November 10, 2011
BSC Mystery #21, Claudia and the Recipe for Danger: Cooking Up Trouble
Summary: Claudia and Mary Anne enter a baking competition with Shea Rodowsky. There are two divisions, one for kids 9-15 and one for people 16 and up. Logan also enters (with his sister and a friend of his), as do Cokie Mason and her second banana, Grace. Except Cokie has to drop out at the last minute because she gets sick. The BSC gets hired to watch the competitors’ kids, which is dumb, but whatever, people other than Mary Anne and Claudia needed a plot.
A few of the teams experience weirdness, like ovens being set to the wrong temperature and ingredients being switched. Claudia and Mary Anne team up with Grace to figure out what’s going on, and Claudia’s surprised to learn that she and Grace have a lot in common, like their love of Nancy Drew. They suspect another contestant’s father, who’s putting a lot of pressure on his daughter, and…there aren’t really any other suspects.
The girls do some spying and catch the guy running the contest, Marty, making out with a contestant, Julie. Claudia comes up with a plan to trap the culprit by sprinkling some flour around their work station, setting up a mirror so they can spy without being noticed, and pretending to leave their station. They catch Marty “white-handed” in the act of messing with their oven. Claudia also realizes that since she saw Julie driving, she’s at least 16 and therefore not eligible for the junior division. And then they finish the competition and Claudia, Mary Anne, and Shea win with a cake Mary Anne’s mom used to make. Also, Cokie’s all ticked, which cracks me up.
The B-plot is about the BSC girls taking care of the kids at the competition, and helping them make their own restaurant. There’s a kid who keeps breaking stuff and blaming his sister, who goes along with it so her brother won’t get in trouble. But the kids aren’t regulars in the series, so who cares?
Thoughts: I like that Claudia’s the one who figures out how to solve the mystery, and that she does it in a clever way. Score one for street smarts!
But the whole plot makes no sense when you realize that Kristy is supposed to serve as “cake cop” and make sure nothing fishy happens. Plus, there are judges around while people are baking. So why doesn’t anyone notice the sabotage?
Either I read this out of order or the ghostwriter screwed up, because Dawn’s still in Stoneybrook in this book. I’m just going to blame the ghostwriter.
Claudia’s dad gets a cordless phone. Mr. Kishi is so with it.
Someone needs a book of baby names, because there are two characters named Anna in this book, and there’s a third coming in the next one.