Sorry, but this is another that I didn’t get to as a kid. So, no memory.
Dawn’s grandparents (who Mary Anne now calls Granny and Pop-Pop) are away on a cruise for their anniversary when their basement floods. It causes a bunch of damage, so Mary Anne and some of the other BSC members help Sharon clean up. While doing this, Mary Anne finds an old music box hidden in the wall that’s wrapped in a note saying “do not open or you will be cursed.” Mary Anne asks Granny about it over the phone, but Granny says it isn’t hers, then claims they have a bad connection and hangs up. So you know it really IS hers, although Mary Anne doesn’t realize this. Mary Anne doesn’t tell the BSC members about the box until bit later, but when she does, they open it and find a picture of a sailor and a note that reveals the guy who gave the girl the box was leaving for someplace far away.
Meanwhile, Sharon hires a plumber who happens to have grown up in the house across the street from Granny and Pop-Pop. Mary Anne also finds out that Granny grew up in the house next to where she lives now, and is still friends with someone who lived on the same street. Mary Anne decides that the plumber’s acting “weird,” basically because she sees him looking in an old desk that’s nowhere near any pipes. After the plumber mentions needing to dig in the yard to fix some pipe/draining problem, Mary Anne decides that two friends of her grandparents are acting weird as well.
Sharon and Mary Anne also find a bunch of old letters in the basement, and Mary Anne reads some that Granny had written as a teenage girl. She finds out that Lydia, a girl who grew up in Granny’s current house, had been in love with a boy her father didn’t approve of. Mary Anne thinks the music box must have been a gift for the girl, who hid it from her disapproving parents. I guess she also thinks Lydia never bothered to retrieve the box after she turned 18/moved or whatever. Which I think makes it a little less romantic. But whatever.
Also, from the letters, Mary Anne finds out that Lydia’s father embezzled money from the bank he worked at. It was never found, and neighborhood legend says that it was buried in the yard. So, the BSC figures out that everyone’s acting weird because they thought someone would find the money. Finally, the plumber’s father shows up and just starts to dig himself, with everyone watching. They find a box with old papers but no money. And that’s the end of that.
Everyone’s a little disappointed, especially Mary Anne. But she isn’t disappointed about not finding the money, she’s upset about not finding out who owned the music box. Later, Mary Anne goes to borrow some jewelry from Sharon and sees a bracelet that was in the photo in the music box. From this she realizes the music box must have really belonged to Granny (who had given Sharon the bracelet). Granny admits this and tells Mary Anne about the guy who gave it to her (her first love who died in the war). She’d never told anyone before, and Mary Anne promises to keep her secret.
Subplot: The Barrett/DeWitt’s are almost done with the addition to the house, even though they started it like thirty books ago. Coincidentally, the contractor at the Barrett place also helps out at Granny and Pop-Pop’s, so the BSC uses sitting jobs to spy on him. But it turns out he’s just a nice guy, and he helps the kids build a playhouse.
- I don’t know why everyone was so excited about the idea of digging up money. It was on Granny and Pop-Pop’s land, so random people couldn’t have just claimed it. Also, it was STOLEN money. Wouldn’t they have had to notify the authorities?
- Although if everyone knew the story about money being buried, you’d think they would have tried to find it years ago. Granny would know about the stories.
- Suppose Lydia’s father did bury the money he stole to keep the cops from finding it….wouldn’t he have found time to retrieve it at some point in the next 50-some years? I mean, what’s the point of embezzling money if you’re not going to spend any?
- The recap of this book makes it seem convoluted, but it really was kind of boring. There wasn’t much of a mystery.
- I was hoping to find out that all the “old” people had killed someone in the past and buried him in Granny and Pop-Pop’s yard. Then we could have had a book called, “Mary Anne and the Prison Visit,” where she goes to visit them.
- The letters Mary Anne reads say that little-girl Granny saw Lydia (the girl who used to live in her house) and her boyfriend burying something in the middle of the night. But I don’t think a teenage girl was burying her father’s papers. So…that part really makes no sense.
- The music box got hidden in the basement because when Granny and Pop-Pop moved in she stuck it down there.
- Oh, so the note about the music box being cursed was just something random that Young-Granny wrote to prevent other people from opening the box.
- One of the more interesting parts in this book, is that Mary Anne keeps having vivid dreams about a young sailor. Then, when the BSC opens the box, she sees that the guy in the picture is the same person she’s been dreaming about. I was expecting to find out that the guy was a young Pop-Pop, which would explain how Mary Anne could picture his face. But it isn’t, and we get no other explanation for the dream.
- I’m glad Mary Anne ignored the curse warning and opened the music box. It shows growth from her previous experience.
- Does anyone else find it annoying and unrealistic that the BSC is always correcting kids’ grammar?
- Sharon and Mary Anne find a bunch of board games in Granny and Pop-Pop’s basement and laugh at the idea of them playing Clue and other games. But what’s wrong with senior citizens playing board games?
- Did we know Sharon was a Realtor before this book?
- The music box plays “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star,” which turns out to be Young-Granny and her “first love’s” song. They also called each other “Little Star and “How I Wonder.” That seems like an odd choice of song.
- Claudia and Stacey were sitting for the Barrett/DeWitt kids while they were building the playhouse, so they decide to dress for the occasion….
- “Claudia had on her favorite painter’s pants. They used to be white, but…now [they’re] splattered with paint in every color of the rainbow. To complement the pants, Claudia wore a tie-dyed shirt…that features a huge yellow peace sign surrounded by star bursts of orange, red, and purple.” Orange and purple? Ew.
- “Stacey was wearing a pair of pink denim overall shorts with a white baby T underneath. Purple Doc Martens and a white baseball cap…completed the look.” Now, that sounds cute, at least for a thirteen-year-old.
- The note in the music box referred to L.S. and H.I.W., and the BSC spends hours researching town records for people with those initials, but don’t find anything, most likely because the letters actually refer to Little Star and How I Wonder.
- After the BSC finds out about the stolen money, they decide to let the adults hear them talking about finding a box while digging in the yard. But this isn’t really thought out, because the adults ask to SEE the box, and Mary Anne has to say they were just playing a game.
- Sharon’s throwing a surprise party for Granny and Pop-Pop’s anniversary and the guests are supposed to arrive at 6:00 on a Friday, with the guests of honor showing up at 6:30. But somehow, Mary Anne has time to get home from a BSC meeting, get dressed, borrow jewelry, and put out food, all before anyone gets there.
- In a totally obvious plot twist, the kids build their playhouse in a shed, and when they finished, found out it’s too big to get through the door. Which I could buy if the kids built the thing themselves. But the contractor was helping them. Shouldn’t the size of the door been the first thing he noticed?
- Lydia (the girl in the letters) and her boyfriend did get married and are now a nice boring old couple. I’m sure you were concerned.
- At an anniversary party for Granny and Pop-Pop, Mary Anne opts not to where her yellow-checkered sundress that Logan likes, and to wear her “floaty, flowered skirt” that he thinks makes her look like a hippie instead.
- This book takes place right after the BSC’s cross-country RV trip. But wasn’t THAT at the end of summer? Because Dawn said she was supposed to stay in Stoneybrook until the end of summer, but left two weeks early to go in the trip. But it’s still summer in this book.
- Mary Anne says that Sharon knows what people like to eat at a party, even though she’s a vegetarian herself. But this is the opposite of what we saw way back in the first Dawn book. But maybe she learned from that experience.