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by Patricia Keiller
Category: Young Adult/Mystery/Crime
Description: When fourteen year old Bethan Andrew's mother, Brenda, wins the National Lottery and suddenly becomes a very welathy woman, it seems that Bethan and her brother, Luke's prayers have finally been answered. However, when Brenda Andrews meets handsome Count Paolo Di Veronese on board a Mediterranean cruise, and returns home married to the Count, the children's lives change forever. Bethan and Luke go to live with their mother and Count Di Veronses at his stunning villa on the island of Capri, but as soon as they arrive there, they become aware of a ghostly presence. It soon becomes apparent that there is a sinister mystery surrounding the villa and Count Di Veronses. Can Bethan and Luke solve the mystery before it is too late?
eBook Publisher: ebooksonthe.net/ebooksonthe.net, 2007 ebook
eBookwise Release Date: July 2007
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [85 KB]
Reading time: 50-70 min.
Fourteen year old Bethan Andrews and her twelve year old brother, Luke lived with their divorced mother, Brenda Andrews in a rather cramped, rented, three bedroom flat in Putney, south west London.
Brenda worked as an usherette at the local cinema, and since her divorce, money was always in short supply. Bethan longed for some of the nice things her friends had, such as their trendy, fashionable clothes, and their latest mobile phones, but her mother could not afford to buy her the newest, must-have gadgets, or the latest high street fashions. Bethan was forced to make do with cheap clothes, or even worse, second hand clothes from charity shops. Her kinder friends said that her clothes were unique and original, but there was a small gang of girls at school who would tease her mercilessly over her lack of new clothes, or make-up.
"You never have anything new," one girl would say.
"Yeah, second-hand Rose, that's what we ought to call you," another added.
"You're a ragamuffin, Bethan. You dress like something out of the 1980's," a third girl commented.
"What are you talking about? They used to dress quite trendy in the 1980's. She looks like something from the 1880's you mean," the first girl said bitchily.
It was the same for Luke, although he noticed it less, being two years younger and a boy. However, even he would feel envious of his friend's mobile phone, or their latest, new gadgets.
Bethan thought that her only hope of being like her fashionable class mates, was to find some kind of part time job after school, or on Saturdays, but her mother was adamant that she was still too young, and that she should wait another year before attempting to combine school with a part time job.
Despite the financial difficulties, Bethan and Luke were not unhappy. In comparison to some of their friends, whose parents had also divorced, their situation was better than most of them. John Andrews lived in Croydon, relatively nearby, and the children were able to see quite a bit of him. He did his best to offer financial support to Brenda and the children, but when he was made redundant, the money from this source dried up.
Brenda Andrews usually played the National lottery at least once a week, and on many occasions, she placed a bet on the mid week lottery, as well as the Saturday one. She did not truly think that she would win anything, but she was a firm believer in the saying, 'nothing ventured, nothing gained.'
One Saturday afternoon, Brenda sat down at the kitchen table, and chose her numbers for that evening's draw. She decided to use her family's birth dates. Brenda Andrews own birthday was on the 15th May, Bethan's was on the 24th September, Luke's was on the 31st March, and John's was the 5th August. So she chose, fifteen, twenty four, thirty one, and five. Brenda needed two more numbers, and so she chose her own lucky number which was seven, and asked the children to choose a sixth number.
"What about three?" Luke suggested.
"No, I know. What about forty two, Mum? That's your age," Bethan grinned.
"Hmm. Okay, forty two it is," Brenda Andrews nodded, choosing her sixth and final number.
Brenda placed a bet on that evening's lottery, just as she had done so for the past five years, or more. And once the bet was placed, she thought no more of it until that evening's draw.
The entire family sat down to watch the lottery draw, which was usually at eight o'clock on a Saturday evening. The draw itself was sandwiched in the middle of a quiz show, and was worth watching for its entertainment value alone. This evening's draw was a special one, because it was an exceptionally high jackpot. There had been no winner on the previous two occasions, and so now it was a rollover jackpot of ten million pounds.
As the numbers were announced one by one, Brenda Andrews began to feel a tingle of excitement. She stared at her lottery numbers. She had the third number, and the fourth. Brenda could hardly believe it as the announcer called out the fifth number, she had that too!
"I've got all five numbers!" She announced excitedly.
"Oh, Mum!" Bethan shouted, barely able to contain herself.
Then the sixth and last number was called out. It was forty two. Brenda glanced down at her numbers. She had them all. She gasped in disbelief.
"I ... I've won the National Lottery!" Brenda shouted, jumping up and down in delight and happiness.
After ten more minutes the truth began to sink in.
"We're millionaires. We're rich!" Brenda exclaimed, hugging both of her children as she danced round the living room.