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Mystery at Chilkoot Pass

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Mystery at Chilkoot Pass is the seventeenth History Mystery book.

Characters

  • Hetty McKinley - The protagonist
  • Glen McKinley - Hetty's father
  • Uncle Donall - Mr. McKinley's brother
  • Alma Vasquez - Hetty's best friend
  • Maria Vasquez - Alma's mother
  • Amos Parker - A friend of the McKinleys and the Vesquezs
  • Mama - Hetty's deceased mother
  • Colin Brandauer - A friend of the McKinleys and the Vesquezs; A young mountie of the Northwest Mounted Police
  • Eddie Jacobson – A talkative and energetic friend of Hetty's and Alma's
  • William Jacobson - The father of the Jacobson family
  • Sophie Jacobson - The mother of the Jacobsons
  • Carl Jacobson - The brother of Eddie
  • Rosie Jacobson - The cheerful baby of the Jacobson family
  • Andy “Moosejaw” Nickerson - A friend of the McKinleys and Vesquezs
  • Jack London - A writer that the McKinleys encounter

Chapter-by-Chapter Summary

Chapter One: Alaska

Hetty McKinley screams for Papa. The crowd aboard the ship all struggle violently to reach the boat, called a "scow," that will transport them to the Alaskan shore. Hetty is almost trampled, but, with her Papa's help, safely boards the scow. Hetty looks up at the ship, asking how far away the shore is, since it is nowhere in sight. Papa tells for her to just hang on. Hetty's Uncle Donall drops Alma Vasquez, Hetty's best friend, right next to her. The girls quickly grab hands and Alma squeezes her eyes tight, obviously nervous about the rocking of the boat. However, Hetty spots Maria Vasquez, Alma's mother, climbing down the rope, about to board the scow. Alma opens her eyes and both girls help steady Mrs. Vasquez and get her settled. "Oh, my goodness, I never dreamed I could do that. But I didn't want us to be separated." Mrs. Vasquez laughs, though both Hetty and Alma are petrified by the turbulent waves. Papa warns Hetty that he is slowly lowering a crate, and though Hetty tries to catch it, it falls at the bottom of the scow, and spills its contents everywhere. Other passengers start boarding the scow with Hetty and Alma, and the boat quickly becomes crowded. Hetty sees dogs, horses, goats and livestock swimming for the shore in the icy water, though it is a mile away, minimum. The sailors above throw the crates onto the scow, but miss half the time, and the supplies sink into the water. Hetty silently hopes none of the sinking crates belong to the McKinley's or the Vasquez's. Papa swings over the side, and boards the scow, but Uncle Donall remains on the boat, dropping provisions into Papa's arm with a clever rope system. Mrs. Vasquez asks Hetty and Alma to help her sort and move the supplies close to them. The scow is so heavy with people and animals and cargo, that water washes onto the scow. But, pulled by tugboats, it moves towards shore. Hetty looks back and thinks about the steamer, which had carried them for a week, from San Francisco to Alaska. Uncle Donall shouts to Papa that he will stay with their possessions, and for him to meet them there after the next load the scow transports.

Chapter Two: The Tent Restaurant

The McKinley's choose not to continue, until the Vasquez's somehow get enough money to move on. In the morning, Colin Brandauer, one of the twenty Canadian mounties, stops by Hetty's camp. Colin apologizes for Mrs. Vasquez's misfortune, and admits that there are not enough mounties for the chaos at the beach. Mrs. Vazquez also tells Colin of a plan she thought of in the night. She and Alma plan to set up a tent and cook food for money. Colin admires her perseverance, and Hetty asks where Papa is. Hetty and Alma are sent to look for Papa, who is probably looking for Uncle Donall. Uncle Donall has a tendency to excessively gamble, and though he had absolutely no money to speak of, Papa let him come on the voyage. "Papa was much more tolerant of his younger brother Donall's bad habits than Hetty was." While searching, Hetty spots Mr. Parker. She asks him if he would sell his wet food to the Vasquez's to cook, she he can continue. Mr. Parker thinks, but says, "I think I want to go home, girls. I've lost my heart for treasure seeking." The girls finally return home after an hour's search, to find Papa setting up tables, and Uncle Donall just returning, asking for some food to eat. Papa asks where Uncle Donall was, who says he met a very interesting couple that are part of a Wild West show. Hetty is exasperated, and scolds Uncle Donall, whose smooth talk and charisma gets him out of trouble. Mrs. Vasquez notes Uncle Donall's energy, and asks him to grab some firewood so she can cook. Uncle Donall leaves, but Hetty doubts he'll actually return with firewood. Hetty and Alma start fixing the food along with Mrs. Vasquez. Just as the trio were finishing up, Uncle Donall and another young man come by, and eat some dinner, quickly leaving again. Mrs. Vasquez is mildy disgusted. "It took him all aftertoon to get wood. Now he's off to play cards, no doubt." Alma and Hetty offer to wash dishes, and Alma hopes that the two men will spread the word. The next night, more than a hundred people were in line to taste Mrs. Vasquez's food. For one dollar, people could have a plate filled with beans and tortillas, and a cup with coffee or tea. However, people had to have their own dishes. After the girls served the dried-apple pie desert, some couples danced and sung together. While Hetty is clearing tables, she meets Eddie Jacobson, who is teeming is chatter and questions. His father, William, his mother, Sophie, and his older brother, Carl, quickly join him. Mrs. Jacobson is carrying a young baby girl named Rosie. The Jacobson's are a really happy, comical family, though Carl is serious and mean-spirited. When Hetty goes to bed, she looks at her locket, with the precious picture of her mother inside. Hetty and Alma talk about their mothers before falling asleep. The next night, at least a couple hundred people showed up, and the girls were kept busy. While serving, Alma points out a man to Hetty, who's face is crooked. A man behind them say his name is Andy Nickerson, though called Moosejaw. The man sits beside her, along with her Papa. His name is Jack London, a famous, famous writer. Hetty asks him a bunch of questions. Later, Mr. London tells the story of Andy Nickerson. "Moosejaw" was prospecting up in Dawson for several years, and of course, became lonely. For a companion, he found a baby moose and kept it in his cabin. However, the mother moose finally found her baby and kicked Moosejaw in the face. Hetty and Alma say he's making it up, but Mr. London replies, "Ask him. He tells the story to anyone who'll listen. You'll find many men with strange nicknames living in the goldfields." When asked, Jack London says that's he not up here for the gold, but for adventure. Papa, Alma, Hetty, and Mr. London all hope they meet again, and Mr. London leaves. Hetty vows to write every night in her journal, and realizes why her father dragged her up her.

Chapter Three: Sarah Lancaster

Chapter Four: On the Trail

Chapter Five: More Is Missing

Chapter Six: A Bath and Other Entertainment

Chapter Seven: Sheep Camp

Chapter Eight: Another Thief

Chapter Nine: The Golden Stairs

Chapter Ten: The Blizzard

Chapter Eleven: Danger!

Chapter Twelve: Digging Out

Chapter Thirteen: A Fairy-Tale Wedding

Chapter Fourteen: Confronting the Thief

A Peek Into the Past

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