Thursday, April 18, 2013

"I think you might have to try being five, first." BSC Mystery #1: Stacey and the Missing Ring (1991)

I never owned this one as a kid. The first mystery in my collection was #2, where Dawn is afraid of some mystery letters she's getting. So I'd forgotten the plot of this book when I picked it up back in 2009 and reread it.

But the plot is fairly basic. Stacey sits for a new client, the Gardellas, and afterward, a diamond ring is missing from the Gardellas' house. They think she stole it, and so do some of her friends, particularly since she was hoping to get a diamond for her birthday (it's her birth stone.) But it turns out the Gardellas' cat had hidden it, and Kristy and Stacey are able to solve the mystery by uncovering the cat's stash.

No subplot. Not even a lot of babysitting!

Interesting tidbits

Why is it that, even though the books at this point always describe Stacey as having a perm, she's rarely ever pictured with one on the front cover? If her hair was wavy or frizzy (picture a 1989 mall rat--Tiffany, perhaps?), we'd never have problems telling Stacey and Dawn apart on the covers.

Stacey starts out by telling us she actually likes housework sometimes. Riiiight.

Stacey's mom had a beehive at her sixteenth birthday party. I'm picturing her in a Mad Men episode, so mid-sixties, right? Making her in her mid to late twenties when Stacey was born. Here goes my nerd pedantry again. We know Mary Anne's mom died when she was small and was only 25 when she died, making her about 24 when MA was born. According to two different stories, Kristy's mom had Charlie right after she finished college and/or when she was twenty--it is possible, if she skipped a grade, to do both--making her about 24 when Kristy was born also. Sharon and Richard were, according to one of my earlier posts, about 30 when Dawn and MA were born. I think that's all the parent ages I know, although I'm sure more of them have come up.

Stacey says she knows plenty of girls who have birthstone rings. I had plenty of birthstone stuff growing up. But a) like Dawn, I'm a February baby, so my birthstone is an amethyst and b) I don't even think they were real amethysts in those pins and necklaces. Stacey could have easily gotten an affordable birthstone ring that had cubic zirconium in it, if the birth stone part was so important to her. She sounds unbelievably greedy, even before she tells her mom the price (which we don't get to hear.)

Nice. Stacey decides she wants to go to the mall, so whom does she call first? Not Claudia, her best friend, who loves to shop. It's Kristy--because she's hoping Charlie will be willing to drive them...which, of course, he does.

When talking about Mary Anne's upbringing, Stacey mentions how strict Richard used to be by pointing out that he had rules about her hair--pretty standard for chapter two. Then the ghostwriter threw me for a loop by pointing out that MA didn't want a Mohawk or pink hair. So now I'm picturing MA with a pink Mohawk and it's hilarious.

Dawn is using a new shampoo that smells like wildflowers. Charlie says it smells like an accident in a perfume factory.

Oooh, real store! Kristy mentions Sears. Oh, and they eat at Friendly's. I used to love that place.

Stacey loves the smell of malls. Okaaaay....

You know you're being a brat about something when you bring it up to your friends and they're ALL on your mom's side. Stacey tells them about her fight with her mom and they all say things like, "I wouldn't dare ask my parents for a diamond ring, even if it was my birthstone," even though Stacey expects them to say how mean her mom is.

This book takes place after #46, because Logan and MA have broken up and gotten back together.

Mrs. Gardella spends a very long time giving Stacey directions about how to feed and care for the family pets...and barely even mentions her baby.

Mrs. Gardella's first name is Kay, while Mr. Gardella is Peter.

After Mrs. Gardella discovers her ring is missing, she calls Stacey and asks if she "borrowed" it. She then threatens to tell all the other BSC clients about it. Of course, Kristy calls an emergency meeting.

MA babysits for the Prezziosos and Jenny's friend Joey comes over. MA says he's a terror because he drags the hose into the house and gets everything wet. Well, if MA had been watching Jenny and Joey, she would have noticed they were playing with the hose before it ever got into the house.

The thirteen year olds summarize the events of #4 for Mal and Jessi. What's funny is that it's Dawn (who wasn't in the club yet) who explains why the fight happened. And Claudia's main memory of the fight was that Mary Anne told them all off. And then they review the events of #3 also.

While Jessi is sitting for Becca and Squirt, she gets paranoid after hearing a report about a burglar on the loose. She freaks out and tries to hid all the valuables. I wonder if it was the Phantom Phone Caller? After all, they're replaying all the other old stories.

Add to that, if you're so scared by the report of a cat burglar that you turn on every light in the house and turn the radio volume up so loud your brother and sister can barely fall asleep, maybe you shouldn't be sitting. Just a thought.

Claudia spelling: reely, aprecsiate (that was her third try), realy, leting, Pretziosos, sinse, Adisons, canseled, relly (she's having a lot of trouble with really), meens, Genny, sush (instead of such), rite, goten, latley, wuld, leest, sneekers. She also uses their instead of there, by instead of buy, and pane instead of pain.

Jenny's favorite baby doll is named Pee-wee after Pee-wee Herman. Later, she and Claudia play Shark Attack. I remember my sister really wanted that game.

Stacey and her mom try to pick out a movie to watch, and her mom keeps suggesting classics. Stacey says she doesn't see what's so handsome about Cary Grant, but then she agrees to watch Gone with the Wind, so maybe she just prefers Clark Gable.

Oh my Lord (as Claudia would say). Stacey actually asks Claudia what Mrs. Prezzioso was wearing when Claudia babysat.

Claudia is upset because she hasn't been getting sitting jobs--the club hasn't been getting many jobs since Mrs. Gardella threatened to tell people--so she goes over to Stacey's house, to double check and make sure Stacey didn't actually steal the ring. Nice to know how much she trusts her best friend (although, I think Claudia and Stacey are the best friend pair that spend the most time through the series fighting with each other.)

Heh. The club is all trying to figure out what happened to the ring. Jessi thinks the burglar got it. MA wonders if baby Tara could have swallowed it. Dawn supposes Mrs. Gardella might have dropped it down the drain without noticing. And Kristy just figures it's around somewhere but the Gardellas didn't really try to find it (which is pretty accurate.)


Claudia: black leggings, lunch box purse, red high top sneakers, oversized red sweater. (Why are sweaters trendy when Claudia wears them and lame when Kristy wears them? Kristy's wearing pretty much that same sweater on the cover.)

Mrs. Gardella (Stacey tells us what she was wearing, so okay): tight black velvet dress, with long sleeves and a low back, black velvet shoes with really high heels, lots of diamond jewelry

Jenny P: faded overalls, too-small pink-striped sweatshirt, pink sneakers

New characters

Tara Gardella (infant)--22

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