Monday, November 5, 2012
The Baby-Sitters Club Mystery #1: Stacey and the Missing Ring
Stacey decides that it’s the perfect time to mention to her mother that she wants a birthstone ring. Her mom isn’t too sure about the idea, and she really flips out when Stacey tells her that she wants a diamond ring. They have a minor fight, made worse when she tells her mom that her dad would buy it for her. She storms upstairs, calls Kristy, and the entire club goes to the mall.
She tells her friends about the ring that she wants, and she gets annoyed that no one is on her side. When she sees a display at the mall, she points out a similar room and they are all pretty shocked. They all think it’s too expensive and no one takes her side like she wants them to. She does tell her mom how much more expensive the mall ring was compared to the one she really wants, and Maureen basically tells her that she can have $10 toward the ring and that’s it.
At the next BSC meeting, they get a call from a Mrs. Gardella. Their nanny is on vacation and they need a sitter. Stacey gets the job and discovers that the family is a little weird. They have a dog named Bird and a cat named Mouse, and Mrs. Gardella spends most of her time telling her how to care for the animals, like how the cat eats at the table. She finally introduces their baby Tara, but she’s kind of an afterthought.
The next day, Stacey’s mom wakes her up because Mrs. Gardella is on the phone. When she got home, she discovered that a diamond ring was missing. She gives Stacey one change to give her back the ring before she does something drastic. Maureen defends her daughter, but Stacey still feels bad. She calls Kristy who calls an emergency meeting.
Stacey tells everyone what happened, and they are all shocked. Mallory makes a comment about it being a weird coincidence that she just wanted a diamond ring but that’s it. Mrs. Gardella tells the club that she will need to warn their other clients about what happened. No one knows what to do, especially when calls stop coming into the club. Two parents cancel sitting jobs and only a few girls get jobs.
Stacey decides not to take any sitting jobs because she doesn’t want to take money away from the other girls. Claudia gets a job sitting for Jenny, and she gets scared when Mrs. Prezzioso comes home early. After telling her husband to put Jenny to bed, she tells Claudia that Mrs. Gardella was at the party and told them what happened. She doesn’t believe that the BSC would steal for anyone but she still wanted to leave early.
Stacey is watching Gone with the Wind with her mom when Claudia calls to tell her what happened. Claudia comes over and they talk about things. Stacey notices that she keeps circling the room and going through her stuff, and she realizes that Claudia is looking for the ring. Claudia basically tells her that she just wanted to make sure, they fight, and stop talking for a few days.
Stacey finally comes to a decision. She will offer to sit for the family for free until she pays off the cost of the ring. Mrs. Gardella agrees but only if someone else comes with her at least once. Kristy and Stacey head over to their house one night and do a quick search but find nothing. Mouse keeps playing with toys and carrying them off so Stacey decides to follow him. She discovers that he has hiding places all over the house, and in one of his spots, she finds the missing ring.
When Mrs. Gardella comes home, they show her the ring and she feels like crap. She says that he constantly hides little things all over the house but she didn’t know about this spot. They pay both of the girls for sitting and she apologizes. When they ask her to call their clients, she says that she only ever talked to Mrs. Prezzioso.
At the next BSC meeting, Stacey and Claudia have made up. Mrs. Gardella calls and says that her nanny is back, but she will still need the girls in the future. They all agree not to work for her again though. Stacey also announces that her parents agreed to go in together and get her the ring she wants for Christmas or another special occasion.
*So, Stacey’s birthday is in April?
*Mrs. Gardella makes it a point to explain that she needs to put the animals’ food out 30 minutes before they eat to bring it up to room temperature. As soon as she leaves, Stacey feeds the animals.
*Mary Anne sits for Jenny and the little boy next door comes over. When she’s not paying attention, they bring the water hose into the house and spray down the entryway. She says that she managed to clean it up so no one would notice, but that seems like an awful lot of water damage to me.
*Claudia outfit: red sweater, black leggings, red high tops, and a red plastic lunchbox. I think this might be the only outfit of hers that I would ever wear.
*Claudia’s dad agrees to drive her over to Stacey’s house because it isn’t “too late,” yet she didn’t leave the Prezzioso house until at least 8:30. That seems kind of late for a junior high student to be out roaming around.
*Mrs. Gardella is kind of crazy. She literally spends 20 minutes talking about the animals before remembering her kid. Even then, she’s just kind of like “oh yeah, feed the baby and put her to bed, see you.”
*Why would she believe them so easily? Stacey could have snuck the ring into the house and stuck it under a rug.
*Then again, if she knows that her cat steals jewelry and other small things, why wouldn’t she at least check out some of his hiding spots?
*Everyone is a little too trusting of Stacey. They instantly believe that she would never steal a diamond ring, but in later books, they are all too willing to believe that she would do bad things.