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epilogue
chapter 23
chapter 22
chapter 21
chapter 20
chapter 19
chapter 18
chapter 17
chapter 16
chapter 15
chapter 14
chapter 13
chapter 12
chapter 11
chapter 10
chapter 9
chapter 8
chapter 7
chapter 6
chapter 5
chapter 4
chapter 3
chapter 2
chapter 1

The Famous Five: The Final Adventure.
A Tribute to Enid Blyton.

Chapter 9.
Five Play Detective.

Anne suddenly remembered she was still holding Leo the teddy bear in her arms. "And look. This is Vivien's teddy. She refuses to go anywhere without him. I believe Vivien has been kidnapped."
   Dick and George stared at Anne with wide, incredulous eyes.
   "Calm down for a minute, Anne," said Julian, sensibly. "You seem to be jumping to conclusions. There might be a simple explanation. George. Anne. Take a seat and we will discuss this quietly over breakfast."
   Julian waited until Louise had served the two girls, before continuing. "George, give us a description of the man that called on Professor Dandashi this morning."
   "He was tall, athletic looking with a dark beard and horn-rimmed glasses..."
Anne lent forward and grabbed George by the arm. "I saw a man who looked like that having breakfast at the table over there yesterday morning."
   "That's very interesting," said Dick. "If he is staying in this Hotel we can enquire about him at the reception."
   Julian squinted his eyes in thought. "Yes, that is a possibility, Dick." He turned again to George and Anne. "What of Vivien's room. Did it look like she had intended to be gone for long?"
   "No, that's the funny part," said Anne, earnestly. "Her suitcase, clothes and toothbrush are still there. The whole apartment gives the impression that she has just stepped out for a few minutes."
   Julian glanced across at his Uncle and Aunt's table. Uncle Quentin seemed in an unusually buoyant frame of mind, chatting gaily to Aunt Fanny. Professor Dandashi, sitting slightly apart, appeared moody and pensive, stirring his coffee to excess with a silver spoon.
   Julian spoke again to the others. "If, as Anne has said, Vivien has been kidnapped, I cannot imagine that Professor Dandashi is involved."
   "It is possible he is being blackmailed by the big man," prompted George. Julian gave a wry smile. "Blackmail is it now? These are very serious accusations."
   He fell silent for a moment considering all the options. "Dick and I will check out this big fellow. I would like you girls to stay here and finish your breakfast while keeping a close eye on the Professor. It is possible he could hold the key to this mystery."

The old porter at the reception was leaning heavily on the desk, browsing over a newspaper. He gazed over the top of his glasses, enquiringly, as the two boys approached.
   "Excuse me," began Julian, politely, "we are looking for a tall, athletic looking gentleman with a dark beard and horn-rimmed glasses."
   "You must be referring to Mr. McLeod," replied the porter, standing up and straightening his jacket. "I am sorry, you are a little late, he checked out early this morning."
   Julian looked disappointed. "Oh dear, we were hoping to contact him. Do you have his home address by any chance?"
   The porter reached under the counter and produced a large, red book. "Now let me see," he said, running his finger down a long list of names. "Ah yes, here we are. A Mr Norman McLeod." He traced his finger across the page. "You seem to be out of luck today. The only address given here is Edinburgh. That does not help you much, does it?"
   Julian pulled a face. "Not really. Edinburgh is a large city and no doubt McLeod is a common Scottish name."
   He made as if to leave, when a thought struck him. "Mr. McLeod didn't by any chance go out late last night, did he?"
   "Funny you should mention that," replied the porter, "it was quite late, maybe twelve thirty or one o'clock. He was leading a young woman roughly by the arm. And he returned alone, some two hours later."
   "The young woman," said Julian, eagerly, "could it possibly have been Vivien Dandashi?"
   "Professor Dandashi's daughter, you mean?" The porter shook his head, vigorously. "No, definitely not. I would recognise Miss Dandashi anywhere. No, this girl had short, curly, blonde hair and a sullen face. Tight lipped she was."
   At that moment Professor Dandashi brushed passed, dropped his key on the desk and, totally snubbing the two boys, left by the main exit.
   Anne was in hot pursuit."Come on you two or we'll lose him."
   Julian and Dick thanked the amazed porter and followed Anne out into the street.
   "Where's George?" Dick asked, when they had caught Anne up.
   Anne was keeping her eye on the Professor, who had crossed the road and was now heading for Hyde Park. "She has taken Timmy out for a walk."
   The Professor led the children a merry dance strolling, seemingly willy-nilly, around the park. He stopped for what appeared to be ages just staring at a couple playing tennis. Then off again, this time across the park, finding himself, as if by chance, at the edge of the Serpentine. The Professor sat on a park bench and gazed deadpan across the still, green waters, broken only by the numerous swimming ducks.
   Anne sat at a safe distance, huddled between her two brothers, shivering. "Look at the Professor wrapped up all warm in a camel haired coat while we sit here freezing. It is not fair."
   "Sometimes detective work is not all it's cracked up to be," said Dick, forcing a grin.
   Julian nodded in agreement. "I have a feeling that this line of enquiry is leading us nowhere," he sighed.
   As if bored by inactivity, the Professor abruptly got up, strode off out of the park and headed up Bond Street towards Piccadilly Circus. The three sleuths dutifully followed, Anne having to break into a trot every now and again to keep up. Without warning, the Professor boarded a bus that was just about to move off.
   "Quick, quick," shouted Dick, "or he will escape."
   The three ran after the bus as it picked up speed. Julian held back for Anne but Dick raced on ahead and, grabbing the corner pole of the bus, managed to scramble aboard. The conductor, standing on the platform, looked on with disapproval and muttered something under his breath about the kids of today.
   Julian and Anne stood stranded and watched the bus recede into the distance, while Dick stood on the platform holding his hand up in a farewell gesture.
   Julian cupped his hands to his mouth. "See you back at the Hotel. Good luck, Dick." he shouted. He put his arm around Anne's shoulder and gave her a hug. "Come on," he said, "let's find out what George has been up to."

They found George in the Hotel lounge, curled up in a chair with a book. A cup of tea stood on a table close at hand. Timmy was in his favourite spot, sprawled out on a mat in front of a roaring fire. He got up and greeted the brother and sister, enthusiastically wagging his tail, licking first Julian, then Anne.
   "Please let me get to the fire, Timmy, I'm frozen to the bone," said Anne, urgently. She rushed over to the hearth and stood, her hands outstretched, palms forward, as close to the flames as possible, soaking up the warmth.
   George put her book down and laughed at her cousin's efforts to get warm. "Where have you two been to get so cold?"
   "On a wild goose chase, that's what," moaned Anne, still rubbing her hands before the fire.
   Julian sat down and related to George the events of the morning, finishing with Dick and the Professor heading off on the bus.
   "Well, we haven't exactly been idle, have we, Tim?" said George, leaning over and ruffling his ears. "We went for a run in Green Park. And guess what? That athlete was there again, practising with the ball on a wire."
   Julian's ears pricked up. "Go on," he said, eagerly.
   George continued. "One of the other two men was there, also. It was the small thin one, the one we now know as the MP, Peregrine Turner. I sat and watched them for quite a while and something very strange emerged. Am I correct in thinking that when throwing the hammer in a competition the winner is the one who throws it the furthest, Ju.?"
   Julian nodded. "Yes, that's right. Why?"
   "Well, there was one time when the hammer was thrown a really long way, well over three hundred feet, but Turner shouted at the athlete in disgust saying it was way too far. It seemed that anything between two hundred and eighty and three hundred feet was OK."
   Julian frowned and shook his head in astonishment.
   "When they had finished practising," went on George, "the two men headed off together to where the big man had a motorbike parked. They chatted for a bit, then the big man stowed the ball and wire thing in the pannier on the bike and rode off. Tim and I continued to follow Peregrine Turner and watched him enter The Houses of Parliament."
   George lent over and took a short swig of tea before proceeding. "Now here comes an intriguing thought. On the way back it suddenly occurred to me that the athlete is the same person that had knocked on Professor Dandashi's door this morning, minus the beard and glasses of course."
   Julian's eyes widened. "Now that is, indeed, a very interesting thought." He paused to take in the full implication of what George had said. "If you are correct, George, the two MPs and possibly The Home Secretary could be implicated in Vivien's disappearance."
   Anne was shocked. "What can we do about it?" She asked.
   "Basically, not a lot," replied Julian, "except to continue to keep a close eye on Professor Dandashi and the men in the park. Let's make a decision when Dick gets back."

More than an hour passed before Dick arrived, cold, tired and hungry. George got up and offered him her seat close to the fire.
   "Thanks, George," he said, gratefully. "This is exactly what I need."
   Timmy plonked his head on Dick's lap, looking up with doleful brown eyes.
   "Hello, old boy," said Dick, giving him a friendly pat. "How come you're allowed in here today?"
   "Mr Tyler, the Hotel Manager, is having a few days holiday," explained George, "and nobody else seems to be bothered."
   "Enough about Timmy," said Julian, impatiently. "Tell us how you got on, Dick."
   Dick lent back in his chair and closed his eyes. "Oh! Give me a break, Ju."
   As tired as he was, the other three persistently pestered him for information on the afternoon's events.
   Dick finally relented. "After we became split up, I sat inside the bus. The Professor had gone upstairs to the top deck. He eventually got off after about ten stops and I followed him across the road into a huge white building with massive pillars. It turned out to be The British Museum. He behaved exactly as he had done in the park, wandering aimlessly around, taking no notice of any of the exhibits. He then led me to an art gallery, and the same happened."
   Dick stopped and looked at each member of his captivated audience in turn. "But listen to this!" he said, in a harsh whisper. "I was following him along a narrow corridor that came to a sudden, dead end. The Professor did an abrupt about turn and headed back straight towards me. There was no way I would not be discovered. Not knowing what else to do, I stood my ground and looked him straight in the face. And what a terrible shock I got. His eyes were dead, totally blank, unseeing... the eyes of a zombie!"
   The other three gasped in amazement. "What happened next?" said George, biting her nails.
"He barged past me as if I was not there and continued on his way. Nothing much happened after that. We both caught the same bus back and the Professor has gone straight up to his room."
   Julian stood up. "It will be time for dinner soon," he announced. "We had better go up and change. I will inform Dick of George's discovery while we are getting ready."
   The evening meal went quietly enough. The children remained at the table to permit Julian to keep a watchful eye on Professor Dandashi.
   At a little before ten the Professor bade Aunt Fanny and Uncle Quentin goodnight. Julian quickly followed and saw him enter the lift in the foyer. The red light above the door flashed 1, 2, 3 and remained steady at 4.
   "The Professor seems to have gone to bed," reported Julian, on his return. "I think it would be wise if we followed suit. Tomorrow will be a busy day keeping an eye on the Professor and those men in the park."
   Anne slowly got up and yawned. "Do you know what today is? Easter Sunday. And nobody remembered. How awful!"

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