Captive witness, p.1
Captive Witness, p.1Carolyn Keene
Table of Contents
Chapter 1 - Airport Trouble
Chapter 2 - The Shaking Bus
Chapter 3 - The Mozart Lecture
Chapter 4 - Mysterious Interference
Chapter 5 - An Unpleasant Invitation
Chapter 6 - Kidnapped!
Chapter 7 - Hazardous Ride
Chapter 8 - Danger in the Alps
Chapter 9 - The Alpine Prison
Chapter 10 - Amphibian on Wheels
Chapter 11 - Wild-Goose Chase
Chapter 12 - Captive Witness
Chapter 13 - The Stricken Messenger
Chapter 14 - The Terrible Truth
Chapter 15 - Perilous Plan
Chapter 16 - The Shoppers’ Ploy
Chapter 17 - Freedom Props
Chapter 18 - A Hero Arrives
Chapter 19 - Across the Frontier
Chapter 20 - Herr Gutterman Unmasked
WHEN trouble begins to plague a student tour through Europe, Nancy and her friends discover that their leader, Emerson College professor Raymond Bagley, is on a secret mission—to transfer ten refugee children from an iron curtain country to freedom!
Before the mission is completed, Nancy receives an urgent message from her father concerning a missing entry in a foreign film festival. A series of adventures reveals that the theft was the crafty ploy of an enemy government to foil Dr. Bagley’s plan.
Undaunted and equally clever, Nancy pursues an intriguing clue found in an Emerson student’s wheelchair and finds herself in great danger!
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Copyright © 1981 by Simon & Schuster, Inc. All rights reserved. Published in 2005 by Grosset & Dunlap, a division of Penguin Young Readers Group, 345 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014. NANCY DREW MYSTERY STORIES® is a registered trademark of Simon & Schuster, Inc. GROSSET & DUNLAP is a trademark of Penguin Group (USA) Inc. S.A.
eISBN : 978-1-101-07765-8
Nancy Drew brushed a strand of titian hair out of her eyes and patted it back into place as she stood in the Munich, Germany, airline terminal reading a cablegram.
C/O EMERSON COLLEGE AUSTRIAN TOUR
PAN AMERICAN AIRWAYS
HAVE INTERESTING AND URGENT CASE RE FILM
STOLEN FROM VIENNA FESTIVAL OFFICE. CALL
As he had so often, Carson Drew was calling on the detective skills of his eighteen-year-old daughter on behalf of one of his legal clients. This time, by coincidence, the mystery involved the final destination of Nancy’s tour group, the city of Vienna.
The trip was being sponsored by Emerson College which her special friend, Ned Nickerson, attended along with two other freshmen who frequently dated Nancy’s closest companions, Bess Marvin and George Fayne. As soon as the girls heard about the Austrian tour, they arranged to join it.
“I hope you’re holding good news,” Ned said, as he joined Nancy on the edge of a crowd of happy students milling around Professor Raymond Bagley, the college tour leader.
Ned was Nancy’s most ardent admirer and she couldn’t resist teasing in reply. “Well, I don’t know if you’ll think it’s good news or not, but Dad’s just assigned me to another case and I may have to leave the tour for a few days.”
Ned groaned. “Not another mystery?” Then he brightened. “On the other hand, maybe I can go with you on this one?”
Before Nancy could answer, Dr. Bagley’s voice was heard. “All right. Everybody here? Anybody missing, speak up.” The professor with his shock of unruly brown hair and his oversize, brown-rimmed glasses gave the appearance of a happy owl.
He had no trouble seeing everyone in his group since he was almost six feet, six inches tall, though slightly stooped from more than twenty years spent leaning down trying to hear what was going on in his classroom.
Nancy waved to get Professor Bagley’s attention. “Two of them are missing, sir, as usual,” she called, her blue eyes twinkling.
“Oh, no, not again!” moaned her girlfriend, slim, attractive George Fayne. She clutched her short, dark hair in mock despair. “Wait. Don’t tell me,” she said. “Let me guess. I see it all in my crystal ball. There’s this couple. It’s—” She covered her eyes with one hand and waved the fingers of the other hand in pretended excitement. “It’s Bess Marvin! And Dave Evans! They are entering a snack bar. They have disappeared into a snack bar. They won’t come out!”
“Correct.” The girl detective laughed. “Your pretty cousin with the weakness for food, and her constant companion with a weakness for Bess.”
“All right,” called the professor, “let’s all grab our bags and those of our two missing friends and we’ll find the bus. It should be in this area over here.”
But before Dr. Bagley could move, he was confronted by a big, hard-faced man in a porter’s uniform. He bowed, clicked his heels, and picked up the tour leader’s suitcases and his small musette bag which still bore the government initials, very faintly—U. S.
“Permit me, sir,” the porter said with a slight accent. “Permit me, Herr Professor Bagley.”
The professor adjusted his glasses and stared.
Ned Nickerson smiled. “Well, Professor Bagley,” he said, “we all knew you had an outstanding international reputation as an art and music expert but here’s the proof. Everybody knows you.”
But the usually affable teacher didn’t smile. Instead, he took a step toward the porter and extended his long arms. “See here,” he said sharply. “Give me that luggage. I thank you for your courtesy but I’ll carry my own bags, if you don’t mind.”
The porter attempted to smile reassuringly but his hard features couldn’t make the effort. Instead, he took a few steps back, bowed, and clicked his heels again. “Nein, nein,” he protested. “I’ll take care of everything.” He walked away very rapidly toward the door leading to the taxis.
“Come back here,” called the professor.
“Ja, I will meet you on the other side,” the porter shouted over his shoulder as he threw the bags on a hand truck and began pushing it away at a fast trot.
Professor Bagley waved his arms. “What does he mean, ‘the other side’? The tour bus area is in the opposite direction. What is he doing?”
“I think, sir,” said Nancy, moving quickly to Professor Bagley’s side, “that he’s stealing your bags.”
“Oh, no,” Ned declared. “He just thinks he’s stealing them. Burt!” He motioned to the short, but powerfully built, Burt Eddleton who was George’s beau. Both boys were on the Emerson College football team and their quick reactions showed why. They zigzagged their way through the crowd, streaking after the rapidly disappearing porter.
Both Nancy and George were close on the boys’ heels—too close for George because as Ned and Burt left the ground and attempted to hurdle a pile of suitcases, they became entangled and went flying over the luggage with George sailing right over the top of them.
Nancy, narrowly averting the pileup, saw the porter dash out the doors toward the lines of taxis, buses, and private cars. As luck would have it, he collided with another hand truck which delayed him long enough for Nancy to veer off and go through a set of doors that brought her out on the si
As the man ran toward her, pushing the truck, he suddenly looked stunned and angry to find Nancy blocking his path.
“Get out of the way, girl, or I’ll hurt you!” he snarled.
Nancy did not budge, though. “Just drop those suitcases,” she said evenly. “Drop them on the ground and I’ll let you go.”
The man, who was well over six feet tall, heavyset with large, muscular arms, couldn’t believe his ears. “You?” he sputtered. “You will let me go? You insignificant little creature. You stupid girl. I will crush you like a bug!”
Without further warning, he charged at the girl detective, the angle of his attack leaving her little choice but to outrun him or jump into the speeding traffic.
Instinctively, Nancy made her move. She leaped high, grabbed a projecting pipe, swung her feet up and over the oncoming car and dropped them solidly on the man’s right shoulder.
The impact broke her hold and she was thrown to the ground but managed to scramble quickly to her feet. Her opponent wasn’t as lucky or skilled, much less prepared for an eighteen-year-old girl capable of such acrobatic feats of strength. As a result, when Nancy’s feet hit his shoulder he tripped off balance. The force of the impact spun him around. He lost his hold on the cart and went crashing into the wall.
Nancy quickly grabbed the professor’s bags, threw them behind her and assumed a defensive judo position. The porter, bleeding from a cut on the head, struggled to his feet and was about to attack when he heard the cries of Nancy’s friends in hot pursuit.
Realizing he could not win, he pointed a thick finger at the girl detective. “You get in our way again, Nancy Drew, and I promise you, I will get you. I will take care of you, myself!”
Suddenly, the man was gone. He had vaulted a railing and leaped into a black sedan which moved off so quickly that Nancy had no time to check the license plate.
Ned ran up, limping from his fall, and took her by the shoulders. “Are you all right, Nancy?”
She looked up at him, smiling, but still panting from her struggle with the “porter.” She nodded, “Oh, sure, Ned. I’m okay. But he escaped.” Her voice was filled with disappointment.
“It’s just as well,” George gasped. “He looked as if it would take an army to capture him. Good riddance.”
Ned and Burt took the suitcases and they all walked back toward the waiting room. Professor Bagley, who could not move too fast because of a leg wound received during his army service, came up to them, casual and smiling.
“I can’t thank you enough,” he said, when told of Nancy’s successful confrontation with the would-be thief. “You’re a wonder, Nancy. Do you think he had time to open the bags and take anything?”
“Impossible,” she said. “I had my eyes on him every inch of the way and, as you can see, the straps are all in place.”
But Nancy’s detective instincts were beginning to stir as she watched Professor Bagley’s almost too casual attitude toward the threatened theft. “What in the world did that man think you were carrying in your luggage?” Nancy asked.
The professor simply laughed. “Beats me. Maybe he wears size fourteen double A, too. I heard there were one or two other people in the world with feet that size.”
For the first time since she had known Professor Bagley, the girl detective realized he was skirting the truth. He wasn’t lying. He just wasn’t saying much. There is something special in his luggage, she decided—something he doesn’t want anyone to know about. Yet how could he be so calm when it was almost stolen?
Once aboard the tour bus, however, the attempted theft was pushed into the back of Nancy’s mind. She stopped at the wheelchair which occupied a special area in the front of the bus and spoke with the occupant, a handsome young man named Eric Nagy. Eric was an Emerson student who, though in his early twenties, had just entered college. Months before the tour, he had been involved in an auto accident which left him paralyzed from the waist down. He was blond, with a wide jaw, prominent cheekbones, and soft hazel eyes which Bess called “hauntingly poetic. ” Eric’s parents had come from Hungary but he had been born in River Heights.
“Hi, everybody! Did you miss us?” Bess grinned. A chorus of shouts, groans, and whistles greeted the arrival of the pretty, blond girl and her friend, Dave Evans.
Nancy quickly motioned for Bess to sit beside her. “You missed all the excitement,” Nancy told her as the bus started off. She recounted the attempted theft of the professor’s bags.
“Wow!” Bess exclaimed, “and the guy really said he was going to get you?”
“Oh,” Nancy scoffed, “I’m not worried about myself. ”
“But what about Professor Bagley?” Bess answered. “He may be famous, but he’s not rich. Why would a thief single him out?”
“I don’t know,” Nancy said. “I do have this gnawing feeling, though, that the professor is in danger.”
“Oh, I hope not.” Bess sighed. “I mean, what’s going to happen to our beautiful, peaceful trip? After all the plans we’ve made and—”
“Shhh,” Nancy said. “Did you hear that?”
They both listened. A strange thumping and bumping noise seemed to be coming from the bottom of the bus. It continued for five minutes. Finally, Bess said, “I’m going to tell the driver.” Marching up to the front of the bus, she reported the noise, listened to his explanation, and returned to her seat.
“He said it was nothing,” Bess informed her friend.
“Nothing? It sounded as if the bus were ready to fall apart.”
“Well, I don’t hear it now,” Bess said. Suddenly, however, the noise erupted again. “This is ridiculous,” she remarked. “Nancy, why don’t you talk to the driver this time since I couldn’t get anywhere?”
Nancy got up and confronted the man. His manner was short, rude, and irritated.
“It is nothing but a loose tool bouncing around in the luggage compartment. If the Frauleins ever expect to get to Salzburg, they must stop annoying me with such stupid questions.”
Nancy returned and looked at Bess. “There is no noise. Or, if there is, it is just a loose tool bouncing around in the luggage. Also, the Frauleins have to stop annoying the bus driver, he says.”
“What a grouch,” Bess said. “Never mind. Look, we’re pulling off the road for a rest stop.”
When the bus rolled to a halt, everyone, except Nancy, exited toward the restaurant. She had felt her left shoelace snap and by the time she had fixed it, found herself alone. “I knew I should have worn loafers,” she grumbled, leaving the bus to join the others. Then she stopped.
Thinking no one was watching, the driver had raised the hood of the engine and was disconnecting a large part. He looked around furtively, then threw the part behind some nearby bushes, closed the hood, and headed for the restaurant.
Nancy felt her heartbeat step up. Their own driver was sabotaging the tour bus! Why?
The Shaking Bus
The driver, who was a wiry, sallow-faced man with pitted skin and dark eyes, wore a black cap to cover his almost totally bald head.
“Attention,” he called in a rasping, somewhat high voice, as he came through the restaurant door. “Attention. I’m afraid there will be a little delay. The bus has broken down. They will have to send a new part out from Munich.”
“How long will that take?” Professor Bagley asked.
“Not long,” the driver said. “You can find accommodations at the hotel next door for the night. The part should be here by noon tomorrow.”
“Tomorrow!” the professor cried. “Oh, see here, that will throw our schedule off completely. What’s wrong with the bus? Several of our students are excellent mechanics. Why not let them take a look?”
“No!” the driver shouted, his face suddenly burning with anger. “They cannot fix it. I myself am an expert mechanic. I know what I’m talking about. These are mere boys. They know nothing.”
“Do you suppose this w
The bus driver whirled to see Nancy standing in the doorway holding an automobile part at eye level. The driver turned pale.
“I don’t need a woman’s help,” he blustered. “The part will be here in the morning.”
“What is it exactly?” Professor Bagley said, adjusting his spectacles and peering hard at the object in Nancy’s hand.
“It’s a distributor cap, sir,” Nancy told him. “If you remove it from an engine, there’s no way for the electricity to flow to the spark plugs. I just saw our driver take this distributor cap off the engine and throw it into the bushes.”
“In that case, we’d better call the police,” Professor Bagley said coldly, advancing toward the culprit. The driver, cornered, took a step toward the door, but Ned, Dave, and Burt were already blocking it. Before anyone could stop him, the man turned and dived through a window!
He hit the ground, rolled, and came up running.
“After him! Get him!” the professor cried as the students burst out the door to chase the man. Ned had almost caught up and was ready to make a flying tackle when he heard warning shouts and screams behind him. He turned just in time to see an ominous black sedan bearing down on him in almost complete silence.
The young collegian had stopped for only a fraction of a second, but the danger of his situation made everything suddenly appear to move in slow motion. He felt his leg muscles contract and expand as his body leaned and he threw his arms up and out in a spread-eagle dive, feeling the wind rush beneath him. The car barely missed him, and Ned crashed into a ditch where he rolled over twice before coming to a sitting position.
He was just in time to see the car slow down, the door on the passenger side swing open, and the bus driver leap in. The door closed silently and the phantom car disappeared swiftly over the horizon of a hill.
“Boy, oh, boy!” Dave yelled as he led the charge of young people forward to see if their friend was all right. “I thought he was going to hit you for sure, Ned.”
Captive Witness by Carolyn Keene / Mystery & Detective / Young Adult have rating 4 out of 5 / Based on32 votes