Dead Man's Cove
A Laura Marlin Mystery
by Lauren St John
Being sent to live in a tiny village in Cornwall would not be many 11-year-olds’ idea of fun, but aspiring detective Laura Marlin is no ordinary girl. Inspired by her favourite detective novels, Laura sees her new life as an opportunity to live out her ambitions, and it isn't long before mysterious goings-on attract her attention.
A message in a bottle, a grumpy housekeeper and the forbidden Dead Man's Cove all add up to an intriguing detective story.
Publisher: Orion Children's Books
There were two routes to Laura’s school. One took ten minutes and meant she could have an extra half hour in bed. The other took four times as long. It was this route she always chose. To her, it was worth every second of lost sleep.
She’d start by walking down the hill to Porthmeor Beach. There, she’d linger on the pale gold sand, letting the soothing swish of the waves and cries of the wheeling gulls fill her ears. She’d search for shells or interesting bits of driftwood, or wake herself up with a splash of icy seawater. After that, she’d take the path that followed the rocky shoreline of the Island and climb up to the lighthouse station. From there the town was a patchwork of pastel cottages and yellow and russet-stained roofs, flanked by the glistening sea.
Next, she’d skip down the steps to Porthgwidden Beach and round the point past the museum and lighthouse, before making her way along the harbour and up pretty St Andrews Street. The best bit came last – glorious Porthminister Beach.
Senses filled with nature and freedom, she’d tear herself away to scale the high, steep steps that led to St Ives Primary School, with its bells, rules, routines and corridors reeking of disinfectant.
This particular Monday she’d left especially early. Thanks to her uncle, she was in a much better frame of mind than she had been on Friday after the scene at the North Star.
The day before she’d woken to find Calvin Redfern absent once again, so she’d carried a bowl of cornflakes back to her room and lain in bed till noon reading The Secret of Black Horse Ridge. At lunchtime she’d heated up the quiche left by Mrs Webb (much as she disliked the woman, Laura had to admit she could cook). Late afternoon she’d taken a long bubble bath with strawberry scented bath gel given to her as a leaving present by Matron. She’d been on her way downstairs in search of supper when her uncle came in carrying two big bags from the Catch of the Day. They’d eaten fish and chips, copiously sprinkled with salt and vinegar, straight out of the paper it came in.
He’d been in a good mood so she’d plucked up the courage to ask if there was any chance she could have a dog of her own, because she knew of one who needed a home. She didn’t tell him that Skye was a Siberian husky. He was less likely to agree if he knew that the dog she wanted was a very large, very powerful wolf dog with hypnotic blue eyes. Not altogether surprisingly, he refused to entertain the idea. He’d just smiled and said: ‘I think Lottie is more than enough dog for both of us, don’t you Laura?’ and the subject was closed.
Now, as she strolled along Porthmeor Beach to school, Laura thought how far removed her life was from her time at Sylvan Meadows. The previous eleven years of her existence seemed like something that had happened to someone else in another lifetime. She might be friendless in St Ives and not allowed to have a dog of her own, but at least she was near the ocean and with her uncle. She would have preferred a different housekeeper, but already Calvin Redfern felt like family to her.
She’d changed her mind about investigating him. Where he went or who he saw was none of her business. He trusted her and she should trust him. She couldn’t help wishing he was around more, and not locked away in his study when he was at home, but she was still a thousand times more content living with him than she had been anywhere else.
At the end of Porthmeor Beach, Laura climbed the stone steps to the Island and took the path that curved around the edge of it. There were benches dotted along it, and a red plastic box containing a life-rope. Laura had her doubts that the latter would be effective in an emergency. The current that surged up to the black rocks was so brutal that anyone unlucky enough to fall in would be sucked out to sea before they had time to draw breath. Dead Man’s Cove had been deadlier still. Laura felt again the magnetic pull of the ocean beneath the black cliffs, and goosebumps rose on her arms.
On the North side of the Island, the headland screened out both the town and the beaches. Laura would stop there sometimes and gaze out to sea. If no one was around, she liked to pretend she was alone on a desert island. Today, however, the path had an eerie feel. In the short time since Laura had left the house a sea mist had rolled in, obscuring everything except the grey silhouette of the hill topped by St Nicholas’s chapel with its twin crosses. The tide was in and in two or three places violent waves splattered the path. More than once, Laura had to leap to avoid a drenching.
She might have stepped on the bottle had she not been skirting a puddle. It was an ordinary glass bottle – the kind used for concentrated juice syrups, but the label had been removed and it had been scrubbed clean. It was lying in the centre of the path, almost as if it had been deliberately placed there. Even before she lifted it, Laura could see there was a note in it.
She almost didn’t pick it up. The idea of finding a message in a bottle seemed ridiculous, like a joke or something. But curiosity got the better of her. Before she picked it up, she took a good look around in case the person who’d left it there was hanging around to have a laugh. But she was alone.
She bent down and studied the rolled piece of paper through the glass. There was something written on it. Before she removed the lid, she glanced up at the chapel. There was a sudden flash of white, although whether it was someone’s shirt or the wing of a gull Laura couldn’t tell. For two full minutes she stared upwards, but saw nothing else.
What sort of people put messages in bottles? Pranksters and marooned ancient mariners were the only two categories Laura could think of. Since the bottle was shiny and new and had obviously never been in the sea, the latter could be ruled out. That left a joker with too much time on his or her hands.
The lid twisted off easily. Retrieving the note was trickier. Laura managed it with the aid of a stick. She unrolled the paper, a cream-coloured parchment. There was something old-fashioned about the handwriting, as if the writer had a calligrapher’s skills and had used the quill of a feather and a pot of indigo ink. In long, artistic letters were the words: CAN I TRUST YOU?
Laura looked around again. The path was unusually quiet for this time of the morning. Most days it was teeming with dog walkers. She put down the note while she zipped up her coat and pulled her scarf tighter. The mist had whited out the coastline. Clouds of it rolled across the sea, muffling the sound of the waves.
If she had any sense, she’d toss the bottle into the nearest litter bin, hurry along to school and forget she ever saw it. But what if? That’s what the voice in her head was saying. What if the writer was someone in real danger? Someone who needed her help? What if she was their only lifeline and she ignored them and walked away?
Laura opened her school bag and took out a pen. Beneath the question, ‘CAN I TRUST YOU?’, she wrote in bright red capitals:
About the author
Lauren St JohnLauren St John was born in Gatooma, Rhodesia, now Kadoma, Zimbabwe. Aged 11, she and her family moved to Rainbow's End farm and game reserve, the subject of her acclaimed memoir, and she grew up surrounded by animals, including eight horses, two warthogs and a pet giraffe. After nearly a...
Video & audio
Laura Marlin is an orphan who has been longing for adventure for a long time. When she goes to live with her mysterious uncle, Calvin Redfern, she finally gets what she wanted! Surrounded by mystery, Laura tries to work out what is going on in the beautiful town St Ives using her favourite detective Matt Walker to help her out. I really enjoyed this book! It was a wonderful change from the books I normally read and it is my current favourite! I would reccomend it to readers over 8 and people who enjoy books like The Famous Five and the Island of Adventure.
I really enjoyed this book and I thought it was very gripping and I enjoyed trying to work it all out. :)
I thought it was a brilliant book as it was full of mysteries you want to know the answers to.
I love the book I didnt even know it had anything to do with this I just picked it up at random from the local library little did I know it would be on my list of fave books then again its just my opinion
This book is very interesting, I would recommend it for people that like mystery books.
I thought Dead Man's Cove was a brilliant book filled full of mystery, adventure and suspense. I love the way its set in a real place, a mysterious place as well. I also love the way its written because after only the first few chapters all I wanted to do was read on as my head was full of questions! I thought all the characters were brilliant and had been thought of in such depth and had been described so well that I could see a clear image in my head of what they looked like, I didn't need the illustrations to help me. I have now been inspired to read more of Lauren St John's books and the Laura Marlin mysteries because I want to find out what happens to Laura and what other adventures shes been on. I have listened to the white giraffe on audio book and loved it and I think Lauren St John is a brilliant writer and has got me onto a different type of story, a mystery story. I hope other people have loved this book as much as I have and I hope lots of other people will want to read it and enjoy it.
This book was really interesting, you never knew what was going to happen and never knew what was coming. I'd have never guessed the ending. it appeals for all ages. This is my favourite book because you never get bored of reading it.
great book reaaaaaalllllllyyyyyyyy exciting making me sit on edge of my seat so good fantastic story
I was sitting on the edge of my seat when I read this book. The plot was thrilling. The characters are scary and exciting. I never wanted to put this book down. I can't wait for the next in the series. I would recomend this book to anyone who likes a mystery. Why is Dead Man's Cove forbidden?
This was a book that I have never been able to put down and it was a lovely change from my previous book Diary of Wimpy Kid! Its a book with a cool sense of mystery and uncertainty. When you read the book you never know what is going to happen next. If you are an Enid Blyton fan you will love this book. I would recomend this book to anyone at any age if you are thinking about choosing this book DO IT! The book starts off well and finishes excellent! BUY THIS BOOK NOW!
Deadman's Cove is brilliant! I think Marlin has given an average person an imagination with this fantastic book. She has changed a normal orphan into being the worlds greatest detective! So if you're looking for a bit of mystery read Deadman's Cove and who knows you might crack a mystery like Laura! She has made that suspicous girl who at first may of been an emotional school girl but she has made that same girl into finding the secret behind the Deadman's Cove!
This is a great book!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I mean it's really good and it's even won a Blue Peter Book of The Year 2011 award. Wicked!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I really enjoyed it and I was taking it everywhere with me even to school!!! I really like the characters especially Tariq. I would recommend this book to any one who loves adventure stories!!! I would absolutely love to get the other Laura Marlin Story, Kidnap in the Caribbean. Put it on next year's list
I loved this book. The cover does put you off a bit though. Maybe they could change that. I won't say what was in it as I don't want to give it away to other interested readers.
This book I’m near to the end of finishing is fantastic, I’m really enjoying it, and every page I have read really draws me. At the beginning of the story I thought it was a bit boring because when I looked at the front cover, it looked like it was going to be good from the very first page, but from the moment I got to chapter 2 I was really engaged into it. The characters that the author has chosen to put in the book are really good because they are friendly and are very nice to each other; that’s the sort of people who I like so I would of definitely choose them. I absolutely adore the character Laura because she is not a selfish character. Also I like Laura’s uncle because he took Laura in so she would not be fostered all her life, he is very generous to Laura. Overall I think this is a brilliant book and would be able to sit reading it over and over again, I hope the author will carrying on making books like these because they are fabulous.
I really enjoyed this book: I couldn't put it down, I got really agitated when someone interrupted me! I loved getting into the story because it felt like I was there all along! This I'd definitely one of the best books I have ever read!
This book sounds really good and I love mysteries. I haven't read it yet but I'm sure I will rate it 5 stars once I have read it.
I think that this book is very good and it is good for the people who love adventure books.
Very good, enjoyed every page ! It's so good, was hooked till the end ! :)
This is a really good book! You really can't put it down! :)
Amazing, sooooooooooooooooooooo amazing, I would highly recommend!
This is a really good book to read as it intrigues you and you're hooked on it by the last sentence. Many young adults will enjoy this book.
OMG people you have got to read this awesome book
iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii loooooooooovvvvveeeedddd the book
It is the most fantastic book ever that you could read.
I love this book its really good and full of mystery!!!
If you are a great fan of Enid Blyton Famous Five (not that Disney tv show) You are sure to enjoy as this book is just like it but with 1 girl =D
I like the sound of this book is sounds like it's a good book
It sounds brilliant, I will definitely try it
I think this book, Dead Man's Cove is a very descriptive book due to the fact that it describes the characters very well! This has to be my favourite book on Booked Up because Cornwall is my favourite place and my future dog is a Siberian husky!
I've read this book before and its a really good book! It's about a girl who moves in with her long lost uncle and she knows there's something wrong about it...
Really good I would recommend it xx !!!!!
I think this book is going to be really good I haven't read it before but I'm thinking it will be good. You're a very good writer, hope you make a 2nd one of this book
This was a fantastically, gripping story. As a die-hard Famous Five, Secret Seven and Agatha Christie fan this was a real treat.
Dead Man’s Cove is a mix between an adventure and a mystery story because when Laura Marlin is sent to live with her creepy uncle Calvin Redfern she has to work out where he is disappearing to and has to go on an adventure to find out the truth.
Young Laura Marlin is an orphan who is sent to live with a creepy old uncle she never even knew about, his name is Calvin Redfern. Uncle Calvin lives in Cornwall which is far from where Laura has come from. Calvin has forbidden Laura to go to Dead Man’s Cove. Why is everyone afraid of Dead Man’s Cove?
About the 3rd chapter, the action in the book takes place and it just pulls you in like any good book would. Honestly, this book is one of my favourite books that I have read.
I would recommend this book to everyone , especially people who are fans of Enid Blyton and love a good thrill.
A gripping and hugely entertaining read that will make you feel warm inside. Laura Marlin along with her three legged husky dog will take you on an adventure you will never forget. Give this a go, you will not be disappointed!!