Claudia and the Clue in the Photograph (M#16)

Original Publication Date: 1994

Ghostwriter? Yes, Ellen Miles


From my favorite Super Special (and one of my favorites overall) to a mystery. Yeesh. At least this one has a darkroom.

Remember how in Stacey's Lie Claudia was interested in--and pretty good at--photography? It wasn't just a one-time thing. She's taking a photography class in SMS's summer school. It inspires her to come up with an idea of a project for Dawn: the BSC and the charges will go around Stoneybrook one day and take pictures, selecting the best for a photo album for her, "A Day in the Life of Stoneybrook." Claudia finds herself and Mary Anne taking a lot of shots of the bank's architecture...and then finds out a large sum was stolen that day. There's even a scary bit when a mysterious figure opens her bathroom/darkroom door and ruins her film (but it was Janine). At first, it looks like there's nothing in the pictures, but when she enlarges them she notices something odd and it helps solve the case. There's a lit window, and with some other information, the police are able to nab the bank VP.

Greer at http://blog.stoneybrookite.org/ is diligently posting about the BSC Challenge. Here are my next answers:

Favorite minor character: Sam Thomas, I think. I really like the Sam-Stacey pairing. And Mimi is way up there, of course.

Least favorite minor character: The obvious answer is Mr. Nichols, who beats his kids (Claudia and the Terrible Truth). I also don't like the Jeremy character from the Friends Forever series. We get a character from my neck of the woods and he's a jerk? Not cool, Ann, not cool.

Favorite parent: I think Richard Spier and Elizabeth (Thomas) Brewer both did an admirable job in very difficult circumstances.

Least favorite parents: Well, obviously, Patrick Thomas is an awful parent. Shannon's parents are also very distant and clueless. They remind me of a family I nannied for; the parents seemed to actually clock out when I arrived and didn't pay a whole lot of attention to their kids at any point. It showed in the kids' behavior, too.

Established or continued in this book:

The Girls (and Logan):

Claudia candy: Hershey's kisses in a box of pastels, jaw breakers, Fig Newtons, pretzels

I keep forgetting that Logan's supposed to have curly hair. His pictures never do, but we're often told so.

This isn't the first time Shannon has been the distraction during a BSC mystery investigation. Those drama camp lessons must be good for something.

Kristy gets "a craving" for pizza...hmm, wanting salty food...is she becoming a woman?

Their Families:

The Kishis must be loaded. Just running out to set up a temporary darkroom, with all the equipment and chemicals needed, can't be cheap. She's not just developing photographs, but the negatives too.

On page 23, we're informed that one of Mallory's brothers is named Gordan. Did Claudia's spelling troubles infect the editor? (He's Jordan again on page 31)

Richard Spier would have an old Brownie camera.

Mrs. Kishi's bank PIN is Claudia's birthday.

The Club: nothing new.


Photography teacher/stuck doing summer school: Mr. Geist

Math teacher/stuck: Mr. Davies

PSA Time:

A robbery happens when the victim is aware of the theft as it happens (like a mugging). The bank in this story wasn't robbed; it was burgled.


This is the first time Sgt Johnson features prominently. And he lets the BSC in the interrogation room with a suspect...?

The ATMs in Stoneybrook give out tens, fives, or fifties (Claudia's mom routinely gets $50).

It really makes no sense how Claudia' film negatives get destroyed. I've developed film and pictures, and you open the film canister and put it on the developing solution in a sealed bag. You can sit outside on a bright sunny day under a tanning lamp, and as long as no one opens the bag your film will be fine. Claudia even mentions the bag that's used for this purpose. Her individual prints might have been exposed to light too early and ruined, but the negatives would still have been intact.

The numbers:

Starting 8th grade: 6

Valentine's Days in 8th grade: 2

Halloweens in 8th grade: 3 (plus one in seventh)

Thanksgivings in 8th grade: 1

Summers after 8th grade: 7

BSC Fights: 8

SMS Staff and Faculty: 47

Students (other than the BSC): 165; 101 8th graders, 6 7th graders, 42 6th graders, 15 unspecified

Clients: 29

Types of candy in Claudia’s room: 95

Mary Anne-2


Laura said...

Wow, I never connected Claud's photo-taking in 76 with her class in this one.

Favourite Minor Character - Mimi Yamamoto

Least Favourite Minor Character - Maybe Mrs. McKeever from KGI for not mentioning that the sitter would be pet-sitting. (What if the sitter had an allergy like Marnie Barrett? Or if Abby had been in the club then and the one to get the job?)

Favourite Parent - Richard Spier and Elizabeth THOMAS (not Brewer)

Least Favourite Parent - Mrs./Mr. Lowell and Mrs. Marshall in Kristy and Mr. Mom. (I would pick Patrick Thomas but I think this question involves parents who parent and are around all the time. I also don't pick Mr. Nichols because I haven't read CatTT and I've been trying to restrict my answers to include only things that are in the books I've read.) Oh, and you're right about Shannon's parents.

I never picture Logan with curly hair. Never.

Kristy gets "a craving" for pizza...hmm, wanting salty food...is she becoming a woman?
I doubt that was Ann's/Ellen's intent with that comment. I just thought it was a throw-away line designed to sound 'teenager'-ish. Like trying to relate to the readers and being current by having the characters be like them.

I've always liked/chuckled at the Gordan/Jordan mistake.

Thanks for explaining the difference between being robbed and burgled. (I know you mentioned it in your CatPPC post but I understand it better now.)

Stg. Johnson lets the BSC in the room with Mr. Zibreski?! It's stuff like this that makes me wonder how Sgt. Johnson ever made it through the Academy.

I'm now totally picturing Mr. Geist (though, oddly enough, not Mr. Davies) as Mark Harmon's character Mr. (Freddy) Shoop in the movie Summer School.

SJSiff said...

Oh, absolutely it wasn't intentional about pizza, but the way she says it is funny.

For burglary vs robbery, burglary is a property crime and robbery is a crime against a person (at least according to US law). I majored in criminal justice in college and some things you just can't unlearn.

Laura said...

For burglary vs robbery, burglary is a property crime and robbery is a crime against a person (at least according to US law). I majored in criminal justice in college and some things you just can't unlearn. Very interesting!

SJSiff said...

Oh, good point, Laura. Elizabeth Brewer wasn't as good a parent as Elizabeth Thomas. "Surprise, kids! We adopted a toddler! Oh, Mom, can you raise her for me?"