Chapter One

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  • Dedicated to To my sweet mother.

Nancy Drew slowly awoke to the sound of lovely singing songbirds. She had been dreaming of being on an exciting missing diamond case and hated to wake up. "No need to see a sociologist to understand the meaning of that dream," she said aloud before starting to get up. Nancy had been without a case for over a month and desperately craved some excitement and adventure.

The same old daily routine was just too boring for her. She needed a break from her mundane reality. Just then her cute little dog, "Togo" ran into her room carrying a letter in his mouth. "What's that you have there?" she asked while trying to pet the hyper pet. However, Togo would have none of that because he was in a mood to play. The dog's tail wagged happily as he watched his owner try to pet him on the head. Instead, he tagged her on the leg with his right front paw before running down the long, dark hall to hide. "Not again boy! Give me a break. I just woke up. Please God help me wake up!" exclaimed the frustrated teen.

She peeked into every room starting with the restroom. With the furry nowhere in sight, the girl moved on to her father's bedroom. The door was slightly ajar as she walked into the master bedroom. Nothing seemed amiss at first, however, one of Togo's favorite toys, a stuffed animal in the shape of a squirrel, was laying on the floor on the other side of the room. Nancy raised one eyebrow as she began to take a look around the otherwise spotless room. Her father was a bit of a prick and strictly believes that everything needs to be organized and put away when not in use.

The dog was not hiding in the closet or behind any of the furniture, however, when she sat down on the bed the girl heard something, it was the sound of Togo's tail wagging and hitting the hardwood floor. The dog was hiding under her father's queen size bed with the tip of his furry gray tail just barely sticking out. So she crept up on him from behind and quickly reached under the bed to nab the dog. As he tried to run away, she held him firmly and ticked his soft fluffy belly. "What have you been up to, you silly boy?" Nancy laughed when he managed to land a wet tongue on her cheek to give kisses. When they were finished playing, she reached under the bed and pulled out the letter and looked it over carefully. It was apparently addressed to her father, Carson Drew from her great- aunt, Betty Barber in Eastdale, a few hours drive away.

She had not seen her mother's only aunt since Nancy was a very small child and now wondered how the elderly woman was getting along in her advanced age. Nancy thought that Aunt Betty must be in her eighties by now. To be honest, Nancy does not remember much about the women, except the lingering smell of peppermint and the fact that she loved to make baked goods. Nancy used to love Aunt Betty's special chocolate chip mint cookies and would ask to take home a box whenever they would go visit her.

After getting dressed in a powder blue sundress dress with some fancy white lace trim along the bottom hem, Nancy joined her father at the small kitchen table for breakfast. Hannah had truly been really busy this mourning for she had made not just blueberry pancakes, but also beacon and Nancy's favorite cheese omelets. Hannah was a housekeeper who had been with them for many years. She was hired shortly after Nancy's mother had died of cancer ten years ago. And over the years she had become a second mother to Nancy. Nowadays Hannah is considered part of their family and is treated as much.

"This looks amazing Hannah you must have gotten up really early," Nancy said as she pulled out a chair to sit beside her sire.

"Yes, you really have outdone yourself, this is the best breakfast I have had in a long time." Carson complimented, between bites of pancakes.

"Oh, it's nothing. I just woke up early this morning but couldn't get back to sleep. I thought it would be nice to do something special for you both." said Hannah with a warm smile.

"Thank you so much, Hannah, I don't know what we would do without you," added Carson.

"Oh it is nothing really," Hannah replied before turning around to start the dishes.

Nancy cleared her throat to get her father's attention. "Dad, before you go to work, I need to give you this letter. Togo had somehow got a hold of it." Nancy said as she passed him the soiled looking letter.

"It must have fallen off the hall table before Togo hid it for a while," said Hannah.

Togo did have a bad habit of hiding things, which he seemed to think it was some kind of a fun game. Nancy had lost many pairs of socks and shoes this way over the years.

He carefully opened the letter and appeared to study it for a moment, however, he wore a worried look while doing so.

"Father is everything alright?" Nancy asked confused and slightly worried.

"Well Nancy, I'm not really sure about this letter. It was mailed out six months ago and we have not received anything else from her since."

"That does not sound good at all," Nancy added as she continued to eat.

"Keep in mind, that Aunt Betty is a widow with no children to look after her. I feel like someone needs to go check up on her well-being. I would happily go but my work won't let me right now. This divorce case I'm working on is very time-consuming." Carson said as he rubbed his temples while acting quite stressed.

"Father I can go in your place. I haven't seen her in so long. Just think about it she's probably lonely and would like to see me."

"That sounds like a great idea, however, I'm worried about you going out of town by yourself." replied her father with a tired look in his deep blue eyes.

"I'm sure Bess and George will be happy to come along. They love road trips and we can even make a vacation out of it!" she exclaimed excitedly with a twinkle in her eye.

Carson sat there for a moment in thought before saying, "All right you won me over. I'll call her at the mansion and set it all up for you. I also think you should stay a full week if you're going to call it a vacation."

Nancy got up to give him a small hug before adding, "I will be glad to, dad. I'll go call them and pass on the news." She leaned over to kiss her dad on the cheek. His stubble tickled Nancy's cheek as she brushed against it.

<Bonus Files> Background info on Hannah Gruen

Hannah Gruen is the live-in cook-and-housekeeper of the Drew family. After Nancy's mother passed away, Hannah took it upon herself to act as a motherly figure for Nancy and helped Nancy's father, Carson, to raise her. Since Hannah's never mentioned to have had any children of her own and has been working for the Drew-family for such a long time, Hannah seems to see Carson and Nancy more as a surrogate family than her employers. She is a natural in the kitchen and always manages to impress and please Carson, Nancy and their friends with whatever delectable dish she has whipped up. She often worries about Nancy's well-being when she is out solving a case and she offers her wise advice that Nancy takes into consideration and greatly appreciates.

Hannah is a very clever and brave woman in her own right. She has made homemade burglar systems and has courageously stood up to intruders and miscreants when isn't present. Overall, Hannah is a sweet woman who has proven to be invaluable to Nancy and her father.

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