Sunday, March 20, 2016

“This is even more boring than being bored.” BSC Mystery #29: Stacey and the Fashion Victim (1997)

I know we’ve vlogged Stacey before…okay, no we haven’t. We’ve (what’s this we crap? I must have multiple personalities or something…) only vlogged Stacey’s Emergency. So let’s talk.

I really think that someone came up with the title of this book, and then worked out a convoluted plot line to fit the very punny tag. Stacey is modeling at an event at Bellair’s Department Store called Fashion Week, which consists of catalogue shoots and fashion shows. Someone keeps sabotaging the models and shoots, so Stacey and the BSC investigate, and they find out the culprit was a model with a very pushy stage mother. She wanted to stop modeling and thought making it look like someone was out to get her would get her mother to back off.
In the B plot, Abby catches Buddy Barrett and Lindsey DeWitt getting ready to try a cigarette, leading to the kids in town convincing various adults in their lives to quit.
Interesting Tidbits
The cover: I think Stacey is the fashion victim here. I do know the seventies were back around that time, but still. Ew.

This book is going to be chockfull of outfits, isn’t it? I’m excited, but only if the clothes are better than what Stacey’s wearing on the cover.
Remember mini backpacks? Those were definitely all the rage when I was a teen. Stacey wears one with her ‘business-y outfit’ for Take Your Daughter to Work Day, totally ruining the adultness of the outfit.
What did everyone do for TYDtWD? Stacey helped her mom be a buyer at Bellair’s. Claudia went with her dad to his investment banking job, where she understood nothing but lunch. (Sounds like a normal day at school for her, before she went back to seventh grade.) Kristy rearranged her mom’s desk for efficiency.* Mary Anne thought watching Richard—who’s a corporate lawyer at this point; that seems to change on a regular basis—work was pretty interesting. Both Abby and Jessi did their mom’s photocopying…and they both copied their faces.
*Do we even know what Kristy’s mom does? She works in an office with a copy machine, but I think that’s all I know about her job.
When Stacey tells everyone she’ll be a model for Fashion Week, Mal and Jessi are predictably against it, which is no surprise. They also had a problem with the Little Miss Stoneybrook pageant, remember? And Kristy is against it as well, but mostly because Stacey won’t be able to do any sitting that week. (Typical.) Interestingly, it’s Mary Anne—who’s experienced the world of catalog modeling and commercial auditions with the Prezziosos—who suggests that some non-professional modeling could help Stacey learn to be more independent and confident.
Ooh, I have a new goal in life: to become Princess Bellair. Forget using my brain for anything!
Oh, and I now have the Fresh Prince of Bel Air theme song stuck in my head. Think Princess Bellair is related somehow?
Stacey gets bored enough during the Fashion Week intro meeting that she lets Cokie tell her all the gossip about all the other models. Stacey says she doesn’t even like gossip. (Bitch, please. I don’t know a single girl her age who doesn’t enjoy at least a little gossip. I do understand her point about the fact that all the models want to do is badmouth each other behind their backs, but a little rundown of who’s who, like Cokie gave, is something most of us can appreciate on some level.) The title quote relates to this passage, only it’s not from the book. It’s what my sister used to say when she was a small fry and my mother used to try to get her to clean instead of whining and moping.
Oh, and then guess who’s gossiping with Claudia about one of the models a couple pages later…
So the mystery begins in earnest at the end of chapter five. Before that, we are introduced to only some of the people involved in Fashion Week, so each of the people with a name is automatically a suspect. I give you:
            Mrs. Maslin, who runs the show
            Harmony Skye, a ridiculously named up-and-coming model
            Sydney, the latest thing in fashion**
            Cynthia, who’s past her peak (at sixteen)
            Blaine, a local girl who is just getting started and trying to break into the big time
            Mrs. Skye, a totally obnoxious stage mother
            Roger Bellair, who used to date Sydney and is working on the shoot
            Dylan Trueheart, the agent who ‘discovered’ Cokie
**If Sydney’s that big a model—she was on the cover of a teenage fashion magazine recently—what the **** is she doing surrounded by amateurs at a small-time fashion show in Podunk, USA?
First incident: Harmony, who hasn’t eaten all day, drinks some tea and then has stomachaches, gets sleepy and becomes pale. Mrs. Skye thinks someone drugged her.
The instructions the photographer gives the models are laughable: “Okay, girls, let’s see you act like long-lost sisters who are thrilled to see each other again.” But I’ve read and seen other materials about fashion shoots, and they’re equally laughable. I’m thinking about Tootie on The Facts of Life: “How can I make love to a camera when I’ve never even kissed a boy?”
Second incident (and a bunch of little ones that only get a sentence or two): Blaine, Sydney and Harmony find some of their outfits from the shoot shredded. Someone exposed a bunch of rolls of film. A model discovered a spider in her shoe (although that might just be a coincidence.) Blaine gets locked in an elevator. Harmony fell off the catwalk when she was blinded by the light. (I forget who sings that song, but it’s now stuck in my head.) Someone got a rash from their foundation—which is exactly why I don’t wear makeup. A bunch of creepy notes keep showing up, written in makeup.
Claudia spelling! Wacthing, shur, defenetly.
Wow, this story is so boring that I can’t even find anything to mock.
I’m amused by the fact that various people keep talking on ‘cellular phones.’ I realize they were still sort of new technology—my friends started getting cell phones in 98—but I can’t imagine using that many syllables to discuss something that’s so common place these days.
Stacey’s from New York, so when she references tall buildings, she mentions the Empire State Building and the World Trade Center.
Incident 3: Stacey and Harmony lean on a railing on the roof of Bellair’s. It gives way and they fall a few feet, not injured. Someone had removed the screws…and it had been Harmony’s idea to stand against the railing.
I know I’ve been very quiet about the B-plot, and that’s because it’s basically been a non-entity. I don’t think it’s ever been mentioned in any of the books that anyone smoked unless it was a specific plot point. (The girls on the SMS softball team, for example, when they thought they’d burned down that shed with their cigarettes.) I guess we’re supposed to be surprised that Franklin DeWitt and Mrs. Hobart smoke, but I wasn’t really shocked to find that Watson occasionally puffs on a cigar or that Aunt Cecelia smokes. If anyone in this book was going to have a humidor, it would definitely be Watson.
Stacey decides that modeling was fun, but she never wants to do it again. It would have been an awesome spin-off series if she’d been discovered: much edgier than the California Diaries—with cocaine, affairs, and even more gossip! I’m so sad we didn’t get that series.
Stacey: white linen blouse, navy skirt, heels; raspberry romper, white sneakers, white baseball cap, pigtails; red/white striped bathing suit and cover-up, red flip flops, straw hat, slicked-back hair; denim minidress, espadrilles, bangles, French braid; pink wool jumper; plaid skirt and white shirt; navy blue suit; trendy jeans, tight shirt, platform shoes; flowery, ankle-length dress
Claudia: white jeans with artistic paint on them, denim shirt (stealing Dawn’s attire, I think), high top sneakers, chopsticks in her hair
Harmony: long skirt, crop top; neon paisley miniskirt, white gogo boots, fluffy white jacket (this outfit is making my eyes hurt and I can’t even see it)
Watson: a tux (seriously)—and all the rest of the Brewer-Thomas family also dresses up

Next: #108

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