Thursday, August 16, 2012

The Baby-Sitters Club Mystery #27: Claudia and the Lighthouse Ghost

This is one of those books that came out long after I quit reading the series, but I found a few of the later mysterious at a thrift store, so yay! I don’t know about you guys, but thrift stores are hit or miss with me. I can walk into one and find nothing, then go back a few weeks later and find 3 or 4 books. Thrifts and book sales have both been pretty bad for me lately, though one thrift here in Ohio recently had around 10 books that I was missing, and all of them were from some library in Texas LOL.

Anyway, Claudia comes home from a sitting job and overhears her parents talking about the Hatt family. She vaguely remembers their daughters and that their son Stevie had a lisp. Over dinner, her parents announce that the entire family is coming to stay with them. Since they are short on space, Janine will move into her room until they leave.

Mr. Hatt owns the lighthouse in town, which Claudia says is an eyesore. Everyone whispers about some big controversy that happened but no one will talk about it. Mary Anne remembers driving by one night with her dad, and he stopped to talk to a police officer before giving her an ominous warning about not going what she shouldn’t go.

Janine is in the midst of a crisis with her boyfriend Jerry. He stands her up for one date and pretty much forgets that she exists. Both girls find Steve super cute and both kind of want a shot with him. It’s funny because neither of them really does anything, though Janine does help him with his homework.

Janine takes over Claudia’s room, forcing the BSC to meet in other rooms around the house. At the end of the meeting, someone finds a package at the door. It’s a cap and a warning for the Hatt family to leave town. Everyone acts a little shocked, but Mr. Hatt doesn’t give a damn.

Steve decides to throw an exclusive party at the lighthouse and Mr. Hatt wants to get it checked out. He decides to paint it and restore it so that he can sell it in the future. He takes the kids there one afternoon and Claudia thinks she sees someone moving around and hears someone say, “I’m here”. Before she can worry about it too much, some random guy shows up and starts shouting. His name is Mr. Langley and he’s tied to what happened there.

The BSC decide to get involved when letters keep showing. Mallory sees someone try to break into the lighthouse and her mom calls the police. They head to the library and discover that a teenager named Alex Langley died after he fell from the lighthouse. His dad still blames Mr. Hatt for what happened, saying that he locked his son inside.

When they go back to the lighthouse, Claudia finds a note saying that if you spend the night inside, you become one of “us” with a drawing beneath it and the name Fred. After drawing it a few times, she learns from Janine that it’s the gargoyle outside the high school. The BSC go by and run into a teacher who tells them that Fred is a popular attraction, but one group ruined it by using the gargoyle as their “gang” symbol.

Charlie comes by and introduces them to Paul, Langley’s youngest son. Claudia convinces him to let them come by the house and see if the note matches his brother’s handwriting. They see a photo of a group of guys and then Stacey sees smoke coming from the lighthouse. It’s okay though because someone just let off a smoke bomb.

Langley warns Hatt about having a party, which ticks him off so much that he decides to throw an even bigger party. The party goes off without a hitch until Claudia notices someone upstairs. She follows him and he runs away, but they find him clinging to the side of the lighthouse, hanging from a strand of lights. He falls into the water and Mr. Hatt saves him.

It turns out that the guy was one of Alex’s friends in high school and the group made him stay in the lighthouse as an initiation. He tried to escape, fell over the side, and died. Hatt and Langley make up, and Hatt announces that they found a new house nearby. It’s just far enough away that they will never get mentioned again!

The B-plot deals with a comet passing by. All the kids in town become obsessed and Kristy decides to throw a comet viewing party. They all hear rumors about comets carrying germs and killing people, so the kids flip out. Kristy calms them down, but once they actually see the comet, they get bored and wander off.

*Claudia is so pissed about sharing a room that she contemplates running away to New York. She thinks that she has enough to pay for a small apartment and she can pretend to be 18 and sell her art in the streets. Poor, naïve Claudia.

*When Claudia reminds Janine that she has a meeting, she refuses to give up the room for 30 freaking minutes. The best part is that their parents just remain quiet and do nothing.

*Claudia mentions that when they were kids, Mr. Hatt said his first name was Cat-in-The, and she was disappointed when she discovered it was a lie. Really?

*Abby volunteers to help paint, then tells him that she has a “slight” allergy to paint. Um, why the hell wouldn’t you just stay home? Also, she’s painted before without commenting on her supposed allergy.

*Ben comes home early when Abby is sitting and he just stays there and plays. I never understood why older siblings can do that. Why don’t they just send the sitter home?

*Claudia hears someone whispering in the lighthouse and others hear it too, which means that maybe it was haunted?

*Ben goes off on a tangent about a comet killing the dinosaurs and turning people into werewolves or vampires. Abby kids of chides him, but they don’t actually make him stop.

*Abby makes nine cups of hot chocolate because a bunch of kids come over to the Hobart house. I don’t know about you, but I’d be pretty ticked if I came home and found out that the sitter gave away all my hot chocolate.

*Why does Stoneybrook even have a lighthouse? There’s no mention of the city sitting on a coast or a lake.