“That we’re swamp ducks,” George quipped.
The girls rang the bell. There was no answer. Nancy knocked, but no one seemed to be home.
“What are we going to do?” Bess asked, worried. “We can’t go on like this! And there’s not another house in sight!”
They left their suitcases on the porch and walked around to the back. Luckily, there was a wall telephone on a rear patio. Nancy called the operator and asked to speak to the police department. When a sergeant answered, she explained the girls’ predicament and asked if someone could come and help them.
“Right away, miss,” he replied, and within ten minutes a squad car pulled up with two officers in it
One jumped out and walked up to them. “You say you were kidnapped and escaped?” he said.
“That’s right,” Nancy told him and explained exactly what had happened. “We’re on our way to visit Mr. and Mrs. Henry Cosgrove, but we don’t know how to find the place.”
“I’ll order a cab for you,” the officer said, and asked his companion to make the call. “I know the Cosgroves,” he continued. “It’s a long ride from here.”
He took a notebook from his pocket and wrote down the circumstances of the kidnapping. First he requested the names and addresses of the girls. This time Nancy gave him the correct ones. She described Steven, the young man who had met them at the airport, as well as the couple who had locked them into the bedrooms.
“We’ll get to work on the case at once,” the officer promised.
He walked to the squad car and picked up his radio phone. First he asked that a taxi be sent out, then gave a full report on the case. When he returned to the girls, he said, “A cab will be here in a few minutes. Is this your first visit to Key Biscayne?”
When the three nodded yes, he shook his head. “I’m sorry your introduction to our town was so disastrous. Believe me, you’ll find that Key Biscayne is a mighty nice area. Well, I hope you’ll have an enjoyable time while you’re here.”
In a few minutes a taxi pulled up in front of the house. The driver looked at the girls curiously.
Bess explained they had walked through the swamp after coming from the wrong direction to the Cosgroves’ home. She gave the correct address and they set off.
Unlike the couple who tried to kidnap them, Helen and Henry Cosgrove were delightful. Nancy quickly explained why they were so unkempt.
“What a dreadful experience!” Mrs. Cosgrove exclaimed. “We must report it to the police at once!”
“I’ve already done that,” Nancy said, and told the whole story.
Mr. Cosgrove said, “I got to the airport late because our car wouldn’t start. When I arrived, you had already gone. I thought you might have taken a taxi and come back home. We started to worry when you didn’t arrive. I even called your home in River Heights, but no one was there.”
“Good,” Nancy said with a chuckle. “Dad and Hannah didn’t have a chance to become alarmed.”
At this point a sixteen-year-old boy with red hair and twinkling eyes walked in and was introduced to the girls as Danny Cosgrove. He looked at their dirty shoes and clothes and said, “I guess you got here the hard way. What happened?”
Nancy told him and he responded, “Your dad said you would be here to solve a mystery and there might be some danger connected with it. You sure made a good start!”
The girls laughed, then asked to be excused to change their clothes. Mrs. Cosgrove led them to two bedrooms. “Who wants to share the big one?” she asked.
Bess and George said they would, so Nancy took the smaller room.
During dinner Nancy explained more about the mystery, but asked the Cosgroves to keep it a secret. “We decided to use fake names to avoid detection by any suspects,” Nancy said. “But now I’m not so sure it’s worth it.”
Mrs. Cosgrove spoke. “I’d try it if I were you. Even if part of this group you’re about to investigate knows who you are, not everyone connected with the Crocodile Ecology Company has seen you. By using fictitious names, you can probably fool them.”