Monday, July 28, 2014

The Babysitters Club Mystery #36: Kristy and the Cat Burglar

This is so random, but I literally forgot that I had this book! We were going through our garage last weekend and found a few boxes/bags of stuff that were in my old car and got transferred into my dad's car, which I borrowed while mine was in the shop. When I ended up driving a completely different car (no saving my old baby LOL), the boxes/bags got moved around a few times. It actually had a sticker from the thrift store on it that shows I bought it in 2012 along with some glasses, a Care Bear, and some other books, including a Fear Street book and a Sweet Valley University book.

So it's a lazy day in Stoneybrook. Kristy is sitting for Karen and David Michael and both are bored out of their minds. They suggest that they investigate that creepy/cool old house in the woods. Kristy isn't too keen on the idea, but she really does want to check things out too. Right after they start up the driveway, they hear what sounds like a gunshot. Sergeant Johnson pops up, asks them what happened, and offers to drive them home.

Before he can, two other cops show up. Officer Hopkins and Sergeant Winters are both pretty nasty, even more so when the security guard Jack Fenton. Fenton says he got a call about his wife and had to rush off before finishing his rounds, and Johnson got a call telling him to come out to the house at the same time. Fenton points out that they should check the safe. Turns out that someone broke in and stole a butt load of diamonds. Oh, and Cary Retlin just so happened to be in the area birdwatching at the same time.

Kristy hears them talking about the owner Reinhart Golem. Apparently he's some super rich guy who owns a house in Connecticut but spends most of his time overseas in Europe. Kristy notices a red cat on the mailbox of the house, which of course none of the cops noticed. Johnson pretty much tells her that it's the mark of a famous cat burglar who keeps robbing people. He then drives them home and even turns on the siren for David Michael.

Kristy tells the BSC all about what happened right before she gets a call to come down to the station and talk to Johnson. When she gets there, Winters and Hopkins attack her. They ask her a bunch of questions before Johnson gets there. He notices that someone was in his office because he left his door shut and now it's open. He asks her pretty much all the same damn questions before giving her the 411 on the other cops. The current chief is about to retire, and Hopkins wants his job. Apparently he came from some other town and was a small fish in a big pond, but he moved to Stoneybrook for more opportunities. Winters will do whatever he wants, because she thinks Hopkins will make her his second in command after he gets the chief's job. We also find out that Golem had a business associate named Ben Birch who mysteriously went missing after an unexplained falling out.

Claudia, Mary Anne, and Cary all decide that they should go back to the house and investigate on their own. They find proof that someone fired a gun and a shell casing. After some more sneaking around, they find a red marker just like the one used to make the cat on the mailbox. Before they can leave, Golem himself shows up. Since this is a completely ridiculous book, he makes one phone call, hears all about how much they've helped the cops in the past, and agrees to let them investigate and work with him.

Kristy goes back to the station to meet with Johnson but nothing really happens. During the next BSC meeting, Golem calls. He tells them that the bullet came from a gun used by the Stoneybrook police and that they found a missing red marker from Johnson's desk and his fingerprints at the scene. Johnson comes to Claudia's house and tells them someone is setting him up. Mary Anne is pretty much the only one who believes that he's innocent. The cops show up and drag him away in handcuffs. Um and at some point, we learn that one of the victims of the Cat Burglar was someone missing a blue Tiffany lamp.

Kristy keeps thinking about the story and decides that it really isn't possible for Johnson to break into the house, steal the diamonds, and do 900 other things in the few minutes between when they saw him on the road in his cruiser and when they saw him at the house. After another meeting, the club decides to do some more investigating. Abby, Mary Anne, Cary, and Kristy will all go back to the house and look around, while everyone else checks out Chez Maurice, which was Golem's favorite restaurant in town.

Mysteries are apparently on the minds of everyone in Stoneybrook. Charlotte recently read Harriet the Spy and watched the movie, so now she wants to spy. She dresses up just like Harriet except that she carries a recorder instead of a notebook. Stacey is a little worried about her but figures that if she read the book and saw the movie, she knows that it might end badly. Charlotte runs around town and watches Becca's house, Vanessa's house, and a few other people.

While on a later sitting job, Claudia sees Becca and Vanessa catch her, but the three decide to spy together. Abby later has a sitting job and follows the three around town. The girls accidentally hear information she recorded about how Becca is spoiled and Vanessa's family is too poor to buy her a new bike. They have a massive fight, but Abby comes to the rescue. She gets Charlotte to apologize to her friends, erase the tape, and stop spying for awhile.

Back at the creepy house, Golem invites everyone in for the day. Abby takes over and tells them all about what they found out and how they think someone framed the sergeant. Cary notices a blue Tiffany lamp at the same time that Kristy does. She makes up an excuse to leave, but Golem hits a button and locks the door. He tells them that he plans to leave town in a few hours and that they can't let them leave until he skips town.

Cary races across the room and tackles him to the ground, which gives Kristy time to hit the button. She tells the others to call the cops, but luckily they're already on their way. The other girls got worried when they couldn't find him and called for help. It turns out that Golem was the Cat Burglar all along and that he even invented Ben Birch as a way to hide from the law. Sergeant Johnson gets cleared and everyone celebrates. Realizing how much danger they put themselves in, the BSC decides to hold off on solving mysteries for awhile and just focus on babysitting.

*I didn't realize this was the last-last BSC Mystery book until I got to the end. I'm actually a little surprised that they ended it before the series ended.

*Nice to know that they just now realized how dangerous crime is. Seriously? I would think that, I don't know, maybe investigating crimes that the FEDERAL GOVERNMENT becomes involved in would tip you off.

*Cary noticing the lamp makes no sense. Someone else reads about it when researching Golem and tells Kristy. At no point does anyone tell Cary, but he somehow just knows that it's a major clue.

*Golem wants to take Kristy and her friends to Chez Maurice, but she thinks her parents wouldn't approve. So naturally, she agrees to meet him in his house with her underage friends without telling anyone. How did this girls get through middle school without being molested multiple times?

*Abby's mom reads an article in the paper about Sergeant Johnson and mentions something along the lines of, "oh, isn't this that nice officer you work with sometimes?" That is some A+ parenting right there. Your 13-year-old daughter hangs out with a grown man and you have no problem with it?

*Is the plot with Andrew moving to Chicago with his mom and step-dad mentioned in an earlier book? Kristy says that Karen moved in with them and Andrew went with his mom for a few months. That seems like it deserved a book of its own. It's probably one of those random things that only popped up as a major plot in one of the Little Sister books, which I never read.

*Kristy points out that if Stacey were there, she would probably know all the names of the designers that Golem wore.

*When they meet with Golem the last time, Abby completely takes over. She basically just rolls over Kristy and tells him everything they knew. I can't imagine Kristy sitting back and letting it happen.

*We know that Golem is rich because he hires private caterers to make breakfast for him and a few of the BSC members. He must not be that rich though, because he only has sausage, bacon, eggs, and toast.

*Since this is a later book, someone has to use the Internet. Jessi researches Golem on her family's shared computer, which I somehow found adorable!

*Way too many people bring Cary up as a suspect. Kristy thinks he may have set off the alarm but that she can't rule him out as a suspect in the diamond heist. Yup, I'm sure it's tots him. They also find it hard to believe that he might like birdwatching, even though he has binoculars and a book with different birds marked.

*So Cary's dad was one a cop? He gave it up when Cary was eight because it was too dangerous. Really, it took you that long to figure it out? Oh, and he's now a locksmith because that's totally what you do when you retire from the police force.

*Kristy mentions that she never, ever misses a club meeting. That's funny because I just re-read Mary Anne Saves the Day where she misses meetings during their fight. I know that she misses other meetings later on too.