Chapter 18 – At The Old House
The Hardy boys are speeding across town out to the Purdy Place in an effort to find Mr. Dalrymple. After a near collision on the highway, the roaster blows a tire and careens into a deep ditch. The boys have no spare and cannot get the car up and out on the rim. They walk a fair distance to a garage and wake up the worker in his house nearby. The convince him to get a tow truck out and haul their car into the shop. Once there, they fix the flat and empty their pockets to pay for it. Finally, well after midnight, they’re back on the road as a thunderstorm kicks up.
At the house, the Hardys find that the police guards have been called off following the apprehension of the river thieves. The doors are all locked, but Frank (somehow) has a skeleton key that opens the back door to the kitchen. Inside the dark house, the boys turn on their flashlight. They get the feeling they are not alone. As they exit the kitchen, the flashlight is knocked from Joe’s hand and both boys are attacked by strong assailants. They are subdued and bound and gagged again, just like the river thieves had done to them a few nights back.
The boys are placed on chairs in the dining room. They hear the ticking of the grandfather clock. Then the light is turned on and a haggard, elderly man emerges and laughs at them. He is a somewhat ghastly sight to behold and the boys are terrified. The man surmises that they have come to solve the mystery. Then says, “you are going to solve it. But it will be the end for you.” It sounds like the end of the road for our heroes!
Yikes, now this is a cliffhanger! We finally meet the man who appears to be the “big bad” of this story – an old, creepy, insane man!