I was so jealous the BSC in this book. I would have loved to solve mysteries all over town as a kid, but I just didn’t have the opportunity. But the BSC kept falling into them. Then on top of that, we get this book where they get to look for buried treasure. Totally not fair.
I do remember sort of siding with Cokie in this book. Because Kristy keeps thinking she’s related to the woman who’s treasure they’re looking for. But then Cokie shows up all, “she’s actually my ancestor, I should get her treasure.” I remember being amused by it, although I’m not totally sure why.
Kristy and her younger siblings are looking through Watson’s library (he has a library because he lives in a mansion, you know) and come across an old Stoneybrook town record book. In it they find a reference to a Christina Thomas who disappeared in 1863, at age 18. Kristy feels connected to this woman because their names are so similar, and tries to find out what happened to her. She goes to the library to investigate and finds out that when Christina was 16, her parents died in an accident and left her and her siblings a fortune. When Christina disappeared two years later, so did a large amount of her gold, as well as papers documenting the family’s holdings. Kristy tracks down Christina’s Great-Great-Niece Mildred, who’s now a senior citizen, to see if she knows anything about Christina. Mildred tells Kristy that Christina was in love with a Union soldier during the Civil War, and gives her a letter Christina had written him before she left (it was returned to the family when this soldier died). Mildred believes this letter’s a clue to the whereabouts of the money.
Meanwhile, Jessi goes to the town arboretum to ask for advice on taking care of plants (she has a plant-sitting job). She finds out that the town arboretum’s in danger of closing, because no one knows who actually owns the land it sits on, and a developer wants to buy it. Jessi says the BSC and their charges will come help fix it up, to try and convince a potential donor to buy the land for the town.
It turns out that the arboretum actually sits on the land that once belonged to Christina’s family, which brings our two plots together. The BSC becomes convinced they’ll be able to find Christina’s missing gold buried in the arboretum. While looking, they actually make the place look worse by digging holes all over the place and the donor backs out. But the girls come back at night and use the letter from Christina as a map. Then they actually find something, which is beyond ridiculous. There’s no gold, just some papers where Christina bequeaths the land to the town, which means the arboretum’s saved, even though the BSC totally blew it in terms of fixing the place up. And as a sidenote, it also turns out that Mildred’s Cokie Mason’s grandmother, which explains why Cokie had been hanging around listening to the BSC’s conversations.
- Claudia: “She was wearing this blue-and-green stripey shirt that was kind of tight and stretchy-looking. Over it, she was wearing a really, really, baggy pair of overalls. On her head was a floppy green hat, and on her feet were those big black clunk boots made by Doctor somebody.”
- Stacey: “Platform shoes with really high cork soles…black lacey legging-things, and a blue dress that looked kind of like these pajamas I used to have when I was seven. Baby dolls, I think they were called.” I can’t picture Kristy in baby-doll pajamas, even at age seven.
- Karen drops Emily Michelle on the floor when playing, so Kristy puts her in a “time out.” But two minutes later when they all decide to explore the library, she’s allowed to come with them. Some punishment.
- Kristy’s all worried about the plant-sitting client calling the parents in town to say the BSC members are plant killers. I think that’s a bit over top.
- Charlotte skipped into the “third grade”? Then why is she eight? I know I’ve said this before, but every book where it’s mentioned it annoys me all over again.
- The arboretum woman would have given Jessi advice for nothing, but Jessi insists they do it “fairly.” It actually seems less fair to Jessi to spend days helping out, in exchange for some pretty simple advice.
- What is it with Ann Martin and February? In one of Abby’s mysteries, she’s moaning about how much February sucks because winter’s almost over but it’s not springtime yet….and Kristy does the same thing here. Honestly, I feel like that describes March better than February.
- Of course, all the kids in Stoneybrook just love the idea of going and fixing up an arboretum with their baby-sitters. No kid would EVER be annoyed at the idea of being forced to do yard work for someone else instead of watching cartoons or playing video games.
- Kristy goes over to Mildred’s for tea all by herself. Doesn’t that seem a little dangerous? I mean, she doesn’t know anything about this woman.
- It’s very rare to get a Kristy outfit other than jeans, so I’m including it here, even if it isn’t as much fun as a crazy-Claudia outfit. When meeting Mildred she wore, “A dark-green corduroy skirt…with a white button-down shirt, and a blue sweater.”
- Mildred says she has “heard” of the BSC….which seems odd considering she has no young children. Cokie’s her granddaughter, which might explain it, except that Mildred has heard GOOD things about the club.
- Marilyn Arnold’s described as the more outgoing twin, but I’m not sure this is true. Usually, Carolyn’s said to be the trendy/popular one and Marilyn’s the serious musical one.
- Isn’t Charlotte supposed to be super-smart? Cause she doesn’t know the meaning of the word sabotage, and then can’t even repeat the term five minutes later. I can buy her not knowing what it meant, but I would think she’d at least remember how to say it.
- On the day that Dawn and Jessi realize the arboretum used to house Christina’s estate, they get so excited that they run off and leave the place a mess. The next day, Mrs. Goldsmith (the curator) yells at them a bit (although we don’t specifically see what she says). It’s pretty rare for something like that to happen, but it’s nice to see a bit of realism.
- The next day happens to be the day some potential donor’s looking at the place. Now, since this is what the BSC has been fixing the place up for, you would think Mrs. Goldsmith would remind them that it’s happening that day and ask them to clean up quickly. Or that she would have done some work herself earlier in the day, rather than depend on teenagers she doesn’t know very well.
- How did these girls not know Cokie was Mildred’s granddaughter? They traced the family for multiple generations, but than stopped as soon as they found a still-living person? I would think they’d spend a little bit more time searching to find out about Mildred’s kids. Especially since the research probably got easier as they got closer to the present time.
- Cokie shows up when the girls go treasure hunting because she overheard the BSC talking about it. Those girls never seem to learn about that. This isn’t the first time Cokie has caused problems for them because she overheard a conversation.
- Kristy also tells us that Cokie once tried to steal Logan from Mary Anne. Which, I guess she did early in the series. But, Kristy specifically described Cokie trying to steal Logan when he and Mary Anne were temporarily broken up. And that’s not really a fair statement, cause if someone’s broken up, they can’t be stolen.
- When they go on their little treasure hunt, Claudia and Stacey put together theme-outfits (again). I kind of wish I had a treasure hunt to go on so I could do that.
- Claudia: “Was wearing black jeans, short black cowboy boots, and a black suede jacket with fringe along the back and arms and silver buttons that looked like those old Indian-head nickels.”
- Stacey: “Was wearing black leggings, black high-top sneakers, and a long, bulky dark green sweater. She had hidden her blonde hair beneath a dark green wool baseball cap.”
- I actually feel a little sorry for Cokie. I know she’s a bitch, but Mildred gives a locket that was dug up with the “treasure” to Kristy, who she barely knows, over Cokie, her granddaughter. That doesn’t seem right.
- Of course the papers the girls found ended up saving the arboretum. Because we couldn’t have had a scenario where the BSC screwed up and did something bad that they weren’t able to instantly fix.
- There’s a big fancy party at the end to celebrate the arboretum being saved, but we hardly get any outfits out of it. Just that Claudia wore a tuxedo (which she’s done before).
- The locket they find with the treasure has a picture of a girl (Christina) who looks just like Kristy. I’m not sure where they are going with it….earlier in the book, Kristy wonders if she could be related to Christina, but acknowledges that Thomas is a common last name. Then, when they track down Mildred, it seems to put an end to the relative-speculation. But the picture suggests there’s really a connection.
- The problem with the plants (since I’m sure you’re all wondering) was that Jessi was over-watering them. But since the owner had left multiple pages of instructions, I would think Jessi would have known how much to water them. This isn’t Claudia were talking about.
- How likely is it that Kristy would be able to read copies of newspapers from 1861?