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Authors: Carolyn Keene

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BOOK: Let’s Talk Terror
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“Not a good day, any way you look at it,” Susan said, shaking her head. “And Marcy was pretty shaken up by her talk with the Sterns.”

“I thought the show went fantastically well, though,” George said. “Maybe it was
because
of what happened, but the guests seemed to be a lot more comfortable afterward.”

“Nothing like a little bomb threat to put things in perspective, I guess,” Susan said as they finished paying the cashier and walked out the door.

Nancy shook her head. “I'm worried,” she confessed as they walked toward Susan's building. “Up to now, it's only been threats. But these things tend to escalate.”

“The Sterns were awfully upset with Marcy,” Susan said as they entered her building. “I guess Marcy should have told the producers there was a problem when it first came up.”

“The threats might have turned out to be nothing more than pranks. It was a hard decision for Marcy to make,” Nancy said.

“I guess so.” Susan unlocked her door and reached in to flick on the lights. “Let's hope Janet Stern is understand—”

Susan's comment was cut short by a gasp. “What happened here?” she said, stepping inside the apartment.

“Oh, no!” George said from behind Susan. “There's broken glass everywhere!”

A quick peek showed Nancy that only a few jagged pieces remained in the frame of the hall mirror. The rest of the mirror lay in shards on the floor.

“Look! This has your name on it, Nancy,” Susan said breathlessly, reaching down to pick up an envelope.

Nancy took the envelope, tore it open, and yanked out a piece of paper. What she read made her feel as though she'd been punched in the stomach.

“Nancy Drew, get out of town or your face will look like this mirror!”

Chapter

Seven

N
ANCY PASSED
the threatening note to George and Susan. “This is pretty ugly,” she said, “but I'm going to look at it in a positive way. Even if we don't think that we're getting anywhere, the culprit must—he or she is definitely feeling threatened by us.”

“Or maybe
they
are feeling threatened,” George added.

“Gosh, I never thought of that,” Susan said, giving the note back to Nancy. “There could be more than one person after Marcy—and now they're after you, Nancy.”

“It sure looks that way,” Nancy said, and placed the note on the hall table as George went to get a dustpan and broom. “How do they know about me?” Nancy said, frowning.

“How do they know where I'm staying? You didn't tell anyone that we were coming to investigate, did you, Susan?”

The expression on Susan's pretty face was all the answer Nancy needed. “The day that Marcy got the first threat, I was very upset,” she confessed. “I started talking about what happened to Brenda Fox. I think Dee, the hairdresser, was there, too. I said I knew someone who might be able to help, and I'm pretty sure I said your name, too. Oh, how could I have been so stupid?”

“Forget about it,” Nancy reassured Susan. “You didn't know anything like this would happen.” Privately, Nancy made a mental note to question Dee and Brenda the next chance she got.

When the girls had finished cleaning up, Nancy went to the front door and examined the lock. “This door looks fine,” she said. “No forced entry here.”

“Maybe the culprit used a key to get in,” George said.

“I have only two keys,” Susan told her. “I have one, and the spare I gave to George.”

“It's in my pocket,” George said, pressing her hand against her hip to make sure.

“Let's assume they got in another way then,” Nancy suggested, walking through the living room to the double sliding doors that led out to the terrace.

“The door is open a crack!” George exclaimed, following Nancy.

“Watch for prints!” Nancy cautioned before George could touch the handle.

“Right,” George agreed. She headed into the kitchen and emerged a moment later with a dish towel covering her hands.

“Susan, why don't you look around to see if anything else has been disturbed,” Nancy suggested.

“Okay,” Susan said.

George slid the door open, and Nancy followed her out to the terrace.

“This door is all scratched and chipped,” Nancy observed, pointing to the outside edge. “Susan's going to need a new lock.”

“And the terrace isn't so high that someone with a little ingenuity couldn't have gotten up to it,” George said.

“Must have been quite an athlete, though, to climb up that bush and then twist over to reach for the terrace railing.” Nancy figured that the chances of anyone witnessing the person were slim since the terrace opened onto a courtyard.

Susan rapped on the glass just then. She pointed to a scrap of blue paper on the terrace.

Nancy bent down and picked it up. “It's got a phone number on it,” she said, “written in pencil.”

“Well, let's call it,” George suggested.

“Nothing else has been touched,” Susan told
the girls when they stepped back into the apartment. “Is that paper anything important?”

Nancy showed it to Susan. “It has a phone number on it.” Nancy pressed in the numbers. “It's ringing.”

“Hello!” came a recording on the other end, “You got Pepe's Garage. Come to Pepe's where stars park their cars. We're closed now until six
a.m.
But leave a message, after the beep.
Beeeeep
—”

“We'll have to look up the address,” Nancy murmured as she hung up.

• • •

The next morning the girls took Nancy's Mustang to the Media Center and went straight in to Stern Productions.

Marcy was already in her office. “I don't know who's going to show up for the show today after that bomb scare,” she said. “Look at all these negative headlines!” As she spoke, she pushed a pile of newspapers across her desk for Nancy and the girls to read. The headlines said things like “ ‘Teen Talk' Bombs!” “Talk About Trouble!” and “Mad Bomber Stalks Talk Show Star!”

Closing Marcy's office door for privacy, Nancy told her about the break-in at Susan's apartment.

“That's horrible! You've got to tell Lieutenant Dunne right away,” Marcy insisted.

“That's what I'm planning to do.” Nancy dialed the number of police headquarters, but she had to leave a message for Lieutenant Dunne, who was out.

“I think he said he'll come by the studio later,” Marcy told them. “He wants to do some more looking around and ask some more questions.”

“What's today's topic?” George asked Marcy and Susan.

“We're having an open call-in show today. That means we'll talk about whatever our callers want,” Marcy told her. “Dr. Helen is going to be here, answering calls.”

“Dr. Helen is my absolute favorite,” George said. “I read her book,
Being Your Best
, and loved it.”

“Everybody loves Dr. Helen,” Marcy agreed. “She's incredibly understanding.”

“America's best-loved psychologist,” Nancy added, parroting the phrase most often used about the famous doctor.

“Yikes, I'm late for hair and makeup,” Marcy said, checking her watch.

“Knock, knock.” Jack Cole's voice came from the other side of the door just as Marcy was about to open it. “Brenda asked me to tell you that taping has been delayed,” he said, peeking inside. “Dr. Helen had an emergency, and she can't get here until one-thirty.”

“Oh, no,” Marcy said. “That's going to cost
the Sterns money. And what are we going to do with the audience? They'll have to hang around for hours!”

“I have an idea,” Susan suggested. “I can arrange for them to have a tour of the center, and then order in box lunches. I can even use the time to drum up a fuller house.”

“Susan, you're a genius,” Marcy said, beaming at her.

“I'll go tell Janet,” Jack said, nodding at the girls.

When Jack left, Nancy turned to Marcy and Susan. “George and I will see you at the taping,” she said, heading for the door.

“Where are you going?” Susan called after them.

“Where the stars park their cars,” Nancy quipped, as she and George strode down the hallway. “Pepe's, here we come.”

Nancy and George retrieved the Mustang, but it hardly turned out to be necessary. In less than five minutes they pulled up across the street from Pepe's Garage.

“Well, let's go in,” Nancy said, opening the car door and getting out.

Walking with George into the freshly painted, well-maintained garage, Nancy noticed that the small inner glass booth was plastered with publicity photos of models, dancers, and actors. Most were signed “To Pepe—With Love.” Several photos showed a
heavyset man wearing one gold earring and a wide grin, his arm flung around the shoulder of various celebrities.

“Hey, George,” Nancy said. “Check out the fifth picture from the left—”

“That's Samantha Savage before she bleached her hair blond!” George exclaimed.

“Hello, girls, something I can do for you?” The chubby man Nancy assumed to be Pepe was walking toward them. “Some gallery, huh? I got even more at home.”

“There sure are a lot,” Nancy said.

“Pepe knows everybody. I got them all,” the garage owner bragged. “I got dancers, I got singers, actors, models, even big-time producers. Everybody parks their car with Pepe.”


Producers?
Producers like Vic Molina?” Nancy asked, acting impressed.

Pepe grinned and nodded. He pulled a snapshot from his pocket and showed it to the girls. He and Vic Molina were standing in front of a red sports car. “This is two days ago,” Pepe said. “Mr. Molina keeps all his cars at Pepe's.”

“Well, I need a garage for my car,” Nancy fibbed. “The last place I used, the spaces were so tiny it got nicked and scraped constantly. Any chance we can check out the facilities?”

“Please, help yourself,” Pepe said, moving his arms expansively. “We go down three levels. All nice and clean. And plenty of room for every car.”

“Great,” Nancy said cheerfully. She and George started walking down the railed sidewalk next to where the cars were driven. Nancy wasn't sure what she was looking for, but that piece of paper could be a lead.

“Do you think there's any connection between Samantha and the break-in at Susan's apartment, Nan?” George asked. “I mean, her picture is here, right?”

“For that matter, so is Vic Molina's,” Nancy pointed out. “Anyhow, I find it hard to believe that Samantha Savage would break into a second-floor apartment.” Then, suddenly, from the other side of the pillar just ahead of them, Nancy heard voices. She and George froze. The voices were those of Vic Molina and Samantha Savage!

“She doesn't care who she hurts,” Samantha was saying bitterly. “All she cares about is herself.”

“Don't let it upset you,” Vic replied. “The show is finished.”

“What about Marcy?” Samantha hissed. “I want her out of the picture, Vic. Know what I mean?”

George edged a little closer, but as she did so she kicked a soda can. The noise wasn't exactly deafening, but it was loud enough.

The producer and star stopped talking. In the silence, George shot Nancy a panicked,
apologetic look. Nancy put a hand out to comfort her friend but jerked it back when Vic came storming around the pillar. Angrily, he advanced on Nancy and George, shouting, “Hey! Look at this, Samantha, somebody's spying on us!”

Chapter

Eight

S
PYING?”
N
ANCY SAID
as indignantly as she could. “Us?” She tried to return the producer's hard stare.

“How long have you been hiding here?” Molina demanded, looking from Nancy to George and back again. “And don't try to tell me you were going to your car. I'd have heard you moving around.”

BOOK: Let’s Talk Terror
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