Heartened, Nancy thanked him and resumed her pursuit, going past the turn for River Heights. "If only I can overtake the truck and somehow examine the Crowley clock before I have to report to the police!" she thought.
Again time elapsed and Nancy still saw no sign of a moving van on the highway. It was growing dusk and she decided that she would have to admit defeat.
"I never caught up to them." She sighed in disappointment, and turning into the opposite lane, headed back for the River Heights road.
Just then Nancy recalled that a little beyond the service station where she had stopped, she had noticed a rather run-down old inn. It was a slim hope, she knew, but the thieves might have put their van behind it while having a meal there.
"I'll go in and ask, anyhow," she decided.
Nancy increased her speed as much as she dared and within a few minutes came in sight of the inn. It stood back from the road a short distance and was half-hidden by tall trees. In front of the building a battered sign bearing the name Slack Horse Inn creaked back and forth from a post. There was no sign of the van. Beyond the inn Nancy glimpsed a garage and a large barn. The doors to both were closed.
"I wonder," mused Nancy, "if the moving van is parked inside either one."
At the far side of the inn was a small woods with a narrow road leading into it. For safety's sake, Nancy thought it best to park her car on this little-used road.
She turned off the car lights, pocketed the key, and walked back to the curving driveway leading to the inn. As Nancy made her way forward, her heart pounded. There were tire marks which could belong to Sid's van I They led to the barn I
"Maybe those thieves are eating," she thought. "I'll look."
As Nancy stepped onto the porch, the sound of raucous laughter reached her ears. She tiptoed to a window and peered inside. What the young sleuth saw made her gasp, but she felt a glow of satisfaction.
In a dingy, dimly lighted room three men were seated about a table, eating voraciously. They were the thieves who had robbed the Topham bungalow!