Nancy Drew #61

The Swami's Ring

Chapter 1 – Mysterious Patient
Nancy is asked to come to the hospital by former classmate Lisa Scotti, who is a nurse at the facility.  A patient is suffering from amnesia and Nancy is asked to find out how he came to be injured and at the bottom of a cliff.  When Nancy arrives, she finds a burly bearded man threatening and choking the amnesia victim, but the assailant runs away before he can be questioned.  While searching for clues, Nancy discovers a large ornate ring in “Cliff”’s backpack.

Chapter 2 – Tommy’s Accident
While completing her volunteer duties, Nancy visits her neighbor Tommy in the Pediatric ward.  He was hit by a car and has a broken leg.  Next Nancy discovers that Lisa never made it to the hospital’s safe to deposit the ring found in Cliff’s knapsack, but took it to a jewelry store to have it evaluated at Cliff’s request.  Nancy witnesses Cliff’s assailant swiping the ring from Lisa then confronts him and retrieves the ring without the thief’s knowledge.  He escapes by catching a bus, but when Nancy catches up to the bus, the thief is gone.

Chapter 3 – Mean Accusation
In comparing notes with Chief McGinnis about the thief’s car, Nancy believes that Cliff’s ring and the hit and run on Tommy are connected.  Back home, Carson explains how the town of Castleton is irate over the loss of a theater company from their festival line up in favor of River Heights’s festival, and that he is being blamed since he was managing the negotiations.  He asks Nancy to hold off any sleuthing while the situation is resolved.

Chapter 4 – Suspect!
Bess and George come over and the girls inspect the ring with a magnifying glass and think they might see some letters in the patterns.  The next day Bess and George take the ring to Mr. Jhaveri’s jewelry shop where he educates them about how a maharajah might wear a ring of this type.

Chapter 5 – Untimely Ruse
A bearded man in the jewelry store claims to be Dr. DeNiro, an anthropologist at nearby Oberon College and asks to inspect the ring.  Under the pretense that he is late, he rushes away, “accidentally” taking the ring with him.  Bess and George go to Oberon College to try and catch up with him, and meet the real Dr. DeNiro, who is not the same person who was in the jewelry store.  However, the real Dr. DeNiro is working on a government project related to India and is intrigued by the maharajah’s ring.  The girls return to the hospital where they find out that Cliff has had a nightmare.

Chapter 6 – Harpist’s Predicament
The girls arrange to have Cliff stay at the Drew residence after his discharge from the hospital.  Ned comes to take Nancy one of the music festival concerts and displays some jealousy about Cliff staying at her house.  At the theater, Nancy is snubbed by River Heights society.  During the concert, the harp is found to be out of key and the performance is interrupted.  Afterwards, Nancy goes backstage to question the harpist, Angela Pruett, about the incident, but she is reticent to discuss the details.

Chapter 7 – The Sister’s Story
Ned and Nancy retire to a diner where they discuss Carson’s troubles relating to the music festival.  When they get back to the Drew residence, Angela is there talking to Carson about her missing sister Phyllis.  The girl had runaway the previous year and was staying with a Mrs. Flannery while pursuing an interest in Transendental Meditation.  Nancy agrees to help find the girl.  The next day Nancy spends the morning volunteering at the hospital then brings Cliff home.  Nancy makes plans to take a hike with Ned to try and find the location of the retreat where Phyllis is studying.  She gets a call from Angela with clues on how to find the retreat, but Angela is cut off before she can provide the information.

Chapter 8 – Tangled Trail
With the only information available that the retreat is near a lake, Nancy and Ned go to investigate 2 lakes near River Heights.  They meet Keshav Lal who tells them about Ramaswami, but will not give any details.  They also bump into a man named Mr. Flannery and ask him about Phyllis, but he denies knowing her.  Lal directs them to a cabin near the lake, about a mile down a trail.  It begins to rain during the hike.  They find the cabin and catch someone peering out one of the windows.

Chapter 9 – Cabin Captive
Nancy and Ned bang on the door and meet a woman who has allowed some of the swami’s followers to lodge at her cabins but did not appreciate the messes they made.  She directs Nancy and Ned further down the trail to the retreat.  The rain stops and then suddenly someone jumps Nancy and stuffs a sweet smelling scarf to her face and she falls limp.

Meanwhile Nancy and Bess go to visit Cliff at the Drew residence but find that he has gone missing.  Hannah feels guilty about his disappearance since she had promised not to leave him alone during the day, but had gone out for some groceries.

The next scene has Nancy laying bound in an old cabin with an old iron stove when she sees a venomous water snake moving in her direction, prepared to strike.  She manages to jump up, accidentally splitting an old rotted floor board, and the snake tumbles to the ground below the cabin.  Ned is nowhere to be found.

Chapter 10 – Ned’s Rescue
An RHPD officer comes to investigate Cliff’s disappearance from the Drew home and discovers an area of the floor soaked with chloroform, and determines that Cliff has indeed been kidnapped.

Back at the cabin it is the next morning, and Nancy tries to work her way out of her bonds by use of a nail, but then Ned arrives to cut her free after escaping from another cabin.  They return to Nancy’s house where they find out about Cliff’s disappearance.  Nancy finds out from a neighbor that a car was speeding away from the house which also happens to match the description of the car that hit Tommy on his bike, and it is registered to a man named Dev Singh.

Chapter 11 -  Cancellation!
Nancy receives a flyer in the mail that the River Heights Music Festival has been cancelled, then finds out that it is a hoax.  She joins up with Bess and George and they visit the jewelry shop to get an estimated value on the ring.  While there Nancy discovers that Mr. Jhaveri is Keshav Lal’s cousin.  The girls then proceed to the last known address of Dev Singh, but accidentally go to the wrong street.

Chapter 12 – Escape Lane
Girls finally locate Singh’s house at the end of a potholed street.  They hide as a car approaches, containing the bearded man and his Indian associate, Prem Nath.  The girls leave to fetch the police.  The police ask Nath if he is acquainted with Mr. Flannery or Dev Singh, and he denies knowing either man.  There is also no trace of Cliff at this house.

Chapter 13 – Technical Attack
Nancy visits Tommy in the hospital, and checks in with nurse Lisa who reports that Cliff had called the hospital.  Later Nancy, Bess, George, Ned, Burt & Dave go to a production of Oklahoma! at the music festival.  As the show begins, there are problems with the stage lighting.  Nancy investigates and finds the sound and light technician has been knocked unconscious, and a young man with long hair running away from the booth.  An ambulance is called and the show is cancelled.

Chapter 14 – Flannery Foolery
The next morning Nancy receives a phone call from Angela saying that Phyllis arranged, and then cancelled a meeting with her out at Swain Lake Lodge.  Ned joins Nancy and they visit Mrs. Flannery, who claims Phyllis has not been at the rooming house for over a week.  She reluctantly lets Nancy and Ned inspect the room, where they find a brochure about the Ramaswami.

Chapter 15 – Surprise Return
Nancy and Ned also find a half written letter from Phyllis to Angela.  Their next stop is Oberon College, to pay a call on Dr. DeNiro.  Someone had sent him Cliff’s ring in the mail, in an unmarked brown package.  At the campus Nancy spies someone who looks like the young man who knocked out the sound technician at the music festival.  They pursue the suspect as he flees in his silver hatchback and nearly get into an accident.

Chapter 16 – Hazy Report
Nancy and Ned trace the car they were pursuing to the River Heights Theater.  Nancy demands to speak to Mr. Hillyer, the director of the Music Festival, who has the boy “Brady” in his office.  She is given the brush off.  Back home, Hannah reports that Cliff may have been spotted hitchhiking.  Later Nancy deduces that the ring was sent to the real Dr. DeNiro accidentally.

Chapter 17 – Moonlight Intruder
At night Nancy and Ned return to the Flannery house and spy on the residents.  Nancy recognizes the voice of the man that was at Swain Lake Lodge.  The hatchback driver has followed Nancy and Ned and knocks Ned unconscious, then attacks Nancy.  The Flannerys hear the scuffle and discover Nancy snooping – they catch her, tie her to a chair and (bizarrely) stuff bread in her mouth.  Two hours later Ned regains consciousness, still laying in the driveway.

Chapter 18 – Scorpion Scare
The hatchback driver (Brady) had fled the scene when the Flannerys arrived – he then proceeds  to the River Heights Theater where he releases a scorpion onto the stage while the orchestra performs.  The audience panics when the scorpion is found and they flee the theater.  Brady guilelessly discusses the possibilities of the perfomers returning to the Castle festival with Mr. Hillyer since River Heights seems to be having so many problems.

Now awake, Ned finds the Flannery house empty and that someone has given him a flat tire.  He fixes the tire and drives to the Drew home to find Nancy is missing.  He then proceeds to the River Heights Theater to find Mr. Drew and Mr. Hillyer in a heated discussion.

Chapter 19 – Prisoners’ Retreat
Ned takes Mr. Drew and the police aside and speculates that Brady may have been responsible for the attack on him and Nancy, and also for the trouble at the theater.  The next morning Nancy is still missing, so Ned, Angela, Bess, George, Burt, Dave and Mr. Drew head out to find the swami’s retreat where they believe she is being held.

Chapter 20 – Intriguing Discovery
The gang discovers the location of the cabin and spot Dev Singh’s car parked there.  They spy Mr. Jhaveri in the cabin and several cots in the basement.  They are discovered by Prem Nath, and then a brawl ensues between the group of sleuths vs. Nath, Lal and Flannery.  Nancy is in the cabin and takes the opportunity to subdue Mrs. Flannery.  Phyllis and Cliff are also found inside the cabin.  The police arrive and arrests are made.  Cliff reveals that his name is really Randy and that he has his memory back.  He had spent his childhood in India as the son of missionaries, where he had obtained the maharajah’s ring.  He had planned to present the ring to the Ramaswami to thank him for the enlightening time he had spent at the retreat.  It is revealed that Keshav Lal is the main culprit, who was intercepting valuable gifts sent to the Ramaswami, and fencing them through his (unsuspecting) cousin’s – Mr. Jhaveri -  jewelry shop.  When Nancy had brought Cliff/Randy’s ring in for appraisal and then it re-appeared in the possession of the fake Dr. DeNiro, Mr. Jhaveri had been tipped off to the racket, but he was afraid of exposing his cousin.  Prem Nath is also revealed as using the alias Dev Singh.  Cliff/Randy had told the Ramaswami of his suspicions about Lal and Singh, and the two culprits waylaid him as a result.  Phyllis had also realized what Lal and Singh were up to and was imprisoned before she could inform the authorities. 

In the resolution to the secondary plot, Brady confesses to his role in the sabotage of the River Heights Music Festival – he was hoping to get the festival cancelled so that the troupe would re-instate their original contract with the Castleton festival.  His father had lost his job when the group had cancelled at the last minute.  Mr. Hillyer apologizes to the Drews and they are reinstated in everyone’s good graces. 

4 grayscale pictures by Ruth Sanderson © 1981 by Simon & Schuster, New York.
2 black and white line drawings by Philippe Daure © 1984 by Hachette, Paris.
color image (snake) by Peter Archer © 1982 by Angus & Robertson, Sydney.
color image (choking) by Pentti Ajanto © 1983 by Tammi, Helsinki.

Copyright © 2007, Lea Shangraw Fox