Image courtesy NancyDrewSleuth
I thought I had read this, but I found the plot completely different. The one I read in youth involved baby twins illegally adopted by jerks. I must have had an original copy. Damn..I sold it when I was a teen... Anyway, this is a fairly short summary. It was kinda boring, (but still LOL-full).
Nancy helps her father on a case. This girl named Cecily Curtis is renting a cottage near "Misty Lake". She was supposed to get the key from groundskeeper Henry Winch, who was supposed to watch the cottage. But Henry Winch is scared. He wants someone else to do it. Guess who! Nancy! Nancy, Bess and George are soon at Misty Lake, but not before for lunch at a quaint restaurant. While waiting for the food, they walk over a bridge so that they can spend some time in a pretty garden until the food comes. They overhear a red-haired girl arguing with her BF, but it's not significant--yet. After lunch, Bess realizes she lost an earring. They go back to the bridge to find it; Nancy nearly kills herself trying to reach down to the bank, with George holding her feet. All for one earring. As she fishes for this all-important earring, the red-haired girl carelessly walks on to the bridge and Nancy, the girl and George, fall off the bridge! Nancy saves the girl from falling into the water. After thanking her, the mysterious girl runs away.
The trio goes back, get cleaned up and eat. Nighttime arrives, and they finally arrive at the cottage and unlock the cottage. They also see the mysterious girl again; she runs away when Nancy asks her if she is Cecily. As she leaves, the girl yells, "you can't stop me from getting the babies!". Nancy is mystified because the girl ran off. Uh, Nancy, I'd be a little startled too, if some stranger shone (shined?) a light in my face and demanded who I was without introducing herself!
The girls spend the night in the cottage, as Cecily doesn't arrive until late. Cecily's cat escapes from its carrier as Cecily arrives, but don't worry, 'Satin' is found. While looking for him, the girls hear a weird humming noise coming from a stone house. NOT A HUMMING NOISE! OMG! So suspicious! It couldn't just be some ordinary machine, right? Also, Cecily says she wasn't the girl in the garden. She says she must have a double, and isn't at all worried or curious about that.
One night, the girls see a mysterious, 'haunted' boat. It had scared Mr. Winch. Then it suddenly disappears! (b/c the lights were turned off, perchance?) Nancy also sees a mysterious signal from a round upstairs window in the stone house. At least, Nancy assumes it is a signal.
The rest of the mystery is all mushed together. Nancy tries to find out who [might] be trapped in the house. The owners, the Driscolls, pretend to be nice and let her explore the house, but Nancy can't get into the room with the round window. Cecily tells the Driscolls about the clue to her mystery (found on a paper in a broken locket, which claims a fortune will be found near 'an iron bird'). Nothing bad could come of revealing that to strangers, right Cecily? Cecily is also trying to figure out why her fiancee/BF (the dude with her at the garden) , Niko Van Dyke, a famous bandleader, is not getting royalty payments. They are about to sue the record company when Nancy finds out that some of the records are pirated!
After a lot of threats, attempts to hurt Nancy and the others, and random wandering around, the girls and Ned, Burt and Dave, who came to see Niko's concert, prove that the Driscoll's run a pirated records business and are also keeping twins who are really the children of the other red-haired girl--Susan! And Susan was being held prisoner in the round-window room. Because the one real clue, the flashing light, convinced Nancy that this had to be the case. Nancy is never wrong! This girl owns the other half of the locket, which Nancy found. Susan and Cecily are cousins. The bad guys are caught, and Niko and Cecily can get married now, since Niko is getting the money he deserved, and of course, the fortune is found. Happily ever after! Nancy gets most of the credit. Bess and George and the boys must have been totally no help! *end sarcasm*
- Nancy convinces a reluctant police chief to help her search in the round-window room for a prisoner. When this prisoner is not found, the chief is pretty p*ssed off. He also says that Nancy "may have overstepped her rights" because she was poking around the Driscolls' property without permission. Now Nancy is offended and p*ssed off! The rules don't apply to her, because she is trying to DO GOOD!