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

“Let’s go!” she said. “We must catch him!”

“Where do you think he’ll run?” Bess asked. “To the caddy house?”

“He doesn’t seem to be heading in that direction,” George replied. “Maybe he isn’t a caddy, but a member who is running scared.”

Nancy was already racing across another fairway toward a public road. The man with the golf bag suddenly came into view. He looked back and realized he was being chased. Despite the weight of the bag, he put on extra speed. Before the girls could get to him, he reached the road. A car was waiting for him. He jumped in and it roared off.

“Now we’ll never know who he is,” Bess wailed.

Nancy said she had seen the license plate and repeated the number to the girls.

“What’s more, the glimpse I got of the man makes me think he’s the one who spied on us out at the Easton estate!” She added, “Since we can’t chase him, let’s return to the clubhouse and phone the police.”

The girls hurried back and told the manager what they had seen and asked him to call headquarters and give the license number. He did so, and the sergeant on duty promised to send two officers out at once.

While they were waiting, Nancy asked how Mr. Gonzales was. The manager replied, “He’s still unconscious, but a doctor is with him. He’s in a room down the hall.”

Bess decided to go there and see if she could find out anything further. Nancy and George remained in the lobby. When the police officers arrived, the manager introduced them as Parks and Joyce.

“This young lady saw a man with a bag of clubs running away. She’ll give you the details,” the manager said.

The girl detective described how the suspect had fled in a car, adding that she had managed to see the license plate. “Headquarters has the number.”

“Yes, we know it,” Parks said. “Can you tell us anything else about the man?”

“Yes,” Nancy replied. “I think he’s the same person who was spying on me and my friends while we were watching the crocodiles at the Easton estate. He was peering at us from behind some mangroves, so I caught only a glimpse of his face. He had shoulder-length black hair and beady eyes. He might be a half-breed Indian. I’m afraid that’s all I can tell you about him.”

“That’s more than people usually notice,” Officer Joyce complimented her, “Thank you for the information.”

While he had been talking, Lieutenant Parks picked up the manager’s phone and called headquarters. He asked the sergeant on duty to look up the license number Nancy had given him.

“It’s urgent,” she heard him say.

They all waited for an answer, which came in a few minutes. When the manager heard the name of the owner, he showed utter astonishment. “That’s my name! It’s my car! It must have been stolen!”

Immediately he called the parking-lot attendant, who phoned back in a few minutes. “Your car is not here! I didn’t notice anyone take it. I’m sorry, sir.”

The manager hung up. Just then another phone rang. The call was for the officers. Lieutenant Parks picked up the instrument. He said, “That’s good. You say the suspects got away?”

The officer put down the phone and reported to his listeners that a few minutes earlier the car had been found abandoned about five miles from the club.

“In that case,” Joyce said, “we’ll have to depend on this girl’s description to nab the fellow. We’re to look for a man with a bag of golf dubs. He has long black hair, beady eyes, and could be a half-breed Indian.”

While this conversation had been going on, Bess had been waiting outside the room where Mr. Gonzales was for the doctor to appear. In a few minutes he came outside. She asked how the patient was.

“He has regained consciousness,” the physician reported, “but has a racking headache. I’ve ordered an ambulance to take him to the hospital. No one is to see him, either here or at the hospital.”

Bess said thank yon, turned, and hurried back to repeat this message to Nancy and George. She heard Lieutenants Parks and Joyce discussing the case. Parks declared that he was sure the suspect would have dumped the golf clubs as soon as possible. As to his being a half-breed Indian, there were so many of them around that it would be almost impossible to identify the man they were looking for.

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Categories: Keene, Carolyn