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The Vanishing Velázquez PDF Free Download

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1. The Veil Disappears
2. Visitor from the Past
3. The White Limousine
4. The Clue in the Church
5. Blackout!
6. Inside the Witchcraft
7. Brendan Thorndike’s
Missing Heirs
8. The Boston Tea Party
9. At the Laugh Riot
10. Graveyard Horror
11. A Veil of Mystery
12. Cecelia’s Party
13. Family Secrets
14. Kidnapped!
15. The Grandmother of
the Bride
16. Reunion
The Veil Disappears
“It’s gone. We can’t find it anywhere and Meredith is hysterical,” George Fayne said to her friend Nancy Drew. George was a little out of breath, and she was whispering so no one else in the beautiful old stone church could hear her. The smell of fresh-cut flowers was everywhere.
Eighteen-year-old Nancy Drew pushed back her reddish blond hair. She turned in her pew and looked at George, who was standing in the aisle beside her.
“What’s gone?” Nancy whispered back.
“Meredith’s wedding veil,” said George. “It’s an antique, and she refuses to get married without it.”
“Are you sure it’s not just a case of prewedding nerves?” asked Nancy.
“I don’t know,” George answered, glancing toward the back of the church. “Oh — wait a sec. Someone’s motioning to me. Maybe they found it.”
George picked up the skirt of her long, apricot-colored bridesmaid’s dress and hurried down the aisle toward the door.
Nancy watched George leave and then swiveled back toward her friend Bess Marvin, who was sitting on the bench next to Nancy.
“What should we do?” Nancy said with an uncertain expression on her face.
“Don’t look at me, “ Bess said. “I didn’t take the bride’s veil. I’m just sitting here like a good wedding guest … waiting patiently. I mean, am I complaining because the wedding is half an hour late, and we’ve come all the way to Boston for a wedding where we don’t even know the bride or groom, and the church is stuffy, and my new heels are killing me? No. I’m focused on one thing and one thing only — “
“Catching the bridal bouquet,” Nancy said.
“Right,” Bess said.
Nancy looked at her watch for the tenth time in ten minutes. “Still, don’t you think we should go help them find it?” she said to Bess. “It’s getting late.”
“Find the bouquet?” Bess answered.
“No, silly! The veil!” Nancy laughed. “You really are focused on only one thing.”
“Don’t worry about the veil,” Bess replied. “It’ll turn up. Weddings never start on time anyway.
The organist was playing the same three songs over and over. Wedding guests talked and shifted restlessly on the benches.
Nancy smoothed the skirt of her flowered print dress and listened to the conversations going on around her.
“Meredith won’t be the first bride to get cold feet,” a woman in front of her said.
Across the aisle two men were talking intently. “It’s amazing,” Nancy heard one of them say. “I read in the paper that they still haven’t found an heir to the Thorndike fortune. Sixty million dollars!” He shook his head slowly back and forth.
“Mommy, I have to go to the bathroom,” said a little boy in a loud voice. His mother sighed, but everyone else laughed.
“You friends of the bride?” asked a man next to Bess. He was sitting uncomfortably in a tuxedo with his hands on his knees. His wife and daughters were beside him.
“No, we’re friends of George Fayne — one of the bridesmaids,” Nancy said.
“George is my cousin,” Bess said, plucking an invisible piece of lint from her navy blue dress. “George and Meredith met at camp and have been friends ever since,” she explained.
The man’s wife looked confused. “Isn’t he going to feel silly being a bridesmaid?” she asked.
“George is a girl,” Bess said coldly. She was going to say more but stopped herself when she saw George rushing back down the aisle.
“What’s going on?” Bess asked when George reached the pew.
George just shook her head and said quickly, “Don’t ask — follow me.”
“Let’s go,” Nancy said, picking up her handbag and straw hat.
The three girls were quiet until they reached the vestibule of the church. Then George began speaking as she led the way up some stairs. “I was hoping everything would go perfectly for Meredith. She deserves it,” George said in a serious voice. “She hasn’t exactly gotten all the breaks. I mean it’s awful how both her parents were killed in a plane crash when she was only eight.”
“I know what that’s like,” Nancy said. For a moment, Nancy thought of her own mother, who had died when Nancy was three.
“Yes,” George said sympathetically. “Anyway, Meredith is freaking out about her wedding veil. So I told her you were a detective and that maybe you could help.”
By then they were standing outside a carved wooden door on the second floor of the church. George knocked once and opened the door.
The room was small but bright with sunlight pouring through two windows. The largest piece of furniture in the room was a full-length mirror.
Meredith Brody was sitting alone on a metal folding chair when Nancy, George, and Bess came in. She had long black hair and skin even paler than her pearl-embroidered wedding dress.
“Meredith, this is my cousin Bess and my friend Nancy Drew,” George said.
The twenty-year-old bride stood up and walked forward to shake hands with Bess first.
“So you’re George’s cousin. I’m so happy to meet you at last. You’re even prettier than she said.” Meredith’s manners were perfect, but her voice was filled with tension. Then she greeted Nancy. “Thank you for coming to my wedding. George always told me what a fabulous detective you are. But I never thought I’d need a detective on my wedding day.”
“At least the groom’s not missing,” Nancy said warmly. “I saw him downstairs. He looks nice.”
“Mark’s the greatest,” Meredith said, her face lighting up at the mention of her fiance, Mark Webb. But a moment later the tension returned.
“Tell me about your veil,” Nancy said. “Is it valuable?”
“No, but it’s my grandmother’s veil, the one she got married in,” Meredith answered. “After my parents died, my grandmother brought me up. She’s practically my only family. That’s why it’s so important to me.”
Meredith ran her fingers through her long hair and started pacing around the room. “I’ve got to find it, and soon. Everyone down there must be wondering what’s going on,” she said nervously. “Maybe it blew out the window when my back was turned.”
“It didn’t blow out the window,” Nancy said, her eyes darting around the room. “It’s too far from the window to that small chest of drawers.”
“How did you know I put the veil on the chest of drawers?” Meredith asked.
“There’s no other place in this room to put anything,” Nancy said. “Besides, that’s where your hair combs are. You’d keep them nearby.”
Meredith’s face seemed to relax a little. “George was certainly right about you. You are a fabulous detective.”
“Is there anyone else who knows how much the veil means to you?” Nancy asked. “Someone who might want to play a trick on you — a very cruel trick?”
Meredith shook her head no. “Honestly, I don’t think I have a single enemy. I can’t explain it. One minute my veil was right there and th
e next minute it was gone.”
“What were you doing before you noticed the veil was missing?” Nancy asked.
“Well, by that time everyone in the wedding party except George had gone downstairs. I was standing at the mirror adjusting my dress, and someone knocked on the door,” Meredith said. “There in the doorway was a woman with red hair and a lot of makeup. Her face was all smiles. Just looking at her made me feel good — as though she thought I was the most beautiful bride on earth. She introduced herself as Mrs. Petry, the minister’s wife. She said Reverend Petry had to see me right away. So I went with her.”
“Where?” Nancy asked.
Meredith walked quickly out of the small room and into the dark, narrow hallway. George, Bess, and Nancy followed, their high heels clicking on the stone floor.
At the end of the hallway, Meredith stopped in front of a solid wooden door.
“She said her husband was waiting in his office for me,” Meredith said. “Go on in, Nancy. You don’t have to knock.”
Nancy reached for the smooth brass door handle and opened the door. Inside, a single bare lightbulb swung back and forth. It took a few seconds for Nancy’s eyes to adjust to the dimness. But when they did, she saw nothing but brooms, mops, and buckets sitting on the floor.
“Gee,” said Bess, “you’d think a minister would have a better office than this.”
“It’s a broom closet, Bess,” said George.
Bess coughed.
“What did Mrs. Petry say after you opened the door?” Nancy asked Meredith.
“I turned around and she was gone.”
“All fight,” Nancy said, turning to Bess. “Could you go find Mrs. Petry? And George, you go tell the minister that Meredith needs ten more minutes before the wedding can start.”
Bess and George hurried off to find the minister and his wife, leaving Nancy alone with the unhappy bride.
“Cheer up,” Nancy said kindly to Meredith. “You look absolutely beautiful — veil or no veil.”
“You don’t understand,” Meredith said. “I have to get it back.” She looked around in the hallway. “Maybe I carried the veil with me when I came into the hall, and then dropped it somewhere.”
“That’s not what happened,” Nancy said. “You didn’t lose the veil, Someone stole it.”
Meredith let out her breath in a sigh. “That’s what I think, too. But how? Besides, the minister’s wife — a thief? It doesn’t make sense.”
“We’ll see,” Nancy said. “Let’s reenact what happened. I’ll turn around and open the door to the broom closet again. This time, you try to go back to the dressing room.”
Nancy opened the closet again and stared at the cleaning tools for a moment. “Stop!” Nancy shouted, and Meredith’s footsteps stopped.
Nancy turned around. “I looked inside and realized there was some kind of mistake, just as you did. So I turned around to ask Mrs. Petry what was going on, just as you did. But you said she was already gone.”
“She was, and I’m only halfway down the hall,” Meredith said.
“Right,” Nancy answered, “which means she must have exited somewhere between here and the dressing room. She couldn’t have made it all the way back there to steal the veil.”
“So Mrs. Petry is innocent,” Meredith said, relaxing against the wall. “I’m glad. It would have been embarrassing to tell Reverend Petry thanks for a wonderful wedding and by the way, your wife’s a thief.”
Both young women laughed and walked back into the dressing room.
“No, Mrs. Petry didn’t steal it,” Nancy said. “But I think she tricked you into leaving the room — so that someone else could. “
Meredith’s face suddenly collapsed. “I was afraid of this. It’s coming true. The prediction is coming true — and my whole marriage is going to be ruined!”
She fell back onto the folding chair, and after one last brave moment, burst into tears.
Nancy opened her handbag and pulled out a handful of tissues.
“The bride’s not supposed to cry at the wedding,” she said. She handed all but one of the tissues to Meredith. “Here. I’m keeping one for myself — to use during the ceremony. Now come on and tell me what this is all about.”
Meredith dried her eyes and gave Nancy a small smile.
“What a good friend you are,” Meredith said. “And you don’t really even know me.” Then she blew her nose a few times and began talking.
“It’s about a prediction,” Meredith said. “You see, about a year ago, I was really down. Nothing was going right for me. So just for fun, I went to see an astrologer — Helga Tarback. She told me a lot of things about myself — all her predictions came true. Then she said I’d meet a man who had dark, angry eyes, but that I shouldn’t be afraid of him because I was going to marry him.”
“Mark Webb, your fiancé, has dark eyes,” Nancy said. “In fact his eyes are riveting — I noticed.”
“Right. Well, two days after I talked to Helga, I rear-ended a green sports car in a parking lot,” Meredith went on. “The driver — who was Mark — jumped out, ran over, and began yelling at me. But then we looked at each other and, believe it or not, it was love at first sight. That was a year ago.”
“And you went back to see Helga Tarback again?” asked Nancy.
“Yes, about three or four times,” Meredith said. “Because she always told me good things, and everything she said seemed to come true. But the last time I saw her, she said she had bad news. She said that something was going to be lost or stolen on my wedding day, and if I didn’t get it back, my whole marriage would be shrouded in a cloud of bad luck. Those were her exact words — ’a cloud of bad luck.’“
Before Nancy could speak again, Bess and George walked back into the room.
“I couldn’t find Mrs. Petry,” Bess said. “But George found Reverend Petry, and wait till you hear what he said.”
Nancy waited. George didn’t speak up.
“Well? What did Reverend Petry say, George?” Nancy asked.
George bit her lip. “He said he’s not married, and he never has been!”
Just then a car horn blasted from the street below. It played “Here Comes the Bride” three times loudly. But the horn was only half as loud as the rough voice that called out afterward.
“Meredith! Meredith Brody!” shouted a young man at the top of his lungs.
Suddenly Meredith jumped to her feet and looked out the window. “Oh, no,” she said, backing as far away from the window as possible. “I knew he’d ruin my wedding!”
“Meredith!” he shouted again. “Are you listening, sweetheart? I told you I’d be back!”
Visitor from the Past
Meredith opened her mouth to say something, but only a small sob came out.
Nancy rushed to the window and looked down at the street in front of the church. A young man was standing on the roof of a car with his hands on his hips. “Meredith, you can run but you can’t hide,” he shouted.
“Who is he?” asked Nancy.
“His name is Tony Fiske,” Meredith answered, anger flushing her cheeks. “And I’m sorry to admit it, but he was my boyfriend once upon a time.”
“We all make mistakes,” George said dryly. “Well, my mistake with Tony was thinking that he’d outgrow talking loudly, running stop lights, and getting into fist fights. Eventually I realized what a jerk he was and told him I never wanted to see him again. But he kept trying to see me — even after Mark and I were engaged. A week ago he even had the nerve to call up to say he wouldn’t let me marry anyone else.”
“So you do have an enemy,” Nancy said. “Why didn’t you tell me?”
“I don’t think of him as an enemy. He’s just a huge mistake in my life, and I wish he would disappear.”
Bess glanced at Nancy. “I’ll bet Tony Fiske stole the veil,” she announced. “What do you think, Nancy?”
“I think I’d like to have a word with him,” Nancy said, heading for t
he door.
“I’m coming with you,” Bess said.
“You can tell him two words for me — get lost, “ Meredith called as Nancy and Bess hurried out of the dressing room.
They ran along the hall and down the long set of steps to the main floor of the church. Nancy pushed the heavy wooden church door open, and stepped across the threshold. Outside, it took a minute for the girls’ eyes to adjust to the bright sunlight, but as soon as they could see again, Nancy and Bess realized that Tony Fiske had vanished.
“Do you think he really stole the veil, Nancy.” Bess asked.
“I don’t know.” Nancy sighed. “Tony’s gone, Mrs. Petry’s gone, Meredith’s veil is gone. Nothing stays in one place long enough for me to find anything out.”
“And the limo’s gone, too,” Bess said out of the blue.
Nancy turned to her friend. “What do you mean, Bess? The limo is parked right in front of us.”
“Not that dark limo. Didn’t you see that milky white stretch limo?” Bess replied. “It was parked across from the church when we arrived.”
Nancy nodded.
“I noticed it because it had one of those one-word license plates on it. LICORICE. Pretty funny for an all-white car,” Bess said. “I thought for sure it was Meredith and Mark’s getaway car for after the wedding. But it’s gone.”
Why would the bride and groom’s limo leave the wedding without them? Nancy wondered. It didn’t make sense.
“It’s a due, isn’t it?” Bess asked, following quietly behind Nancy. “I can see it written all over your face.”
Nancy, lost in her own thoughts, didn’t answer her friend. Instead she walked across the church lawn and stood in front of the ivy-covered wall underneath Meredith’s dressing-room window.
“Meredith!” Nancy called to the second-story window.
Meredith’s head leaned out.
“Your astrologer said the veil had to be found,” Nancy called. “But she didn’t say it had to be found before the wedding, did she?”
“No,” Meredith called back.
“Great. Then why don’t you and Mark get married before all of your guests leave and I’ll find the veil afterward?”

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