Mystery May
The Case of the Missing Deed

The Case of the Missing Deed
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 4 to 6
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   5.17

     challenging words:    dark-paneled, estate, faintly, froth-tipped, greenheart, inheritance, mahogany, metaphor, nightstand, philosophy, plush, pompous, prickly, starfish, unassuming, unresolved
     content words:    Uncle John, Dear Rachel

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The Case of the Missing Deed
By Colleen Messina

1     Uncle John died last week. Rachel was devastated. And to top it off, she wasn't even sure that she had a place to live anymore.
2     Today, the attorney had asked her to come into his office regarding the estate. As she sat in the plush waiting room, Rachel twisted her hands together. She did not like dark-paneled rooms and large mahogany furniture. She did not like pompous paintings of successful lawyers, like the ones on the wall. For all of these reasons, Rachel was not happy at the moment.
3     With her freckled nose and red hair pulled back into a pony tail, Rachel looked too young to be visiting an attorney. She was 18, but she looked several years younger. She had lived with her uncle for the last three years because her parents died in a car accident. Uncle John's daughter, Sarah, lived in another state. Uncle John and twenty-five-old Sarah were not close. Rachel, on the other hand, shared something special with her uncle.
4     Uncle John owned a lighthouse and a fishing business. He was wealthy, but looked unassuming. His white hair was never combed, and he smelled faintly salty. Rachel loved to peer into tide pools with Uncle John. He always told her to look carefully beneath the surface. He said it was a metaphor for his philosophy of life. He had a way of finding the prickly purple sea urchins, skittering crabs, and the lazy orange starfish better than anyone else.
5     "Thank you for waiting," said Mr. Greenheart as he strode into the room. He looked too smooth. "I met with Sarah earlier. She is the primary beneficiary of the estate and inherited his California ranch, but your uncle wanted you to have his lighthouse painting. There is a small unresolved matter, and perhaps you can help us. We still cannot find the deed to the lighthouse. Did your uncle ever mention where he kept it?" asked Mr. Greenheart.

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