"You must be coming on to the acid now," Nancy explained sensibly to George. "I, too, am beginning to notice a lot of extra movement of inanimate objects in the church."
"I swear I saw Mother Theresa's toes wiggle," George said, still frightened.
"You can eat the thick spicy jasmine air," Bess said mysteriously.
Suffocating in the heat and continually jostled by the eager Calcutta hordes, the girls decided to forego the entire circuit around the dead nun's coffin and rendezvous with Nancy's father back at their air-conditioned hotel. Soon, Nancy, George, and Bess were sipping iced tea with Mr. Drew by the window of the Holodeck Hotel's deluxe Hypertext Suite overlooking the City of Joy.
Carson Drew, tall and distinguished-looking, was passing through Calcutta on some international business. A prominent attorney back home in River Heights, he had often helped Nancy and her friends solve mysteries, such asThe Secret of the Old Cock and The Clue in the Secret Shack. They quickly summarized their adventure to date, leaving out the LSD part.
"Who owns the Rosellini, and just how valuable is it?" inquired Mr. Drew.
"It's considered priceless, but no one is sure if it actually still exists, or to whom it would belong if it did," Nancy answered. "Several museums are interested, along with private collectors and organized crime."
"I read about it too," George said. "They said the van Gelderschott forgery, if it were found, would be nearly as valuable as the original."
"If anyone could tell them apart," Nancy added.
Four years earlier, one of the priceless mechanical pigs was spotted on a train in Scotland with Algerian terrorist "Tanya" (actually Vieuchanger in another disguise), and public interest had grown inexorably since. Now, rumors of a 260-year-old automaton's whereabouts had begun to overshadow innewspaper headlines the recent deaths of Mother Theresa, Timothy Leary, Allen Ginsburg, William Burroughs, and Princess Diana; the arrest of Unabomber suspect Theodore Kaczynski; the endless investigation into the murder of child-star Jon-Benet Ramsey; the brain-dead state of former president Ronald Reagan; and even the revelations that fired NBC sports announcer Marv Albert bit several women while wearing panties and a garter belt.
Suddenly, Nancy's eyes began to glaze over and she completely lost her train of thought. She was peaking!