A small, blue boat motors into the harbour of the French village. Thomas is only a boy, but he sails the seas like a real captain, accompanied only by his dog Petit.  

          Thomas loves visiting exciting places. Little does he know how much adventure he is getting himself into. Especially when he meets Elisa, a holidaying Australian girl, and Monsieur Padam who entertains people on the street with his guitar music and his singing. Soon this unusual foursome is on its way to solving a mysterious crime.  

          This ‘musical detective story’ is an exciting read for boys and girls of 8 years and over.  

In Store Price: $AU23.95 
Online Price:   $AU22.95

ISBN: 978-1-921406-60-7  
Format: Paperback
Number of pages: 175
Genre: Children's Fiction

For primary school age.



Author: Phia Damsma
Publisher: Zeus Publications
Date Published: 2008
Language: English


About the author   

Phia Damsma was born in The Netherlands but now lives in Queensland, Australia, together with her husband, two sons and two Jack Russell terriers.  

Following a Linguistics Degree from the University of Amsterdam, she became a business-consultant specializing in communication with children. In The Netherlands Phia published a successful series of children’s travel guides.  

She speaks seven languages and her frequent holidays in France have provided her with infinite inspiration for the enchanting stories of Monsieur Padam and his friends. 

To read more about Monsieur Padam or to send him an e-mail, please visit the website:

Chapter One


On this warm and sunny day, Paul Durant, the harbourmaster of the French marina, is enjoying a quiet afternoon. As is often the case during the long summer months, most of the boats remain for long periods of time, and there is not much for him to do. Through the glass doors of his small office, his gaze wanders over the super-yachts that lie moored to the quays. Even though he has been here for many years, he is still impressed by the sheer beauty of some of the larger cruisers. He can clearly see a shiny black one, with chrome railings running along a winding staircase, leading from the polished timber deck below, to the multiple sleeping cabins and chic lounge rooms on the upper levels. A uniformed man and woman are busy cleaning the windows. “Naturally,” Durant says to himself, “the owners can easily afford their own crew to look after them and their vessel.” 

In the distance, the old village looks down on the marina from its elevated position upon the rocks, way above the sea. The contrast with the modern, glittery, luxury floating near Durant, can hardly be more extreme. The simple but elegant houses of the village cling to the steep streets between them and seem to cuddle together, behind the fortified walls that surround them. 

Durant’s daydreaming is suddenly interrupted by the sound of an engine. He quickly walks over to the other side of his office and looks out the window, from which he gets a clear view of the marina’s entrance. The marina can only be reached from the sea and is protected by a stone wall, mirroring the walls of the village. Suddenly, a boat appears from behind the wall. It is a small, dark blue boat, and Durant watches with amazement as it slowly motors into the port.  

Durant sits down behind his desk, clearing away some papers, while waiting for the captain of the new arrival to come and see him in his office. He pours himself a glass of cold water, and takes a bite from a biscuit that his wife baked for him yesterday. The boat that arrived so unexpectedly and unannounced is unusually small and its looks are extremely ordinary. For a minute Durant contemplates making up a story that there is not a single place left in the marina. But as the captain finally shows up at his office, things take an unexpected turn. It is a young boy, dressed in a clean shirt and shorts, with a blue cap placed backwards on his head, who appears in the doorway with a broad smile on his face. A barking dog bursts inside excitedly, and runs past the boy, but before he reaches Durant, the boy commands, “Stop! Sit, Petit,” and the dog obeys. He has a white, shaggy coat and one black spot on his ear. The boy walks over to where Durant is sitting behind his desk and shakes his hand, politely introducing himself, “Good afternoon Sir. My name is Thomas, and this is my dog Petit. We are looking for a place to moor our boat.”  

The harbourmaster looks the pair over and scratches his bald head. “Are you the captain?” he asks the boy.

“Yes sir, Petit and I are sailing alone.”

Oh well, Durant thinks to himself, you live and learn. He looks at the dog, which is panting, and seems to have a special interest in the biscuit in Durant’s hand.

“I know that you charge huge fees for a berth in this marina,” Thomas says. Before the harbourmaster can protest, he adds, “Which is only natural, in view of its splendid location and the beautiful vessels it harbours. But you know Sir, my boat is so small, it doesn’t need its own berth. It will fit perfectly in the narrow spare space between two large yachts. Nobody will even know I am here. And it is only for a few days. Please, Sir, will you make an exception for me and let us stay here for free?”  

Much to his own surprise, the usually stern Durant allows himself to be convinced by this cheerful young captain. “Okay then,” he says. “You can stay for a week, as long as you behave yourself. And you too!” he says, giving the dog the remainder of the biscuit. Petit quickly swallows the unexpected treat and then licks Durant’s hand to make sure not a crumb of it is wasted. Durant wipes his now slimy hand on his trousers as he takes the boy and his greedy dog back outside. He points out to Thomas where to put his boat and then he returns to his office, shaking his head and saying to himself, “I can’t believe I just did that.” The sky is getting a pinkish glow as the sun slowly sets above the sea. “I think it is time to go home,” Durant says to himself in the mirror, as he washes his hands under the tap.  

Locking his office, the harbourmaster walks along the quays. “Mmm, turns out he was right,” he mumbles. Even knowing where Thomas’ boat should be, he has trouble spotting the small, inconspicuous boat. It is hardly visible between its impressive neighbours that are towering above it. While the sky turns from pink to violet to red, growing numbers of people stroll past him over the quays. Every evening the tourists come to the marina to admire the beauty of the expensive yachts and to wonder about the wealth of their owners. Tonight, they completely ignore the blue boat. Satisfied, Durant turns and leaves the marina, crossing the street and heading in the direction of the village. Just as he walks away, inside the cabin of this small, blue boat, a light goes up, shining through the yellow curtains.

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