Racing the Storm
"CONFIDENTIAL?" Mr. Drew repeated, looking at Mr. Rolsted. "You may rest assured that whatever you tell us will not be repeated to anyone."
"Well, I'll say this much," Mr. Rolsted went on, "about a year ago Josiah Crowley came to me and said he wanted to draw up a new will. He indicated that he intended to spread out his bequests among several people. He expressed a desire to write the will himself, and asked me a number of questions. I took him to my office and told him exactly how to proceed. When he left, he promised to have me look over the document after he had drawn it up "
"Then you actually saw the will?" Mr. Drew asked in surprise.
"No. Strange to say, Crowley never came back. I don't know whether he ever wrote the will or not."
"And if he did, there would be a chance that it would not be legal?" Nancy spoke up.
"Yes. He might have typed it and signed the paper without a witness. In this state at least two witnesses are required and three are advisable."
"What would happen," Nancy asked, "if a person were ill or dying and had no witness, and wanted to make a will?"
Mr. Rolsted smiled. "That sometimes happens. If the person writes the will himself by hand and signs it, so there's no doubt the same person did both, the surrogate's office will accept it for probate."
"Then if Mr. Crowley wrote out and signed a new will, it would be legal," Nancy commented.
"That's right. But there's another thing to remember. It's pretty risky for someone who is not a lawyer to draw up a will that cannot be broken."
Mr. Drew nodded. "If Josiah Crowley left any loophole in a will he wrote personally, the Tophams would drag the matter into court."
"Yes. It's a foregone conclusion that the Tophams will fight to keep the fortune whether they have a right to it or not. I believe some other relatives have filed a claim, but up to the moment they have no proof that a later will exists."
Although Nancy gave no indication of her feelings, the possibility that Mr. Crowley had made a new will thrilled her. As soon as Mr. Drew paid the luncheon check, the three arose and left the dining room. Mr. Rolsted took leave o£ Nancy and her father in the lobby.
"Well, Nancy, did you find out what you wanted to know?" Mr. Drew asked after the lawyer had left.
"Oh, Dad, it's just as I suspected. I'm sure Mr. Crowley did make a later will He hid it some place If only I could find out where!"
"It would be like looking for a needle in a haystack," Mr. Drew commented.
"I must figure out a way!" Nancy said with determination. "I want to help little Judy."
She awoke the next morning thinking about the mystery. But where should she start hunting for possible clues to a second will? She continued pondering about it while she showered and dressed.
As she entered the dining room, she was greeted with a cheery "Good morning" from her father and Hannah Gruen. During breakfast Mr. Drew said, "Nancy, would you do a little errand for me this morning?"
"Why, of course, Dad."
"I have a number of legal documents which must be delivered to Judge Hart at Masonville some time before noon. I'd take them myself, but I have several important appointments. I'd appreciate it if you would drive over there with them."
"I'll be glad to go," Nancy promised willingly. "Besides, it's such a wonderful day. I'll enjoy the trip. Where are the papers?"
"At the office. You can drive me down and I'll get them for you."
Nancy, wearing a yellow sunback dress and jacket, hurried away to get her gloves and handbag. Before Mr. Drew had collected his own belongings, she had brought her car from the garage and was waiting for him at the front door.
"I put the top down so I can enjoy the sun," she explained as her father climbed in.
"Good idea. I haven't heard you mention the Crowley case yet today," Mr. Drew teased as they rode along. "Have you forgotten about it?"
Nancy's face clouded. "No, I haven't forgotten, but I must admit I am stumped as to where to search for clues."
"Maybe I can help you. I've learned that the two girls on River Road who expected to be remembered in the will are named Hoover. You might look them up on your return trip."
"That's great. I'll watch the mailboxes for their name."
When they reached the building where Mr. Drew had his office, Nancy parked the car and waited while her father went upstairs to get the legal documents to be delivered to Judge Hart Returning a few minutes later, he placed a fat Manila envelope in his daughter's hand.
"Give this to the judge. You know where to find him?"
"Yes, Dad. In the old Merchants Trust Company Building."
Selecting a recently constructed highway, Nancy rode along, glancing occasionally at the neatly planted fields on cither side. Beyond were rolling hills.
"Pretty," she commented to herself. "Oh, why can't all people be nice like this scenery and not make trouble?"
It was nearly eleven o'clock when she finally drove into Masonville. Nancy went at once to Judge Hart's office but was informed he had gone to the courthouse. Recalling that her father had mentioned the necessity of the papers being delivered before noon, she set off in search of the judge.
Nancy had considerable trouble trying to see him, and it was twelve o'clock when at last she delivered the Manila envelope into his hands.
"Thank you very much," he said. "I'll need these directly after lunch."
Nancy smiled. "Then I'm glad I found you."
When Judge Hart learned that Nancy was the daughter of Carson Drew, he at once insisted that she have luncheon with him and his wife at their home before returning to River Heights.
She accepted the invitation and spent a very pleasant hour with the Harts. During the meal the judge laughingly asked if Nancy was