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Authors: Franklin W. Dixon

The Mark on the Door

BOOK: The Mark on the Door
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Table of Contents
 
 
THE MARK ON THE DOOR
IN their motorboat the
Sleuth
Frank and Joe Hardy search Barmet Bay for a dangerous stranger who has stolen a valuable boat. Suddenly, in the eerie fog, they spot the craft drifting aimlessly out to sea. What happens next starts the young detectives and their pal Chet Morton on an intriguing adventure that takes them to Mexico and into the comparatively unexplored desert and mountain regions of Baja California.
The search for the meaning behind a mysterious symbol that terrorizes the people of an entire village, a daring escape from a submarine, perilous encounters with a band of renegade Indians, an unusual smuggling operation—all combine to make this one of the Hardys' most exciting cases.
Frank and Joe dangled precariously
above the rocky chasm
Copyright © 1995,1967,1961, 1934 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.
eISBN : 978-1-101-07627-9
2008 Printing

http://us.penguingroup.com

CHAPTER I
The Attack
“LOOK! A periscope!” Joe Hardy shouted.
“Are you sure?” asked his brother Frank, who was at the wheel of their motorboat.
“You bet. Look over there!”
The Hardys were skimming across Barmet Bay in the Sleuth, checking it out before going on a fishing trip to Maine with their father.
Frank spotted the thin, tapered metal mast to starboard, generating a tiny wake as it moved through the water.
“I see it now, Joe!”
“Let's take a closer look!” his brother cried.
Frank turned the wheel and advanced the throttle as they sped toward the periscope, but suddenly it sank beneath the waves!
Frank looked disappointed, and cruised around in a tight circle. “It must belong to the U.S. Navy.”
“Maybe not,” Joe replied.
The blond boy was seventeen, one year younger than dark-haired Frank. Both had learned from their detective father to be constantly on the alert.
A better instructor in police matters was nowhere to be found. Fenton Hardy, a former member of the New York City Police Department, was renowned as a super-sleuth.
Frank and Joe had become so preoccupied with the periscope that they failed to take notice of a speedboat approaching them from the rear. The craft made a close pass, then suddenly turned away so sharply that its stern skidded and struck the bow of the
Sleuth.
The boys hung on as sheets of water showered over them.
“What does that cowboy think he's doing?” Joe sputtered.
Frank rammed the throttle ahead and raced off in pursuit of the other boat. The
Sleuth
gained at first, enough for the Hardys to glimpse the name
Ira
Q painted on the stern. But the pilot of the fleeing craft applied more power and pulled away.
“That boat is too fast for us!” Joe shouted.
“I know,” his brother agreed. “But I managed to get a good look at the guy behind the wheel. He looks Spanish. But the boat's name isn't.”
“Ira
Q? Never heard of it,” Frank said. “Maybe it's a transient.”
“Perhaps. Anyway, I'm sure that speed demon is heading back to shore,” Joe replied. “Let's go in and make some inquiries.”
“We'd better telephone the Coast Guard station and tell about that periscope, too,” Frank added.
The boys arrived at their private boathouse and tied up the
Sleuth.
An examination showed that she had a dent in her side. Then Frank went to a telephone booth and dialed the Barmet Coast Guard Station.
A man's voice crackled from the receiver. “Coast Guard. Lieutenant Parker speaking.”
Frank told him what he and Joe had seen.
“Thank you for the information,” the lieutenant replied. “Since no sub is expected here, I'll have one of our cutters start an immediate search!”
The respect and cooperation extended to the Hardys was typical of all who knew them. Frank and Joe often worked with their father on his cases, and their ability in solving baffling mysteries had won the youths an enviable reputation of their own.
After Frank had hung up, the boys made a reconnaissance of the piers and docks stretching along the shore of Barmet Bay.
Presently Joe grabbed his brother's arm. “I see the speedboat!” he said excitedly.
“Where?”
“At Sandy MacPherson's place!”
The boys ran to the dock of MacPherson's Boat Rental Service, where Sandy, an elderly Scot, seemed to be talking to himself.
“The brigand!” he stormed. “He bashed in the stern of me new boat! I've had the
Ira
Q but three days, and already it's damaged! He'll pay for this!”
“Who?” asked Frank.
“That Mexican fellow!”
“We're after him, too,” Frank said. “He damaged your boat when he ran into ours.”
“What!” MacPherson exclaimed. “He'll no get away with this!”
“Calm down, Mr. MacPherson,” Joe pleaded. “You say the fellow was Mexican?”
“Yes,” the proprietor answered. “Pancho Cardillo was the name he gave me. He seemed to know quite a bit about boats. So I paid no mind when he asked me to rent him the
Ira Q.”
“Did he give you an address?” Frank asked.
“Yes,” MacPherson said. “He's at the Hotel Bayport. That's where he is.”
“Thanks,” Frank said. “Joe and I'll go there right away. This Cardillo fellow might suddenly get the idea to leave town.”
After learning that Cardillo had driven off in a car, the boys hastened to their own convertible, which they had left near the boathouse. Frank headed for downtown Bayport. He parked in front of the hotel, then the young detectives darted into the lobby and approached the desk clerk.
“May we have Pancho Cardillo's room number, please?” Frank asked.
“You mean Senor Cardillo,” the clerk replied. “He checked out just a few minutes ago. Paid his bill in pesos. Highly irregular. I had no alternative but to accept. Figuring out the exchange is always a nuisance.”
Frank interrupted the clerk. “What address did he list in your register?”
The man glanced at his card file. “Tampico, Mexico,” he answered. “And that's all I can tell you. The gentleman paid his bill and hurried to a car that was waiting for him outside.”
“Can you give us a description of the car?” Frank prodded.
The clerk became irritated. “What do you fellows think I am—the FBI?”
“Well, thanks anyway,” Frank said, and the boys hurried back to their own automobile.
Night had come on quickly, but Frank and Joe decided to make one more inquiry about Cardillo's car. If they had a description, Police Chief Collig could issue a bulletin to pick him up.
“I'd like to get my hands on that wise guy, if only for Sandy MacPherson's sake,” Joe said. “He works hard to keep his boats in good condition.”
Frank brought the car to a stop in front of a telephone booth. “I'm going to phone Sandy now. Just by chance, he might be able to give us a description of the car.”
Frank dialed the boatman's number, but there was no answer. “That's funny,” the boy remarked. “MacPherson doesn't answer—and he lives in the rear of his office.”
“Maybe he's out on the dock and can't hear the phone ringing.”
“Perhaps,” Frank said. “Let's drive back there.”
In a few minutes the boys arrived at MacPherson's dock. They noticed a dim, irregular pattern of light streaming through his office window, as if from a lamp that had been overturned. The boys hastened to the small building and peered inside.
MacPherson was lying face down on the floor.
“I think he's unconscious!” Frank exclaimed.
The Hardys rushed inside to help him. As they turned him face up, the boatman groaned. “That brigandl He was here again!”
“What happened?” Frank asked quickly.
“Cardillo came back! He wanted me speedboat. I told him no. That devil said he would take the
Ira Q,
anyway.”
“Easy now,” Frank told the distraught man. “Then what happened?”
“I told him he'd have to step over me to get to it. He must've had friends with him, because I was suddenly hit from behind!”
Sandy MacPherson rose shakily and rubbed his head.
“Call the harbor police, Mr. MacPherson!” Frank said quickly. “Joe and I'll take the Sleuth and search for your boat. There's a chance it still may be out on the bay.”
“Watch out for fogl” MacPherson said. “It's forecast.”
“We will,” Frank assured him.
The boys drove to their boathouse, untied the Sleuth, and sped out onto Barmet Bay. Joe manned a portable searchlight, and swept the beam back and forth across the water.
“MacPherson was right about the weather forecast,” Frank observed. “Fog is beginning to move in.” Joe used the portable light intermittently so as not to be dazzled by its glare.
Nearly an hour passed. By now the Hardys were far out in the bay. They were about to turn back when Joe directed the beam of his searchlight slightly off the port bow.
“I've spotted something!” he exclaimed. “It looks like a boat!”
Frank swung the
Sleuth
toward the object. It presented a ghostlike image through the haze.
“It's the
Ira
Q!” Joe yelled triumphantly.
BOOK: The Mark on the Door
7.02Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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