After she finished packing, Nancy learned from Hannah that her father had come home. She went into his room, where he was reading.
“Dad,” she said, “Mr. Reareck told us that he got his pet from Crocodile Island. It would be a good idea if you could find out if he has any connection with the Crocodile Ecology Company other than just having bought Crocky.”
Her father promised to do so. “I’m glad you told me.”
The next day Nancy and her friends climbed into a plane bound for New York, where they would change for a nonstop flight to Miami. After they landed in New York, the girls hurried into the huge airport building and up to a counter to arrange for seats on their jet to Florida.
The clerk smiled at Nancy and said, “You are Miss Nancy Drew?”
“Yes, I am.”
“We received a message that you are to get in touch with your father at once. It’s possible your trip will be canceled.”
Puzzled, Nancy hurried to a phone and was soon talking to Mr. Drew. “Is something wrong, Dad?” she asked, worried.
The lawyer replied that his friend Roger Gonzales had called him to say that his suspicions about the Crocodile Ecology Company had been unfounded. “He told me there is no need for legal or protective action,” Mr. Drew explained, “and he has canceled your motel reservations.”
Nancy was stunned by the news, but before she could express her dismay, Mr. Drew went on, “I’m afraid that Roger was forced to make that call, and needs help. That’s why you should go ahead with your trip. But don’t get in touch with him until you hear from me.
“I have arranged for you to stay at the home of friends of mine, named Mr. and Mrs. Henry Cosgrove in Key Biscayne. They have a sixteen-year-old son, Danny, who’s an excellent sailor and familiar with the keys. He can take you around in their motorboat. I’m sure he’ll be of great help to you in your sleuthing.”
“Oh, good,” Nancy said. “I’m glad we don’t have to give up the trip.”
Mr. Drew urged his daughter and her friends to be very careful.
“We will,” Nancy promised, then asked, “Have you had a chance to speak to Mr. Reareck?”
“Yes. He saw an ad in the paper about the Crocodile Ecology Farm and wrote to them, ordering the pet. He doesn’t know the partners or anything about them. Well, good-by, dear, and have a great time.”
When Nancy joined Bess and George, they were worried about the turn of events.
“Do you suppose,” Bess asked, “that somehow the people on Crocodile Island found out that we were coming, and that you’re an amateur detective, Nancy?”
“That’s possible,” Nancy replied. “Anyway, since Dad wants us to go ahead, let’s get our seat numbers.”
The girls did, then went to the lounge and settled on three seats away from other waiting passengers to discuss what they would do when they reached Key Biscayne.
George said, “Perhaps we should disguise ourselves with wigs and quick-tanning lotions. Bess could become a brunette, I could be a blond, and Nancy a gray-haired old lady.”
“Thanks.” Nancy laughed. “It would be fun, but the suspects on Crocodile Island have never seen us before. What good would a disguise be?”
After a few moments’ thought, Bess spoke up, “You’re right, they haven’t seen us. But they evidently know who we are. Do you think it would be safer if we changed our names? We could use pseudonyms when necessary.”
“What names do you suggest?” George asked.
Nancy smiled. “Suppose I call myself Anne, and Bess can be Elizabeth, and George—”
Quickly George interrupted her. “Not Georgia!” she exclaimed.
Bess laughed. Georgia was her cousin’s real name, but she would never allow anyone to call her by it.
“I’ll be Jackie,” George declared.
The girls discussed a last name and finally decided on Boonton, which was Mrs. Marvin’s maiden name.
Nancy looked at her watch. “I’ll have time to phone Dad and tell him our new names. He can inform Mr. Gonzales.”
When she returned, George said, “Okay, Anne. Our section of seats has been called to board. Let’s go!”