Here comes the fun part. After her captor checks on her and departs, Elena tells Nancy to make a run for it when the plane lands. Note that Nancy is in the country illegally (despite being kidnapped) and with no passport! As the plane stops and the door opens, Nancy bolts into the dark jungle. But as her luck would have it, she trips over a tree root and pitches head-long into a sharp object...knocking herself out!(this is later revealed to be an abandoned tractor.) When she again awakens, she finds herself in a bedroom; her suit torn and dirty but there are clean clothes nearby for her to wear (sweater, jeans and sneakers.) It is later revealed by Elena to be a deserted part of the family hacienda and that the evil parties involved do not know of Nancy being hidden there. As Nancy soon explores the mansion, she finds Rosa who in her drugged state mistakes Nancy for her sister Mariposa (apparently Nancy resembles her enough to fool Rosa.) Rosa babbles on about family heirloom (gold cat statue with emerald eyes), which Nancy soon finds (see cover #2.)
Note that Nancy is basically left to fend for herself as Elena and her fiancee Ricardo are soon captured (this is revealed much later in the story and explains why Elena does not come back for Nancy sooner.) Sneaking round the large hacienda, Nancy ends up swiping food from the kitchen (here, she hadn't eaten in almost two days!) She also discovers many secret passageways and Elena's black cat, Maro. Maro has a habit of turning up at obscure times, which usually lets Nancy get away or hide to avoid detection. Nice kitty. Also note that the story is in English though "translated" from Spanish. Due to Nancy's linguistics, she is able to converse in both languages. Days pass before Nancy can even manage to phone home! She's almost captured again when she finds a working 'phone in Cordoba's office. Cordoba is Rosa's executor and also behind all the shipping mishaps.
Eventually, Nancy escapes the hacienda and with the aide of Elena's pet burro, is led to the next town. The town is small and abandoned but it is here that Nancy finds Elena and Ricardo prisoners! In no time at all Nancy has created a diversion (she sets a smokey fire in a fireplace of a house across the street, that brings the only guard running.) Nancy frees Elena and Ricardo and the trio are able to K.O. the guard as well as his returning partner. They then escape in the guard's jeep and make for Cartagena. It is in Cartagena that Nancy finds out what really has happened to the "missing" cargo...it's being stored in various warehouses. Cordoba has deep political and police connections and makes it most difficult for Nancy to evade the authorities (but she does with help from Elena and Ricardo.) At one point all three end up trapped in a warehouse but are able to break through a flimsy wall and escape. The action is non-stop as the trio are chased all over the city and back into the countryside. Bullets fly as all three seek refuge in a cave near the hacienda. Using a secret tunnel, Nancy, Elena and Ricardo are able to re-gain entry into the mansion and eventually rescue Rosa. Now all they have to do is get back to the U.S. With Ricardo piloting another family plane, the foursome make it back to Phoenix. All is revealed, Cordoba and his minions are caught and it's another "happy ending" for all involved. Case closed.
Below are the six illustrations for this book, done by Paul Frame. As is always with the Wanderer books, there were six illustrations. The later Minstrel books do not have them. All scans are from my personal collection.
|Cover #1(Wanderer 1984)|
|Cover #2 (Minstrel 1990)|
|Nancy investigates in San Francisco|
|Nancy meets Elena on plane|
|Nancy sneaks through hacienda|
|Nancy finds Elena & Ricardo|
|The trio escape the warehouse|
|Nancy almost misses her "flight"|