Friday, June 20, 2014

BSC Mystery #1: Stacey and the Missing Ring

By Ann M. Martin, ghostwritten by Ellen Miles. Published August 1991.

Here it is, the first official mystery. I do not love the whole mystery series. But then, I realize that’s really unfair, because I’ve only read like, four of them. So let’s see how this goes.

Stacey and her mom are actually having a really a really fun morning cleaning and singing along with oldies. Then Stacey has to go and ruin it, asking for a birthstone ring she saw. And her birthstone just happens to be a diamond. So it’s expensive as hell, even though it doesn’t give us the actual cost. Stacey’s mom is all, Hell no! But she’ll put ten dollars towards it. Stacey mumbles that her dad would buy it for her. That sets her mom off, saying he’s spoiling her when she’s in New York. Good job, Stace, way to ruin a nice morning.

Stacey takes off for the mall with the BSC for the rest of the day. But when she gets home, she tells her mom about a ring she saw that was even more expensive at the mall, so the one she saw there in town is actually a bargain. Her mom’s not having any of it, so she goes off to call Claudia and bitch about her mean mom. Because she’s a complete brat.

At Monday’s meeting, they get a call from a new “just-for-this-book” client. It’s Mrs. Gardella, who is apparently very rich, because they usually have a full time nanny for their seven-month-old. But she’ll be gone for a few weeks, and Stacey gets the job.

Stacey decides the Gardellas are really nice, but weird. They seem way more interested in their cat, Mouse, and dog, Bird, than they are baby Tara. They’re not neglectful or anything, she just doesn’t do as much as the animals yet. And the animals are pretty spoiled; Mouse even eats on the dining room table. Stacey has to feed and play with Bird and Mouse after Tara goes to sleep, and feels like she sat for three kids.

Stacey is woken up early by a phone call the next morning. It’s Mrs. Gardella. She accidentally left her diamond ring on top of her dresser the night before, and now it’s missing. They’ve looked everywhere for it. So she was wondering if Stacey had maybe “borrowed” the ring, to show her friends or something. Stacey totally denies this, of course. Mrs. Gardella asks to speak to her mother, who stands up for Stacey. She puts Stacey back on the phone, and Mrs. Gardella tells her she won’t be using the club again, and she feels she has to inform their other clients about this as well. Stacey freaks, and calls Kristy, who calls for an emergency meeting.

Nothing much gets accomplished, though. Stacey just tells her story, and the others get all indignant on her behalf, and upset over her telling other people. They can’t fix it, though.

Then at their regular Monday meeting, they only get two calls. They don’t know if it’s just a coincidence or not.

Mary Anne sits for Jenny and Andrea, and she and Jenny throw Andrea a fake birthday party. Then they go to the front yard to play. Mary Anne sees a little boy watching them, and invites him over. Jenny says his name is Joey. The two of them play tag. Andrea gets bored, so Mary Anne walks her back and forth in the side yard. When Andrea starts to get sleepy, Mary Anne realizes she hasn’t seen Jenny and Joey for a little bit. She goes to the front door, and sees the garden hose running through it. Joey is inside, spraying everything in the front hall. Mary Anne sends him home, calls his mother, and then cleans up. Mary Anne says in the notebook this kid rivals Jackie, but Mary Anne, maybe you shouldn’t have taken your eyes off of a couple of freaking four-year-olds! Just a thought.

Wednesday’s meeting is even worse than Monday’s. This time the only two calls they get are cancellations. Betsy Sobak’s uncle is taking her to the zoo, and Corrie Addison has strep throat. But the girls wonder if that’s the truth. They go over other bad times the club has been through to make themselves feel better.

Jessi sits for Becca and Squirt, and comes up with a game where she or Becca hides an object in a room and the others find it. The first object is a button. Is it a good idea to use something so small as a toy for a toddler? I don’t really think so. Anyway, they play in every room, and in their parents room, Jessi hides an earring. It makes her think about all the places a piece of jewelry could get lost in a house. Maybe the Gardellas just didn’t look hard enough. Then she hears on the radio about a thief that’s going around, and freaks out. She locks all the windows, hides her mother’s jewelry, covers up the TV and VCR, and turns all the lights on and music up. It’s ridiculous, but her parents are proud of her when they get home. Jessi is happy when she goes to bed, thinking that if it were the thief who stole the ring, Stacey’s name would be clear. There’s a lot of eleven-year-old logic going on in this chapter.

Claudia sits for the Prezziosos, and as she’s getting Jenny ready for bed, she hears something downstairs. She worries it’s the thief, I worry it’s Joey, back to wreak more havoc, but no, it’s just the Prezziosos, home early. The Gardellas were at the same party they went to, and told them all about the “theft”. But fortunately, the Prezziosos didn’t believe them. They’ve been hiring the BSC for so long, they figure they know the girls pretty well. So that’s nice. The Prezziosos left early, because of that, and also because the party pretty much sucked. Claudia’s happy they believe in the club, but is bummed she only gets paid for two hours.

Stacey and her mom are settling down to watch Gone With the Wind when Claudia calls after her job. She tells Stacey what happens, and asks to come over. When she gets there, she’s acting weird, and is touching everything on Stacey’s dresser. Stacey realizes what she’s doing; she’s looking for that damn ring. Claudia says she knows Stacey had ben wanting one, so she was just checking. They fight, and Claudia leaves. I gotta say, that was pretty shitty of Claudia.
Stacey and Claudia still aren’t speaking by the time Monday’s meeting comes around, which makes things awkward. But Stacey has an idea she wants to share. She’ll offer to baby-sit for the Gardellas for free until the cost of the ring is paid off. Then her name can be clear. Kristy approves of the idea, so Stacey calls Mrs. Gardella and asks her. She’s hesitant at first, but then says ok, as long as another club member comes with her, at least at first. Kristy agrees to go along. There are no other calls during the meeting.

Mrs. Gardella acts normal with them when they arrive, at least. The girls feed Tara, and get her settled for the night. Then they go to the living room to talk and play with Mouse. Stacey keeps giving him toys, which he plays with, then takes out of the room, and leaves somewhere. Stacey finally follows him, and finds a whole stash of toys under the desk. By the time she gets back, he’s found a twist tie, and then leaves with it. She follows him to the TV room this time, and he bats it under the TV. When she looks under it, she finds twist ties, paper clips, and the fucking diamond ring.

Stacey feels all sorts of smug when she shows the Gardellas. They apologize, and tell the girls they’ll call the Prezziosos and let them know. Stacey asks them to call everyone else, too, but Mrs. Gardella says she never told anyone else. So maybe the slowness is a coincidence after all.

Stacey and Claudia are friends again. Claudia actually called to apologize while Stacey was still at the Gardellas’, before Stacey was proven innocent, so that makes her feel good.

The club is back in business. It really was just a coincidence. Kids were on vacation, sick, or all kinds of other reasons. But the club’s busy again. Oh, and Jessi doesn’t have to freak out about the thief anymore, he was caught.

And Stacey’s parents discussed it, and they’ve agreed they might go in together on the ring, for Stacey’s birthday or Christmas or something. Because it’s totally appropriate for a thirteen-year-old to have an expensive diamond ring, right?

o   Ahh, I was just bitching about missing Friendly’s a few posts ago, and now the BSC girls go there, too.

o   One of the movies Stacey’s mom wants to watch is Holiday. I love the shit out of that movie. Now I want to watch it. But it’s spelled KathArine Hepburn, not KathErine, which is how it is in the book. But funnily enough, that’s how it is in the picture on that link. They should really know better.

o   So, totally unrelated, but it’s the same time period, so I say it works. I’m sure you heard about the Lifetime Unauthorized Saved By the Bell Story yesterday. Seriously exciting. I think I feel another live tweeting event going down.

      Also, I feel old. Since when have I gotten excited about three Lifetime movies in a year? Ugh.


  1. I'm with you on the mystery series. Not my favorite. Or maybe it was by the time these were coming out, I was starting to outgrow the BSC.

    1. That may have something to with it for me, too. I started slacking off on getting every single book about this time.

  2. Same here. By that point I had started to outgrow the series. That's why I didn't read any of the books with Abby.

  3. I only enjoyed a handful of the mysteries. I've been reviewing the American Girl books, and I don't like those mysteries either (except Kaya's, The Silent Stranger). It seems like mysteries written for this age range are too full of obvious red herrings and dead ends, and the ways they're solved are often too contrived. So you have my sympathy as you read them!

    And yeah...a fancy diamond ring for a thirteen-year-old...I'm not on board with that. I do plan to get my daughters birthstone necklaces or earrings (their choice) for their sixteenth birthdays. Their birthstones are topaz (November) and emerald (May--and yeah, I was worried she'd be a couple weeks early and be April, diamond). If we have any sons, they get to pick between birthstone cufflinks or a tie tack.

    ALSO: Yay, I'm caught up! I can't believe I didn't find this blog until now. It's tons of fun!

    1. You know, in thinking about it some more, I wonder if I would feel differently if it had been her parents' idea to give her the ring for a special occasion. I think it's her getting it with such an entitled attitude really bothers me.

      And yay, I'm glad you've been enjoying it!

    2. My sisters and I all got small birthstone rings around age 11. One of us has the diamond and hers was a diamond chip. And I think she was about 13. But a fancy diamond ring? No. I didn't get a nice opal (my birthstone) ring until after I was married. Realistic expectations, Stacey. It's time to get some.