August 26, 2012

BSC Mystery #28, Abby and the Mystery Baby: Teen Not-Mom

Posted in books tagged , , , at 4:12 pm by Jenn

I want Abby’s jacket. (Okay, and the baby)

Summary: Someone leaves a baby on the Stevensons’ porch, which is a much better idea than leaving one on the Thomas/Brewers’ porch, because that baby would never get any attention. Abby, Anna, and their mom call the BSC’s favorite police officer, Sgt. Johnson, who agrees to let them look after the baby until his parents can be found. Since babies are adorable and totally not hard at all to take care of, Abby turns into a little teen mom, spending all her free time with the kid, who they call Eli. The girls are holding a writing month (their own little NaNoWriMo, I guess), and a bunch of the kids write about the baby.

On the mystery front, there isn’t much to go on. Shannon’s sister Maria’s story about Eli mentions a green car she saw around the time he was left, but no one follows up on that. In fact, it seems like the police aren’t doing much at all in the way of looking for clues. Mallory and Jessi are taking a writing class, and when one of their classmates writes a story about a woman giving up her baby, they get suspicious of her. The nanny the Stevensons hire to watch Eli also acts a little fishy. And Mrs. Stevenson seems to be hiding something.

While Mrs. Stevenson is out one day, having suddenly taken off to tend to something, Abby goes through her office looking for whatever she might be keeping from her daughters. She finds a name, Miriam, written on a Post-It and remembers that her mother has a sister named Miriam who’s estranged from the family. Abby and Anna look at some old pictures and find one of Miriam as a child, with the blanket Eli had over him when he was left on the porch.

Abby discovers that her mother went to a hospital in New York, and she figures out that she must have gone to visit Miriam. Rather than just be patient and wait for Mrs. Stevenson to come back and explain everything, Abby decides to follow her to New York. There, she learns that Miriam was involved with a guy her parents didn’t like, and who left soon after she had his baby, Eli (whose real name is Daniel). So the baby wasn’t just some random kid left with a random family: He’s Abby’s cousin.

Mrs. Stevenson had always complained that Miriam relied on her too much, so Miriam didn’t tell her she had a baby, no baby daddy, no job, and poor health. Instead, she left the baby on the porch, then wound up in the hospital in a diabetic coma. Mrs. Stevenson figured out that the baby was Miriam’s (thanks to the blanket) and told the police, which is why they didn’t investigate and they agreed to let the Stevensons look after Daniel. But Mrs. Stevenson didn’t tell her daughters the truth about the baby because she didn’t want them to have to lie to their grandparents, who didn’t know they had a grandson. (I know it’s dumb. Just go with it.) So Miriam’s better now, and Abby gets to keep Eli in her life since he’s her cousin. I don’t remember him ever being mentioned again, though.

Thoughts: This plot may be the most ridiculously contrived of all the BSC books. Including Baby-sitters’ Island Adventure. The problem is that the ghostwriter really bends over backwards to make it clear that Miriam isn’t a bad person. She didn’t really abandon her baby! She was sick! She didn’t tell her family she had a baby or that the baby’s father (who I’m 99 percent sure wasn’t her husband – SCANDAL!) had left because she didn’t want to burden them! She can’t be a villain because she doesn’t smoke and she doesn’t have a mustache or a pitbull!

Abby’s grandparents could not be more stereotypically Jewish if they were playing the klezmer and urging people to eat more rugelach.

Mallory and Jessi think that since the woman from their writing class doesn’t do anything baby-related, she’s acting like she gave up a baby. Girls, please don’t ever become detectives. You suck at it.

Kristy, re: the nanny: “Even though she doesn’t have her own car, I’ll bet anything she knows someone with a green one.” I’ll bet everyone knows someone with a green car, Kristy. Please stop talking.

It cracks me up that Anna tries to talk Abby out of going to New York, but when Abby says she’s going no matter what, Anna offers to go with her. Because…you’ll get in less trouble that way?

1 Comment »

  1. Alison said,

    The diabetic coma, the unwanted baby…Miriam sounds like the ghost of the future for Stacey, unless she tones down the boy-craziness and stays away from sweets at all times.
    PS “the klezmer?” I think it’s just klezmer–a style of music, not an instrument. Rugelach is delish, BTW. I’m not Jewish but I make it every Christmas!

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