Tuesday, October 20, 2009

“This mystery, however, was a lot scarier than the others”……The BSC Super Mystery # 2: Baby-sitters Beware

Memory Reaction

I was so happy to find this book, because all I can remember is how utterly ridiculous it is. It ends with this whole “dramatic” chase-type scene where someone is actually trying to hunt down and kill/hurt the BSC. I think it has something to do with the guy they helped catch back when dogs were being kidnapped. I am not sure of the rest of the details, but if I remember it being stupid, I’ll probably think it even more so now. However, I will admit that I may have enjoyed it somewhat as a kid, just for the fact that it called back to a lot of other BSC books. I always liked continuity stuff like that.

Revisited Reaction

This book gets a little convoluted, and I am going to try not to leave any details out, because there is so, so, so much to pick apart.

Kristy’s family is planning a trip for a long weekend in Shadow Lake – and Stacey, Claudia, and Abby are tagging along. But then, “weird” stuff starts to happen. And by weird, I mean these girls are being stalked. It all starts after Abby and Kristy witness what seems to be a break-in while walking home from school. The thief sees them as well, and of course, they happen to be wearing name tags. The girls tell the police what they saw, but the owner of the house claims nothing is missing.

Some of the fun events that follow:
  1. While Kristy is baby-sitting at her house, someone throws a brick through the window and spray paints the words “You’re Next” on the front door.
  2. Someone starts a fire outside Claudia’s house.
  3. Kristy, Claudia, Stacey, and Mary Anne keep getting phone calls where the person whispers “You’re next” into the phone.
  4. Mary Anne sees someone outside her house staring into her window.
  5. While “researching” at the library, Abby finds a discarded photocopy of a newspaper article in the garbage. It is an article about when the BSC helped catch the pet-naper, complete with a picture of Kristy, Claudia, Stacey, Mary Anne, and Dawn.
  6. A car almost runs down Stacey (pretty clearly deliberately).
  7. Someone ties a note around Tiger’s next reading, “You’re Next” (that Mary Anne sees when he comes through the animal door).
Now, what would logically happen next is that these girls would tell their parents. But, in BSC-land, parents only exist when they are ignoring their kids or paying for a vacation. So, the girls leave them in the dark. The BSC think this is all connected to the break in they saw, and try to “stake out” the house. This is relatively easy, since it happens to be next-door to the Rodowsky’s, who happen to need a lot of sitters this week. Don’t you love when things work out?

No progress is made before the trip to Shadow Lake, so Kristy, Claudia, Stacey, and Abby decide to relax and try to have fun. We are introduced to a few random people who are staying near their cabin, and then see that the “terrorizing” is continuing:
  1. Stacey gets stranded on a ski left
  2. Someone hides a “Closed Trail” sign, so Claudia almost kills herself.
  3. A snow-blower somehow turns on and knocks Kristy down.
Back at home, Mary Anne is sitting for the Rodowsky’s when she hears something happen next door. Again, fabulous timing. She calls the police, and we find out that the “break in” was really the owner’s son (which is why the owner didn’t press charges). The son and his friend tell Mary Anne they weren’t at all involved in scaring the BSC…the friend actually says, “I wouldn’t hurt a bunch of kids,” which offends Mary Anne.

The BSCers in Stoneybrook realize that the car that ran down Stacey had a Better Business Bureau sticker from the previous year, but not a new one. They get their hands on a list of BBB members, and realize Karl Tate, the pet-naper they helped catch, is one of these people. Mary Anne calls the girls at Shadow Lake to warn them, but the phone die, and Stacey only hears the words “Karl Tate”

At Shadow Lake, there is snow storm coming, so Kristy’s parents and younger siblings go into town to get supplies. This leaves Kristy, Claud, Stacey, and Abby at the cabin with Charlie and Sam. At this point, there is another fire. Then Stacey thinks she sees someone outside with a gun. So then, the girls do the reasonable thing and tell Charlie and…..oh wait. They STILL don’t bother to tell anyone what is going on. But they do decide to walk to the lodge with Sam and Charlie. Not because they think they are in danger, but because the heat isn’t working. This weird guy in the cabin next-door ends up walking with them.

During this walk, the girls see someone come out of the woods….it is Karl Tate! Abby hits him in the head with an ice ball, then an FBI agent (who is the person Stacey saw with a gun) captures him at gun point. Then she just casually brings him to her cabin to wait for the storm to end – thinking she will bring him in to the station later when the storm ends.

Charlie and Sam are all, WTF? (Seriously, I would love to see their perspective on this). Unfortunately, they decide to wait until they get to the lodge to hear the rest of the story. But, before this can happens, the random weird neighbor walking with them grabs Stacey and holds her up over the lake. Kristy throws a flare at him, and he falls into the lake. We find out that he is actually Karl’s son, and he is really the one who wants revenge. Oh, and he doesn’t drown in the lake…the FBI agent comes back when Karl told her he was really there to STOP his son from hurting the BSC.

High/Lowlights

  • I always feel bad for the person who gets the backstory chapter in the Super Specials. Each girl only has about three chapters per book to begin with, and whoever has to explain the club ends up with even less time.
  • So, of course, one of the cops on the case is Sergeant Johnson. Only we are told that he met the BSC when Claudia helped him solve a bank robbery. And while this may have happened, he met the girls during the now infamous pet-napping case.
  • Stacey outfit: “Black leggings with cowboy boots, an oversized turtleneck sweater, and this cool black suede vest with pearl buttons.”
  • Claudia, “was wearing leggings, too – purple ones – with black Doc Martens, red slouch socks, black bicycle shorts over the leggings, a big T-shirt with the words “This Might Be Art” scrawled on it in purple, and an old black suit jacket of her father’s, with the sleeves rolled up.” I think a good rule of thumb is that the longer the outfit description, the funnier it is.
  • Awe, this book takes place soon after Watson has a heart attack, and Kristy is all worried about him lifting suitcases, or exerting himself in any way, because she wants him to stay around for a long time (unlike her real dad).
  • One of the subplots involves Claudia being ticked at Abby for talking about how great a skier she (Abby) is. And the rest of the girls keep acting so confused about why Claudia is annoyed. I think three different people say (think) something like, “I was surprised at Claudia. I know it might sound like Abby was bragging, but she clearly didn’t mean anything by it.” And this is after Abby has said something that is in fact.
  • The police ask Kristy’s mom and Watson if they have any enemies, and they ask Claudia’s parents if they have any enemies, but no one asks the girls. I know someone whose house was vandalized and one of the first things the cops asked was who the teenager in the house was hanging out with. Also, maybe if Claudia and Kristy spoke up, the cops would have known the cases were connected and solved the crimes before someone was almost killed.
  • Mary Anne and Logan have one subplot that is sort of out of place. Mary Anne keeps getting notes in Logan’s handwriting, saying things like, “stop crying.” We find out later that Logan has been getting notes saying things like, “Don’t you dare” in what looks like Mary Anne’s handwriting. So, they are both pissed at each other, but too passive aggressive to say anything.
  • Mary Anne and Logan finally settle things, but never learn who writes the notes. Mary Anne thinks it was Cokie, but Logan doesn’t, because he is clueless about her.
  • There is very little in this book in terms of personal story line. Half the time, a girl is not even describing things that happened to her. For example, a Kristy chapter tells us about Stacey getting stuck on the chair lift, a Stacey chapter tells us about Mary Anne seeing a guy watching her house, a Mary Anne chapter tells us about the vandalism at Kristy’s, etc.
  • Becca sees a guy in town with a blue tattoo and gets scared. This causes the BSC to think about the counterfeiter they caught had. Stacey, specifically, can’t remember what kind of tattoo he had. Now, I would think that if I caught a counterfeiter, I would remember the details. Especially, if it happened at the same time I met somebody who told me about his secret life.
  • Also, Becca actually helped the BSC on one of their stakeouts in that book. She had no problem with tattoos then.
  • They kind of make a joke out of how Mal and Jessi are marginalized in the mysteries…the “picture” that the stalker found was originally of the seven original BSC members. But, Jessi and Mal were cropped out in the paper, and so they don’t get stalked.
  • When the Rodowsky boys make cookies, they insist on calling them “pogs.” Wow, that takes me back.
  • Since Mary Anne doesn’t go on the Shadow Lake trip, Karen gets the role of sitting in the front seat reading pointless travel information out loud.
  • Stacey is worried that being at Shadow Lake will make Sam want her again, and makes a point of telling him she is serious with Robert. But it turns out that while he enjoys flirting with her, he only thinks of her as a friend.
  • Claudia says she thinks she sees Karl Tate in the woods outside their cabin. And the other girls are like, “Claudia, he’s in jail.” But Stacey did hear Mary Anne say something about Karl Tate on the phone. What does she think the rest of the sentence was, if not a warning?
  • I actually got confused reading the final scene, but then I realized it was bad writing. When the Shadow Lake crew decides to walk to the lodge they ask “Woodie” (the stalker/neighbor) to come with them, and he says no. But then, he ends up on the path with them.
  • When the son tries to attack Stacey, he is all, “You remember my father right? Karl Tate? You ruined his life!” And I kept thinking…of course they remember him, he was there five minutes ago! They thought he was trying to kill him! I don’t know…maybe he rehearsed the speech ahead of time, and didn’t get a chance to rewrite.
  • So back at home, stalker-boy had a photo of the BSC (from the paper) with a big X over it. Now…I’ve never stalked anyone, but I don’t really see the point of having a photo like that. Does he think he is going to forget what his objective is?
  • Most important takeaway from this book…the girls decide to keep a mystery notebook. Mallory starts it, by going through the existing notebook and reorganizing it. This is the basis for everyone writing their “notes” of this book.
  • Kristy says she almost got in trouble for not telling her parents what was going on. Um, almost?
  • Kristy’s reasoning for not telling was that it could give Watson a relapse, which is slightly better than their usual, “we are baby-sitters, we should handle this ourselves” crap. But that is no excuse for anyone else.

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

"Since Mary Anne doesn’t go on the Shadow Lake trip, Karen gets the role of sitting in the front seat reading pointless travel information out loud."

First time I read this one, when I found out Mary Anne wouldn't be going, I was so worried....thank god Karen was there :P

Audrey said...

Yes, how come Mary Anne wasn't going? I thought the Baby-Sitters Club always travelled as a herd...

HelenB said...

Oh man, I loved the Super Mysteries so hard. They combined my two favourite things - Super Specials and Mysteries! The best one is the one where they all go to Salem.

nikki said...

"I think a good rule of thumb is that the longer the outfit description, the funnier it is."

True 'dat.

Anonymous said...

abby is a total bitch

Sadako said...

I remember being vaguely unsettled by the fact that AMM (or whoever) didn't resolve the Logan/MA plot. It could have been Cokie but considering how creepy the rest of the plot was, maybe it was more sinister?

That Kind of Girl said...

omg, when I read:

"Now…I’ve never stalked anyone, but I don’t really see the point of having a photo like that. Does he think he is going to forget what his objective is?"

I absolutely died laughing. Way to turn a dang phrase, dude. That quote of your review may or may not be my gchat away message right now.

Okay, it is. It totally is.

Lisa said...

I remember this one because of a confusing mistake towards the end: in a Claudia-narrated chapter, she describes walking into her room and being startled by thinking someone killed a small animal on her bed, but then realizes her pillow was just slit open and its contents (feathers, I guess) are all over the bed. The next sentence: "Claudia's red nail polish had been dumped on top. It was still sticky." Shouldn't that be "My red nail polish"? How could an editor miss an error like that? 8-)

BSC Snarker, aka Kristen said...

Lisa you're right, there is definitely that mistake. I now remember noticing it, but I must have forgot to write it up.

Mistakes like that happened more than they should have.

*Melanie Raye* said...

This was my favourite super mystery...the whole revenge storyline fascinated me

Leah said...

Does anyone besides me ever wish we got to see a picture of Sam and Charlie. I've always wondered what they looked like. I mean we get a sketch in the Shadow Lake one but it's just a profile.

Anonymous said...

The writer of the notes to MA and Logan was Cary Retlin. He confesses in another mystery.

Liz said...

Wow, this sounds like the most ridiculous book yet--which is really saying something! It's hard to pick out the dumbest part, but it might be the Logan/Mary Anne subplot.