Thursday, November 1, 2012

Sweet Valley Twins #109: Don’t Go in the Basement

Jessica needs money for new clothes and Elizabeth needs money for a new Amanda Howard video game, but their parents won’t give them a raise in their allowance until they turn 13. Elizabeth comes up with the idea of house sitting after Jessica turns down all of her other ideas. They make 100 flyers and put them around town, but no one calls them back until Mr. Clark, the school principal calls Elizabeth into his office.

Mr. Clark makes it clear that he would rather have a wild monkey watch over his house than Jessica. Elizabeth vouchers for her and he reluctantly hands over his house key and tells her how to get there. She notices that he seems to run off awfully fast without giving her a lot of details though he does tell her to stay out of the basement.

The first time they stop by his house, one of his neighbors comes over with a package for Mrs. Clark. Elizabeth notices that it was sent overnight mail three weeks ago. Apparently it got delivered to the neighbor’s house but she was on vacation and just got back into town. Jessica accidentally knocks over his fish tank and the fish go everywhere. They manage to save the fish by tossing them in the toilet and then into a crystal punchbowl.

Jessica keeps rummaging through his house to find stuff she can tell the Unicorns about. She finds an old jacket in the closet and a knife falls out. Elizabeth convinces her that the bloodstains on the knife must come from fish. Jessica then finds blood drops on the kitchen floor and a tuft of hair caught in the door, which her twin can’t explain.

Jessica instantly tells the Unicorns that Mr. Clark killed his wife. Elizabeth isn’t as sure so she talks to her friends about it. Maria sheepishly admits that she was working in the office when she heard the secretary call Mrs. Clark’s employer. She was hoping that they would have contact information for her, but they tell her that Mr. Clark called them three weeks ago and said that she was taking a leave of absence. She knows it wasn’t a family emergency because he and his wife have no family.

To make matters worse, some random guy calls and says that he’ll be there on Friday to “take care” of something in the basement. They all freak out, wondering what he could mean. Jessica decides that she has to get into the basement and find Mrs. Clark’s dead body, so she scours the entire house but only finds a spare house key.

Elizabeth sneaks over to the house in the middle of the night, gets scared, and runs to Maria’s house. After waking her up, they sneak over to the house together. Maria thinks that she sees a light on in the house, but they still go inside. All they find is a room that smells of fresh paint and furniture covered in sheets. A noise scares the crap out of them, but it’s just Jessica and Mandy who snuck in with the spare key.

Someone calls while they are there and leaves a message on the machine. The guy says that he found Clark’s wallet in China and he’s taking it to the embassy. Elizabeth wonders if Clark really did kill his wife before going on the run. Hank, the basement guy shows up with a skeleton key. He goes into the basement and warns the girls not to follow him. Then he comes upstairs with a big box, puts it in his truck, and takes off.

All four girls decide that the box must contain Mrs. Clark so they follow him. He drops the box off at a toxic waste dump and then notices them on the road. When he stops to ask why they followed him, they all take off running. They split into two groups, agreeing that whoever gets to the cops first will get help for the others.

Naturally, they all reach the police station at the same time. They tell them everything they know and the cops agree to check things out. They get there in time to see Mr. Clark walking out the front door. Mrs. Clark follows a few seconds later, carrying a little girl. It turns out that they were on the waiting list to adopt a Chinese toddler, and left in a hurry when they got the call. They didn’t tell anyone because they had something similar happen before and the adoption fell through.

Mrs. Clark says that she was so excited when she got the call that she went running through the house and caught her hair in the door. She was carrying a pair of scissors and accidentally caught herself in the leg, which explains the blood drops. The bloody knife really is a fishing knife, one that Clark uses when he goes fishing. And the room they found is the new nursery. Oh, and at one point Jessica found that all of his clothes were missing from the master bedroom, but that was just because they were changing rooms to be closer to the baby.

Jessica had told the Unicorns her suspicions and they spread the story all across school. When Mr. Clark shows up, the kids all think he should be in prison or on the run. Jessica jumps in the middle and decides they should throw him a baby shower. All of the kids turn up to the shower, bring the new baby presents, and play with her, so Jessica manages to look good in the end.

*Belinda Layton says she’s never been to a baby shower before, which is a LIE. She totally went to one way back in book 25 or so when her mom was pregnant.

*Jessica thinks that if she solves a murder, she will get an invitation to the policeman’s ball and that Lila will be so jealous because her money can’t buy her an invitation. Um, sure it can. My dad used to get calls all the time to buy tickets.

*Jessica wants to buy a $75 designer shirt. Granted this book came out in the late 90s, but that’s still way too much money for a junior high kid to spend.

*Jessica goes through Mrs. Clark’s closet and finds a “slinky” purple dress with a slit up one leg, and she wonders if the woman will let her borrow it. Seriously?

*Bruce doesn’t believe the stories about Mr. Clark until Caroline says that she heard Elizabeth talking about it. Suddenly he does believe it because everyone knows that Elizabeth never lies…unless it comes to whoring around in high school.

*How do both twins sneak out of the house at midnight? Seriously, what do Ned and Alice do at night?

*The Unicorns are such bitches in this book. They spread the story around school, and then get pissed at Jessica when the truth comes out because she practically ruined their reputation.

*Hank was cleaning up lead paint in the basement, which makes sense. BUT, he gets the whole job done from start to finish in like an hour, which is completely unrealistic.

*He’s really creepy too. Instead of just telling them what he’s doing, he makes it out like it’s some huge secret that no one can ever know.

*Never, ever hire these two to watch your house. They tell literally everyone that Mr. and Mrs. Clark are out of town, including the neighbor and people who call the house. I’m surprised they had anything left when they got back.

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