Nancy Drew #55. Mystery of Crocodile Island. Carolyn Keene

Nancy Drew #55. Mystery of Crocodile Island. Carolyn Keene

Nancy Drew #55. Mystery of Crocodile Island. Carolyn Keene


A Risky Adventure

Nancy Drew and her friend Bess Marvin were seated in the Drew living room, eagerly awaiting the arrival of Nancy’s father.

“I wish your dad would hurry and get here,” Bess said impatiently. “Nancy, have you any idea what the trip he wants us to take h all about?”

The attractive eighteen-year-old strawberry blond shook her head. “I know the place, but not the mystery we’re to solve.”

“Where is the place?” Bess asked.

“Florida. Dad didn’t tell me what part, though.”

Bess giggled. “Any part will be all right with me, as long as there’s warm weather and swimming.”

Nancy smiled. “Probably all of us will be glad to swim. At this time of year it can get pretty hot down there.”

A ring at the front door interrupted her. Nancy hurried to answer it. The visitor was Bess’s cousin George Fayne. George was a vivacious dark-haired girl with a winning smile and a great appetite for adventure. She and Bess had helped Nancy with many mysteries.

“Hi, George!” Nancy greeted her Mend. “Come in.”

When the two walked into the living room, Bess pointed to a shoe box George carried. “What’s in there?” she inquired.

George’s eyes twinkled. She took off the lid, which had several small holes punched in it. “You can see,” she said, “but don’t touch.”

In the box lay a twelve inch baby crocodile. Since it did not move, the girls assumed it was asleep. George held up the box and tapped the underside. At once the crocodile began to wiggle! It opened its jaws wide and swished its tail.

Bess screamed. “Put the lid on and get that thing out of here!” she demanded.

George laughed. “It’s not real! Nancy, your dad asked me to stop at the River Heights Trick Shop and buy a rubber crocodile. He didn’t explain why.”

She replaced the lid and set the box on the table. “The clerk in the store said if you tickle the trick crocodile, it will wiggle. It’s meant to scare people, but it can’t possibly hurt you.”

Bess looked doubtful, and George went on, “If this reptile were real, the government would take it and fine me twenty thousand dollars.”

“What!” Bess cried out. “That’s incredible.”

“Or I could spend five years in jail for possessing it without government permission.”

“But why?” Bess asked.

“Because crocodiles are a vanishing species,” Nancy put in. “There used to be plenty of them in this country, but now there are only a few left in Florida.”

Bess’s eyes opened wide. “Do you think your father is going to send us to the part where there are crocodiles?”

Nancy was looking out the window. “We’ll soon know,” she replied. “He’s driving in now.”

Carson Drew, a leading attorney in River Heights, parked his car in the garage, then came into the house by way of the kitchen. When he reached the living room, he kissed Nancy and greeted the other two girls.

“Don’t keep us in suspense any longer,” Nancy pleaded. “Are we going to crocodile land?”

Her tall, handsome father sat down on the couch. “In a way, yes. This is the story. An old college friend of mine named Roger Gonzales lives in Key Biscayne outside of Miami. Biscayne Bay is full of small islands, which are called keys. Most of them are inhabited, but some of the smaller ones are like jungles and nobody lives on them. Some twenty miles from Key Biscayne there’s a key that has been nicknamed Crocodile Island. A group of men operate a crocodile farm on it. They breed these reptiles to sell to zoos or other places where sightseers can view them.”

As Mr. Drew paused, Bess spoke, with fright in her voice. “And you’re going to ask us to go to this alligator farm?”

Mr. Drew smiled. “Crocodile farm, Bess. There’s a difference.”

“There is?”

“Yes. The American alligator has a much broader snout than the crocodile, and is less vicious and active. The two reptiles are about equal in size and can grow up to twelve feet in length, but the croc weighs about a third less than the ‘gator.”

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Categories: Keene, Carolyn