I remember being so excited when I saw this in the store. Back in the “olden days” there was no Internet, so I didn’t really know ahead of time that the mystery line was coming out. (There may have been an ad in the back of one of the regular series books, but it wouldn’t have had detailed information). I used to read the books really fast – usually in one sitting right after I got them. So, having mysteries come out meant that they would last longer.
This book also made me never want to baby-sit. I was always a little afraid of animals and hated going to my friends’ houses if they had pets. So, I was terrified of taking a sitting job and having to play with someone’s cat or dog all night.
Stacey tells her mom she wants a birthstone ring. This wouldn’t be a big deal, except her birthday is in April, which makes her birthstone a diamond. And obviously, diamonds are not exactly an every day gift. When her mom tells her no, Stacey complains to her friends, who pretty much agree with her mom.
Soon after, Stacey gets a sitting job for the Gardella’s, a new client. They are a little weird, and spend more time telling her how to take care of their cat and dog than their baby. I think they are supposed to be wealthy, although they don’t live in Kristy’s neighborhood, so I guess they are not quite millionaires. The day after the job, Mrs. Gardella calls Stacey to say her diamond ring is missing. Stacey says she didn’t take it, and Mrs. McGill tells Mrs. Gardella her daughter would never steal. But the Gardellas don’t really believe this, and threaten to tell the whole neighborhood the BSC members are thieves.
This of course leads to an “emergency meeting,” where the girls all worry about what might happen to the BSC. And predictable they enter a slow period, and think it is because no one wants to use them anymore. But eventually, Stacey offers to sit for Mrs. Gardella for free to “pay off” the missing ring, and Kristy attends as some kind of security guard. When Stacey and Kristy are playing with the cat, they find that the cat has been hiding things under a desk, and they find the ring. So, Stacey’s name is cleared. We also find out the Gardella’s hadn’t spread the news too much, and they were really just in a slow period.
- Stacey’s mom shows her a picture from her sixteenth birthday party, and Stacey laughs at the horrible fashion and hair. Kind of ironic to think that now, we (the readers) are laughing at Stacey’s horrible fashion and hair.
- Stacey gets a little bitchy in this one. When her mom says she’ll only give her ten dollars toward a ring, Stacey is all, “Dad would buy it for me!” And really, who offers ten dollars towards a diamond ring. Why not just say you’ll give none?
- Also, hasn't Stacey been described as not spoiled?
- I actually had a birthstone ring in eighth grade, but my birthstone is not a diamond. Good thing too, since I lost the ring. That is probably one reason why a thirteen-year-old should not have too much expensive jewelry.
- Claudia outfit: “Black leggings, red high-top sneakers, and an oversized red sweater. She was carrying a red plastic lunch box as a purse.” Apparently it is her favorite “mall outfit.” I can’t believe Claudia really has a favorite outfit; she seems like the type who would never wear the same thing twice. And secondly, a lunch box as a purse doesn’t seem very convenient for shopping. You can’t put it on your shoulder while you are looking for things.
- Claudia gets a new pair of sneakers: They are pink hightops with “lace-and-sequence.” Apparently, she has such a huge collection that she could wear a different pair every day for a month. Which is just more evidence she wouldn’t wear the same thing several times.
- Was Mary Anne always presented as so….lame? (I guess that is the word I am looking for). When they go to the mall the other girls want to shop for clothes and Mary Anne wants to go to the pet store and get stuff for Tiger.
- The Gardellas are not the first BSC client who has been pet-obsessed. Do you think this is a common thing in real life? I know people who have a lot of pets, or who are really into them, but I can’t see anyone acting quite as into them as the Gardellas.
- The Prezziosos are pretty cool in this one. Claudia is sitting for them, while they are at a dinner party. They come home early because they ran into the Gardellas, who told them Stacey is a thief. But the reason they left was not because they believed it, but because they know the BSC is trustworthy and didn’t like hearing someone else badmouth them.
- Of course, when Mary Anne sits for the Prezziosos some friend of Jenny’s runs a hose into the living room and floods the whole thing. No wonder they want to stick with a sitter who can stand them.
- The girls reminisce about the time they had such a big fight, they couldn’t even attend meetings together. They claim that they don’t remember what they fought about until Dawn reminds them. But they manage to laugh about it.
- Jessi gets to sit for her siblings because Aunt Cecelia has plans. Stacey tells us how Aunt Cecelia would like to always sit for Becca and Squirt. That seems kind of sad.
- Jessi hears about some potential thief being at-large in the neighborhood and gets all nervous about it. So, she makes her siblings go to sleep all the lights in the house on. That almost seems like an overreaction. It is not like she heard someone outside. Why not just leave on one or two lights? I don’t mean to say that eleven-year-olds shouldn’t worry about break-ins, but aren’t Jessi and Mal complaining that they can’t sit at night? Maybe reactions like this are why.
- Oh, and of course, Jessi thinks that the thief may have taken Mrs. Gardella’s ring.
- I don’t really get why Stacey wants to sit for the Gardellas again. It is not going to stop her from telling other people she is a thief and certainly won’t convince Mrs. Gardella she is innocent.
- Claudia gets all bitchy because she hasn’t had a lot of sitting jobs and can’t buy as many clothes as she likes. So, she actually shows up at Stacey’s and tries to look for a ring (by pretending to check out her jewelry).
- Wow, Claudia's spelling is just atrocious. I think they started making her notebook entries even worse as the series went on. And how does she spell "Jenny" wrong?
- If Mrs. Gardella really thought Stacey was a thief, why would she agree to let her sit again, even if it was for free? And why does Kristy going with her make it okay? Just because she is President of the BSC? She is still just a kid who is friends with the potential thief.
- Claudia calls Stacey to apologize for suspecting her before she hears that the ring had been found. Which, I guess, makes it okay that she accused her best-friend of stealing.
- If the Gardellas know that their cat hides things, you would think they would look for the ring a little harder before accusing someone. I can understand them not finding it, but Mrs. Gardella says it didn’t even occur to check. I would think they’ve run into this before.
- Ha, even Stacey says that Claudia tries to never wear the same outfit twice in a school year. So, how can she have a favorite “mall outfit” in an earlier chapter?