Wednesday, April 2, 2014

BSC 29: Mallory and the Mystery Diary

By Ann M. Martin. Published November 1989.

Room porn: Mal has an old lady bedroom.
Stacey and her mom moved into their new house a week ago, and are still working on unpacking. Mrs. Pike sends Mallory over with a casserole. Claudia’s there, and she and Mal help out, taking some boxes up to the attic with Stacey. There’s barely room, though, because other people have left shit in there, including a beautiful old trunk. Stacey’s mom wants to get rid of it, so she lets Mal have it.

Mal pays the triplets to haul it over to their house and up to Mal and Vanessa’s room. They all want to see what’s in it, but it’s locked, and Mal doesn’t want to detroy the trunk. It drives Vanessa slightly crazy.

Dawn sits for the Barretts, and Buddy is having trouble reading. He’s in third grade, and he can barely read Cat in the Hat. His teacher sent home a note suggesting Mrs. Barrett spend time working on it with him, but she just doesn’t have the time. Dawn suggests one of the BSC girls does it. Mal ends up getting the job.

The trunk still isn’t open almost a week later, and Vanessa threatens to start speaking in rhymes again if they don’t get it open soon. So Mal lets the triplets attack it. They don’t destroy it, despite her fears. Inside there are mainly old clothes, and also a diary. It was twelve-year-old Sophie’s in 1894. Mal is excited about the find, but saves it for good bedtime reading.

Mallory has her first tutoring session with Buddy, and it doesn’t go very well. Mal tries to make it like school, and Buddy really hates the flash cards.

Mal finally reads through Sophie’s diary, and she finds it super exciting. Sophie’s mother dies giving birth to her little brother. Then a portrait of her mother disappears from her grandfather’s house, and her grandfather blames her father, and spreads it all around town, so nobody will hire him. Sophie vows that when she and her father die, their spirits will never rest. So Mal freaks out that Stacey’s house is haunted.

The BSC gets into the story of Sophie’s. Those girls do love a mystery. Sophie’s grandfather’s last name was Hickman, and they wonder if he could be Old Man Hickory.

Mallory tries a new angle in tutoring Buddy. She realizes that he doesn’t think reading is fun. So brings over some comic books, and lets him read those. He does much better. Then they draw their own comics. Buddy has a lot of fun, and Mallory feels great.

Mal decides they should hold a séance to try to contact Sophie or her father, Jared. The rest of the girls finally agree, but Kristy only says yes if she can be the channeler. Of course. She shows up dressed like a gypsy, and insists on being called Madame Kristin. She ends up just joking around, though. Oh well. The girls use it as an excuse to party.

Stacey sits for Charlotte, and she tells her all about the mystery. Charlotte says they can solve it, that someone always knows something, and things aren’t always what they seem.

Mal has Buddy read Encyclopedia Brown books next, and he gets good at solving the mysteries. So Mal tells him about their own mystery, and he wants to see the diary for himself, so they head over to Mal’s. He tries to find a clue in the diary, but to no avail. Then he asks to look in the trunk, and he feels around, and ends up getting his hand stuck in a sort of pocket. When they finally get it out, he’s holding a bunch of old papers. On the first page, it says, “James Hickman, My Confession”. Oh my, how convenient.

So here’s what happened: When his daughter died, he hired an itinerant painter to paint over his daughter’s portrait, and then moved it to a different room, so she would still be with him, but he wouldn’t have to look at her. But his friends noticed the portrait missing, and he just let them think Jared had stolen it. Douchebag.

Buddy wants to know how the trunk with the confession ended up at Sophie’s house. Mal says that’s a good point, but that maybe when Old Hickory died, the nephew that inherited everything moved things he didn’t want there. Buddy says if he did that, he could have moved the painting, too.

So they hustle over to Stacey’s, and the three of them run up to the attic. After looking a while, during which Buddy finds a box of magic tricks her gets to keep, Mal finally finds a portrait of ships, but sailing on a finger with a ring on it.

They show it to Stacey’s mom, and she’s just as intrigued as they are. She says she’ll take it to an art restorer. Mal takes Buddy home, and he learns a magic trick right away, by reading the directions himself.

When they get the painting back, it looks just like the one described in Sophie’s diary. So it must be the missing painting. Stacey and her mom have decided to hang it up in their house, kind of putting her back with Sophie and Jared’s spirits.

And Buddy gets moved up a reading group, out of the lowest to the middle. He thinks he can get to the highest by the end of the year. So good job, Mal.

o   Mal starts off by complaining about being eleven, and talking about how great being thirteen will be. Whatever, I’d rather be eleven than thirteen again. And then she says it feels like she’s been eleven for a decade. Ha, if you only knew just how long you’d be eleven for, Mal.

o   Kristy suggests using dynamite to open the trunk. The girls laugh and laugh. And laugh. They can barely calm down to answer the phone. It’s not that funny.

o   Mal wears a shirt that says I Kids. Mal, sweetie, you are a kid. But I think it would be creepy for an adult to wear that shirt.

o   Dawn’s mom and Mary Anne’s dad go out on their twenty-fifth date as adults in this book. The girls figure they must be getting pretty serious. I guess so, considering the next regular book.

No comments:

Post a Comment