Nancy Drew Files #62. Easy Marks. Carolyn Keene

Nancy Drew Files #62. Easy Marks. Carolyn Keene

Nancy Drew Files #62. Easy Marks. Carolyn Keene

Chapter One

Nancy Drew studied the heavyset, balding man seated behind his wide mahogany desk. Harrison Lane was president of People’s Federal Bank, one of the largest banks in the River Heights area. As he spoke—his voice confident and self-important—Nancy knew one thing for certain. He was lying.

“As a trustee of Brewster Academy, I’m very concerned that this scandal not become public,” he droned on. “That’s why I’ve asked you here today. I’ve heard of your detective work, and I want you to find out who is running this transcript-changing racket and stop it before the school’s reputation is damaged beyond repair.”

Nancy’s blue eyes focused on the man’s wedding ring, which he’d begun twisting. His hazel eyes also gave him away as not telling the whole truth. They were darting around his office, not focusing on any one thing.

As a successful amateur detective, Nancy had learned to trust her instincts about people. And Lane’s body language—the darting eyes and fidgeting movements—was practically shouting to her that he was insincere. At the very least, he was withholding an important piece of information.

Nancy uncrossed her long legs and leaned forward in her chair. “I don’t want to be rude, Mr. Lane,” she broke in, “but I don’t think you’re being entirely straight with me. Is there something you’re not telling me?”

Lane’s eyes widened in surprise. This was obviously the last thing he’d expected to hear. “I’m afraid you’ll have to be satisfied with the information I can give you, Ms. Drew,” he sputtered.

Pulling her bag onto her shoulder, Nancy stood up and headed for the door. “I’m sorry, Mr. Lane. I just can’t work that way. Without all the facts, I’d be wasting my time. Goodbye, and good luck with the case.”

Nancy had already opened the door when he called, “Wait! You’re right. I haven’t been completely candid with you.”

She closed the door and turned back to him. Now maybe she could find out what was really going on.

“The real reason I’m so worried about this is that—well, it involves my daughter Sally,” Lane went on in a lowered voice. He stopped fiddling with his ring and gazed squarely at Nancy. “Yesterday I discovered that she paid one thousand dollars to have her marks from last year electronically altered on the school’s computer. Our culprit is getting money from these kids.

“I was making a deposit to her college fund and I saw that a thousand dollars had been withdrawn,” he explained. “When I went to use my bank card, I noticed that it wasn’t in its usual spot in my wallet. Sally and my wife are the only ones who would have the opportunity to take the card, withdraw the money, and then return the card to my wallet. I confronted Sally, and she admitted she had used the money to pay someone to change her grades on the school’s computer. Naturally, as her father, and as a trustee of Brewster, I’m alarmed.”

“Of course,” Nancy told him. “Do you know who she paid?”

“She swears she doesn’t know,” said Lane, shaking his head.

Nancy raised a skeptical eyebrow.

“I know it sounds unbelievable,” he went on. “It has something to do with an unsigned message on a computer—something like that. Maybe you’d better get the story from her.”

“Maybe I should,” Nancy agreed.

Nancy turned up the collar of her denim jacket as she went down the wide front steps of the bank, heading for her blue Mustang in the bank’s parking lot. It was late September, and all around her the maples rustled in brilliant shades of red, orange, and yellow.

Soon Nancy was steering her car away from downtown River Heights. As she followed the directions Harrison Lane had given her, she noticed that the houses became larger, the lawns more perfectly kept. She pulled onto Evergreen Road and stopped in front of a huge, white clapboard house with a long, glassed-in porch on the left.

Nancy walked to the door and rang the bell. She half expected a maid to answer, but instead a tall blond girl wearing a black miniskirt pulled open the door. She had the same hazel eyes as Harrison Lane. “Hi. I’m Sally. And you must be Nancy Drew. Daddy called to say you were coming,” the girl said in a high, breathy voice. “Come on in.”

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Categories: Keene, Carolyn