Kids on Fire: Free Excerpt From Cora Flash And The Diamond of Madagascar

April 29, 2013

We’re happy to share this post from our sister site, Kids Corner @ Kindle Nation Daily, where you can find all things Kindle for kids and teens, every day!

Last week we announced that Tommy Davey’s Cora Flash And The Diamond of Madagascar is our Kids Corner Book of the Week and the sponsor of our student reviews and of thousands of great bargains in the Kids Book category:

Now we’re back to offer a free Kids Corner excerpt, and if you aren’t among those who have downloaded this one already, you’re in for a treat!

4.4 stars – 28 Reviews
On Sale For Kids Corner Readers! Regularly $3.99
Or currently FREE for Amazon Prime Members Via the Kindle Lending Library
Text-to-Speech and Lending: Enabled


Here’s the set-up:

Introducing kid detective Cora Flash!

Book 1 in the ‘Cora Flash’ series.

Cora Flash is ecstatic when she finally convinces her mom to let her take a train ride by herself to visit a relative in the mountains. Once on board, Cora meets a cast of intriguing characters, and stumbles upon her very own mystery: A valuable diamond has gone missing, and only one of her fellow travellers could have stolen it. It’s up to our novice detective to solve the crime before the train reaches its destination – or the thief reaches Cora.

Be sure to continue the adventures in the next two books in the series:Cora Flash and the Mystery of the Haunted Hotel (Book 2)Cora Flash and the Treasure of Beggar’s Bluff (Book 3)

And here, for your reading pleasure, is our free excerpt:




“May I see your ticket please?” asked the attendant.

I pulled my train ticket out of my travel bag and handed it to the attendant.  He took the ticket and checked it carefully.

“Cora Flash. You’re traveling alone?” he asked.

“Yes,” I replied. “I am.”

Not only was I traveling alone; I was traveling for the first time. Ever! I had never been on a train, a plane or even a boat before, so I was excited at the prospect of finally being able to explore a different part of the world. Well, a different part of the country, anyway.

“Have you ever been on a train before?”

“Just the subway,” I said. “I have never been on a train trip, this is my first time.”

“Well,” said the attendant. “I hope you enjoy it. My name is Willy. If you need anything, just let me know. I’m always around somewhere.”

I thanked him as he turned to the person across the aisle to continue checking tickets.

There was no one sitting in the seat next to me, and I could not have felt luckier. I had two seats all to myself. I placed my bag in the empty spot, making it easier to take out my books, MP3 player and the bag of candies my Mom had secretly stashed away. That was a nice surprise.

The train was not as full as I was expecting, there were far more empty seats than there were people. I wondered if we would pick up a lot of people in our only stop along the way, Pecan River. The excitement of travel by rail to visit my Uncle was thrilling me to pieces. I had always loved mysteries on trains in movies, like The Lady Vanishes and Strangers on a Train. Now I grant you, most eleven-year-old girls don’t care much for old black and white movies but my Uncle André, the one I was traveling to visit, had introduced me to them. Naturally I thought it only fitting to take the train to visit him.

My mother, however, was not very excited about my taking the train. “It’s a two-day trip, Cora!” she would exclaim. I eventually convinced her after reminding her she would be able to talk to me any time she wanted on her cell phone.  Reluctantly, she agreed and the tickets were booked.  Now I had to find a way to keep myself occupied and amused for the two-day trip to the mountains.

The train left early in the morning, and was expected to arrive in the mountains by dinnertime the next day. Uncle André promised we would go to a restaurant as soon as I arrived, since the food on the train was bound to be, as he called it, “atrocious.”

I could not wait to explore the train, but I wondered if it was a good idea to leave my belongings on the seat while I walked around. There weren’t very many people in the train car, but they were all strangers, so I was cautious. I decided to wait until the train started moving, so I could just leave my things in my seat as everyone would be settled elsewhere.

I pulled out my bag of candy, which must have weighed five pounds, and started to dig through it. There were candies of every colour, shape, and flavour. There were jellybeans, jawbreakers, gumballs, sour keys and so many more that I wasn’t even sure what they were. Well, I thought, I’ll just have to figure out what they are by tasting them one-by-one!

Just as I took my first mouthful, there was an announcement on the loud speaker, “Ladies and gentlemen, welcome aboard train 152 to Topaz Mountain,” said the man’s voice. It sounded like Willy, the attendant. “We will be leaving in just a moment; we are waiting for one last passenger who has just arrived at the station. We won’t be much longer, thank you for your patience.”

I looked out the window at the station and could see my mother standing beside a lamppost, straining to see through the train’s tinted windows. I waved, but she did not wave back. I knew she would be stressed at not seeing me as the train pulled out, so I grabbed my cell and called her number.

“Hello? Cora?” she said as she answered the phone.

“Hi Mom,” I replied.

“Where are you? I can’t see you!”

“That’s funny,” I said. “I can see you!” I could not help but laugh as my mother looked from side to side, squinting to catch a glimpse of me through the train windows.

“Oh,” Mom said, in exhaustion. “I can’t see you at all. How are you? Did you get a seat? Did you talk to the attendant?”

“Yes,” I replied. “I’m fine. I got a seat, and Willy – that’s the attendant – is a very nice guy. He said he would help me with whatever I need.”

“Oh good,” Mom said, relieved. “I was going to jump on the train myself, but I was scared it would leave with me on it! And with Ethan at Mrs. Trumble’s house, I didn’t want to take the chance.”

Ethan, my four-year-old brother, was not allowed to come on the trip as Mom didn’t think it would be right for him to travel so far without her. He was staying with his frequent baby-sitter, our next-door neighbour Mrs. Trumble, while my mother saw me off.

Just as the train made a loud whistle and the engine began to rev up, a funny little man clutching a silver briefcase to his chest began to push through the crowd.

“Oh!” he cried. “Excuse me! Excuse me, please! I must get on that train!”

He pushed his way to the steps of the train just as it was starting to pull away from the station.

“You made it,” said Willy, as the man climbed on board. “Just in time.”

“Yes,” he said, sarcastically. “I can see that.”

The man, still clutching his briefcase, made his way down the aisle. He was quite short, maybe even only one foot taller than me. He was wearing a long grey wool coat with a red scarf around his neck. He had a strange round hat on, a kind I had never seen before. His tiny, thin moustache was barely visible; it appeared as though it might slip right off his face.

“Excuse me,” he said to Willy. “I have a private compartment. Where are those?”

“Right you are, Mr. Sloane,” said Willy, checking Mr. Sloane’s ticket. “They are in the next car. Just keep walking, right through that door and you’ll see the compartments. They’re all numbered, just check your ticket.”

“Thank you,” Mr. Sloane called, as he whisked himself through the door into the other car.

“Cora? Cora, are you still there?”

With the commotion caused by Mr. Sloane, I had almost forgotten I was still on the phone with my mother. “Oh, Mom! I’m sorry. I forgot you were there!”

I turned to look out the window, barely able to see her now as the train sped out of the station.

“I’m going to have to leave now, I have to pick up Ethan, but listen,” she continued. “Be careful! You know how much I worry about you. Keep your phone with you at all times and stay close to the attendant. Call as soon as you get to Topaz Mountain.”

“I will, don’t worry,” I responded knowing full well that she would worry no matter what I said.

“Okay, Cora, have a safe trip. I love you.”

“I love you too, Mom. Bye!”

I hung up the phone and placed it in the carrying case I had been given especially for the trip. I hung the case around my neck and sat back in my seat, looking out the window as the train moved faster and faster.




“You know my little dog seems quite taken with you,” said a woman’s voice.

“Pardon me?” I asked, slightly startled.

“My dog Calvin. He seems to like you.”

The voice came from an older lady, sitting across the aisle. She had a kind face, like the ladies I would see at the bake sale after church. In her lap was a tiny dog that I hadn’t noticed.

“Oh, I didn’t see him.”

The lady laughed. “Yes, he’s quite discreet, isn’t he? He has been looking at you for a while. You must be a dog person.”

“Well, I suppose so. We don’t have one yet, but I’m trying to convince my Mom to let us.”

“Calvin is almost six years old, he’s been with me since he was just a puppy. I don’t go anywhere without him, even the train. What’s your name?” she asked.

“Cora. Cora Flash.”

“I’m very pleased to meet you Cora, I’m Josephine Bronwyn.”

“Very nice to meet you, Mrs. Bronwyn. What kind of dog is Calvin?”

“He’s a Norfolk Terrier,” answered Mrs. Bronwyn.

“Well Calvin is very handsome,” I said. “Do you live in Topaz Mountain?”

“No, I’m visiting my sister, Margaret. She moved out to the mountains nearly forty years ago when she met her husband. He has passed on, but she loves it so much there that she decided to stay. We take turns visiting each other, and now it’s my turn. And you? Are you visiting family?”

“Yes,” I said. “My Uncle André lives there. He and my mother grew up there, but she moved away a long time ago. I’m going to visit him for a week.”

“Are you by yourself?”

“Yes, I am. It’s my first time traveling alone.”

“Well,” said Mrs. Bronwyn. “I’m sure you’ll be fine. I’m sitting right here, so don’t hesitate to ask should you need anything.”

“Thank you, that’s very nice of you.”

I smiled at Mrs. Bronwyn and gave a friendly pat on the head to Calvin. He returned the favour with a tiny yelp and a few tender licks to my hand.

“You see?” said Mrs. Bronwyn, “I told you he likes you!”

Since everyone seemed to be settled, I decided it was a good time to start exploring the train. I asked Mrs. Bronwyn if she would be kind enough to watch my things as I looked around.

“Of course!” was Mrs. Bronwyn’s response. “Just don’t get into any trouble!” she said with a smile.

I decided to go in the direction of Mr. Sloane. As I walked down the aisle of the car, I counted only five other people.  Two looked like they were on their honeymoon; They were smiling a lot and holding hands very tightly. There was a man sitting by himself, he looked very upset about something. He was very fidgety, and kept taking his glasses on and off, desperately trying to clean one of the lenses with the sleeve of his coat. The fourth person was a girl who I guessed to be in her twenties. She looked like a college student who was probably on her way home now that school was out. She smiled and whispered hello as I passed by. Sitting near the sliding door that led to the compartments car was a large man with dark glasses.

I nodded politely at the large man, and he returned the gesture before closing his eyes. He probably needed a nap.

Turning the large handle of the door, I slid it open and passed through to the next car. It looked very different from the car I was just in.  Instead of a lot of seats, there was a hallway on the left side of the car with a series of doors leading to the compartments.

I realized this is where Mr. Sloane, with the silver briefcase, long grey coat and red scarf, had gone. I continued down the compartment car, curious to see what awaited me in the next car. Just as I was nearly there, one of the doors opened. “Oh!” said Mr. Sloane as he stopped short of going into the hall. “You startled me!”

“I’m sorry, sir,” I said politely. “I’m just exploring the train. I’ll get out of your way.”

Then I walked past him and toward the sliding door to the next car.

“Well, th-thank you,” the man stuttered, still a little flustered. “That’s very nice of you.”

As I opened the sliding door, I noticed Mr. Sloane was going in the same direction. I couldn’t help but noticing he was still clutching the silver briefcase he had on the way in, but he was no longer wearing his wool coat and red scarf.

“Wow,” I thought to myself. “He really is short!”

Mr. Sloane and I made our way into the next car, which was very obviously the Dining car. Tables and chairs were placed on either side of the car, some set for two, and others set for four.

“Hello Cora,” said a voice. I turned to see it was coming from the attendant, Willy.

“Hi Willy!” I replied. “I think I would like to sit and have something to drink.”

“Of course,” Willy said. “Sit anywhere you like. I’ll bring you something nice and sweet.”

“Great!” I said, as I moved through the car to find a seat.

“Sir,” Willy said to Mr. Sloane. “You may also sit anywhere you like.”

“Thank you,” Mr. Sloane said. “I’ll just have a coffee. Black, please.”

Mr. Sloane walked further than me into the car and took a seat two tables away. He carefully sat the briefcase down on the table in front of him, staring at it like it was going to start talking.

I turned away from Mr. Sloane and began to gaze out the window, watching houses and businesses pass by as we made our way out of the city.  Soon, the houses were further and further apart, with more and more farmland and dirt roads appearing.  This was the area my mother referred to as “the country”. I had only been in the country once before, to visit my mother’s Aunt Lilian, who runs a small dairy farm.

Soon Willy returned carrying a tray with Mr. Sloane’s coffee, and something special for me! “This,” he said, handing me the drink. “Is a root-beer float. I used to love making them at home when I was your age, so I thought it would be a nice treat for you.”

The drink looked brown and milky, a very strange concoction indeed. “I don’t think I have ever had one of these before,” I said, unsure if I even wanted to taste it. “What’s in it?”

“Root-beer, of course,” said Willy. “And Vanilla ice cream. Try it, you’ll like it.”

I took a large sip through the bendy straw that protruded from the odd mixture and found it to be delightfully sweet and cool, exactly what I wanted! “It’s delicious!” I exclaimed. “I love it!”

“Good,” Willy said with a chuckle. “I’m so pleased to hear you like it.”

Willy then stepped over to Mr. Sloane to deliver his coffee while I continued to savour my new favourite beverage.

“Sir,” Willy said to Mr. Sloane. “Do you want me to store your briefcase for you?”

“No!” snapped the man, with such force that both Willy and I were startled by his tone. “No, do not touch my briefcase. This is not to be touched by anyone.” And with that, he pulled his briefcase closer to him, taking it off the table and placing it directly on his lap.

“My apologies, sir,” said Willy, placing the coffee on the now empty table. “I didn’t mean to upset you.”

“Thank you, that will be all.”

I turned back to my drink, still alarmed at the tone in the man’s voice.  “Whatever he has in that case,” I thought to myself, “must be very valuable.”

Click here to buy the book: Tommy Davey’s Cora Flash And The Diamond of Madagascar>>>


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