Nancy was shocked to hear this. “You mean that the partners are really mean and mad enough to do that?”
“I wouldn’t put it past them,” Sol replied.
George told him that the girls were only visitors and had very few contacts at Key Biscayne. “But if we ever hear of a job you could fill, we’ll let Colombo know.”
“Thank you,” Sol said. “I’d appreciate it. I don’t even like the men I work with out on the island. In fact, I don’t trust any of them. If something dishonest is going on, they’re probably in league with the bosses.”
Nancy said that under the circumstances she was amazed that they had not already discharged Sol. “Unless you haven’t given any indication that you’re suspicious.”
“Oh, I haven’t,” he told her. “And I don’t think the other men have any idea I’m squealing on them.”
“That’s good,” Nancy praised him. “You’re sort of playing detective. Keep up the good work and report to us as often as you can.”
Sol promised to do so, but said it was becoming more difficult to get away from the island. The few times he had tried it, Gimler had docked his pay.
“That’s wicked!” George exclaimed. “Nobody should be expected to stay in one place and work all the time without any recreation!”
After a little more conversation, the girls thanked Sol again and left him and Colombo. As Nancy drove off, Bess asked, “Where to now?”
Nancy said she had a hunch that they should go back to the golf club and report this latest bit of information to Mr. Gonzales. At the desk the girls learned that he was playing golf.
“But he should be back soon,” the clerk told them. “Why don’t you go out to the porch? From there you can watch him come in on the eighteenth green.”
The three friends hurried to the porch and took chairs near the railing. They had a clear view of the green and part of the fairway. Nancy, who played golf well, noticed that there were trees on one side of the fairway just before it ended at the green. “That really makes it hard,” she thought. “A person would have to aim a straight shot not to hit those trees.”
“Remember that beautiful golf course at the Deer Mountain Hotel, where we solved the mystery of The Haunted Bridge?” George asked.
“I sure do,” Bess said. “Nancy won a tournament there.” She giggled. “Here comes Father Time!”
An elderly man, who was almost as round as he was high and had long white hair and a flowing white beard, putted for the cup, missed it, and made a wry race.
Bess sighed. “This sure is a frustrating game.”
“It is,” Nancy said. “I’ve seen people get so mad that they threw their dubs away. Once a fellow almost hit his poor caddy!”
“Here comes Mr. Gonzales,” George said. “He’s a good distance away from the green. I wonder how he’ll make out?”
The girls watched in silence as he took his position behind the ball and swung his club in a few practice strokes. Just as he placed the club behind the ball and got ready for his approach shot, another player’s ball whizzed from among the trees to his right and hit him hard on the temple. Mr. Gonzales dropped his club and fell to the ground, unconscious.
“Oh!” all three girls cried out in horror.
Nancy, Bess, and George expected the other player to emerge from the woods and run up to the victim. But no one did.
“That ball must have been sent on purpose to hit Mr. Gonzales!” Nancy exclaimed.
The three girls jumped up and ran toward an outside stairway.
Bess suddenly pointed. “I see somebody running beyond those trees. He’s carrying a bag of clubs. He must be the one who shot that ball!”
“Maybe he’s a caddy,” George added.
Nancy was torn between the desire to hurry after the suspect and the need to help Mr. Gonzales. By the time the girls reached the foot of the stairs, they noticed that several people had surrounded their friend. But no one was taking off after the suspect. This helped Nancy decide what to do, although the man was out of sight.