Cat Burglar Caper
ONE Where’s Hannah
“I’m sooo bored …,” Bess complained as she flipped through the pages of an old magazine.
It was a beautiful day and eight-year-old best friends Nancy Drew, Bess Marvin, and George Fayne were hanging out in Nancy’s bedroom with no real plans.
Nancy was splayed out on the floor, making a castle out of dominoes. “I’ll do whatever you guys want to do,” she said, momentarily distracted by a metal clanking sound coming through the open window. Blocking it out, Nancy continued building her guard tower.
“We need an adventure,” George said, flopping
back over Nancy’s bed so her short brown hair hung upside down.
Bess tossed the magazine aside. “I wish we had a mystery to solve. That would be exciting.”
Even though Bess and George were cousins, they were very different from each other and hardly ever did the same thing. At that moment, however, the two girls both looked at their friend Nancy.
Nancy was a great detective. Bess and George often helped her solve mysteries. Together the three girls called themselves the Clue Crew and made their headquarters in Nancy’s room.
“You never know when a mystery might happen,” Nancy told them, carefully setting another domino on her stack.
Bess sighed. “Since we aren’t investigating anything right now, we might as well go shopping.”
George groaned. “Are you kidding?” She thought for a minute, then sat up and asked, “How about a movie instead?”
“Ugh, again?” Bess asked, standing up and tossing back her blond hair. She put her hands on her hips.
“How about this: We head downtown, see a movie, then go shopping afterward?” Nancy suggested, raising her head to look at her friends.
When neither of them responded, Nancy refocused on the dominoes, saying, “Or we could just stay here and do NOTHING all day.”
At that, the girls both agreed to go to the movies and then shopping.
“Great!” Nancy popped up quickly, accidentally knocking into the tower she’d spent the past hour building. The girls watched as the dominoes fell in a wave. “Oh no,” Nancy moaned, pressing her hands to her cheeks. Nancy was used to being a little clumsy, so it wasn’t the first time she would have to start a project over. She immediately began thinking of ways to improve the castle. “I’ll work on it again after we get back. Right now, we need a ride downtown. Let’s go find Hannah.”
Hannah Gruen had been the Drew family housekeeper since Nancy was three years old. When Mr. Drew was at work, Hannah took care of Nancy and the household chores.
“Hannah!” Nancy called out as the girls entered the kitchen. It was the most logical place to find her because Hannah was an amazing cook.
“She’s not here,” Bess said, looking around. “I wonder where Hannah is.”
The girls checked the living room, then Mr. Drew’s study. No Hannah.
“Hmm.” Nancy’s detective skills were kicking in. “Let’s see if she’s in the garage.” The girls walked outside through the open gate over to the garage. “That should have been closed,” she muttered.
Hannah’s car was parked in the garage, but still no Hannah.
“Where could she be?” Nancy wondered aloud.
“What’s this?” George asked, scooping a white rag smeared with black grease off the driveway.
“Hmm,” Nancy said, pushing a loose strand of reddish brown hair behind her ear. “Bess, your wish has come true. We’ve stumbled onto a mystery.” Nancy thought about the square of cloth George discovered. “Hannah is always super neat and clean. She must have dropped
this by accident. This rag is our first clue.”
“Here’s another clue!” Bess called from the garage. George and Nancy hurried over to where Bess stood by an open tool box. Bess knew a lot about tools and fixing things. “See?” Bess pointed at an empty space. “A lug wrench is missing.”
“Huh?” George asked. “What’s a lug wrench?”
“You use it for fixing tires,” Bess answered.
Nancy fell quiet for a minute while her friends searched for more clues. Then she declared, “I know where Hannah is!”
George and Bess both looked at Nancy with a mixture of disbelief and awe, then followed as the detective led them back through the open gate. They crossed the front yard and walked over to Nancy’s neighbor’s house.
“Hey Mr. Seilsopour,” Nancy greeted their new neighbor. Nancy didn’t know him very well, but Hannah had told her that he was a mechanic and had come to River Heights to open his own car repair shop.
Hannah was very excited about Mr. Seilsopour’s new shop. Not only was Hannah a great cook, a great nanny, and a great housekeeper, but she was also really good at repairing things.
Mr. Seilsopour peeked out at Nancy from under the hood of a very old, rusty pickup truck. He wiped his greasy hands on an oil-covered white rag, the exact same kind that George had found, and came over to meet Nancy’s friends.
“Is Hannah here?” Nancy asked. Nancy had used her detective skills and put it all together: the open gate, the rag, and the missing wrench. She also remembered the clanging she’d heard as she lay on her bedroom floor earlier. Metal clanging, like someone working on a car … or a truck. When she put the clues together, Nancy was certain Hannah was nearby.
“Over here,” a sweet voice greeted them from behind the truck. Nancy, Bess, and George went over and found Hannah working to put
a brand-new front tire on the truck. “Hand me that lug nut, please,” Hannah asked Nancy.
“Lug nut?” Nancy looked at George. George shrugged. Neither of them knew what Hannah was talking about.
Bess rolled her eyes and squeezed between her friends. She picked up the object Hannah wanted. “Here.”
“Thanks, Bess,” Hannah said.
“You sure seem to know a lot about tools,” Mr. Seilsopour commented to Bess.
“Bess knows a lot about everything mechanical,” George said proudly.
“Hannah came over to see this old truck I found at the junkyard,” Mr. Seilsopour told the girls. “She kindly volunteered to help me fix it up.”
“You’re welcome to help us, if you want,” Hannah extended an invitation to Bess.
Nancy thought that Bess’s eyes were going to fall out of her head, she was so excited.
“Can I start now?” Bess asked, bouncing on her toes. “Right now?”
Mr. Seilsopour laughed. “That’s exactly what Hannah asked!” At that, Hannah grinned.
“Hey wait, Bess, we’re going to go downtown,” George reminded her. She poked Bess in the side to bring her cousin back to planet Earth. “Movies. Shopping. Remember? We came over to ask Hannah for a ride.”
Bess’s face fell. She wanted to start on the truck immediately.
Hannah saw Bess’s disappointed look. She wiped her hands and stood up. “This tire is done so I’m finished here for the day. I’ll be happy to take you girls downtown.”
“Bess,” Mr. Seilsopour said, “Hannah’s planning to come back over tomorrow. You can help us then, if you want.”
“Yippee!” Bess said. “I can’t wait.”
“Well then,” George said with a laugh, “the Mystery of Missing Hannah has been solved!”
“You never know when there might be another mystery,” Nancy replied, tapping her pocket. “I’m bringing my detective’s notebook along—just in case …”