The Riddles of Hillgate
Zoey Kane is known around Riverside for making risky purchases. When her daughter Claire learns a most recent investment is eighty acres on the haunted side of town, she is simply flabbergasted. Amazement takes over the whole community, however, when an old mansion is discovered deep within trees. After the estate is turned into a popular hotel, no one could have expected just how risky this purchase would be.
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About the Authors
Molly Snow, award-winning author of YA fiction, writes mysteries under the pseudonym Claire Kane with her mother who writes under Zoey Kane. Together, they have lots of fun writing Z&C Mysteries.
The 1980’s Datsun bucked and sputtered as Zo slowed and then parked the car. “It’s not the greatest, but neither was my van.”
Claire gave a sympathetic smile. “That Max guy is so nice letting you borrow it today. I just hope it doesn’t keel over while we’re using it.”
In the distance to their left, was an old and rusty industrial location. To their right were acres of overgrown wilderness. There was a tall, black iron gate sitting a few feet away, guarding the overgrowth. They walked to the gate along a cracked and uneven sidewalk, watching their step along the way.
Claire craned her neck to look up to the top of the rust-speckled barrier. Nothing else was in sight but the monstrous gate and chaotic green growth. She was not feeling optimistic, but decided to try to look like whatever her mom wanted to show her was wonderful in some sort of way.
“Surprise!” Zo smiled with great energy.
“You bought Stephen King’s fence?”
“Well, and a bit of land.”
“How much land was that again?”
“Approximately eighty acres. It is described as a hill.”
Claire couldn’t hold back the look of feeling further disappointment, as her eyebrows raised and her lips stayed zipped tightly.
“Oh, now settle down. This is exciting. I haven’t even tromped through this land yet. You and I together will be the very first time. That is why I told you to wear long pants and sturdy shoes.”
“You don’t even know what it all looks like? Mother? This is on the east side of the river: the downtrodden, worse than ghetto, poor and unkempt area. Nobody ever has reason to travel to this side of town. It’s a ‘no no.’ There are even horrible urban ghost stories about this area.” So much for the “wonderful” pretense. She immediately felt guilt wash over her, knowing that Penny and the others already did a thorough job of making her mother feel miserable.
“Yes, I admit, I have heard those stories, too. And I do believe in ghosts, but I thought you didn’t, my dear.”
Claire cocked her head. “You’re right. I don’t, but—” She stopped herself, not wanting any more regrets.
Zo unzipped a compartment to her faux-snakeskin purse to reveal an old, large key. “This is it, Claire. Let’s have some fun.”
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