Which Tree Symbol?
A plump and very, very anxious Mrs. Tenney was adamant that she would not, under any circumstance, venture into the spooky Follett mansion toute seule. The svelte and ever-eighteen-year-old Nancee assured her friend that Great Aunt Sara had lived there alone in safety for years ... What's the problem? Well, yes, Nancee, Aunt Sara did live there for ages, unbothered by the common neighborhood rabble and the occasional spook that certainly slinked its way into not a few of the Drewe girl's other hysterical mysteries, but she was just lucky! It's a wonder that she was never burgled, what with all her beautiful antiques. Sara Blatherstone-Wixsley was unquestionably dotty - never seemed to be aware of her surroundings - but you move a single solitary stick of her furniture and she could sniff out the agitated dust six paces away, and that with a bad head cold.
Nancee gently (for that was her way) butted into the barrage of reminiscences that unleashed from portly Mrs. Tenney's slash-of-angry-red mouth with the thought that, gee, it sure looks all quiet on the western front - could we not get the show on the road, perhaps even today? Coming to, Nan's newest chum sputtered that they might as well since that was the entire point of her asking the ever-eighteen-year-old sleuth to drive her over to the old green Victorian at 636 Primrose Lane, Carver City, no zone, no code.
Mrs. T, released from her initial case of badly shot nerves, began waxing eloquent over the fine pieces adorning the stately though badly neglected rooms of the old homestead. Two matching cherry tables had once belonged to the father of our country - GW himself. And Mrs. Tenney, an heir to the estate, would soon claim one of these exquisite tables for her very own.
Once inside the door, the pair marched resolutely and directly to the library. At its entrance Mrs. Tenney stood stock still and, punched figuratively in the gut, let out a gasp that could be heard all the way to the neighboring household ...
"He won't get away with his tricky, little scheme - no he won't!" Mrs. Tenney burst forth, scarcely able to hold back the tears, so long restrained behind the dams of her eyelids.
Nancee, though sensitive to the raw feelings of this lady of whom she actually knew very little, waited for the distraught cousin of Alpha Zinn to elaborate upon what was surely to become the basis for yet another sinister plot, whose denouement was awaiting an unraveling by Nancee, Georgie and Besty.
"My second cousin, twice-removed, on my mother's side - Alpha! He deals in antiques and sharp business practices. He's a thief, pure and not so simple. It goes way back to our shared childhood. Anything I had he had to have also. And if he couldn't have by honest means what he wanted, he stole, he purloined, he pinched, he lifted. Get my drift? That's why my collection of porcelain dolls is gone by half! Well, that blackguard came, he saw, he took - his pieces as well as my own."
"Are you not perhaps overreacting, Mrs. Tenney? It could have been a burglar with excellent taste and an uncommon knowledge of what price these precious heirlooms might fetch at an auction house? I'm going to scour the premises for clues. It's not in my nature to draw hasty conclusions, if you must know. After all, everyone realizes that I am a levelheaded young detective whose ethics and methods will not be compromised."
Mrs. Tenney, demurring for a moment, acquiesced and began to chill out.