still playing aide to her father.
"Oh, yes," she said, and at once told him about the Drews' interest in the Crowley case.
"Did you know Josiah Crowley or ever hear of him?" she asked.
Both the Harts nodded. "A maid who used to be with them, came to work for us after Mrs. Crowley's death," the judge explained. "Jane herself passed away a short time ago."
"We never met Josiah," Mrs. Hart added, "but Jane pointed him out to my husband and me one time down on Main Street."
"Did he have relatives or friends in town?" Nancy inquired.
"I think not," the judge replied.
Nancy wondered what old Josiah had been doing in Masonville if he had no relatives or friends there. The town was not known as a spot for sight-seeing. Her interest was further quickened when Mrs. Hart remarked that she had seen Mr. Crowley in town at another time also.
"How long ago was that?" the girl asked.
Mrs. Hart thought a minute, then replied, "Oh, less than a year, I'd say."
When luncheon was over, the judge said he must leave. Nancy told the Harts she too should go. She thanked them for their hospitality, then said good-by. Soon she was driving homeward.
"Why had Mr. Crowley gone to Masonville?" she asked herself. "Could it have had anything to do with a later will?"
Nancy had chosen a route which would take her to River Road. Half an hour later she turned into the beautiful country road which wound in and out along the Muskoka River, and began to look at the names on the mailboxes. "Hoover," she reminded herself.
About halfway to River Heights, while enjoying the pastoral scenes of cows standing knee-high in shallow sections of the stream, and sheep grazing on flower-dotted hillsides, Nancy suddenly realized the sun had been blotted out.
"A thunderstorm's on the way," she told herself, glancing at black clouds scudding across the sky. "Guess I'd better put the top of the car up."
She pressed the button on the dashboard to raise the top, but nothing happened. Puzzled, Nancy tried again. Still there was no response. By this time large drops of rain had started to fall.
"I'll get soaked," Nancy thought, as she looked around.
There was no shelter in sight. But ahead, past a steep rise, was a sharp bend in the road. Hopeful that there would be a house or barn beyond, Nancy started the car again.
Vivid forked lightning streaked across the sky. It was followed by an earth-shaking clap of thunder. The rain came down harder.
"Oh, why didn't I bring a raincoat?" Nancy wailed.
When Nancy swung around the bend, she was delighted to see a barn with lightning rods about a quarter mile ahead. Farther on stood a small white house.
"I wonder if that's the Hoover place," Nancy mused.
By now the storm was letting loose in all its fury. The sky was as dark as night and Nancy had to switch on her headlights to see the road. She was already thoroughly drenched and her thought of shelter at this point was one of safety rather than of keeping dry.
Nancy turned on the windshield wipers, but the rain was so blinding in its intensity, it was impossible to see more than a few feet ahead. Almost in an instant the road had dissolved into a sea of mud.
Nancy had been caught in a number of storms, but never one as violent as this. She feared a bad skid might land her in a ditch before she could reach the shelter of the barn.
"How much farther is it?" she worried. "It didn't seem this far away."
The next instant, to Nancy's right, a ball of fire rocketed down from the sky.
"Oh! That was close!" she thought fearfully. Her skin tingled from the electrical vibrations in the air.
A moment later a surge of relief swept over Nancy. "At last!" she breathed.
At the side of the road the barn loomed up. Its large double doors were wide open. Without hesitation, Nancy headed straight for the building and drove in.
The next moment she heard a piercing scream!