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Authors: Franklin W. Dixon

The Secret Warning

BOOK: The Secret Warning
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Table of Contents
 
 
THE SECRET WARNING
STRANGE events involve Frank and Joe Hardy in a mystery which shrouds an ancient treasure—the golden head of the Pharaoh Rhamaton IV. First, a cryptic unsigned warning from Egypt; second, the ghost of a bloodthirsty pirate of the eighteenth century, who, according to legend, haunted nearby Whalebone Island years ago and recently has reappeared.
The owner of the million-dollar golden Pharaoh's head claims it was aboard the freighter
Katawa,
which sank not far from Whalebone Island. But suspicious developments indicate that Mehmet Zufar may be trying to defraud the shipping line's insurance company. Frank and Joe enthusiastically accept the challenge of their famous detective father to assist him in investigating the complex case for Transmarine Underwriters.
A puzzling clue leads the Hardys to Whalebone Island, where they almost lose their lives in a violent explosion. Someone desperately wants to get rid of them. But who? Is it the ghostly pirate?
Frank and Joe's perilous scuba-diving search in the ocean depths off the island yields electrifying discoveries that cap the climax of this exciting mystery.
A chill of fear struck the Hardys as they approached the
trapped diver
Copyright
©
1994, 1966, 1938 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.
Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 66-12695
eISBN : 978-1-101-07631-6

http://us.penguingroup.com

CHAPTER I
A Ghost Walks
 
 
 
 
 
A
LOUD ring of the doorbell startled the Hardy boys as they sat watching a TV mystery. Joe tuned down the volume. “Who could that be at this time of night?” the blond, seventeen-year-old youth wondered aloud.
“Maybe a client of Dad's. It can't be Mom and Aunt Gertrude—they have a key.” Frank, dark-haired and a year older than his brother, got up and strode to the door.
A telegraph messenger was standing on the front porch. “Cablegram for Fenton Hardy.”
Frank signed for the message and took it back to the living room. “For Dad,” he reported. “Coming from overseas, this may be urgent.”
“We'd better open it,” Joe suggested.
Frank slit the yellow envelope and read the contents. “Good grief!” he exclaimed.
“ ‘Beware the Pharaoh's head. Doom to all who seek it!”'
“The Pharaoh's head? What does that mean?”
Frank shrugged. “Search me.”
“Well, who sent it?”
“I don't know that, either,” Frank said, perplexed. “There's no name on the message, but it came from Cairo, Egypt.”
Joe took the cablegram, studied it intently, then hurried out to the hallway telephone and called the local telegraph office. When he hung up, he frowned in puzzlement.
Frank, coming into the hall, queried, “What did they say?”
“The message was received just that way—unsigned. Apparently there's no rule requiring a sender to include his name.”
“I think we'd better contact Dad right away,” Frank decided.
Fenton Hardy, formerly a detective in the New York City Police Department, had retired to the seaside town of Bayport and soon had become nationally known as a crack private investigator. His two sons, Frank and Joe, who had inherited their father's sleuthing talents, often helped out on his cases.
The boys hurried upstairs to switch on the powerful short-wave radio in the detective's study. Mr. Hardy always carried a compact transceiver in order to be able to communicate with his home in cases of emergency.
Frank beamed out the usual code call repeatedly. But the only response was a jumble of static.
“He must be away from his hotel, or wherever he's staying,” Joe said.
“Could be.” Frank glanced at the window as a flash of lightning brought an extra loud crackle from the speaker. “Or maybe we're not getting through. That storm brewing out there may be interfering with our transmission.”
After a few more minutes, the boys gave up for the time being and went back downstairs. A loud clap of thunder sounded as they reached the living room.
“Boy, looks as if we're in for a real cloudburst,” Frank remarked anxiously. “I sure hope Mom and Aunt Gertrude don't get caught in it.”
He was about to resume his seat in front of the television when he heard Joe gasp.
“Thought I saw something at the window.”
Frank stared quizzically at his brother. “You mean a person—or what?”
“I don't know,” Joe said. “It was just a fleeting impression. May have been my imagination. Is the prowler alarm on?”
“Not yet. Mom said to leave it off till they got home.” Frank added with a grin, “You know Aunt Gertrude—she'd really pin our ears back if the alarm system went off just as they were coming up to the house.”
Joe chuckled as he imagined his tall, peppery aunt's reaction to being caught in a blaze of floodlights, accompanied by a shattering alarm signal. “Think I'll take a look outside, anyhow,” he told Frank. “It won't hurt to make sure.”
Joe was just starting into the hallway when the doorbell rang. “Now what?” he muttered as he switched on the porch light. He yanked open the front door. A man stood clutching a cane. He wore a felt hat and Navy officer's raincoat.
“Captain Early! Welcome aboard, sir!”
The man's ruddy, weather-beaten face broke into a wide grin. “Howdy, Joe!” He saluted and gave the boy's hand a brisk squeeze as he limped inside.
Hearing their voices, Frank hurried to greet the visitor. “Dad will be sorry he missed you,” he said as they shook hands.
Captain Phil “Pearly” Early was an old friend of the Hardys. Now retired, he lived alone in a house on the coast, north of Barmet Bay, and devoted his time to writing books on sea lore.
“I probably should have phoned,” the captain apologized, “but I had to come to Bayport on an errand, anyhow, so I took a chance.” He doffed his hat and coat, revealing a crisp gray crew cut and a slight but wiry build.
As Joe took his things, there came the sudden sound of a drenching downpour. Rain pelted the roof and splattered against the windows.
“You got here just in time,” Frank said.
Captain Early nodded and tapped his thigh. “Hurricane weather. My game leg always tells me when we're in for a blow.” His ruddy face turned serious. “By the way, did you boys just have a visitor?”
Frank shook his head. “No, sir. Why?”
“When my taxi drew up here, I saw a man standing just outside the hedge around your grounds. He darted off as the headlights beamed on him.”
Joe exchanged a quick, startled glance with his brother. “What did he look like?”
“Rather odd,” said Captain Early. “I suppose that's really why I mentioned him. He had a black cloak or coat, a bushy red beard, and—well, something strange about the eyes.”
The boys escorted their visitor into the living room. As Frank turned off the TV, Captain Early asked, “You fellows home alone?”
“We are just now,” Joe replied. “Mom and Aunt Gertrude have gone to a concert.” Seeing the captain's thoughtful frown, he added, “Did you want to see Dad, sir?”
“As a matter of fact, I did. But I might as well put the case in your hands.”
Frank settled eagerly into a chair. “You have a mystery you want investigated?”
The captain nodded as he filled his pipe. “Doesn't amount to much, probably, but all the same I'd like to know what's behind it. Twice recently, my house has been broken into at night.”
“Was anything stolen?” Joe inquired.
“No, because both times I woke up and scared the intruder off.” The first time, Captain Early related, his study had been ransacked. On the second occasion, the burglar had come into his bedroom.
“Did you see him well enough to give us a description?” put in Frank.
“No, I hardly saw him at all. By the time I switched on the light, he was out the window and away over the back porch roof.”
“When did this happen?” Joe asked.
“The first time was on Friday, and the second attempt was just last night—Sunday.”
Frank said, “Any idea what the thief was after?”
“None at all. I never keep any large amount of money in the house.” Captain Early puffed on his pipe for a moment. “Incidentally, I've had a strange feeling of being followed several times lately—including tonight on my way to Bayport. But that may be pure bosh.”
Again the boys exchanged glances. Captain Early, with his brilliant war record, was certainly not a man given to fearful flights of imagination.
“Jumpin' Jupiter, you really
have
given us a mystery to work on,” said Joe. “Have you told the police about the break-ins?”
“Yes, but naturally there wasn't much they could do, except check for fingerprints—and there weren't any.”
“Look,” Frank said. “We were trying to contact Dad earlier on another matter. Suppose I try again.”
Leaving Joe to entertain their guest, Frank hurried to the short-wave set in their father's study. This time, his code call brought an immediate response. Mr. Hardy, speaking from Philadelphia, explained that he and his operative, Sam Radley, had just returned to their hotel.
ADS
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