Wednesday, January 7, 2015

“Officially, I was babysitting for her, but unofficially we were McGill and Johanssen, Private Investigators.” BSC Mystery #10: Stacey and the Mystery Money (1993)

Happy new year, everyone? (Yes, that’s a question, not a statement.) Did you miss me during my little unplanned hiatus? Don’t worry; it was just a temporary thing, and barring any additional weirdness, things should go back to normal. Except…this is me we’re talking about here, and weird is practically my middle name. In any case, I’ll be continuing on with the blog although there might be a few more gaps here and there.
So this mystery starts off pretty normal and winds off in the Twilight Zone a little. Counterfeiters are taking Stoneybrook by storm, and Stacey inadvertently passes a fake $10 bill. She gets hauled into the police station and the BSC decides to try to catch the counterfeiters. (This has to be the dumbest decision in the history of the world, but it is the BSC.) Meanwhile, Stacey’s got this crush on a boy at school named Terry Hoyt. All these clues start developing that Terry’s dad might be involved in the counterfeiting. Instead, he turns out to be Secret Service, investigating the counterfeiters. With help from Stacey, the BSC and Charlotte and Becca, they catch the counterfeiters. Terry, because he likes Stacey so much, tells her his secret identity, a secret she “has to take to her grave with her.” Or, just until the Friends Forever series….
Interesting Tidbits
Laura’s random math time: I just did a few calculations. More than a quarter (28%) of the BSC mystery books have the word ‘mystery’ in the title. They couldn’t have been more creative than that? I wonder what the percentage of BSC books, total, would be, that could be considered mysteries (and how many of those have ‘mystery’ in the title.) Hmmm….I might get back to you with that. (Yes, I am a nerd…why do you ask?)
The cover: Stacey looks fashionable now. Make her a little taller and she’d look just like my coworker. Meanwhile, Charlotte’s outfit looks charmingly dated, and you can actually read where it says ‘Betty’ on the clerks name tag.

Janine comes into Claudia’s room to borrow magic markers. When Claudia asks her what colors she needs, Janine launches into a whole long, science-y spiel, trying to figure that out. Why didn’t she either figure it out in advance or just ask to borrow all the colors, which is what Claudia eventually suggests?
I love when Stacey gets all condescending about the shopping opportunities in Stoneybrook. Paraphrase of her comments here: Bellair’s isn’t nearly as good as Bloomingdale’s, but what do you expect in hicksville? It’s a nice little store, though.
During Charlotte and Stacey’s shopping extravaganza, Charlotte decides to spend her money on…a troll doll. I used to have a whole collection of those, but now they freak me out.
Ewww. Stacey’s looking for earrings to go with her purple jumpsuit. I guess it really doesn’t matter what you wear with a purple jumpsuit, does it? You’re still going to be wearing a purple jumpsuit.
We don’t call the cops when people try to give us counterfeit money at my store. We just turn it down and ask for another method of payment. Generally, it’s not worth the hassle.
Charlotte actually gets so upset at the thought that Stacey might be arrested over the counterfeit bill that she demands to be arrested too. She puts her wrists out to get handcuffed.
This made me laugh, even though I’d feel like doing the same thing at Stacey’s age (or even my age): when her mom shows up at the police station, Stacey shouts “Mommy!” and runs into her arms. I think it’s just the image of ‘sophisticated’ Stacey calling her mom Mommy that makes it funny.
Ew. Charlie is checking out Tasha Hoyt and thinks she’s cute. But she’s a lot younger than he is and the whole thing just seems wrong. It’s bad enough Sam wants to date someone Kristy’s age.
Kristy judges the fact that the Hoyts aren’t fully unpacked after three weeks of being moved in. Honestly, with three kids and a lot of stuff, it wouldn’t be unsurprising. (We had Christmas at Tessie’s, and she’d been in her house for five weeks. We had to keep unpacking things in her kitchen so she could make dinner.)
Is there a more fun character name in the BSC-verse than Mr. Zizmore? I always have the urge to say it out loud. It’s got Zizz! (bonus points to anyone except my mother who gets that reference.)
They have an emergency meeting to deal with the counterfeiters. You know it’s big, because even Shannon shows up!
Oh, Kristy. The first thing she thinks of when Stacey tells her how awful the whole experience at the police department? She hopes their clients don’t find out, because it would give the club a bad image. Sometimes, I think Kristy is just put in the club so she can say insensitive and blunt things.
Oh, and then Jessi has to bring up the missing ring from the first mystery book, because Stacey’s not feeling bad enough already.
Alan’s lurking in the library while MA, Kristy and Stacey are researching counterfeiting. When they’re trying to figure out why he’s there, Kristy thinks he’s probably just looking up dirty words in the dictionary.
Jessi wants to see what happens if she just copies her money on the photocopier, but Stacey freaks out and stops her. I remember rolling my eyes about that as a kid, and I do so even more now. No one would arrest Jessi for copying a dollar bill on the photocopier as long as she didn’t try to pass it as real, and even then she’d probably just get yelled at. The police and Secret Service don’t have time to deal with small time bungling like that.
Ha ha! When Dawn, Claudia and Stacey show up at the police department to talk about counterfeiting, the desk officer recognizes Dawn from the dog-napping case and calls her Nancy Drew.
Charlotte gets Becca into the whole BSC detective thing because she wants to clear Stacey’s name. (No matter how many times people tell her that Stacey wasn’t actually arrested, she doesn’t seem to believe it.) She decides they need to stake out copiers in order to see who’s copying money. Even Jessi knows that a counterfeiter wouldn’t use a public copy machine.
Stacey’s English teacher Mr. Fiske actually becomes a suspect because he happened to be shopping in Bellair’s at the same time Stacey got the fake bill and happened to be looking at a copy machine at the office supply store when Jessi and her mini-detectives staked it out.
Stacey starts to get suspicious of Terry because he introduces himself to her mother as Terry James Hoyt and to Logan and Mary Anne as Terry John Hoyt. If you had a fake identity that you had to relearn on a regular basis, would you introduce yourself by full name ever? Most people don’t do that anyway. It’s not like Claudia goes around introducing herself as Claudia Lynn Kishi all the time.
Dawn wants to take a cooking class about ‘new ways to cook tofu.’ Mary Anne gets all grossed out, but really. Tofu has no flavor. You WANT to find sauces and marinades and casseroles and stuff to put it in.
Kristy begins to suspect the Hoyts of counterfeiting. Her evidence: they move all the time. They’re really secretive about what their dad does. She saw a school ID with Terry’s twin sister Tasha’s photo and the name “Tina Harris” on it. Their house isn’t unpacked all the way. There’s a closet in their house that Georgie didn’t want her to open.
Finally, I can use the quote I’ve been thinking of the entire time I’ve been reading this book: “This mystery is getting really mysterious.” –Fred from Scooby Doo
Claudia spelling, yo. First, let’s get right to the point before I even address the rest of this notebook entry (in which just about every other word is spelled wrong.) She spells Stacey as Stasey. That’s her flippin’ best friend! I don’t care if she spells everything else in her notebook entry wrong, she should at least get that one right.
Anyway, the rest of the spelling: begining, Fisk (Fiske), susspishions, befour, contrafeeting (I had to look at that one several times before I realized she was trying for counterfeiting. I could understand counterfitting, counterfeeting, or counterfetting, but I don’t understand this.) Also, Charlatte, deffinitly, detectiv.
Charlotte and Claud first start out trying to copy money larger than life, just to see how hard it is. After that they make their own fake money. Claudia’s is from the land of Total Coolness and Charlotte’s is from Johanssenland. They talk about how boring U.S. money is by comparison. Wonder how they’d feel about the new $100 bills, the ones many of my customers call ‘Monopoly money.’ They’re full of anti-counterfeiting features and also colored for those with low vision.
When the BSC tails Mr. Fiske (who was also at the office supply store when Claudia and Charlotte went spying again), Claud offers to take notes, but Stacey says, “What if the rest of us want to be able to read them?” So Jessi takes notes instead.
Stacey contemplates what goes on in the faculty lounge. Apparently, the only images she has to go on are the original vision of the place smelling like potpourri and being full of comfortable chairs and pretty wallpaper, based upon the word ‘lounge.’ Later, the door opens and Jessi smells coffee and cigarettes, which changes the image to something more accurate. (Take a high school cafeteria and clean it up a bit and you have most faculty lounges/lunch rooms.) But I sincerely doubt most schools would allow teachers to smoke in the building in the nineties.
Mr. Fiske keeps being ‘suspicious.’ He digs around in his desk and pulls out…counterfeit money? No! A red pencil, which he uses to…color counterfeit money? NO! Grade papers. (Claudia suggests he’s grading Stacey’s paper because he’s making a LOT of red marks. This makes me smile.)
Oh, and then Stacey nearly follows him into the men’s room.
I know this was quite a ways back up, but ever since Claudia wrote Charlatte, I’ve been trying to spell Charlotte that way. And I keep reading it as Char-latte, like the coffee drink.
Claudia spent a couple pages wondering, back when she and Charlotte were spying, how much it hurts to get a tattoo on your ear and whether she could get away with a temporary ear tattoo after seeing a guy with a “blue moon and star tattoo” on his ear. It’s not until Stacey and Char happen to be in the right spot at the right time and see a guy dropping a shit-ton of counterfeit cash that anyone actually goes back and rereads all the entries in the notebook Charlotte makes Jessi buy. They realize that Becca had already made an entry on the same guy. Who, of course, is actually the counterfeiter.
It’s around this time that Terry admits his dad is SS and trying to catch the counterfeiters.
I might have to go back and see how many times I’ve used counterfeit or some version thereof in this post. (Answer: 23, if you include my misspellings of it but not Claudia’s.)
Bonus math time: Leaving out the ‘special editions,’ ‘portrait collections’, Friends Forever series and random books like the complete guide and postcard book, I have counted 186 BSC books. (If you’re counting with me, that leaves the original series, mysteries, super specials and super mysteries.) Of these, I counted that 45 are mysteries: 36 from the mysteries series, 4 super mysteries, and 5 BSC books that are mysterious. There might be more of the last, but I counted fast. This is 24% of the 186 books. Of these, 16 have mystery in the name, which is 36% of the mystery books.
New characters:
Terry (aka David Hawthorne), Tasha and Georgie Hoyt (13, 13 and 7)—35, 35 and 29
Charlotte: pink skirt, frilly white blouse
Stacey: white miniskirt, blue and white striped sweater; Date outfits: red jumpsuit (“too flashy”); floral sundress (“too summery”); purple sweater, bleached jeans with bows at the ankles (“too casual”); black sweater dress (“too hot and dressy”); white sweater, blue and white polka dot leggings, white hair bow (apparently perfect)
Claudia: tie dyed pajamas
Terry: chinos and tan sweater
Coming soon: #67: Get Lost, Dawn (or Dawn’s Big Move. Whatever)

BTW, if anyone has been following my fanfic and wondering if I’m ever going to finish February…well, I have five pages. This is impressive only because, until this morning, I had one page. Don’t despair of me; once I finish February, the story should just flow.  About two thirds of April and May are already written, and I know what will be happening in the rest of the story (including March, which includes more Dawn…I’m so much nicer to her in fanfic than I am in my head or in this blog! Ha ha!)

1 comment:

  1. I also laughed at Claudia's commentary on the paper-grading. :)