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It was a dark and stormy night. Tree branches hissed in the wind as the rain slashed the sky in silver sheets. Thunder rolled through the air and shook the ground when I arrived at the Flenniken Public Library to begin my nightly rounds. Just as I opened the secret door in the parking lot book drop, the bells of the old Presbyterian church tolled midnight. Flenniken had hired me, Hercule Pawrot, ace feline investigator (or “fat cat”) to keep an eye on the place after a series of strange disappearances had begun to plague the library. It started small: some paper clips, a pair of scissors, several pens. Then magazines were missing and books mysteriously disappeared. When the director of the library, the beloved Mrs. O, vanished into seemingly thin air, it was time to call in the pro, Hercule Pawrot.
I had just rounded the circulation desk when an ear-splitting shriek pierced the eerie silence of the dark library. I crept toward the sound on my stealthy cat’s paws when a bolt of lightning zagged through the blackness. There, tied to a computer chair, was Dame Depends (Captain Underpants’ grandmother). She was gagged and her eyes were as big as saucers. Towering over her was a large humpbacked creature in a top hat. It was sneering at Dame Depends. Two long sharp fangs glinted in the lightning flash….