We find our trio (Nancy, Bess and George) at a train station, feeling rather disgruntled. They have just finished yet another camping vacation at a lake and are, naturally, not pleased to find their train very late. A circus train distracts them, however. They watch as as a little boy from India leads an elephant off of the train without using any physical restraint on the big animal. The Indian man standing nearby is apparently pissed off at that, revealing a frightening power complex. The man (his name is 'Rai') beats 'Coya' right there at the station, whilst claiming that Coya is his son. Nancy steps in to boldly push Rai away from the child (you go, Nan!)and tells him not to hit Coya again. They argue for a while, and suddenly a snake in a tree drops on Nancy. It's a boa constrictor, and Nancy is nearly choked to death. A reptile keeper pries the snake from Nancy just in time, but Rai attributes Nancy's escape from near death to mystical powers and gives Nancy a "lucky" ivory elephant charm. After warning Rai again not to hurt Coya, the girls hurry to their train, only to find that Coya has sneaked onto the train. Nancy decides to pay his fare and take him home. Mr. Drew comes home, and agrees that Nancy did the right thing; also, Coya can stay with them! Just send a letter to Rai, it'll be ok! No need to contact any officials!
The Drews and Coya are suddenly brought into a complicated mystery involving Ms. Allison, a dippy young woman who puts on a charade of believing in mystic powers, and find out that she worked with Rai to kidnap Coya from India. Coya was supposed to be the new raja (ruler) of India, but in exchange for lots 'dough' and jewels, Rai and Ms. Allison took Coya to the US and got the wannabe raja a spot on the throne. But all is unveiled, and Coya goes to India, but not before inviting Nancy and co. to India.
- Ned invites Nancy to an Emerson U. baseball game and says proudly that this is a "crack" baseball team. Holy cats, they're on drugs? (kidding, kidding)
- A professor from Emerson talks about the various beliefs and rituals of the Indian people. Ned proclaims "I'm glad I live in America." I'm so glad, Ned! I was afraid you hated living in the USA!
- Ned invites Nancy to a dance, and Nancy frets because she doesn't have a new dress to wear. Ned tells her to "wear any old thing". Smooth, Ned.
- Nancy continually tells everyone around her that she doesn't believe in mysticism and magic charms. We know, Nancy. You've told us at least fifty times!
- Hanna has doubts about housing Coya; she's worried about having extra work, and also proclaims that she won't be raising a "brown-skinned boy". 'Caus brown-skinned boys are the worst, you see.
- Hannah eventually takes pity on the boy. It also helps that Coya volunteers to work around the house and in the garden (and he does) because he is very grateful for the Drews' kindness.
- ...but when Coya learns that he might be a lost raja, Hannah gets an idea in her head that Coya will start acting like a snob and lets Nancy know it.
FYI: Some posts have not been linked to their respective titles the book list pages. I'll be doing that soon.