July 24, 2013

BSC Mystery #35, Abby and the Notorious Neighbor: Stoneybrook’s Most Wanted

Posted in books tagged , , , , , at 8:17 pm by Jenn

I don't think you need binoculars if he's standing that close

I don’t think you need binoculars if he’s standing that close

Summary: Abby gets bronchitis and has to stay home from school for a few days. She watches a TV show called Mystery Trackers (think America’s Most Wanted) and realizes that one of the profiled criminals looks like her neighbor, Mr. Finch. (Mr. F!) The guy on the show is wanted for embezzlement, and he ditched his family in Iowa and went on the run with his wife’s life savings.

Abby’s so convinced that Mr. Finch is the guy from the show that she starts spying on him with binoculars. She gets a little too Harriet the Spy for everyone’s tastes, and the other BSC girls tell her she’s crazy. But there’s so much evidence! Mr. Finch receives mail from Iowa, he has kids’ drawings in his house despite not having children, and Abby sees him burning something in his house. She tries to convince Sgt. Johnson that something’s going on, but Johnson points out that Mr. Finch hasn’t actually done anything illegal.

Kristy starts drinking the Kool-Aid, and Abby gets her to help snoop while Mr. Finch is out of the house. Kristy finds out that the kids’ drawings are signed by kids with the same names as the embezzlers’ children. Also, the thing he was burning was a photo of said kids. Sgt. Johnson has realized that Abby is on to something, so he gets in touch with the police in Iowa who’ve been looking for Mr. Finch.

In a complete anticlimax, Abby and Kristy see Mr. Finch putting a bunch of stuff in his car as if he’s planning to flee. They call the police again, and this time they actually come. Mr. Finch gets arrested and Abby’s snooping habit is rewarded.

B-plot: The kids in Stoneybrook make go-karts. The Kormans build the best one. Try to contain your excitement.

Thoughts: I don’t know if I screwed up the order or the series did, but this book should have come before Mary Anne and the Playground Fight. Oh, well.

I don’t dislike Anna, but she’s the most one-dimensional character in the BSC-verse. Stop talking about music already!

For the first time, the BSC girls use the Internet to try to get information.

Maybe Abby and Kristy’s signal while Kristy’s snooping shouldn’t be a harmonica when they’re depending on a player who has asthma?

So you see, kids, spying is okay as long as the person you’re spying on is bad.


  1. catherine said,

    I almost spit out my lunch when I read the “Mr. F!” reference. Well played.

    “Johnson points out that Mr. Finch hasn’t actually done anything illegal”

    Stoneybrook has the worst cops ever. I’m pretty sure that someone who has been on “America’s Most Wanted” HAS done something illegal in order to earn that honor. And isn’t the point of that show to generate tips? So why wouldn’t they at least check him out? You fail, Sgt. Johnson.

  2. SJSiff said,

    I demand more information about the go-karts!

    At least this mystery is more plausible than some of the others. I mean, you could see a suspect around the town. Still ridiculous, though.

    • Jenn said,


      No, really, there isn’t much more. They connect the plot to the other plot because Abby sees the Kormans’ go-kart while she’s spying on people in the neighborhood, but that’s about it.

      • SJSiff said,

        Yeah, I remember this book. The go-karts seemed like a random idea pulled from a hat to fill a few more pages. 🙂

        I wish the ghostwriter had put in a joke about someone catching Abby spying and having her claim she was bird-watching. A finch is a very common backyard bird.

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