The Mystery of the Stolen Painting
Chapter 1 The City of Light
Ella Briar gazed out the airplane window. Down below, miles of glittering lights twinkled against the evening sky. “Look, Ethan!” she said to her twin brother.
“That must be Paris,” Ethan replied. “It’s awesome!”
“I think that’s the Eiffel Tower,” Ella said, pointing.
“Did you know that the Eiffel Tower is the tallest structure in Paris?” their dad, Andrew, called out from across the aisle. “It was built in 1889 for the world’s fair.”
“I see a river!” Ethan announced.
“That is probably the Seine,” Mr. Briar guessed. “It divides Paris into two parts: the Right Bank and the Left Bank.”
“We are staying in a lovely old neighborhood on the Right Bank,”
their mom, Josephine, said as she smoothed on lipstick. “There are a lot of fun shops there! And we’ll be close to a famous museum called the Louvre.”
Fun shops? A famous museum? The twins couldn’t wait!
A short while later, their plane landed at the airport. The Briars took a taxi to the apartment they were renting. The building had no elevator, so they had to carry their suitcases up five flights of marble stairs. They were out of breath by the time they got to the top.
The climb was worth it, though. The apartment was enormous, with an elegant balcony that overlooked red rooftops and bustling cafés. Brightly lit boats cruised along the river. In the distance, the Eiffel Tower shimmered like a gold jewel.
Ella remembered from her dad’s guidebook that Paris was often called the City of Light. Now she knew why!
Ethan ran straight to the biggest bedroom. “Dibs!” he shouted.
“Hey, not fair!” Ella protested.
“How about your father and I take this room?” Mrs. Briar suggested. “Ethan, there’s a green room down the hall with soccer posters. And, Ella, the purple room has lots of books in English.”
Ella loved books, and purple was her favorite color! She raced down the hallway with her suitcase and found her room. It had a canopy bed with a lavender bedspread. Black-and-white photographs of Paris covered the walls.