball. You'll want to miss that."
The agents grabbed Friday by an elbow each and started leading her away. Friday got one last glance at her friends before she was ushered out the door.
Melanie turned to the Headmaster. "She will be back, won't she?"
"I hope so," said the Headmaster, rubbing his head in anticipation of the headache he knew he was about to get. "It's hard enough running this school. Who's going to figure out all the weird hijinks that go on if Friday isn't here?"
"I'm sure it will all be sorted out in just a couple of days," said Uncle Bernie.
Lounging in Transit
Friday Barnes had been living in the departure lounge at Zurich Airport for three weeks. This was actually nowhere near as unpleasant as it sounds. Usually people loathe spending time in an airport because they are anxiously awaiting a flight that has probably been delayed, and they have an inherent phobia of flying.
But Friday had taken up residence. Technically, she wasn't a citizen of anywhere. The Swiss authorities would not let her through border control, so she was stuck. Friday couldn't go home because she didn't have a passport or visa. And she couldn't leave the airport and go into Zurich because the Swiss government didn't acknowledge her citizenship.
Again, this sounds like a deeply unpleasant limbo to a normal person, but Friday was far from normal. She was having a very pleasant time. She was able to earn a nice living by acting as a translator for confused travelers. She got plenty to eat in the first-class lounges run by the different airlines, because they would each exchange access to their lounge for her translating services, or get her to fix their computers. She even received letters care of Mr. Tanaka at the airport's sushi bar, so Melanie was able to write to her.
I wish you would hurry up and get yourself reimported home. School is not the same without you. In biology this morning Mr. Poshoglian actually asked me a question. He would never do that if you were here. He is normally so busy avoiding eye contact with you that he never notices me.
Ian misses you. Of course, you can't tell from anything he says or does, but it's true. I think he's up to something. It's a shame you're not here to nip it in the bud before he gets himself into trouble.
I've got to go. I can barely keep my eyes open. I don't know how people in the olden days coped with letter writing. Handwriting is exhausting.
Bye for now, Melanie xxoo
And unlike Highcrest Academy, the departure lounge had free Internet access, so Friday was able to keep in touch with her Uncle Bernie, who was doing all he could to get the embassy to take action. Friday was video chatting with him.
"You'd think the child of a Nobel laureate would have an easier time getting a passport," grumbled Uncle Bernie. "But the hard part was getting someone from the embassy to make the three-hour drive from Geneva to Zurich Airport to sort it all out."
"Gasoline is expensive," said Friday reasonably.
"You're a twelve-year-old living in an airport," said Uncle Bernie. "Where's their compassion?"
"I'm having a perfectly nice time," said Friday.
"Don't tell them that," said Uncle Bernie. "They'll never get you out."
"I'm fine," said Friday. "You're much more upset than I am."
"I just feel so guilty," said Uncle Bernie. "If I hadn't been rude to the receptionist at the embassy that first time I called, they wouldn't have put me on the no-fly list and I could have traveled to Switzerland to meet with the embassy officials myself."
"It's all right," said Friday. "It's only been three weeks. I'm learning so much here in the airport. It's wonderful to have the opportunity to try out so many of the languages I've been studying."
"Friday, you're not supposed to be enjoying yourself," said Uncle Bernie. "If you were hysterical and weeping, it might help motivate some people."
"Sorry, Uncle Bernie," said Friday. "Hysterical and weeping just isn't in my nature. I don't think I'm in touch enough with my emotions. I'd prefer to suppress everything, then let it all well up in six or seven years, when I buy a puppy dog."
"Friday Barnes, please report to immigration control. Friday Barnes," said a voice over the airport PA system.
"I think I'm being paged," said Friday.
"Friday, they're calling you!" called Alexander the barista from the coffee shop. "I hope this is good for you, yes?"
"Me too," said Friday. She spoke to the webcam. "Sorry, Uncle Bernie, I've got to go. I'm being paged by immigration control. This could be it."
"That's wonderful!" said Uncle Bernie. "If they interview you, remember, whatever you do — don't be yourself. Try to act like a normal person."
"I'm not going to make promises I can't keep," said Friday. "Bye, Uncle Bernie, I'll let you know how it goes."
"Here, take a cookie for luck," said Alexander.
"Thanks," said Friday as she gathered up her things, grabbed the cookie, and jogged toward the passport check lines.
"Friday," called Gunter the immigration official. He waved happily from the kiosk near the security check. "They've finally got a bigwig out to see you." Gunter opened a gate so she could enter the office area.
"What sort of bigwig?" asked Friday.
"Some suited man from the embassy. Perhaps they're going to spring you from here," said Gunter. "I'll be happy for you, but I'll be sorry to see you go. Marika has been doing much better at school since you've been coaching her in math."
"Skill in mathematics is so good for a girl's self-esteem," said Friday.
"Anyway, he's waiting in interview room one for you," said Gunter. He led Friday through a private door into a corridor flanked by interview rooms.
"Herr Quigley, here she is," said Gunter. "You should snap her up for your country quickly. We might have a tough citizenship process here in Switzerland, but it's only a matter of time before someone realizes what an asset she is to any nation."
Friday stepped into the room. A serious-looking man in a gray suit was sitting at the interview table checking messages on his cell phone as he made notes on a writing pad. Friday's files were sitting closed on the table. This was the man who could decide Friday's fate, and everything about him said "bureaucrat." He was neat, bland, and conservative.
"Yes, all right —" said Mr. Quigley. Then his phone started ringing. "Excuse me, I have to take this."
Friday looked at Gunter and raised her eyebrows. "Good luck," said Gunter. He patted her on the shoulder before he left.
"No, no. I'll be back there as soon as possible," Mr. Quigley was saying into the phone. "Tell him I'll call him back ... Okay, tell her I'll call her back ... A four-foot-tall ice sculpture can't just go missing! It's got to be somewhere. Just tell them all I'll call them once I finish this meeting and I'm back in my car."
"Excuse me," interrupted Friday, "you really shouldn't talk on the phone while you're driving."
"Shhh," said Mr. Quigley, looking up at Friday for the first time. Then someone on the other end of the phone evidently yelled in his ear because he flinched. "No, not you, there's a girl in the room talking to me."
"Talking on the phone makes you thirty-four percent more likely to have a traffic accident," said Friday.
"I have a hands-free setup," said Mr. Quigley, holding his hand over the mouthpiece as he spoke to Friday.
"That's only marginally safer," said Friday. "You'll still be distracted by the conversation. Unlike a conversation with a passenger, a person on the phone doesn't instinctively stop talking when you reach a point of critical decision making — such as when you're changing lanes in high-speed traffic."
"I've got to hang up," Mr. Quigley said to the person on the phone. "I think this meeting is going to be more difficult than I imagined." He put his phone down on the table. "Now, Miss ..." Mr. Quigley checked his file. "Scheunen, Freitag Scheunen."
"My name is Friday Barnes," said Friday.
"No, it's not," said Mr. Quigley, double-checking the details in his paperwork. "You have no passport, so your only official record is your birth certificate, and it's got you down as Freitag Scheunen."
"That's German for 'Friday Barns,'" said Friday. "'Freitag' means 'Friday' and 'Scheunen' means 'barns,' as in the large farm buildings. But I'm Barnes with an 'e.'"
"The German version is your official name," said Mr. Quigley.
"I'll be sure to change it officially as soon as I get home," said Friday.
Mr. Quigley's phone started ringing again. "Excuse me," said Mr. Quigley as he picked it up. "Hello. Ahh ... No, I'll speak to him myself when I get back. I don't know! It will go quicker if people stop calling me all the time!" Mr. Quigley put his phone on the table.
"Why don't you turn it off?" asked Friday. "We'll deal with my problem quicker, then you'll be able to get back to your crisis at the embassy."
"I can't turn my phone off," said Mr. Quigley.
"Why not?" asked Friday.
"It would be irresponsible. I'm secretary to the Ambassador. I have to be on call 24/7."
The phone started ringing again. Friday snatched it up, turned it off, and laid it facedown on the table.
"Hey!" exclaimed Mr. Quigley. "That's government property. If you're applying for citizenship, this isn't helping you."
"No, perhaps not," said Friday. "But how about I help you? I think it will be the quickest way to get you to focus on my problems."
"What?" said Mr. Quigley.
"If you've read my file," said Friday, "which I doubt you have because you are clearly of the belief that you are too important for such a menial task. But if you had read it, you would know that I have been very successful as a private detective."
"You're twelve years old," said Mr. Quigley. "I read that much of your file."
"Yes, which is what makes my success at solving crime so impressive," said Friday. "Tell me about your problem. I bet I can help."
"I can't tell you about embassy business," said Mr. Quigley. "It's confidential."
"You see, this is an example of why you're deluded about your own self-importance," said Friday. "I actually know what your problem is because I've read six different newspapers this morning. They are provided for free in the departure lounge."
Friday reached into her bag and pulled out six folded newspapers.
"All of them, even the English language papers, feature a story about a priceless jade necklace that was stolen from your embassy in Geneva last night. The necklace was originally looted from China during the Opium Wars of the nineteenth century. Your ambassador was going to present it to the Chinese ambassador at a formal dinner this evening as a gesture of goodwill to a growing trade partner," said Friday. "It's not a secret. It's news."
"I'm not discussing it with you," said Mr. Quigley.
"Why not?" said Friday. "What have you got to lose? I'm not going to tell anyone. I can't even leave the airport. And if I did tell someone, no one would believe me because I'm just a twelve-year-old girl."
"Let's just fill out your paperwork so I can begin trying to process it," said Mr. Quigley, taking a set of forms out of his briefcase. "We've located your parents now. They're at a university in Estonia. Once we have all your information, we'll get them to fill out the forms."
"You'll never get them to fill out the forms properly," said Friday. "They couldn't even give my name to the birth registrar. It would be much better if you simply issued me an exigent circumstances passport."
"We can't do that," said Mr. Quigley. "That's only for the most exceptional circumstances, for political refugees and defectors."
"I am exceptional," said Friday.
"You're certainly not exceptionally modest," said Mr. Quigley with raised eyebrows.
"I'll prove it to you," said Friday. "I'll find the necklace."
"You're not allowed to leave the airport," said Mr. Quigley.
"That will be the bit that proves I'm exceptional," said Friday with a smile.
"I haven't got time for this," said Mr. Quigley, reflexively glancing at his phone even though it was turned off.
"Really?" said Friday. "You haven't got time for a fifteen-minute conversation with me that could result in you finding the necklace as soon as you get back to Geneva?" Mr. Quigley hesitated. He was clearly warring with himself.
"I've solved bank robberies, thwarted smuggling operations, and uncovered escaped convicts," said Friday. "Your problem is well within my skill set."
Mr. Quigley sighed. "You're not going to shut up until we do this, are you?"
"No," agreed Friday happily.
The Case of the Stolen Necklace
"All right, tell me where the necklace is," said Mr. Quigley unenthusiastically.
"I'll need to ask a few questions first," said Friday. "Who are your suspects?"
"We don't have any," said Mr. Quigley with a shrug. "We've got no idea how the thief broke in."
"They can't have broken in," said Friday. "Embassies have the highest level of security. It would be impossible to break in without leaving some evidence — a scratched lock, a shadowy figure on security footage, a dusty footprint, something like that. It must have been an inside job."
"How dare you!" exclaimed Mr. Quigley. "Embassy staff members are handpicked for their honesty and integrity."
"Please," said Friday. "You've admitted you talk on the phone while you're driving, so you've already demonstrated moral flexibility. Just tell me, who was in the embassy?"
"I can't tell you that," said Mr. Quigley.
"Okay," said Friday, "I'll work it out. I know from the paper that the Ambassador has a wife and two teenage children. The necklace was stolen at night, so there would be none of the day staff, just some security guards and servants."
"There are no live-in servants," said Mr. Quigley. "This isn't the nineteenth century."
"There would be a few officials on the night desk. They are on call 24/7," said Friday. "An embassy always needs to be able to react to events. So someone would be on duty to inform the Ambassador if he had to launch into action."
Excerpted from "No Rules: A Friday Barnes Mystery"
Copyright © 2016 R. A. Spratt.
Excerpted by permission of Roaring Brook Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1: Where We Left Off,
Chapter 2: Lounging in Transit,
Chapter 3: The Case of the Stolen Necklace,
Chapter 4: The Return,
Chapter 5: In Town,
Chapter 6: The Bitter Farewell,
Chapter 7: Dullness Ensues,
Chapter 8: The New Regime,
Chapter 9: The Case of the Missing Math Textbooks,
Chapter 10: The Case of the Wet Boy,
Chapter 11: In Trouble Again,
Chapter 12: Ian's New School,
Chapter 13: Something in the Stroganoff,
Chapter 14: A Conspiracy,
Chapter 15: In the Room,
Chapter 16: The Case of the Missing Furniture,
Chapter 17: The Secrets of the Furniture,
Chapter 18: The Case of the Colored Eyes,
Chapter 19: A Touch of Orwell,
Chapter 20: The Spinal Injury,
Chapter 21: The Cross-Country,
Chapter 22: Actually Having to Run,
Chapter 23: Where Am I?,
Chapter 24: What Happened?,
Chapter 25: The Chase,
Chapter 26: Resolution,
Also by R. A. Spratt,
About the Author and Illustrator,