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Authors: Franklin W. Dixon

A Figure in Hiding

BOOK: A Figure in Hiding
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Table of Contents
 
 
A FIGURE IN HIDING
A blind peddler's warning and a weird glass eye plunge Frank and Joe Hardy into one of the most bafiling 'cases they have ever tackled.
 
The young detectives' investigation takes them to a walled estate guarded by savage dogs, where a wealthy businessman is hiding out in fear of his life. Later, a midnight telephone tip leads to a strange encounter on a lonesome hillside-and a hair-raising escape from death at the bottom of Barmet Bay.
 
The theft of a valuable Oriental idol called the Jeweled Siva, a daringly designed hydrofoil speedboat the Sea Spook, the strange disappearance at sea of a prime suspect, and a walking mummy all figure excitingly in this complex case.
 
In a climax that will hold the reader spellbound with suspense, Frank and Joe find themselves trapped in a sinister house of mystery from which there seems to be no escape!
“Signals are coming over this glass eye!”
Copyright © 1993, 1965, 1987 by Simon & Schuster, Inc. All rights reserved.
Published by Grosset & Dunlap, Inc., a member of The Putnam & Grosset
Group, New York. Published simultaneously in Canada. S.A.
THE HARDY BOYS® is a registered trademark of Simon & Schuster, Inc.
GROSSET & DUNLAP is a trademark of Grosset & Dunlap, Inc.
eISBN : 978-1-101-07630-9
2008 Printing

http://us.penguingroup.com

CHAPTER I
A Blind Lead
 
 
 
 
EXCITED fans were still milling about the Bayport High athletic field as the Hardy boys came out of the dressing room after their team's post-season win over the Alumni All-Stars.
“Great pitching, Frank!” a. schoolmate yelled. “You really bore down in the clutches!”
Dark-haired, eighteen-year-old Frank Hardy grinned and waved. “Don't think that double of Joe's with the bases loaded didn't help!”
As the boys reached the street, a blind peddler approached them. He was wearing dark glasses and tapping a white cane. “Buy a pencil, please?” he mumbled.
Joe Hardy, blond and a year younger than his brother, fished in his pocket for a coin and dropped it into the man's tin cup.
“Thank you, sir!” The peddler pressed a pencil and a small white card into Joe's hand as the boys hurried past him toward their red convertible, parked several yards up the street.
Joe glanced at the card as they were climbing into the car. “Hey! What's this?”
“What's what?”
“Take a look. The blind man gave it to me.”
Frank's joking smile changed to a bewildered frown as he studied the card. It bore the picture of a human eye and a printed plea for better eye care from a national health society.
The picture had pencil marks over it. The pupil had been changed to a catlike oval shape with zigzag spark lines radiating from it. Some of the words in the printed heading had been crossed out:
WATCH OUT
FOR THE FIRST SIGNS OF
BAD EYESIGHT!
Frank turned the card over. Scribbled in pencil on the blank side was the notation:
Tell FH!
“‘FH' must mean Dad!” Frank exclaimed.
Fenton Hardy, the boys' father, had been an ace detective on the New York City police force before he retired to the coastal town of Bayport and became a famous private investigator.
“But what about those crossed-out words?” Joe queried. “This way, it reads ‘Watch out for bad eye!' ”
“Let's try to find that blind man!” Frank suggested.
The boys dashed back down the street, but the peddler was already lost to view among the throng outside the field. Frank and Joe circled the block without catching sight of him.
“I'll bet he's one of Dad's underworld informers,” Frank stated. “He didn't want to be seen talking to us, so he got lost in a hurry.”
“That's probably the answer,” Joe agreed as the boys headed back to their parked car. “But if the peddler was so afraid of being spotted, why didn't he phone his message?”
“Maybe he tried and got no answer, so he tracked us down. Let's go home and see if Dad's back from his trip yet.”
Frank and Joe hopped into their car and Frank drove off.
Two blocks farther on, as they stopped for the traffic light, a truck owned by the Prito Construction Company pulled up alongside. Tony Prito, a lanky, black-haired school chum, was at the wheel.
“How'd the game come out?” he called.
“Frank handcuffed 'em! Three-nothing shut-out!” Joe waved his clasped hands in a victory sign.
“Nice going! Wish I could've seen it!” As Tony shifted gears to start up again, he added, “If you fellows want to see something pretty, take a spin out on the bay. Bill Braxton has his
Sea Spook
on a shakedown run.”
“Hey! That'd be worth watching,” Joe said.
Frank toed the accelerator. “Maybe we can catch it if we hurry.”
The
Sea Spook,
a new, rakish hydrofoil craft, was the talk of Barmet Bay. Bill Braxton, a young mechanic and stock-car racing driver, had designed and built it in his spare time.
A few minutes later the convertible turned up the driveway of the Hardys' pleasant, tree-shaded house. Frank and Joe leaped out and bounded up the front steps. The door was locked. Frank quickly opened it with his key.
“Anyone home?” he called. His voice echoed emptily through the house.
“I guess Mother and Aunt Gertrude aren't back from that bazaar yet,” Joe said. “We can leave a note for Dad.”
He hurried to the hallway telephone stand and began jotting a message on the memo pad.
“Tell him we'll be out in our boat so he can call us,” Frank suggested. “Then we can give him the details over our radio.” The Hardy boys' motorboat, the Sleuth, was equipped with a powerful marine transceiver.
After pausing in the kitchen for glasses of milk and a handful of cookies, the brothers locked up and headed in the convertible for the Bayport waterfront. As they rolled along through the hot June sunshine, Joe flicked on the dashboard radio. A newscaster was saying:
“A daring robbery in New York City last night netted thieves a small Oriental idol called the Jeweled Siva, valued at over twenty thousand dollars. The owner of the art curio shop from which it was taken said the ivory figure stood only six inches high but was studded with valuable gems.”
“Wow! That's some haul!” Joe murmured. “I wouldn't mind working on a case like that.”
The two boys, who had inherited their father's zest for crime puzzles, had already solved a number of baffling mysteries starting with The Tower
Treasure.
On one of their most challenging cases,
The Sinister Signpost,
they had restored a stolen race horse to its owner.
When they reached the waterfront, Frank pulled into a parking lot and the brothers strode off toward the Hardy boathouse. In a few minutes the
Sleuth
was knifing through the harbor toward open water.
Joe grinned in delight at the feel of their boat leaping along through the waves. Frank was scanning the blue expanse of the bay through binoculars. Presently he picked out a fast-moving hull that was throwing up plumes of spray.
“There's the
Sea Spook!
Man, look at that baby go!”
Joe gunned the
Sleuth.
Soon it was close enough for them to view the
Sea
Spook clearly without the glasses. The hydrofoil was streaking over the surface at a speed that made the boys' eyes pop.
“She must be doing fifty knots!” Joe gasped.
The
Spook's
hull stood well above the waves, on struts connected to her curved foils. They were planing along through the water.
“Watch your course!” Frank cautioned Joe.
The
Sea Spook
began to execute a graceful figure eight, so tightly and smoothly that the Hardys could scarcely believe their eyes. It rounded the final turn, then headed seaward again.
Joe opened the throttle wide, trying not to lose the other craft, but it sped off. “It's hopeless!” he groaned.
A moment later the hydrofoil reversed course again. Apparently its pilot was going to do another figure eight. This time, the execution was not nearly so smooth.
Frank snatched up the binoculars. “That's not Braxton at the wheel,” he reported. “He turned it over to another fellow.”
The new pilot was sweeping a much wider curve that brought the
Sea Spook
almost abeam of the
Sleuth.
He closed the top half of the eight so erratically that Joe was taken by surprise.
“Look out!” Frank yelled. “We're on a collision course!”
The hydrofoil was bearing down on the
Sleuth
at blinding speed. Joe glimpsed two frantic faces at the cabin window. Frank could see Braxton pushing his shipmate aside to take over as Joe swerved the
Sleuth
hard a-starboard.
In the nick of time, the
Sea Spook
banked to port. But the turn threw up a sheet of spray that hit the
Sleuth
like the slap of a giant hand. Already heeling, the motorboat turned turtle and both boys were thrown into the water!
Frank and Joe swam to the surface, gasping and blinking. The hydrofoil's hull was slowly settling into the waves as Braxton reduced speed. He brought the craft around and halted it near the Hardys. Then he dashed out of the cabin to the open afterdeck, his passenger at his heels, to haul Frank and Joe aboard. In a few moments they stood on deck.
“Are you okay?” Bill Braxton asked anxiously. He was a tanned, muscular young man, wearing a seaman's jersey and faded dungarees.
BOOK: A Figure in Hiding
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