In 1840, Hatty Clifton is abducted by a pair of swindlers, the Rackhams, while visiting London with her parents. After the parents are fooled into thinking Hatty has died in a drowning accident, the Rackhams force her into helping with their fraudulent sideshows and games of chance at fairgrounds. Hatty’s attempts to escape are proving unsuccessful, and when she gets badly injured on the high wire the Rackhams refuse to get medical attention for her. However, Hatty manages to get the doctor in, who begins to suspect what’s going on. He starts making enquiries with the police and Hatty’s parents.
- Hard Times for Hatty – Debbie: #291 (9 September 1978) – #299 (4 November 1978)
Young Sally Deacon, her friend, Joe Casey, and the other children in the flats, where they live, secretly keep their pets in the disused Harrington School, as animals are forbidden in the flats by Simon Oakes, the housing manager. Joe’s brother, Ken, is being forced by a man called Sam Rudd to help dig a tunnel beneath the school to rob the bank next door. Sally gets Ken safely out of the way by having her uncle take him on an expedition to search for her father, who is lost in a Brazilian jungle. However, Rudd then forces Joe to take Ken’s place.
Sally follows them to the school but is caught by Rudd, who sets a time bomb beneath the bank vaults. He leaves Sally in the cellar, intending to return after the explosion. The police warned by Ken before he left for Brazil, arrive in time to stop the explosion, but they realise that Rudd must have seen the police car at the school and has gone off, taking Joe with him.