Hardy Boys 06: The Shore Road Mystery: The Shore Road Mystery | Chapter 10 of 27 - Part: 1 of 3

Author: Franklin W. Dixon | Submitted by: Maria Garcia | 4403 Views | Add a Review

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CHAPTER IV

Suspicious Visitor

PERPLEXED over the news of the Dodds, Frank and Joe immediately cycled out to the farm. It was a scene of confusion, with a crowd of spectators watching the excitement from the highway.

“There’s Chief Collig,” Frank indicated as the boys parked next to a bright-blue television van. They went over to speak to him. As they walked with him toward the house, Joe asked, “But why would the Dodds run away?”

Collig took a deep breath and shook his head. “I only know they appear to have left hastily—and, I’m afraid, permanently. One of our patrols noticed the garage was empty and investigated. The door of the house was unlocked. All food and clothing were gone.”

The officer turned to the boys. “I’m sorry that you and your dad will suffer financially should the Dodds not appear at the hearing tomorrow.” 28

Frank and Joe, in their concern over the Dodds, had completely forgotten about the posted bail.

The police chief accompanied them through the farmhouse rooms. Joe, who was familiar with Jack’s room, noticed that a pup tent and sleeping bag were missing.

“I don’t understand it,” Frank said ruefully as they started down the stairs. “Jack seemed worried but not enough to—”

“I’m afraid this isn’t all,” Collig interrupted. He held out a large rabbit’s-foot charm. “Have you boys ever seen this?”

“Yes, that’s the one Jack had on his key ring,” Joe said.

“Another car was stolen at Bay Bluff during the last hour.” Collig hesitated. “This charm was found there.”

When the three returned to the noisy scene outside, the boys inquired for Jack’s uncle. He had not arrived.

Frank and Joe decided to ride out to Bay Bluff. As they reached their motorcycles, Frank said in a low voice, “Joe, I have a hunch that Jack and his father didn’t leave of their own accord.”

Joe whistled. “You mean they might have been kidnapped? But why—”

The discussion was interrupted by the arrival of a short, stout man named Oscar Smuff, wearing a green tweed suit and Tyrolean hat. He appeared to be taking copious notes in a memo book.

Smuff, an aspiring detective, had long wanted to become a member of the Bayport Police Department. The Hardys often encountered him on cases, but he was not distinguished for powers of deduction or insight. The boys greeted him and started their vehicles.

“Too bad about all that bail money,” Smuff said. “But you’re just kids—didn’t know you were backing car thieves. Got in over your heads this time. Should have asked my advice.

Joe was about to retort, but Frank signaled to him and they wished the egotistical detective good night.

Heading through a cool sea wind down the dark highway, the Hardys soon reached Bay Bluff. Near a lone police car, a young woman was wiping her eyes as an officer spoke with her. The boys parked and introduced themselves.

From the woman’s story, Frank and Joe gathered she had parked at the bend, heading south, and climbed a foot path to watch the sunset. “I did leave the key in the ignition,” she admitted, “and my car wasn’t visible from the path, but I had a complete view of Shore Road traffic in both directions. Then I saw my car moving out on the highway—but it was too late.”

“We’re sure sorry to hear that,” said Frank.

After the policeman and the woman had driven away, the Hardys looked for clues to the theft. The stolen car had been driven south toward Bayport.

Frank followed his flashlight beam across the road toward the ocean. Joe did the same. From far below came the sound of the pounding surf.

“If only Jack and Mr. Dodd had known about the glove we found!” Joe sighed. “Now, it may not be wise to publicize that we have it until we have some idea where Slagel is.”

Frank agreed. “But it might be good for us to have a talk with Dad tomorrow. If—”

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