“I don’t think so,” Nancy replied. “But the only way to find out for sure will be to go back and look again.”
“Maybe we shouldn’t use the Pirate,” Danny said. “Our enemies are familiar with it. Whenever they see us they’ll come after us.”
“What do you have in mind?” his father asked.
“Perhaps we could ask our friends the Piarullis if we can use their cabin cruiser.” He turned to the girls. “They dock right next to us, and if they’re not using the Sampson, I’m sure they’ll let us have it. It’s enclosed, too, which would help. Those men couldn’t identify us.”
“That’s a good idea,” Mr. Cosgrove agreed. “I’ll call them and ask.”
He went to the telephone and returned a few minutes later. “Mr. Piarulli said you can have his boat tomorrow. Unfortunately, their son and his wife are taking it up north the following day.”
Danny grinned. “One day is better than none!”
“True,” George agreed. “But what do we do after that?”
“Play it by ear,” Danny said with a grin. “We’ll take things as they come. Let’s leave early in the morning. The tide should be just right.”
“Do you think it’s necessary for all of us to go?” Bess asked. “Mrs. Cosgrove promised to show me how to make Lemon Nut Cake. I don’t want to pass up the opportunity to enlarge my knowledge of recipes.”
“If you’d rather cook than be a detective, you’re welcome to stay home,” George said.
Bess could not stand her cousin’s condescending tone. “On second thought, I’ll postpone my culinary education,” she decided.
Bess was relieved, however, when the plans changed abruptly later that evening. The Cosgroves and their guests were seated in the living room, discussing the mystery. The visitors were trying to figure out the connection between the men on Crocodile Island and the two from Connecticut when the telephone rang.
Mr. Cosgrove answered, then said, “Nancy, there’s a long-distance call for you!”
The caller was Mr. Drew.
“I’ve had a long conversation with Roger Gonzales,” he told Nancy. “He’s eager to see you and has asked that you meet him at twelve o’clock tomorrow at his golf club. Mr. Cosgrove will give you directions. You’re to tell the man at the desk that you’re Miss Boonton.”
Nancy did not reply immediately.
“Is something wrong?” her father asked.
“I don’t know. Dad, have you any idea where Mr. Gonzales called from?”
“No. His house, I suppose. Why?”
“Because I think his phone is being tapped.”
“Why do you say that?”
“His enemies knew all about our arrival,” Nancy said, and told her father about the kidnapping attempt.
“I don’t like this!” he exclaimed. “The case is more dangerous than I expected.”
“One thing is sure,” Nancy said. “Our masquerade is known. When we visited Crocodile Island, someone took our pictures,”
“Great!” her father murmured, “Perhaps you should come home.”
“Oh, no!” Nancy cried out. “Please, Dad, we’ll manage. We have Danny to help us, and even though the crooks know who we are and why we’re here, we’ll figure out something to outsmart them. Besides, I have to keep my date with Mr. Gonzales tomorrow, so I can warn him.”
“True,” her father agreed, “If the Crocodile Ecology people overheard my conversation with Roger today, they’ll probably try to follow you and prevent you from reaching the club. Keep that in mind.”
“I will,” Nancy promised. “Don’t worry. I’ll think of something.”
“All right. And good luck!”
When Nancy told the others about the new developments, they agreed that she should meet Mr. Gonzales the following day.
“I suggest,” Mrs. Cosgrove said, “that when you leave here you go shopping. Then take a cab to the club from a store. This way you won’t be followed,”
“That’s a good idea,” Nancy agreed. The next day Mr. Cosgrove drove her to a department store, where she made a few purchases, then went out a side door and took a taxi. When Nancy arrived at the club, she went to the desk and asked for Mr. Gonzales. “I’m Miss Boonton,” she added.
The clerk looked at her searchingly. “There must be some mistake,” he said slowly. “Miss Boonton is already here.”