May 1, 2013
BSC Mystery #33, Stacey and the Stolen Hearts: The Usual Suspects
Summary: For Valentine’s Day, Stacey and Pete Black organize a fundraiser for the eighth-grade class involving valentine-grams. A bunch of the middle schoolers buy valentines for their boyfriends and girlfriends, some write them for crushes, and some send joke valentines to get people’s hopes up, because that’s what middle schoolers do. Then the valentines disappear, and notes surface commenting on what people wrote.
There are a number of suspects: Alan, Cokie, Cary, Stacey’s ex Robert, and even Pete. Their motives aren’t known, so the BSC girls start investigating. They find out that Pete has a crush on Emily Bernstein and sent her a valentine, but it’s possible he stole them all back so she wouldn’t see it. (Though why wouldn’t he just take his own back?) Cokie and her boyfriend are having trouble; she sent him a bunch of valentines but he didn’t send her any. Robert has been acting so weird that Andi, the girl he almost cheated on Stacey with, asks her to talk to him. (He’s not the thief, he’s just depressed.)
Cary looks more and more like the thief, especially after the girls see a striped sleeve photocopied with one of the valentine-grams, then see him wearing a striped shirt the next day. Stacey asks him if he had anything to do with the theft, but he has an alibi, since he was at the dentist. Then Stacey realizes that he gave his alibi before he knew the timeframe she was trying to nail down.
Cary says he isn’t the thief, but he knows who it is – someone who was about to receive a joke valentine from a girl he had a crush on. Stacey puts together that he’s talking about Alan. She questions him, but she feels so bad for him that she gives him the chance to return the valentines with no punishment. He does, and everyone’s satisfied.
In the B-plot, the BSC girls throw a “Valentine’s festival” for their charges. It’s not a festival, it’s a lame party. They just ask the kids what they want so everyone’s happy.
Thoughts: I wish Alan hadn’t been the culprit. The thief should have turned out to be someone completely unexpected, and Cary shouldn’t have been involved at all. It was too obvious.
Kristy wonders if the Hobarts know about Valentine’s Day. Kristy, they lived in Australia, not on the moon. Also, they’ve been in the series for, like, nine Valentine’s Days already.
Abby wants to “check out” Cary and “keep an eye on him.” That’s my girl.
Mary Anne calls Pete shy, but since when? He’s the class president, and they don’t tend to be shy.
The BSC runs a focus group for their Valentine’s party. Kristy has officially lost her mind.
I’ve never Xeroxed a sleeve, so I don’t know for certain, but I’m pretty sure stripes wouldn’t show up on the copy.
When Stacey questions Cary, he’s in the school basement, chilling in an armchair. It’s like he’s in a secret lair. I love it.