Table of Contents
THE SECRET OF THE WOODEN LADY
ADVENTURE abounds on the
in Boston Harbor as Nancy Drew helps Captain Easterly uncover the mystery of his ghostly visitors. From the moment the clever young detective and her friends, Bess Marvin and George Fayne, take up residence on the old clipper ship they are confronted with fire, theft, and other dangerous situations.
Nancy faces an additional challenge: to find a clue to the clipper’s missing figurehead. If she is successful, it will help her lawyer father to trace the history of the
Scot and establish a clear title to the ship for Captain Easterly. But strangely there are no records of the
past. Why? And why has the prime suspect in the recent robbery at Bess Marvin’s home followed the three girls to Boston?
Join Nancy and her friends in their thrilling adventures and discover for yourself the romantic secret of the old sailing ship.
“Here it is!” Nancy cried out.
“Dream of Melissa—
all spelled out.”
1995,1967,1950, by Simon & Schuster, lnc. 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 : 978-1-101-07728-3
A Call for Help
“PLEASE call your father, Nancy,” Hannah Gruen, the Drews’ housekeeper, said. “Fried chicken is better when it’s hot.”
Nancy, her titian hair still damp from a swim, skipped lightly up the carpeted stairway and tiptoed into her father’s den. She slid quietly onto an arm of his big green club chair and patted the top of the lawyer’s head.
“Supper, Dad! Goodness, what’s in that letter to make you frown so?”
Carson Drew laid the handwritten letter down on his desk and smiled up at his vivacious, eighteen-year-old daughter.
“Clipper ships and sea ghosts!” he replied. “I hope the man’s not imagining things!”
“My old friend Captain Easterly—that interesting fellow we met in Boston last year. Remember?”
“Does he still live on that clipper ship in the harbor?”
“Yes. But he doesn’t like the mysterious person who prowls around the old craft.”
Nancy’s keen blue eyes shot an inquisitive glance at her father. “Come on, Dad,” she said impatiently, “let me in on the secret!”
Tall, handsome Carson Drew stood up, thrust his hands into his pockets, and paced the floor.
“It’s a peculiar thing,” he said.
Mr. Drew explained that Captain Easterly, who had rented his ship-home for a couple of years, had recently decided to buy it. At once things had begun to happen on shipboard. A mysterious prowler had made several visits and done a lot of searching, but apparently had never taken anything.
“Does Captain Easterly have any idea what the person was looking for?” Nancy asked.
“Not the faintest idea,” the lawyer replied. “Some of the dockmen think the ship is haunted.”
“Does Captain Easterly want us to solve the mystery?” Nancy asked eagerly.
The lawyer stopped pacing and looked at her, a twinkle in his eyes. “Easterly has asked me to come to Boston. He writes that the owner of the ship agreed to sell it, but when it came time to draw up a contract, his lawyer discovered that he doesn’t have clear title to the property. Easterly had someone in Boston make a search, but no record of the previous owners could be found. The captain wants me to make a search immediately because he is eager to complete the purchase before the owner goes West.”
“I see,” Nancy said. “Is that all?”
“That’s all for me,” Mr. Drew replied. “But—how would you like to go to Boston with me and work on the mystery?”
At that moment Hannah Gruen appeared in the study doorway. “Supper is getting cold!” she announced.
“Hannah, Dad and I have a new mystery to solve!” Nancy exclaimed.
“Mystery or no mystery, this family must eat,” Hannah said firmly. “Come along.”
Mr. Drew winked at his daughter and they followed the housekeeper downstairs to the dining room. Mrs. Gruen had taken care of Nancy and the Drew household since the death of Mrs. Drew many years before, and father and daughter were very fond of her.
“How soon will we be going to Boston, Dad?” Nancy asked when they were seated.
“Let you know in the morning. I have an appointment at my office at eight tonight. Want to drive me downtown? I’ll walk back.”
“Love to,” Nancy said.
“And you can drop me off at my club meeting,” Mrs. Gruen added.
Two hours later, driving home alone in her convertible, Nancy thought over the conversation she had had with her father. An old clipper ship with unknown former owners, and a mysterious prowler ...
This was not the first time Nancy had been called upon to rescue someone in trouble. Ever since people had learned that Nancy possessed unusual ability to solve mysteries, the young detective had been called upon to track down scoundrels of various types. Only recently she solved the strange case of
The Clue of the Leaning Chimney.
Captain Easterly’s present predicament seemed like the beginning of another case for Nancy.
As Nancy turned into her driveway, she heard the telephone ringing in the house. She parked the car and hurried into the hall to answer it.
“Nancy?” It was Bess Marvin, one of her best friends. The girl’s soft voice was a bit quavery. “I’m all alone—Dad’s at the council meeting and Mother’s gone to visit Aunt Celia.”
“Not afraid, are you?” Nancy teased. “I’m glad you called. I have some wonderful news.”
Nancy excitedly related the story of Captain Easterly’s clipper ship and how a mysterious person was looking for something aboard, maybe a hidden treasure.
“Dad’s going to take me to Boston with him!” Nancy concluded.
“You’ll probably have some exciting adventures, Nancy,” Bess said. “But do be careful.”
Nancy was about to put down the telephone when Bess cried out, “Nancy, wait!”
“What’s the matter?”
“I hear someone upstairs.” Bess’s voice was a frightened whisper. “There is someone! Oh, Nancy!”
As Bess screamed, there was a clatter at the other end of the line as if she had dropped the telephone.
“Hello!” Nancy cried. “Hello! Bess!”
There was no answer. Nancy tried to call the police. The lines were busy! She put down the telephone, then ran out of the house and hopped into her car.
The Marvin home was only a few blocks away. Three minutes later Nancy parked at the curb and hurried toward the house. All the windows were dark. That was odd, she thought.
The great elm tree by the porch and the overgrown shrubs cast deep shadows on the lawn. Nancy thought she saw something move among the rhododendrons next to the porch steps, but she told herself it was just her imagination; the breeze was moving the leaves.
She was halfway up the walk when suddenly an arm gripped her shoulder. Someone whirled her around and forced her toward the convertible.
The arm was tight against Nancy’s throat; a man’s arm in a rough coat sleeve, cutting off her breathing. His fingers pressed into her left shoulder. She caught sight of the short square hand, the broken nails, and on the little finger a ring which glimmered in the light from a street lamp.
She strained every muscle and tried to jerk free. The man brought his other hand up to the back of her neck. His thumb pressed unbearably. Nancy ceased to struggle.
When she opened her eyes, she was half lying, half sitting in the front seat of her car. There was no sound except the drone of locusts. Slowly Nancy regained full consciousness. The Marvin house was still dark. Where was Bess? Nancy realized she must get help. She must get out of the car.
With effort Nancy pulled herself upright, but her hands and legs seemed to be paralyzed. Somehow she must give an alarm!
She tried to scream, but her voice was weak and small. The horn! She leaned on it with her full weight and kept leaning. Someone surely would hear it.
Presently the front door of the house next to the Marvins’ flew open, and a man’s voice bellowed, “Shut off that horn!”
Nancy kept on blowing.