March 20, 2013
BSC Super Mystery #4, Baby-sitters’ Christmas Chiller: It’s a Jolly Holiday With Mary
Summary: This Super Mystery has not one, not two, but THREE mysteries, so it actually deserves to be called a Super Mystery. And they’re actually mysterious!
First, it’s almost Christmas. (Yeah, I know it was Christmas in the last book. I’ll get to that later.) Someone is auditioning for the role of Grinch by breaking into houses in Kristy and Abby’s neighborhood. Fortunately, the break-ins happen when no one’s home, and only a few things are stolen, but there’s a lot of destruction. Plus, the burglar is painting “naughty” on the houses. Kristy’s house is left alone, but the family gets a note calling them “nice.”
A rake is found at one of the houses, which is weird since it’s winter and keeps snowing, so obvious no one’s doing yardwork. Speaking of yardwork, the only thing the break-in families have in common (other than their neighborhood) is that they’ve all recently fired their gardener. The Thomas/Brewers and the Stevensons still employ him. Dawn figures out that the gardener is the burglar, and that the rake fell off his truck, which has been spotted in the neighborhood. The Thomas/Brewers set up a sting with the police (including, of course, Sgt. Johnson), and he’s arrested.
The other Stoneybrook mystery involves a pregnant woman Mallory and Jessi run into who doesn’t know who she is. No one in town knows her and she doesn’t know how she got there. Because she’s pregnant around Christmas, she’s nicknamed Mary Doe. The Pikes invite her to stay with them so she won’t be alone over the holidays.
Mallory manages to figure out what the police can’t: Mary’s wedding ring is unique, probably custom-made, and her sweater came from a store in California. She picks a jewelry store in the same town in California and sends them a picture of the ring. The owner recognizes it: Her nephew had it made for his wife, Lisa.
Once it’s determined that Mary is Lisa, the real story comes out: She was visiting family on the East Coast, started to take the train back, and decided to stop in Boston to visit friends. When the train stopped in Stoneybrook, she got off and most likely had her purse stolen, suffering a concussion in the process. Because no one knew when she was getting back to California, no one knew she was missing. And her husband was out of the country on business, so he didn’t know he needed to be worried. Somehow, going into labor jogs Lisa’s memory, so she’ll be fine.
The third mystery involves Stacey and Claudia, who are visiting Stacey’s dad in New York. They spend a lot of time with Stacey’s boyfriend, Ethan, who keeps staring at Stacey and is possibly following the girls. He also won’t let the girls see certain parts of his apartment. Then the girls start getting notes and seeing fake blood in the elevator and near Stacey’s dad’s apartment. The doorman says no one has come into the building who could have left anything, so the culprit appears to live there.
The girls are summoned to the basement one afternoon, after being stuck in the elevator, which they thought they had to take since the stairs were roped off. It turns out there was nothing wrong with the stairs, which makes things weirder. Stacey asks Ethan about the note, and he admits that he used to date a girl in her building, Cybil, and she’s, shall we say, unstable. She’s the one who’s been following the girls and doing weird stuff to them. Ethan’s only been staring at Stacey because he’s sculpting her; the sculpture is the reason he doesn’t want the girls in his room.
The three decide to go to the basement at the allotted time, and sure enough, Cybil shows up. She starts ranting about how Ethan likes her, not Stacey. She’s turned off the lights, so no one knows what she’s planning to do. Claudia knocks her down and Ethan grabs her, though it doesn’t seem like she was going to do anything dangerous. Cybil’s parents agree that she needs help, and everything’s okay between Stacey and Ethan again.
Thoughts: Once again, we have continuity problems. The last book took place around Christmas and included a visit from Dawn. This book takes place around Christmas and starts with Dawn arriving in Stoneybrook. Stacey and Claudia go to New York in this book, but they were in Stoneybrook for the last one. Plus, Logan mentions at the end of this book that he was out of town, but he was in Stoneybrook in the last one. Arg.
Claudia, re: Ethan: “He had staring spells, sort of like the ones Mary Anne’s kitten, Tigger, gets.” That cracked me up.
Anna suggests that the burglar is using a fake delivery truck to case the neighborhood. When I inevitably turn to a life of crime, that’s what I’m going to do. Thanks for the idea, Anna!
Claudia notes that if the elevator she and Stacey are stuck in were to drop, she and Stacey could become “big dead pancakes.” Then she thinks that sounds like a good name for a punk band. I call it! Mine!
Mallory sometimes uses her dad’s briefcase instead of a backpack. Mal, this is why people make fun of you. (Though I’m sure if Claudia did this, it would be oh-so-cool and fashion-forward.)