What is a summary of the story Down the Rabbit Hole by Peter Abrahams?

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Tamara K. H. eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Peter Abraham's young reader's mystery thriller titled Down the Rabbit Hole opens with a very self-conscious, awkward thirteen-year-old Ingrid Levin-Hill having to visit the orthodontist. After her routine checkup and adjustment, she finds that her parents are late picking her up. At 4:10pm, she begins worrying about missing soccer practice since she is a star player on the A team. By 4:18, knowing she will have to miss a game if she misses practice, which is her coach's rule, she makes the fateful decision to run from her orthodontist's office to the soccer field. She thinks she knows the way, but winds up getting lost in a rough neighborhood full of "shabby gingerbread houses" (p. 11).

In this rough neighborhood, she has her fateful encounter with a woman in the neighborhood whom people call "Cracked-Up Katie." Cracked-Up Katie notices Ingrid looks lost and invites Ingrid inside her home, offering to call a cab for her. While waiting in Kate's parlor for the cab to arrive, Ingrid pulls her bright-red Puma cleats out of her backpack to show Kate as proof that she plays soccer. During their conversation Ingrid notices that Kate grows very pale and disappears upstairs just as the cab arrives outside and honks. Ingrid arrives at the soccer field to find that practice had been canceled due to rain and that her mother has been looking for her.

The next morning, Ingrid looks at the local paper to see a front-page headline reading that a local woman had been murdered: "ASSAILANT UNKNOWN" (p. 34). Below the headline is a photo of Cracked-Up Katie. Soon Ingrid realizes her beloved red Puma cleats are missing and that she must have left them at Kate's. Ingrid sees right away that the cleats place her at the scene of the crime; worse yet, Ingrid was probably the last person to see Kate alive.

Later, Ingrid returns to Kate's house, all blocked off with police tape, to retrieve her red Pumas. While there, Ingrid hears someone break a windowpane and come up the stairs, forcing her to hide under Ingrid's bed. From under the bed, she could tell the intruder was a man and that he wore Adidas sneakers "spattered with dark-green paint" (p. 92). She observes him retrieve from under the bed a playbill of Dial M for Murder, a show Kate once performed, and leave. Following clues, Ingrid is able to figure out who murdered Kate and convince the police.

A subplot concerns her and her grandfather pulling a stunt to prevent his property from being sold to the company Ingrid's father works for; the company wants the property for a new condo development. Other subplots concern Ingrid's involvement in soccer and her role as Alice in the play Alice and Wonderland, put on by the Prescott Players of the Prescott Hall, a theater owned by a man Kate was once engaged to.

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