March 27, 2012
BSC Mystery #25, Kristy and the Middle School Vandal: “You Guys Need Me. I Keep You from Becoming Complacent”
Summary: The school year is almost over (allegedly), but the teachers at SMS are talking about striking if they don’t get an acceptable contract in place for next year. On top of that, the BSC girls are also dealing with some vandalism around school, which seems to be the work of the Mischief Knights, specifically Cary. Except the Mischief Knights usually sign their work with a red MK, and the recent vandalism has been signed with a green MK. The girls think the Mischief Knights are either trying to throw the scent off of themselves or someone’s trying to frame them.
Cary and the BSC girls get into it about whether the girls are capable of figuring out who’s behind the vandalism, and Cary challenges them to a mystery war. He’ll plant eight clues and they’ll have six days to solve them all. If they do, he’ll leave them alone. If they don’t, Cary gets Kristy’s watch.
As the girls work on the mystery (clues below), the vandalism continues, so they really have two mysteries to solve. At various times they suspect a school board member who’s really angry about the strike; Brad, the guy who sold Abby her “study guide” and got in trouble for it; and a guy named Troy who was mysteriously suspended for two weeks but keeps turning up on campus. Cary looks less and less like the culprit as time goes on, though at one point Kristy thinks he’s guilty and trying to set them up.
Cary’s last clue instructs the girls to figure out who the vandal is, which is kind of weird, because they were trying to do that anyway. Mary Anne figures out that since the vandal has been using green instead of red and mistook a green car for the vice principal’s red car (which he keyed), the culprit must be colorblind. Claudia’s knowledge of fashion helps her realize that it’s Troy, as his clothes never match.
The girls want to break into Troy’s locker to see if he has any green paint or chalk in it, but this requires asking Cary for help, which requires them to forfeit the war (and Kristy’s watch). But it’s worth it, as they prove Troy was the vandal and somehow get the strike called off. Cary will still be allowed to bug them, but for me, that’s a plus.
The B-plot involves BSC sitting charges doing scavenger hunts. It’s dull.
Thoughts: This is my favorite BSC book. It reminds me a tiny bit of another awesome book, The Westing Game.
Cary has nice handwriting and is sarcastic. Just two more reasons I adore him.
Claudia has mint chocolate M&Ms. Do those really exist? If so, I need some.
During a scavenger hunt, one of the Hobart boys sees a garden gnome “among the bushes at one side of Kristy’s old house.” The ghostwriter says that Claudia doesn’t know who it belongs to. Okay, I know Claudia isn’t the brightest, but she would know that the Perkinses live there, especially since she lives right across the street.
Here are Cary’s clues, which are mostly pretty clever:
- “Get Your Mother (understands).” GYM, under the bleachers.
- “a drop of golden sun = re (as in the song from The Sound of Music)
just short of failing = D (the grade before F)
a skater’s figure = 8
not him, you see, but = her
(where does it all come from?)” Re + D + 8 + her = radiator. “It all” (heat) comes from the boiler room.
- “Toasted gloves or barbecued bats, anyone?” This refers to the supply shack Kristy thought she burned down in Kristy and the Copycat.
- “Cafeteria hamburger + A Theory of Man and Woman – SMS on Street = a fly on the wall of…”
A cafeteria hamburger costs $1.69. A Theory of Man and Womanis a book with the library call number 305. The school’s street address is 358 Elm Street. 169 + 305 – 358 = 116, a biology classroom with a giant picture of a fly on the wall.
- “Nothing personal, Claudia, but check your spelling.” Claudia has to take a spelling test on a computer she used when she wrote her personals column.
- “B2 or not B2…that is the question. (Are you sitting down?)” The next clue is under seat B2 in the auditorium.
- “Hey Abby. IPA2tFotUSoAand2tR [picture of four witches] (look up)” The letters and numbers are an abbreviation of the Pledge of Allegiance. Four witches stand = “for which it stands.” Abby is instructed to look up at the flag in her and Cary’s homeroom.
- “Bring me the head of the False Mischief Knights!”