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Nancy and her friends, George and Bess, are returning from a country carnival when they witness the explosion and burning of a beautiful country mansion. Fearing its occupants may be trapped in the blazing building, they rush to the rescue - and unexpectedly fund themselves confronted with a mystery that seems to be insoluble. The first clue, an anymous diary, includes t only indecipherable handwriting, but puzzling technical drawings and chemical formulas as well. Who dropped the diary near the burning house? Was it the gaunt stranger Nancy glimpsed running away from the flaming structure? What was he doing there? And does he kw the whereabouts of Felix Raybolt, an unscrupulous dealer in patents, who has t been seen since his home burned? Or did Raybolt die in the fire? When evidence mounts against Joe Swenson, who was swindled by Foxy Felix, our young detective makes the desperate effort to exonerate the inventor of the suspicion of arson because of his dear five-year-old daughter.
Carolyn Keene is a pen name used by a variety of authors for the classic Nancy Drew Mystery series. The first author to use the pseudonym was Mildred Wirt Benson, who wrote 23 of the original 30 books. Other writers who have adapted the Carolyn Keene moniker include Leslie McFarlane, James Duncan Lawrence, Walter Karig, and Nancy Axelrod.