Novels Pre-intermediate

The Eyes of Montezuma by Stephen Rabley

The vacation of the couple Conwall is coming to the end. They leave rainy England and go back to their homeland – Madrid. They are travelling by the ship. Aboard the ship, the couple gets acquainted with an American student. It is the first time this student has travelled alone and this is the reason she had bought a yellow Fiat. The Conwalls learn some news: the Countess of Montalban died. She was one of the richest women in Spain. Also, she was the owner of the famous earrings ‘The eyes of Montezuma’. These earrings had the two biggest diamonds in the country. The jewelry had belonged to her family for 200 years since they were brought from Mexico. Shortly before her death, the countess donated them to the museum. The Conwalls arrive and an unpleasant surprise is expecting them. The American student had disappeared and a now stranger drives her car. Somebody steals the Countess’ earrings from the museum.

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The Eyes of Montezuma by Stephen Rabley

Nick Harman stood at the back of the ship and watched England slowly disappear. ‘That was a really wonderful holiday,’ he said quietly.

His wife, Clare, smiled. ‘Two weeks of rain in Cornwall and you thought it was wonderful?!’

Nick put an arm round her and laughed. ‘Well, OK, the weather was bad, but you can’t have an English August without rain.’ He looked at his watch. ‘When do we get to Santander?’

‘Not until six o’clock this evening,’ answered Clare. ‘Then it’s another four hours in the car to Madrid. It’s going to be a long day.’

Nick looked down at the white water below them. ‘It’s also the last day of our holiday,’ he said.

Suddenly he felt Clare’s hand on his arm. ‘Look,’ she said and pointed to an old man on the other side of the ship. He was sitting in a red chair and reading a Spanish newspaper.

‘What is it?’ asked Nick.

The Eyes of Montezuma by Stephen Rabley

‘The Countess of Montalban has died,’ replied Clare. ‘It’s on the front page of that man’s newspaper. Isn’t her grandson, Jose Duero, one of your students?’

Just then the old man stood up and put the newspaper under his arm. Quickly Nick walked across to him.

‘Excuse me,’ he said in Spanish. ‘Could I borrow your newspaper for a few minutes?’

The man smiled. ‘Yes, you can keep it, young man. But are you sure you want it? It’s ten days old.’

‘Yes, I’m sure,’ said Nick. ‘Thanks.’

Five minutes later Nick and Clare were sitting in one of the ship’s lounges. There were two cups of coffee and the Spanish newspaper on the table in front of them.

‘She was ninety-four,’ said Clare.

‘Yes,’ replied Nick. ‘She was also one of the richest women in Spain. Jose told me once about a pair of her earrings. What did he call them? Oh yes – the Eyes of Montezuma – that was it.’

‘The Eyes of Montezuma,’ repeated Clare softly.

Nick looked up from the newspaper. ‘Hmm, the two biggest diamonds in Spain. They came from Mexico about two hundred years ago and have been in the family since then.’ He turned the page. ‘Well, until now,’ he continued quietly. ‘It says here “The Countess has given her famous earrings, the Eyes of Montezuma, to the Prado Museum in Madrid.” Look… there’s a photo…

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