DEVELOPERS ARE CLASHING WITH NATURE LOVERS -- AND NANCY'S BEST HOPE IS AN ANCIENT STATUE!
Visiting an old friend in Florida, Nancy, Bess, and George are awed by the beauty of the Everglades. But Jade Romero, a young park volunteer, is missing. She went backcountry camping and never returned. When Nancy agrees to search for her, she also learns about a priceless Native American statue of a panther hidden in the wilderness.
A clue leads Nancy to Panterra Corporation, which is developing a big mall at the edge of the Everglades. Then a close escape on the road and a threatening note convince Nancy to search the backwoods. Deep in untamed country, alligators are menacing the girls -- but the worst danger is coming from enemies they never suspected!
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June 25, 2001
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Excerpt from Lost in the Everglades by Carolyn Keene
"Are we there yet?" eighteen-year-old Bess Marvin grumbled. "It feels like we've been driving forever."
Nancy Drew glanced into the rearview mirror of the rental car and smiled at her friend, who was fidgeting in the backseat. "Almost. The sign back there said that the entrance to Everglades National Park was coming right up."
George Fayne, who was sitting next to Nancy, spread the map of southern Florida across her lap. She smoothed the crinkles and creases with her fingertips. "The Everglades is huge. Like millions of acres. The place where we're staying, Flamingo, is only a tiny part of it."
"Flamingo is way at the bottom of the Everglades, right on Florida Bay," Nancy explained.
Nancy turned off the air conditioner and rolled the window down slightly. A hot breeze blew against her face and ruffled her reddish blond hair.
The scenery was the same as it had been for the last half hour: dry, flat fields; orange farms; and the occasional grocery store, house, or strip mall with forlorn-looking For Rent signs.
The scenery didn't look anything like what Susan Bokan had described to Nancy in her many postcards. Susan used to be a good friend of the girls back in River Heights.
The girls had met Susan five years earlier. Susan's parents owned a fancy inn on the outskirts of River Heights. The Bokans were clients of Nancy's father, Carson Drew, who was an attorney.
The girls hadn't seen Susan since she moved to Florida a couple of years earlier to work as a volunteer for the Everglades National Park. Her parents were still in River Heights, although they spent part of every winter in Florida to visit their daughter.
In her postcards, Susan described the beautiful, wild, and junglelike Everglades. The photographs on the cards showed exotic-looking plants and animals with exotic-sounding names like gumbo-limbo trees, strangler figs, roseate spoonbills, and manatees.