Sunday, October 31, 2010

The Baby-Sitter’s Club Mystery #14: Stacey and the Mystery at the Mall

I promised you wouldn’t get an onslaught of BSC books, but would could be better for Halloween than a mystery book? Granted it does take place at the mall and no one wears any costumes…What can I say? I always liked Stacey.

Stoneybrook Middle School is hosting a new program called Short Takes, where the students have a week-long class in a different area. They just finished up one on buying stocks and since it involved math, Stacey naturally nailed it. The next program forces the kids to get a job in the neighborhood and I find it completely ridiculous.

First of all, it’s a week long program and they get out of school for like three full days because of it. Second, it’s illegal for 11-13 year olds to work (even Mal and Jessi are part of it). Plus they somehow got enough shop keepers to agree to this program that every kid in school can take part. How big is this freaking mall?

Of course all the girls get to do something they like, except for poor Jessi. She’s stuck working as an usher at the movie theater and I’m surprised that they don’t suddenly invent a dance class/store at the mall. Mal is working at the book store, Claudia at the art store, Mary Ann at the pet store, Kristy’s in security and Stacey gets the toy store. Oddly enough, she’s the only one who volunteers to work at a toy store. Yeah right. You know Alan wanted that job!

Anyway, Stacey gets to do all sorts of fun jobs, like work on the displays for the store, take orders and run the cash register. Seriously, someone call the cops…or a lawyer. She learns from her boss that the mall is having a high rate of theft. Later she learns that everyone was warned to watch out for shop lifters because of the problem.

Of course someone steals a computer game system, while Stacey is working the register and she’s literally three feet away. She offers to pay for it, but no one blames her. Then Mal is doing a book reading for kids and sees two little scruffy blond kids come in. The little boy steals cookies from another girl, which she thinks is weird, but doesn’t put two and two together.

Kristy somehow comes up with this great idea to start a day care center in the mall. Apparently a bunch of parents are forced to bring their kids to work because they can’t find a sitter, which I also think is illegal. They talk to Mr. Morton, who is manager of the mall and he thinks it’s a great idea. He offers the girls half-price rent on one of the store fronts, but only if they can get the shop owners to help out. Mal talks to him about the little blond kids because she’s seen them with him, but he pretends to not know what she’s talking about.

Since it’s a BSC book, all the adults love the idea of a day care and volunteer to help, but it’s really all about the club. Somehow they get a bunch of donations and other crap, to keep the day care running. They’re also responsible for hiring help and doing a bunch of other stuff they shouldn’t do.

Stacey is at work one day and hears a big commotion. She runs outside and discovers that the cops nabbed a bunch of teenagers, who were stealing from the mall. One of the guys has yet another game console on him, which he stole from her shop. Case closed! Ok, not really.

No, it turns out that other stuff keeps going missing. A bunch of little stuff like toothpaste and brushes are missing from the pharmacy and big stuff like TVs are also disappearing. Logan’s working at the Mexican restaurant and someone keeps breaking in and using the grill. Eventually the girls realize that it’s the kids from the mall and track them down in the not-yet-open daycare.

Mara is the oldest sister and she tells them their sad story. Apparently their mom got sick and needed to go to the hospital. Their aunt was supposed to stay with them, but never showed up. They ran out of money and rent was due, so she and her little brother Kyle and little sister Brenda hid out at the mall and have been living there ever since. Mr. Morton discovered them and agreed to let them stay, but only if they didn’t tell anyone that he was stealing all the big stuff from the mall.

The girls take the kids to get something to eat and Stacey stays behind to call the cops. The cops show up and Mara reluctantly tells them what happened. She also tells them about Mr. Morton and the cops spring into action. Social Service contacts their mom and agrees to help them all move back into their same apartment (right) and the cops arrest Mr. Morton. The end.

*No proof apparently doesn’t matter. The cops arrest him, based on the word of three kids who were living in the mall and stealing from shops.

*Jessi has apparently seen the same movie ten times, while working at the theater.

*Kristy acts like she’s a major member of the security force, but has to confess that she didn’t know they were doing a major sting to catch the teens, until it already happened.


  1. 13 year olds working in a mall for school? Oh, this would so never happen. Especially Kristy/the security thing...!

  2. Plus Stacey is allowed to work the register, even if the owner is gone.