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Penny Nichols and the Black Imp   By:

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[Transcriber's note: Extensive research found no evidence that the U.S. copyright on this publication was renewed.]

Penny Nichols

and the

Black Imp

By

JOAN CLARK

The Goldsmith Publishing Company

CHICAGO NEW YORK

COPYRIGHT MCMXXXVI BY

THE GOLDSMITH PUBLISHING COMPANY

MANUFACTURED IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

CONTENTS

CHAPTER

I. THE BLACK IMP II. A MYSTERIOUS PACKAGE III. THE THREAT IV. FOLLOWING AMY'S TRAIL V. BEHIND THE PANEL VI. A HOLDUP VII. AN INVITATION TO LUNCH VIII. A BOLD MOVE IX. THE ROBBERY X. HANLEY CRON'S STUDIO XI. A VISITOR XII. THE MISSING WORKMAN XIII. AN EMBARRASSING INTERVIEW XIV. THE MYSTERIOUS AGENT XV. A PUZZLING LETTER XVI. WATCHFUL WAITING XVII. "PRIVATE KEEP OUT" XVIII. CAPTURED XIX. FIRE! XX. THE SECRET REVEALED

The Black Imp

CHAPTER I

The Black Imp

A slightly decrepit roadster lurched to an abrupt halt in front of the Altman residence, and the blond, blue eyed driver hailed a plump, dark haired girl who stood on the front porch.

"Hello, Susan. Been waiting long?"

"Only about ten minutes, Penny."

"I'm terribly sorry to be late, but I think we can still make it on time if we hurry."

Before replying, Susan Altman slid into the front seat beside her chum, Penelope Nichols. Then she said frankly:

"If we miss the affair altogether I shan't be broken hearted. I'm going solely to please you."

Penny laughed as she steered the car smoothly through traffic.

"I know you are, Sue. But I don't think we'll have such a dull time as you imagine. It isn't every day that one has an opportunity to see a five thousand dollar statue unveiled."

"Will the winner of the Huddleson prize get that much money?" Susan asked in awe.

"Yes, and they say the competition this year has been very keen. The showing today at the Gage Galleries is a private one the general public won't be allowed to see the statues for a week or so."

"Then how do we get in?"

Penny displayed two printed cards. "Dad," she announced laconically.

Penny's father, Christopher Nichols, a noted detective, was well known in Belton City and had many influential friends. The tickets to the special showing of the prize statuary at the Gage Galleries had been presented to him and since he had no interest in the affair he had passed them on to his daughter.

"The winning statue is to be unveiled at three o'clock," Penny declared. "What time is it now, Sue?"

"Then we'll never make it," Penny groaned, stepping harder on the gasoline pedal.

"Say, you slow down or I'll get out and walk," Susan protested. "I don't intend to risk my life not for any old statue!"

Penny obediently slackened speed. Although she drove well and had the car under perfect control she had been traveling a trifle fast. "That's better," Susan approved. "At this speed there's absolutely no danger "

Her words broke off abruptly as Penny slammed on the foot brake so hard that she was flung forward in the seat. From a side street, a long gray sedan unexpectedly had entered the main boulevard, the driver utterly disregarding the stop sign.

Penny swerved in time to avoid a crash, but the fenders of the two cars jarred together.

The girls sprang out to see how much damage had been done. The driver of the gray sedan likewise drew up to the curbing and alighted. He was a tall, thin man with a black moustache, immaculately dressed in gray tweeds. He wore a gardenia in the lapel of his well tailored coat.

"See what you've done!" he accused angrily before either Penny or Susan could speak. "Just look at that."

He pointed to the rear fender which had been badly dented and bent. Penny cast an appraising glance at her own car and was relieved to note that save for a few minor scratches it had not been damaged.

"It's too bad," she acknowledged with a polite show of sympathy. "Didn't you see the boulevard stop?"

The man turned upon her wrathfully... Continue reading book >>




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