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THE SECRET OF THE FORGOTTEN CITY
Gold! There are rumors that long ago a treasure was hidden in a city now buried under the Nevada desert.
Nancy and her friends plan to join a dig sponsored by two colleges to hunt for the gold. Before she starts, the young sleuth receives an ancient stone tablet with petroglyphs on it. With this amazing clue, however, come a threat and danger from a thief who also wants the treasure.
One harrowing adventure after another besets Nancy, Bess, George, Ned, Burt, and Dave in 102-degree temperatures as they pursue Nancy’s hunches above and below ground. They are assisted by a fine Indian woman and a young geology student, but both are unwilling participants in a strange plot.
In the end Nancy and Ned nearly lose their lives, just after she has discovered the priceless hidden treasure of gold.
“Perhaps I can translate what these men are saying,” Nancy said.
1977, 1975, 1947 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.
NANCY DREW MYSTERY STORIES
is a registered trademark of Simon & Schuster,
Inc. GROSSET & DUNLAP is a trademark of Grosset & Dunlap, Inc. Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 77-76129
eISBN : 978-1-101-07753-5
“Au! Au! Au!” cried Ned Nickerson, as he eased himself out of his car and hurried toward the open front door of the Drew home.
Nancy, who was waiting for him, leaped to his side. “Ned, what happened? You’re hurt!”
The tall dark-haired athlete burst into laughter and kissed her. “No hurts at all. I didn’t say
‘Ouch, ouch, ouch!’
I said, ‘Au! Au! Au!’ ”
“What does that mean?” asked the attractive strawberry blond, as she led him indoors. “Please stop talking in riddles.”
The couple sat down on the living-room couch. “Well?” Nancy prompted.
“Au refers to a treasure buried deep underground,” Ned replied. “Want to help find it?”
“Of course,” Nancy said, excited at the thought of a mystery. “Where is it and what is it?”
Ned grinned. “I’ll give you a hint. Think of some chemistry symbols.”
At once Nancy guessed the answer. “How stupid of me not to have thought of gold.
is the symbol for it. Tell me where and what this treasure is.”
“Not until everyone gets here,” Ned replied.
“Everyone? Who is everyone?” Nancy asked.
Ned’s eyes twinkled. “First there were two. Then there were four. Now we number six.”
“You’re being exasperating,” Nancy said. “Shall I guess again?”
When he nodded, she mentioned her closest friends, Bess Marvin and George Fayne, who were cousins. The three girls lived in River Heights and had been friends for years. Then she named two boys who were fraternity brothers of Ned’s at Emerson College.
“Right,” Ned replied. “Your Dad, who, by the way, is enthusiastic about your recovering this gold, invited them here to dinner tonight. Your kind housekeeper, Hannah Gruen, knows the secret and is preparing my favorite dish.”
“Which is—hot-pepper salad,” Nancy teased. “But tell me, why all the secrecy? It’s not my birthday!”
Ned answered with a grin. “We wanted to see if we could keep our plan a secret from the world’s most famous girl detective.”
Nancy blushed, but before she had a chance to answer, she and Ned heard shouting out in the street.
Ned leaped to a front window. Nancy, glancing out of a side window, saw a man dashing down the long Drew driveway toward the rear of the property.
A woman’s large handbag swung from one hand!
“Quick, Ned!” Nancy shouted. “Follow me!”
As the couple dashed through the kitchen, she called to the startled housekeeper, “Hannah, run out the front door. I think a woman on the sidewalk has just been robbed!”
Nancy and Ned rushed from the kitchen door in time to observe the thief pausing at the thick hedge that separated the Drews’ yard from the property at the rear. Seeing the couple, he pushed his way through the bushes, since they were too high for him to vault.
“Nancy, run to the side street,” Ned suggested. “If that man tries to escape that way, yell and I’ll come running.”
As Ned finished speaking, he was halfway through the hedge. Nancy ran back of the garage to the side street. She looked up and down the pavement, then into the yard. Suddenly the thief dashed out from behind a neighbor’s house toward a car whose motor was running. A man sat at the wheel.
“Stop!” Nancy cried out. When the suspect kept going, she ordered, “Drop that handbag!”
The stranger did neither, but just as he reached the car, Ned leaped toward him. The man tossed the bag at Nancy with a vicious thrust and jumped into the car. It roared off. Ned had missed him, and Nancy had had to move aside to avoid being hit by the car.
Her mind, however, had recorded a good image of the suspected thief. He was five feet ten, rather large-boned, had tanned, tightly drawn skin, black eyes, and shiny black hair.
“Part Indian,” Nancy told herself, as she picked up the handbag and was joined by Ned.
“Too bad that fellow got away,” he commented. “I memorized the license number.” He repeated it to Nancy. “The man should be easy to trace.”
Nancy and Ned walked to the front lawn to find out what Hannah had learned. An odd picture met their eyes. A short, stout Indian woman, about fifty years old, sat on the ground with her legs crossed under her. She was staring into space, oblivious of Hannah Gruen, who was trying to comfort her.
The Indian kept murmuring, “Nancy Drew, Nancy Drew!”
As the girl appeared, holding the handbag, she said kindly, “Here is your bag, and I am Nancy Drew.”
The woman looked up, took her property, and without speaking opened the bag. An expression of dismay crossed her face and she uttered an involuntary “Oh!”
A woman’s large handbag swung from the thief’s hand.
“Is something missing?” Nancy asked.
“Records. My ancestors’ records.”
Then the woman thought of something. She unzipped a pocket in the lining of the bag and drew out a thin stone slab about five by seven inches, on which several crude figures and symbols had been chiseled.
“These are petroglyphs and very old,” the woman explained. “There were six other tablets in the bag. I planned to bring only this one, but I didn’t want to leave the others unguarded in my house, so I brought them.”
Hannah Gruen spoke. “I think we should all go into the house and talk.”
“And call the police,” Nancy added. “I’ll do that immediately. Oh, by the way, what is your name and address?” she asked the Indian.
“Mrs. Wabash. My home is in Nevada, but I am staying at the River View Motel across town. I walked over here.”
As Mrs. Wabash rose, with Ned helping her, Nancy hurried into the house to phone police headquarters. By the time she had given all the pertinent facts to the sergeant on duty, the other three walked inside. Everyone sat down in the living room except Hannah, who went to get cool drinks and pieces of nut-covered sponge cake for the guests.
Mrs. Wabash apologized profusely for all the trouble she had caused, and thanked Nancy and Ned sincerely for recovering her handbag and at least one of the stone tablets.
“I’m sure the thief will be caught soon,” Nancy assured her. “Anyway, what could he do with the records?”
The Indian woman sipped the drink Hannah had served. “I’m not sure,” she said. “I have studied ancient stones with petroglyphs—that’s picture-carving on stone—and made a sort of dictionary of their meanings. The only copy I had was in my handbag.”
There was a pause, then Nancy said, “It’s a shame the pages were taken. Had you translated the history of your family or of any tribe?”