Table of Contents
If only there was enough time to copy the code !
PRINTED ON RECYCLED PAPER
1989, 1961, 1931 by Simon & Schuster, Inc. All rights reserved.
Published by Grosset & Dunlap, Inc., a member of The Putnam &
Grosset Group, New York. Published simultaneously in Canada. .S.A.
NANCY DREW MYSTERY STORIES® is a registered trademark of Simon & Schuster, Inc.
GROSSET & DUNLAP is a trademark of Grosset & Dunlap, Inc.
eISBN : 978-1-440-67369-6
A Strange Fragrance
“THAT Oriental-looking clerk in the perfume shop certainly acted mysterious,” Bess Marvin declared, as she and her two friends ended their shopping trip and hurried down the street to the railroad station.
“Yes,” Nancy Drew answered thoughtfully. “I wonder why she didn’t want you to buy that bottle of Blue Jade?”
“The price would have discouraged me,” spoke up Bess’s cousin, dark-haired George Fayne. Her boyish name fitted her slim build and straightforward, breezy manner. “Twenty dollars an ounce!”
Blond, pretty Bess, who had a love for feminine luxuries, laughed. “I
extravagant, but I just couldn’t resist such yummy perfume. After all, Dad gave me money to buy something frivolous, so I did!”
Nancy by this time was some distance ahead. “Hurry, girls, or we’ll miss the next train to River Heights!” In her active life the attractive, titian-haired young sleuth had learned that being on time was important.
The three eighteen-year-old girls continued their frantic pace until the railroad station finally came into view.
Once at the station, they set down their packages to rest their arms. “Whew!” Bess sighed, looking at her watch. “I didn’t think we’d make it, but we have two minutes to spare. And this would be one of July’s hottest days!”
Nancy was pensive, still contemplating their encounter with the mysterious woman in the Oriental perfume shop. She had realized the Blue Jade was much too expensive, and the unwillingness of the young woman to part with it had stimulated her interest. Instinct had told Nancy that there must be some special reason why the saleswoman had been so reluctant to sell the Blue Jade.
Then another idea struck her. “You know,” she said aloud, “it’s possible that saleswoman deliberately raised the price of the perfume.”
George frowned. “But why? You’d think she’d be thrilled to make such a good sale.”
“Yes,” Nancy agreed. “That’s what perplexes me. There’s something very strange about it and I’d certainly like to know what it is!”
“Oh, Nancy,” teased George, “there you go again, dreaming up another mystery!”
Nancy’s blue eyes sparkled as she thought of the prospect. The young sleuth had already solved several mysteries, some of them for her father, Carson Drew, a famous criminal lawyer. Among the cases on which Nancy had worked were
The Secret in the Old Clock and The Secret of Shadow Ranch.
The girls heard the train approaching the station. As it came to a halt they quickly gathered up their packages and hurried aboard.
“What a day!” Bess exclaimed as she pushed on through the cars. The train was crowded, and the girls walked through several cars before they found any vacant seats.
George and Bess began discussing their many purchases. Bess gloated in particular over the bottle of exotic perfume. Even though the package was wrapped, it gave off a slight fragrance which was very pleasant.
George took a quick inventory of their purchases, then laughed. “Bess, it’s a good thing we got you to leave that last department store or you wouldn’t have had enough money left to buy your ticket home,” she stated bluntly. “You should practice self-control, the way I do.”
“Self-control!” Bess retorted. “I suppose you call a new hat, two dresses, three pairs of stockings, and a handbag self-control!”
George mustered a smile and decided to drop the subject.
Nancy leaned her head back against the cushion, and as she relaxed, studied the faces of the nearby passengers. She thought that the thin, sweet-looking girl who occupied the seat just opposite looked very tired, worried, and even ill. Nancy judged the girl to be her own age.
“Why are you so quiet, Nancy?” Bess demanded suddenly.
“Just resting,” Nancy returned.
She did not tell her friends that she had become interested in the nearby passenger, for George and Bess often teased her about her habit of scrutinizing strange faces. However, it was Nancy’s lively interest in people that was largely responsible for involving her in unusual adventures, and she was always on the alert for a new mystery.
Bess eyed her perfume package longingly and finally ripped off the paper. “I can’t stand it any longer.” She sighed. “I must try some of this delicious-smelling stuff!” She opened the bottle and dabbed a couple of drops behind each ear. Then she offered it to George. “Try some. It’s really lovely—makes me think I’m in the mystic Orient.”
George could not keep from making a face. “No
you!” she replied firmly. “It’s not my type!”
Nancy and Bess laughed. Then Bess offered some to Nancy, who accepted willingly. Bess again took out the stopper and was leaning over to put some perfume on Nancy when the train lurched and jogged her arm.
“Oh!” Bess cried in horror. The perfume sprayed over Nancy, as the bottle fell to the floor.
“Such a waste of money!” George muttered as she picked up the half-empty container.
“What a shame!” Nancy exclaimed. “It’s your perfume, Bess, and now I have a lot of it on me.”
Bess groaned. “I should’ve waited till I was home to open the bottle. I’m lucky there’s some left!” Carefully she placed the small vial in her handbag.
By now the concentrated odor of Blue Jade had permeated the car, and passengers in nearby seats flung open the windows.
“I’m glad we’re getting off at the next stop.” Nancy giggled. “Everyone is laughing at us.”
Nancy had become so engrossed with the spilled perfume that she had forgotten about the pale young woman who occupied the opposite seat. Now, as Nancy turned her head, she was startled to see that the girl had slumped down in a dejected heap.
“She’s fainted!” Nancy exclaimed, moving quickly across the aisle.
She shook the girl gently, but there was no response from the frail figure.
“Bess! Ask if there is a doctor in the car!” Nancy cried urgently.
By this time other passengers in the car were aware that something had happened, and were crowding about, asking unnecessary questions and getting in the way. Nancy politely asked them to move back.
There did not appear to be a doctor in the coach, but as Nancy rubbed the girl’s wrists, she was relieved to see that she was showing signs of recovering consciousness.