Table of Contents
THE YELLOW FEATHER MYSTERY
THE famous young detectives Frank and Joe Hardy are caught up in a dangerous web of intrigue when they agree to help Greg Woodson search for his grandfather's missing will. Greg feels sure that he is the rightful heir to his grandfather's property, including Woodson Academy, but no trace of a will can be found.
Greg's grandfather had promised to tell him about “Yellow Feather” shortly before he died. Who or what can Yellow Feather be? And where does Henry Kurt, the temporary headmaster of Woodson Academy, fit in? He insists that he is to inherit the school. Moreover, Kurt claims to have been threatened by Yellow Feather!
Frank and Joe risk their lives several times before they solve the mystery of Yellow Feather and trap a sinister criminal who will stop at nothingâeven murderâto satisfy his greed for money.
Joe pulled himself and the boy up
1971, 1953, 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 BOYSÂ® is a registered trademark of Simon & Schuster, Inc.
GROSSET & DUNLAP is a trademark of Grosset & Dunlap, Inc.
Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 78-158746
eISBN : 978-1-101-07647-7
A Strange Request
SKATING against the stiff evening wind, Frank and Joe Hardy streaked across the frozen surface of Willow River toward Woodson Academy. The bright winter moon was rising beyond the buildings on their right along the riverbank.
“Why do you suppose Gregory Woodson phoned us to meet him at the school boathouse?” Joe asked.
“Just before the connection was broken, Greg said he feared that someone might overhear us in the dormitory,” Frank told his brother. “I guess what he's going to tell us must be top secret.”
“It sure sounds so,” Joe remarked as the boys approached the meeting place. “Well, he ought to be here. It's five-thirty.”
Dark-haired Frank Hardy, eighteen, and his blond brother, a year younger, were known in Bayport, where they lived, as clever detectives. Although they were still high school students, they often helped their father, a nationally famous sleuth, solve baffling cases. Occasionally they were asked to solve a mystery on their own, like the present one.
When the boys reached the boathouse raft, the building was pitch black and the silence intense. Suddenly a youthful voice called quietly:
“Come straight across the float, fellows. I'm right in front of you!”
“Is that you, Woodson?” Frank asked.
“Yes, it is. You're the Hardys?”
As the boys walked forward on their skates, a tall, slender young man moved out of the shadows. The Hardys judged him to be about twenty-two.
“I'm sorry we were cut off when you phoned,” Frank began. “You want us to help you solve a mystery?”
“Yes. My grandfather, Elias Woodson, was headmaster and owner of the Academy until his recent death. It's about the inheritance I'm supposed to receive that I'd like to talk to you.”
Both Hardy boys immediately warmed up to the pleasant young man and Joe said, “Our father's an alumnus of the Academy and knew your grandfather well. I'm sure Dad would want us to help you.”
“Thanks,” Woodson responded. “I'm glad you'll take the caseâyou might call it the mystery of the Yellow Feather.”
“Yellow Feather?” Joe repeated.
“I'll explain in a moment,” Woodson replied.
“I have a key to the boathouse. Let's go inside out of the wind and I'll show you a clue I brought along.”
As the boys were about to enter the building, a wild scream out on the river arrested their attention.
“Look there!” Joe cried.
A short distance down the shore several students were skating near a large bonfire. Close by a large black hole yawned in the ice. Joe caught sight of a young boy trying to crawl back from the thin-surfaced area at the edge of it.
Joe did not wait. Like a flash he was off across the ice, with Frank and Greg trailing him. As Joe approached, the youngster shrieked in terror, crashed through the ice, and disappeared. There were cries of horror from his companions.
Without hesitation Joe slid into the dark water. As Greg Woodson and Frank looked on, ready to help, he rose to the surface with the struggling boy.
“Hold on!” Frank cried.
He had spotted a long log near the bonfire. Grabbing one end of it, he asked Greg to help him. Together they laid the log across the thin ice and the hole. While they held it, Joe pulled himself and the young skater up on it and slowly they made their way to a safe spot on firm ice.
Immediately the rescued twelve-year-old began to shake from the shock of the icy water. His friends crowded around in awe and fright, explaining to the Hardys that they had been playing snap-the-whip when their end player, Skinny Mason, had been flung off the firm ice.
“You okay, Skinny?” one of the players asked.
“I-I g-guess so.”
Frank whipped off his heavy leather jacket and wrapped it around the shivering boy.
“Th-thanks,” Skinny quavered. “I'll b-be all r-right now.” He looked gratefully at Joe and added, “I'll never forget that you s-saved my l-life!”
“Come on. We'd better get you both to the school,” Greg urged.
An older boy skated up, saying that he would take charge of Skinny. As he moved off with the youngster, Joe turned to Greg.
“Is there any place we can go where I can dry my clothes? I want to hear the rest of your story.”
Greg thought a moment. “I've got itâthe caretaker's cottage. Nobody will be there at this hour. The door's always open and I know the Teevans well. They've been here a long time.”
When the boys reached the snow-covered riverbank they removed their skates and hurried through a patch of woods to the Teevan house. A low light shone inside. As Greg opened the door and invited them to enter, he remarked that Mrs. Teevan was the school cook.
A few minutes later the three were seated before an open fire. Joe had wrapped Mr. Teevan's bathrobe about him while Greg put his clothes in the dryer. Then young Woodson made hot cocoa for all of them.
As Frank sipped the steaming drink, he said, “Tell us your story, Greg.”
“The night before Grandfather's death I received a phone call from him at Myles College, where I'm a student. He explained that his health was failing rapidly, and he wanted to tell me about the Yellow Feather.
“I never did find out what he meant,” the young man continued. “Grandfather suddenly became ill and hung up. The next day I received a call from Henry Kurt, the assistant headmaster, that my grandfather had died.”
“That's too bad,” Frank said. “How long ago was this?”
“Several weeks,” Greg replied. “So far no will has been found. But Grandfather told me that he had willed me his entire estate.”
Frank raised his eyebrows. “Have you contacted his lawyer?”
“Yes. Grandfather obviously never consulted him in this matter.”
“Has a thorough search been made?” Joe inquired.
“Sure. I even tested all the walls at the school for secret panels and hidden closets. But now I have a new worry. Since I've been here searching, I've received several mysterious phone calls and a couple of unsigned letters warning me to leave Woodson Academy. I think the person is the Yellow Feather!”
The Hardys looked at each other, perplexed.
“It's a mighty queer name for anyone unless he's an Indian,” Joe commented. “Have you any clues to his identity?”
“Just a couple of days after Grandfather's death, I received a peculiar letter. Grandfather had addressed the envelopeâI'm sure of that, even though the ink was nearly washed off. Inside was a sheet of white paper with the name Hardy printed in the top left corner.”
“Yes?” Frank prodded, startled to hear that his own family might be involved in the mystery.
“That was the only writing on the sheet,” Greg explained. “But below the name was something most unusualâa group of small rectangular cutouts arranged horizontally. Here, I'll show it to you.”
Greg crossed the room to where his jacket hung over a chair. He ran his hands through the pockets, at first slowly, then with frantic speed. At last he wheeled about, his face ash white.
“The paperâand the envelopeâI've lost them!”
At the Hardys' suggestion Greg Woodson made a search of all his pockets for the missing envelope. But it was of no avail.
“That piece of paper might be the key to the mystery of the Yellow Feather!” he said.
“Perhaps you dropped the envelope when we were rescuing Skinny,” Joe suggested.
Greg snapped his fingers. “Of course. It must have slipped out then.”
“Let's take a look,” Frank proposed.
Joe's clothes were now completely dry, so he quickly donned them. Greg borrowed flashlights from the kitchen closet, then the three boys grabbed their skates and hurried from the cottage. At the river's edge they sat down to put on their skating shoes. As Greg knotted a broken lace, he said, “I'd hoped to become Grandfather's assistant here after I graduate from college in June. Then when he died, I figured on running the school myself.”
“But until a will is found you can't do that, I suppose,” Frank said.
“That's right. And it won't be easy to run the school even then. For the last few years, it has been a financial struggle to keep the Academy going.”