Chapter 4 – The Secret Room
Mr. Dalrymple lays out the mystery he has on his hands. It turns out that he bought the Purdy place after Jason Purdy died hoping to make some money on the investment. Mr. Purdy was a rich man, but also very eccentric. It turns out that he had an elaborate secret room built into the center of the house. The room is only accessible through one door that is equipped with a time lock. Mr. Purdy used to spend hours in the room hatching schemes for making more money. Only he and his servant knew of the room’s existence.
Mr. Dalrymple decided to move into the house upon the discovery of the secret room. He planned to use the room as an office where he could not be disturbed. However, recently he has entered the room at the appointed time to find threatening notes. One said “You must leave this house forever or death will await you” while the other said “Death while the clock ticks.” The boys are to investigate what the notes mean and how they got into the secret room. After Dalrymple leaves, the boys make plans to revisit the Purdy place that night.
We get a taste of what the book’s title may be referring to.
The layout of the secret room sounds a lot like the computer room from the first Mission Impossible movie. It has a fireplace and chimney, but the flue is small and there is an iron grate to prevent anyone coming through the chimney. The only way in or out is through the time-locked door. Or is it?!?