This book is definitely at the top of the list of most ridiculous plots. Seriously. I remember it clearly, and that is probably because it is so ludicrous. The mystery is about how counterfeiters are in Stoneybrook, but that is nothing compared to Stacey’s love interest in the book. It is a boy who’s new in town, and something seems “odd” about his family. And it turns out that the guy’s father is some kind of government agent. So, the family all use aliases and are always moving around. But the kid tells Stacey. And Stacey is all, “I will always keep this secret until I die.” It is so fucking ridiculous. And this is based off what I thought as a kid.
So, a group of counterfeiters have come to Stoneybrook. Stacey ends up passing a counterfeit bill (unknowingly, obviously). The police don’t suspect her, but Stacey feels like she has to “clear her name” and the BSC starts investigating. Because they are crazy. Seriously. What kind of kids think they can catch counterfeiters?
Their investigation basically consists of researching counterfeiting and staking out an office supply store (because a counterfeiter would need ink and crap to make the bills). Their suspects are one of Stacey’s teachers (since Stacey saw him at the store where she got the counterfeit bill), a guy with a blue tattoo (because they see him looking at copy machines), and the Hoyts. The Hoyts are a family that is new in town. Stacey goes out with the son, Terry, and the BSC sits for the younger sibling a couple times. The reason that the BSC suspects them is that they moved to town right before the counterfeiting started, they haven’t unpacked yet, and they have lived all over. Very suspicious. Stacey of course, doesn’t believe it is really them, cause the son is hot.
By pure luck, Stacey and Charlotte see a guy running down the street with a sack of money. When he drops it, they look at it and see it is filled with fake money. (I guess all counterfeiters carry their fake cash around in suspicious-looking bags). Then, instead of calling the police like a normal person would do, Stacey calls the rest of the BSC and her new boy-toy and asks them to come down with a camera. The idea is that they want to take pictures of the guy when he comes back for the money and then give the pictures to the police. After they drop the film off to be developed, the other girls leave and Stacey and Terry hang out waiting for it. This is when Terry tells her about his father being in the Secret Service. He also convinces her to go right to his father with the photos. Since the guy in the photos has a tattoo, this helps the cops close their investigation. Then Terry and his family move away (because his father solved the case), and Stacey vows to keep his secret forever. Then she starts dating Sam again.
This should go without saying, but I really need to say it. WTF? I mean, catching counterfeiters? A kid telling Stacey about his father’s undercover job? Or how about a kid even knowing about his father’s undercover job? Do secret agents tell their kids about that stuff? I mean, on Alias, Sydney never knew that her father was a bad-ass super-spy (at least until the show started). From a purely practical standpoint, I would think you don’t tell kids crap like that in case they do something stupid like tell people.
- Do counterfeiters really target towns? Like, they come there and pass bills all around? Wouldn’t it make sense to spread it around so they don’t get caught?
- The BSC discusses how to tell if a client gives them counterfeit money. I am not sure what they plan on doing if this happens, but they do discuss how to tell.
- Charlotte gets dressed up for a day of shopping with Stacey: “A pink skirt and a white, frilly blouse.”
- Stacey wore her, “favorite white miniskirt with a new blue-and-white-striped sweater.” Relatively normal, I am impressed.
- After Stacey passes the bill, the police want her to come to the station to answer questions. So, she calls her mom. Not, to go with her to the station. To watch Charlotte while Stacey is questioned. Because no parent would want to be present when the cops are questioning their teenage daughter (even if she isn’t a suspect).
- Charlie drives Kristy to the Hoyt’s for her first sitting job there, and (on Watson’s advice) he walks her to the door to meet them, and to make sure they aren’t crazy people. That seems like a reasonable thing to do. Why don’t they do that all the time?
- Kristy is surprised that the Hoyt’s have been living in Stoneybrook for three weeks and haven’t finished unpacking. I feel like this has been discussed in other books. Are they really OCD about that, or am I just really that lazy? Cause I think it would take a few weeks for a family moving to a new house to get settled.
- Kristy finds a student ID that belongs to Terry’s sister, only the name is different. Explain to me why someone would keep an old ID when they change their names.
- This is pathetic. Kristy worries that if their clients hear about what happened to Stacey, they won’t want to hire the BSC. I mean a thief is one thing, but who the hell would believe Stacey is a counterfeiter?
- The book has all these explanations that explain how to detect counterfeit money, including that fake money is much smoother. So, confession: For a while after I read this, I would sometimes check how smooth my money was.
- Apparently one way to make fake money is to take a one-dollar bill and use bleach/copiers to make it look like a twenty (or another bill). Because George Washington and Andrew Jackson look like twins.
- Stacey’s rejected outfits for her date: “A floral sundress (too summery), a red jumpsuit (to flashy), and a pair of bleached-out jeans with bows at the ankles (too casual).”
- And the winning outfit: “White sweater and [some]blue-and-white polka dot leggings.” Another relatively normal one. That is almost disappointing.
- There is an awkward moment where Stacey and Terry run into Sam and his new girlfriend. But they actually introduce each other to their dates. Which, I would have thought most teenagers wouldn’t do.
- I am apparently a huge dork, because when the girls talk about “staking out” the office supply store, they say it is a boring store. But it just made me want to go to Staples.
- These girls are so clueless. They think some teacher could be a counterfeiter so they just follow him around school. I guess they think he is printing fake bills in the teacher lounge?
- Jessi claims the SMS teacher lounge smells like cigarettes and stale coffee. Even in the eighties, I don’t think you could smoke in a school.
- I really love scenes with Janine. She comes by Claudia’s room to ask to borrow markers (for a graph she is making). When Claudia asks what color, Janine starts babbling about what colors represent different amino acids. Claud of course rolls her eyes, but it made me laugh.
- Charlotte is with Stacey when they see this guy drop a bag of counterfeit money. What is wrong with Stacey that she just lets an eight-year-old near a criminal investigation? Kristy has to speak up before Stacey even considers it. I think THAT is what would make parents not hire the BSC.
- If you were a counterfeiter would you buy a copier and ink for your operation in a small store in a small town? And then would you keep returning to that same store for more supplies?
- Also, this counterfeiter is running down a street when he drops the bag of money. I would think a bag like that would be heavy enough that he would have noticed that he dropped it. No one was chasing him at the time. Why not pick it up? AND if you somehow didn’t notice, would you then return hours later to pick it up? Wouldn’t you consider the possibility that someone found it and called the police? Or found it and kept it for themselves.
- Claudia is mad that Stacey just went to Terry’s father without calling her. Considering Stacey promised to call the rest of the BSC before bringing the developed pictures to the cops, I can’t blame her.
- The whole, “waiting for film to be developed” scene really dates the book.
- The BSC really didn’t provide that much help, which I kind of like. The photos confirmed the investigation of the cops, but the police/Secret Service actually catch the guy with some sort of sting. That Stacey hears about, cause it was Terry’s father running it. Because, I am sure this guy tells his son and his son’s girlfriend the details of an investigation.
Ah, good recap.
This book is ridiculous. I remember when Jessi wanted to photocopy a dollar bill and they start freaking out that people may think she is making fake money. Which is stupid, as wouldn't it be copied onto A4 paper, single sided for a start?
God, WHY did I like the mysteries so much?
helsie is right
can you recap mystery #5
Actually, smoking was still allowed in the mid-late 80s. My elementary school had a smoking and a non-smoking teachers' lounge.
Smoking was only outlawed in the teacher's lounge in my school sometime around 1992-93. I guess it depends on what state you're in. :)
Was the bag o' money like a big burlap bag with a "$" sign on the front of it? And was the thief wearing a black and white striped shirt and a ski mask?
Okay, I just find it hilarious that the poll is running so much in favor of operating on the BSC's turf. We must have one of those groupthinks going on.
Between Stacey's fashion, watching Ronnie Spector on old vids on youtube, American Apparel, Epperson on Proj Runway, and the way the fashion pendulum has swung, I swear that someone is conspiring to make me want to wear jump suits.
I once passed a counterfeit bill. Know what happened? My bank sent me a letter being like, "Um, that $20 was fake money and it doesn't count." END OF STORY. I was not questioned by police, nor did I feel the need to clear my name via vigilante justice. But come to think of it, I did get the money from babysitting clients.
CRAP! I totally should have investigated!
re: smoking in schools. my boyfriend attended an alternative high school in the mid-90s that had a smoking room for STUDENTS. i guess because they knew that kids were going to smoke anyway, so they might as well provide a safe, warm place for them to do it. my boyfriend & his buddies would sit in there all day, smoking & playing scrabble. (part of the alternative school set-up was that you only had to attend classes if you wanted. sounds crazy but now he is working on his doctorate, so i guess they did something right.)
I am re-reading all these books and I found your blog and i LOVE IT!!! i just read this one and loved all the outfits it described. the "white sweater and blue-and-white polkadot leggings" really dates the book....although I guess leggings are back in now, aren't they?
Agreed with all the smoking posts, I definitely still heard of it being allowed in the 80s...but this book came out in the 90s, as did all the mysteries.
enjoying this blog, only recently started reading, and enjoying reminscing about these books.
for some wierd reason, I LOVED this mystery. I think it's coz, as a kid, I fantasized about moving somewhere new and changing my whole identity.
By the way, "Terry" appears again in BSC Friends Forever #9, "Kristy and the Kidnappers", only then, his name is "David".
I've been living in my apartment for seven months and I still have unpacked boxes.
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