Chapter 12 – The Stranger
That evening, the boys make plans to go back to the house and watch the hidden road for signs of the thieves. As they are leaving their house, they are spotted by their chums Biff and Jerry who invite them to the ice cream parlor. The Hardys decline and the friends tease them that they must be going to call on their girlfriends, otherwise they would have no excuse to accompany them. Frank and Joe finally acquiesce to the badgering. They stay out at the parlor quite late and are escorted back home afterwards.
Finally, they start making their way to the Purdy Place. On the way, they notice someone following them at a distance. When they reach the estate, they hide and double back on their follower only to discover that it is Chet Morton! They watch him poke around the house and look in a window. Chet gasps at something he sees inside and runs away. What did he see?
The boys move to look into the house themselves, but hear someone else coming up the path from the river. They hide and watch as a young man goes into the house through the back door. Then they hear the now familiar scream and crashing from inside. The man runs out again and they chase him to the river. The man gets into a boat and casts off just as the Hardys and two policemen reach the dock.
A police boat pulls up and the Hardys and the cops jump in and give chase in the dark. But the man’s boat gets ahead and reaches Barmet Bay. Without lights, the boat and its occupant disappear.
Chet figures into the story as more than just comic relief, but not much more here.