Chapter 1

Tuesday early afternoon around 1:00pm

Dark-haired Frank Hardy entered the kitchen at a fast clip, and grabbed the telephone from its place where it was hanging on the wall. "Hello?" Carson Drew was on the line. Frank's father Fenton Hardy and Carson Drew had been boyhood friends and still called each other often.

"Hi Frank. How are you keeping?" "I'm good, Mr. Drew. And yourself?" Frank replied respectfully. After receiving an affirmative answer, the teenager asked "Do you want to speak to Dad?" "No that's okay Frank. I'm actually calling because I need to talk to you and your brother about a…a situation." "But couldn't Nancy take care of whatever it is?" Frank asked, puzzled. Nancy Drew was Carson's daughter and a good friend of the Hardys. "That's the problem you see. Nancy has gone missing." "What!?" Frank cried in disbelief.

Hearing his older brother cry out from his bedroom upstairs, blond-haired Joe Hardy raced to the kitchen. "What's wrong?" the blue-eyed eighteen year old asked Frank slightly out of breath from his mad sprint. The elder sibling waved a hand at him to be quiet. Joe fell silent as Carson Drew continued. "The police are looking for her as well, but I know that combined you and Joe could probably find her, easier, faster and without having to go through the necessary paperwork. I told Chief McGinnis that I was going to ask you for your help and he consented as long as you be on your guard. I've already asked Fenton's permission and he's okay with you and your brother taking this on, although I didn't tell him what I wanted you to investigate. Can you come to my office with Joe so we can talk about this further?" "We'll be there in about an hour, after I brief him. See you soon, Mr Drew," Frank replied before he slowly hung the phone back into its cradle.

"What's up Frank? What's wrong?" Joe asked immediately seeing the look on his older brother's paler than usual face. "That was Mr Drew on the phone, Joe. He needs our help finding a missing person".

"Why can't Nancy help her dad with that?" Joe asked in confusion. A look of understanding and alarm suddenly flashed across his face, a few seconds later. " Y-You don- don't mean that N-N-Nancy is the one missing, do you, Frank?" Joe stammered. Frank grimly nodded. "Mr Drew asked to see us at his office downtown. Let's go!" The boys quickly shrugged on their coats and walked out to their motorcycles, which they mounted and kicked into life.

HBHBHBHB

Sixty minutes later they met Bess and George, Nancy's best friends, in Carson Drew's office. "Hello Sir" the Hardys chorused. "Hi boys," Carson answered. "I asked Bess and George here because they were the last to see Nancy and might be able to give you some clues." Joe nodded and turned to the other teens. "When did you last see Nancy?" "We last saw her was on Monday morning around noon sometime. She was wearing her usual white sneakers with blue jeans and a bright red top. She also had on a dark blue sweater with a red stripe running down the sleeve" George replied. "Did you see her anytime before that, Mr Drew?" Frank turned to look at the worried father. "Yes, we were discussing a case which Chief McGinnis had given her. A smuggling case. She was telling me she'd picked up a few good clues; she was very close to solving it and bringing the smugglers to justice."

"Hmm.." the brothers thought. "What if Nancy had stumbled upon the smugglers hideout and discovered who they were? They might have abducted her so that she couldn't go to the police" Joe mused. "I guess we can't narrow the suspect list down yet. She's just got too many enemies! There must be a whole section of people in jail that the Drews have put in there. That's probably more than the rest of the jail" Frank replied, sounding frustrated as he began to pace the office. "Did Nancy mention where her clues were leading to, like a particular part of town?" Frank thought out loud. "That's a good question" Nancy's father sat still thinking for a minute, before jumping out of his chair, snapping his fingers, a big smile on his face. "In the woods near the Dright factory, there's a big log cabin. That's where she thinks the gang's hideout is. She's pretty sure that Samuel DeShannon is the leader of the gang. She knows that the gang is pretty small, maybe around seven people in total". "Thanks for the info, Mr Drew" Joe said as all the teens rose and shook hands with the lawyer before leaving.