Ralph is a short-order cook at a diner at the dock. He loves to sing, play the accordion and listen to opera music. One evening, a large ship drops anchor outside the diner. Two thuggish rats slink in and demand food.
Once there, he observes a rat called Big Al ordering that a large sack be heaved out of a car trunk. Unfortunately, Ralph is caught snooping and is thrown into the cargo hold. The large sack, also placed in the hold, begins to move - out pops his favorite opera star, Eduardo Bombasto. He explains that he was kidnapped by Big Al for ransom. When Ralph and Eduardo attempt to escape, they are spotted. The two dart up to the ship's crows nest. There they think of way to alert the authorities. Ralph sends up distress flares. Eduardo Bombasto sings for help in his loud operatic voice. Moments later they are relieved to hear the sound of police sirens.
If you need a good short book with action and suspense to read to an older child, Mystery On the Docks is for you. Thacher Hurd is also the author of the wonderful Art Dog.