Kristy, Bart and Charlie take a group of kids to another big game. This is one of the few books where the Krushers and the Bashers play together as the Krashers. At the end of the game, they start back home and it starts raining. Charlie gets lost, the rain starts coming down harder, and they somehow get across a bridge just before the rain washes it away.
They find a big house in the middle of nowhere and decide to stop and ask for help. They see a smaller house nearby, and a man comes out and tells them that he's the caretaker for the bigger house. He gives them a little food and some blankets and offers to let them stay in the bigger house for the night. He then makes a cryptic comment about their odds at lasting throughout the night.
Everyone takes a tour of the house, and they find a girl's room. They do a little more touring before winding up back in the same room. Karen finds a diary, and Patty, one of Bart's players, finds the key. Kristy reads it, and it's from a girl named Dorothy who lived in the house. She writes about how she wants to marry this guy Will but her father doesn't approved because he's poor. She briefly mentions hoping that Will won't treat her like her dad did before deciding to run away with him.
The boys find a few scrapbooks filled with newspaper articles about Dorothy. The last night she wrote in her diary, she disappeared. The police decided that she probably drowned while crossing the river during a storm. Jackie remembers his brother telling him that the house was haunted, but Kristy tries to calm all the kids down. They also find an album with photos of Dorothy, her father, and Will inside, and Bart thinks the man looks familiar.
When the storm passes, the caretaker tells them that workers came to fix the bridge. Bart realizes that the caretaker is actually Will, and he admits it. He tells them that he bought the old house as a way to feel closer to Dorothy. They all have a long talk before heading home, where everyone welcomes them and acts really worried.
Kristy throws a slumber party for the BSC at her house. Karen comes in and shows them a picture she took from the house. Mary Anne realizes that she knows Dorothy: she's the woman who owns Sew Fine, the sewing store downtown. They go over as a group the next morning, and Kristy calls her Dorothy.
The woman admits that she is Dorothy. When she ran away from her father's house, she fell in the water and almost drowned. That made her realize that living with Will would be like living with her father so she basically just left town. She traveled for years and came back to Stoneybrook ten years earlier to open a sewing store. Kristy convinces her to talk to Will, and they call kind of just laugh or talk about how romantic the story is. Oh, and Dawn wonders if the house is actually haunted.
*Literally everyone gets home and are there for at least an hour before they think it's odd they haven't made it back yet. What is wrong with these people?
*The Pikes drive all the way to the game, take Mallory and Mary Anne with them, pick up Nicky from the game, drive home, and drop Mary Anne at home. Mrs. Pike goes to get milk, but she reminds MA that she has a sitting job. So basically, Mary Anne goes home just to get a call that Kristy is missing and then heads to the Pike house.
*The Krashers are losing by quite a bit but come back to win the game. Can't they just let them lose every now and then?
*Charlie defers to his much younger sister multiple times because she "always" has such great ideas. Yes, but she's also THIRTEEN!!
*They have to use flashlights when they first walk in the house, but a few pages later, Kristy says that there's still enough light coming in that they don't need flashlights or their lantern. Also, it's later in the day and storming outside, so how could they see without lights?
*The empty house that no one lives in still has running water.
*Kristy blushes when Bart says he likes spending time with her, and she mentions multiple times that she really likes dating him. Guess she forgot all about that later in the series.
*Stoneybrook is so close to this house that Shea (Jackie's brother) knows about the house, but it's so far away that Dorothy and Will never crossed paths in all those years?
*Claudia wears white jeans, white shoes, and a tie-dyed shirt she made herself. She apparently is a complete moron though because she wears it out in the rain, and the dye runs all over everything.
*She has to call Janine to bring her clothes, and Janine can't handle being around Lucy Newton for even a few minutes because she doesn't understand kids.
*Watson is a super millionaire, but he doesn't know what to do when his own children are missing. Seriously? He basically just stays home by the phone until they call him the next day.
*Yeah, so if a bridge gets washed away because of a storm, I'm pretty sure they can't just fix it within a few hours.