Nancy, Bess, and George are off to Chicago for an antiques fair a la Antiques Roadshow. Bess finds out that the antique bracelet from the 1920s that her grandmother gave her is glass and only worth $50, and Nancy meets an annoying know it all named Wes Clarke who tells her that the Al Capone poster a client gave her father is a worthless reproduction. George brings along an old reel to reel she found hidden in her parents' antique that Clarke tells her isn't worth much.
Bess then runs into a college student she knows named Lisa who works for the company throwing the fair. She invites them to stay in her aunt and uncle's fancy apartment that overlooks the lake and takes them to meet someone who specializes in antique appliances. The guy, Dave, finds a hidden recording in George's player that is actually a recording of Lou Knight, a famous jazz musician. It's one of his lost recordings that is worth thousands of dollars. They also meet Jason, a publicity agent for the company, who wants to take some pictures of it.
At a party later that night, Nancy sees a woman storming off after having a fight with Jason. She introduces herself later as Inez. Not only does she also work for the company, but she plays it off like she barely knows Jason. It also turns out that Jason has a twin brother named Ethan who hits it off really, really well with George.
When they go back to Lisa's apartment later, they find that someone store the recording. Lisa claims that no one else has access to the apartment and that you need a key just to get into the lobby. She does, however, recommend that Nancy investigate the disappearance and lets it slip that some other items were stolen after making an appearance at similar antiques fairs across the country.
Nancy gets approval from the president of the company and starts sneaking around the whole office. She sees Inez acting sneaky and hiding what she was looking at on her computer. Inez lies and says there were never any other robberies until Lisa shows up and tells her Nancy is on the case. Inez keeps acting suspicious, and Lisa whines that Nancy will suspect her next, which actually does make me suspect her.
Not a whole lot happens in the middle of the book, except that Nancy has another run in with Clarke. She previously admired an antique fingerprinting kit from the 1920s that he had on his table. After having another run in with him, he finds the kit missing from his table. He then accidentally knocks her bag out of her hands, and the kit conveniently falls out. The head of the company shows up and announces that she's working for him, which leaves Clarke all pissed off.
Ned also shows up but has no real story except that he knows someone who knows someone who is a jazz historian. While talking with Nancy, they hear Bess screaming in another room and run in to discover that she found the missing tape in Lisa's dresser.
They all go to a party at Jason's fancy loft. Nancy finds out that Ethan is perpetually broke but always seems to have money for the so-called important things in life, including a Rolex watch and an original Beatles poster. Ethan catches her rummaging through his brother's room, which she plays off as just looking for a picture of Bess that was taken the day before.
Nancy, Ned, and Bess take the tape to Ned's peeps. It turns out that everyone in the jazz world heard about the tape and now wants to hear it. When they play it though, it's a woman singing. Lisa then storms in, reveals that it's her demo tape, and that she's pissed they stole it from her room. How they confused a new tape with an antique tape is beyond me.
Nancy gets a list of all the items stole in the past. They do an online search and keep seeing the same website turn up. After looking closer, they find that every item stolen in the past was listed on that site for sale under the same seller. Lisa then realizes that the name the seller uses is the same nickname given to Inez. Ah-ha, I knew I couldn't trust that sneaky bitch!
Ned, as the only one Inez doesn't know, agrees to send an email and ask about an item for sale. While checking out the head office, Nancy hears people coming and manages to hide before Ethan and Inez walk in and start fighting. It turns out that she really is stealing and selling stuff on the site and that Ethan knew about it and even helped her. She got the email from Ned but thought it was suspicious. They leave, but when Nancy comes out, someone hits her over the head and knocks her out. How does this chick not have serious head damage?
She wakes up on the train and manages to get to Jason's apartment. Just as she walks in, someone comes up behind her and comments on her hard head. The person holds a gun to her head, and while he says he's Ethan, she thinks it's Jason. The other twin then shows up, which leaves her feeling even more confused.
Nancy finds the missing recorder, presses a button, and tapes the two fighting and then Jason's confession. In a majorly confusing move, we find out that he somehow stole the antiques from people and sold them but set it up so people would blame the website and Inez. It makes absolutely no sense. In the end though, he gets arrested and Nancy managed to save the main part of the recording. It's the real thing and will probably net George a few thousand dollars.
*Bess rocks a gold metallic top with black pleather pants at one point. That is so totally 2001! I remember having my own pair of pleather pants that I wore to a Godsmack concert lol.
*George is apparently an excellent swing dancer. Does that seem odd to anyone else?
*They eat slices of Chicago deep dish pizza by hand at a party, which makes me wonder if the ghostwriter knew what deep dish pizza looks like.