January 22, 2013
BSC Mystery #32, Claudia and the Mystery in the Painting: You’re My Favorite Work of Art
Summary: The BSC’s newest clients are the Cook/Madden family. Mom Rebecca is the granddaughter of one of Claudia’s favorite painters, Grandmother Madden. She’s in town to settle Grandmother Madden’s estate and clear out the house. Claudia’s excited because she thinks there might be some paintings in the house, but Rebecca says that after a bad review, her grandmother destroyed all her artwork. The only paintings in the house are from her students. Grandmother Madden’s grandchildren are the only ones with any of her paintings, and Rebecca’s the only one of them who actually likes hers, since she’s also a painter. The other grandkids won’t participate in the estate sale because they don’t think they’ll get any money.
The BSC girls help with the estate sale, and since this is a mystery, weird stuff starts happening. Mr. Ogura, who works with the company holding the sale, keeps popping up and acting weird. Claudia also keeps spotting a woman who looks a lot like Rebecca. Rebecca’s husband, Mr. Cook, isn’t too thrilled to be involved with the estate sale, and has told his wife that he doesn’t support her decision to apply for art school. He also doesn’t support his seven-year-old son Jimmy’s love of painting. Mr. Cook is kind of a jerk.
Other mysterious happenings: A yellow cat named Goldie shows up. Well, that’s not really mysterious, but Rebecca does mention that her grandmother had a series of yellow cats, all named Goldie. In fact, she put a little yellow cat in the corner of all of her paintings. And Claudia finds a painting she likes of a Japanese woman, but it goes missing. There are all sorts of scenes with paintings being delivered and moved around, and it’s hard to keep track of what’s going on, but the bottom line is that none of the artwork in the house seems to be Grandmother Madden’s.
Since Claudia’s only smart when it involves art, she figures out what Mr. Ogura and the mystery woman are after. The painting of the Japanese woman was painted over two of Grandmother Madden’s paintings stuck together. Instead of destroying her artwork, Grandmother Madden let her students paint over them. Also, the mystery woman is Rebecca’s cousin, who was hoping to get her hands on some paintings. Claudia busts her and Mr. Ogura, who were working together, after they lock her in a closet, which is really creepy when you think about it. I mean, she’s 13.
The B-plot is also artsy: The girls are asked to help out with a new children’s art room at the Stoneybrook Museum. Ms. O’Neal, the woman who runs the room, is clueless about children and art, and thinks they should have structured assignments. The woman is so uptight she literally clutches her pearls. The girls have to keep convincing her that the kids should be allowed to explore and experiment. What’s nice, though, is that once Ms. O’Neal sees the kids’ artwork, she shows that she knows what to say to them and how to praise their efforts.
Thoughts: Mr. Cook doesn’t think Jimmy should paint because painting is something you learn to do in kindergarten. Oh, yeah? Well, I learned math in kindergarten. Should I stop using math, Mr. Cook? In the end, he does become more supportive, but if I were Rebecca and my husband thought so little of something I was passionate about, I would think seriously about whether I wanted to stay in that marriage.
Abby tells Corrie Addison she’s a great painter – as good as Pele. Really, she couldn’t think of one artist?
Stacey carries a calculator in her purse. *cough*nerd*cough
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to stop writing – I learned the alphabet in kindergarten, so it’s no longer something I should be using.