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The Night Flyers

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The Night Flyers is the third book the History Mysteries series.

Characters

  • Pam Lowder- A feisty twelve-year-old who is not so good when it comes to school, but loves nothing more than taking care of her homing pigeons.
  • Miss Merrell- Pam's strict school teacher
  • Papa- Pam's father who is away at War (mentioned only)
  • Mama- Pam's mother who has high expectations for Pam.
  • Alice Bagley- A fancy girl at Pam's school.
  • Mr. Bagley- Alice's father who is the postmaster and one of the most influential in her town.
  • Nina Patterson- Pam's good friend who is inquisitive.
  • Henry Bagley- An annoying boy and Alice's younger brother from school who likes to pick on Pam.
  • Louisa White- Alice's friend from school.
  • Fannie Rodgers- Alice's Friend from School
  • Buell Leon Suggs- Pam Lowder's neighbors
  • Mattie Suggs- Pam Lowder's neighbors
  • Iva Suggs- The mother of the Suggs
  • Ralph Suggs- Father of the Suggs
  • Mr. Arminger- A visitor who comes to town
  • Miz Gracie Langley- A gossipy lady who knows everything going on in the town.
  • Martin Suggs-One of the twins in the Suggs family
  • Rupert Suggs- One of the twins in the Suggs family
  • Mr. Eugene Swindell
  • Mr. Connor Eagles
  • Miss Sadie Ritch

Chapter-by-Chapter Summary

Chapter One: A Stranger

Pam is daydreaming about Papa, who is deployed in France during World War I. She is in school, during the spelling bee. Oblivious, she doesn't hear her teacher, Miss Merrell, ask her to spell dictionary. Pam doesn't hear the word, but does hear the word locust whispered behind her. After spelling locust right, the class erupts into laughter, humiliating Pam. Miss Merrell isn't amused, and thinks Pam is being impertinent, so therefore asks her to stay after class. Pam wonders who played the trick, and finds Henry Bagley, the bratty younger brother of Alice Bagley, laughing hysterically but silently. Pam realizes it was Henry, and is exasperated since Henry is such a pain, and Pam can do nothing. Mama works for Mr. Bagley. Nina, Pam's best friends waits after school for her, and Pam admits that though she wasn't whipped, she was lectured on the proper behavior for a solider's daughter, which hurt more. Whem Pam arrives at Mr. Bagley's store, she sees Alice and her two friends, Louise White and Fannie Rodgers, coming. Alice is rich and smart, and though humble, can sometimes come across proud. Mama is disappointed in Pam, and talks about the Suggs family. Ralph and Iva Suggs chose to not let their children attend school because they themselves have no schooling. Mama then says she wants Pam to have a future, and to attend high school. Also, Mama talks about Pam's gift with animals. She mentions that a stranger came with a German accent. Miss Graie Langley, the local town gossip, is dead convinced that the man is a German spy.

Chapter Two: Spies in Currituck

Pam is surprised, but her fears are displaced when Mama explains that just an accent doesn't make someone a spy. Pam is again surprised, when she learns the man wants to buy her pigeons. She is horrified, and asks Mama is she sold them. Mama replies, "They're not mine to sell. Papa gave the loft to you when he was called up to service. I told the man he'd have to talk to you." Pam is proud that this man wants to buy her pigeons. When Mama and Pam start closing up shop, Mr. Bagley says that Henry went to their home to help them with chores. Pam runs into Alice, who offers to help her with her tutoring. The offer was meant kindly, but Pam still feels insulted. As they travel home, they find Buell Suggs on the river. Buell says his mother is nursing the twins, but they don't have enough milk. Mama kindly loans half of whatever milk their cow Daisy gives. Home, Pam meets Mattie Suggs, who chatters nonstop about Henry Bagley and his unpleasantness. Mattie is disappointed that Pam has no more letters from Papa. Though she can't read, she likes to pretend the letters are to her. Bosporus, a dog that Pam has "adopted" waits outside. Mattie is a little timid around him, but Pam says he won't hurt her. Mattie ventures home, and Pam ventures to her pigeon loft. She sees Caspian, her favorite bird, and his mate, Odessa. Bosporus accidently knocks over a pail, which frightens the birds. Pam has been training Bosporus to watch over her pigeons without frightening them. Pam laments how easy it is to talk to animals, as opposed to fellow students. Bosporous barks, startling the pigeons once again. Pam scolds him, and is startled by a voice from the shadows saying that such conduct would be natural for a dog. The man steps towards Pam, into the light, and Pam is startled by his heavy German accent.

Chapter Three: A Surprising Offer

The man says his name is Arminger. He admires Bosporus, correctly guessing his breed: part setter and part wolf. The man then says that he's thinking of raising some pigeons, here in Currituck. Mr. Arminger reveals that Mama gave permission. With that in mind, Pam shows him around the loft, explaining everything. Mr. Arminger is very surprised when he learns about Pam's training Bosporus to watch the pigeons without frightening them. He praises Pam for her work with the animals. Pam is very excited, and notices how Mr. Arminger has a way with pigeons, noticing details that most people wouldn't. She decides she trusts him. Later, the man addresses the pigeon's unique ability to fly at night. Pam explains that Papa fished at night for income, and that since Mama worried about him so much, they trained the pigeons to carry messages at night. When the bird arrives at the lft, a bell is connected to inside the house so Mama knows. Pam explains how she trained him, and how much she has helped her father. At this point, Mr. Arminger thinks for quite a while, and offers Pam two hundred dollars for her entire loft, quite a fortune. Pam is shocked, and thinks very hard about the offer. She decides that, no, she can't do it, because of her friendship with her birds. Mr. Arminger asks Pam to think about it, and says he'll be back. When Pam comes inside, she tells Mama about the offer. She is shocked, and though they desperately need the money, tells Pam to do whatever she wants. Pam asks Mama if he's German, and Mama says that, though they are fighting Germany, the German people here aren't the same people fighting Papa, but loyal to America. Thinking, Pam asks Mama if he's a spy. Mama says that hard times are here, and therefore people "up to no good". She simply says they don't know much about him, or the money he's offering Pam. "We don't know. You just steer clear of him from now on."

Chapter Four: Disgraced Again

That night, Lula the calf has a baby called Pyrenees. Pam names the calf after the mountain range in France where her father is. Because of the birth, she gratefully misses school. In the afternoon, both Mama and Pam visit Mattie. Pam peeks at Buell's piegon loft, and is disgusted by their horrid condition. Extremely angry, she confronts him, but he laughs her off. Mattie catches him smoking a cigarette, and threatens to get him in trouble. When Pam returns to school the next day, Nina bursts that the stranger was there and asked for her. The rumors are flying with stories of spies, invasions, and vandalism. Henry starts goading Pam about Arminger's money offer, which Pam had wanted to keep private. Pam says it's none of his business, but Henry keeps going, saying her father is a spy. Pam loses her temper and punches him solidly in his chin. A crowd gathers as Pam and Henry fight on the ground, only to be stopped by Miss Merrell. After school, Henry threatens to tell his father to fire Mama because of Pam. When Pam heads for the store, she sees Arminger, who smiles and comes toward her. For some reason, Pam becomes unsettled and runs into a nearby store owned by Mr. Dozier. She hides behind the counter, and sees Miss Sadie, the seamstress, who thinks she's playing hooky. Pam tries to lie and say she's buying a ribbon for Mama, but when Mr. Arminger comes in, and asks for Pam, Miss Sadie asks what he wants with her. Pam says she doesn't know, and is shown a back door. She runs away.

Chapter Five: A Prowler

Pam eventually comes to the store, and tells Mama the story of Henry and Mr. Arminger. Mama is disappointed in Pam about Henry, but tells her not to worry about Mr. Arminger. "I'm afraid I scared you the other evening. Ain't no cause to fret if he speaks to you first. Just don't be over-friendly till we know him better, hear?" Mama also tells her he bought an old house up in a swamp and has a lot of pigeons that he bought from someone else. Pam is wounded slightly, and goes home. Bosporus is high-strung and Pam is wondering if it's the storm. She starts walking to the pigeon loft, but spots a cigarette butt by the barn. Pam thinks that's strange. When she reaches the loft she sees Mr. Arminger there with Caspian on his shoulder.

Chapter Six: Mama's Ultimatum

Mr. Arminger says that he was her to ask again about her birds, and saw Caspian loose. He poitned to a hole in the base of the loft. Pam secures it with a rock, and tries to accuse Mr. Arminger, who doesn't notice apparently. Mr. Arminger again tries to bargain with Pam, offering $200 for just Caspian and his mate, Odessa. Pam's mind reels, but she can't bear to lose her two favorite pigeons. Consequently, Mr. Arminger offers the same amount for any of her well-trained night flyers. Pam hesitates, and says that she has to feed her birds. Mr. Arminger reaches into this pocket to offer more money, and steps toward Pam. Bosporus immediately attacks Mr. Arminger's leg. Pam pulls him back, and Mama comes out onto the porch with the shotgun. Mr. Arminger immediately apoligzes, saying it was his fault, and that he should've known better. It apparently is not a serious bite, and Mama very politely asks Mr. Arminger to stop bothering Pam about her pigeons. Mama tells Pam that Bosporus is too big and wild now, and that Pam will have to give him up. Pam protests, saying he was only protecting her and the pigeons, and realizes what has been bothering her. She thinks the cigarette butt she found near the barn was Arminger's. Mama thinks it is nonsense, and that it could've been Buell. Bosporus will be taken back far into the woods and set loose, with Pam coming home without him tomorrow morning. The storm starts raging, and lasts all night long. It's still raining in the morning and Pam heads to the loft to secure the fly-pen. She finds two black feathers floating in a puddle, from her pigeons.

Chapter Seven: Stolen Birds

Chapter Eight: Pam's Plan

Chapter Nine: Into the Swamp

Chapter Ten: A Spy's Hideout

Chapter Eleven: Captured!

Chapter Twelve: A Bird in Hand

Chapter Thirteen: Homing In

A Peek Into the Past

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