Stacey and the Mystery at the Empty House (M#18)

Sorry it's been so long since the last post! General busy-ness, and I found out that I'm invited to a baby shower twelve days before the event and that the mother is carrying twins! On a related note, I've discovered I can knit a baby blanket in three days.

Original Publication Date: 1994

 Ghostwriter? Yes, Ellen Miles


Stacey is house- and dog-sitting for the Johanssens while they're away when she starts to notice strange things happening, almost as if someone else has been in the house. Conveniently, there's also an escaped convict on the loose who Stacey thinks might be frequenting the house. It turns out to be a family friend who has permission to stay there. He'd left a note, but Carrot (the dog) ate it.

Also, the BSC arranges for a sleigh ride for the kids and it snows just in time for it to be magical.

Established or continued in this book:

The Girls (and Logan):

Claudia candy: Starbursts

No big revelations here, just confirmations of things like Kristy not liking the SMS lunch, Claudia being artistic, Mary Anne being sentimental, Shannon being smart, etc.

Their Families:

Watson's been a bit of a workaholic lately (can you say "foreshadowing"?).

It's heavily implied that Jessi's family celebrates Kwanzaa.

The Club:

The Kuhns are Jewish.

SMS: just a mention of gross lunch food and Alan Gray.

PSA Time:

The Johanssens do a good job of making it look like their house isn't empty. Another easy thing to do is a get a timer or two to have lights go on and off automatically. (A few chapters later: oh, they do have a timer)


There's a brief appearance by a female letter carrier in this book. I know "letter carrier" is the proper term, but I still like to joke about the "fe-mail man." And
if I ever work for the Post Office, which I would actually probably enjoy, you can bet I'll call myself that.

I'd think all the red-heads in this story were too much of a coincidence, but there's a church I go to sometimes that only seats about 150 people and usually 10 or so of them have bright red hair.

The Kuhns' description of the origins of Hanukkah skip over the whole "war" and "desecration of the temple" bit that necessitated the re-dedication of the temple. On purpose because the Kuhn kids are young, or because the target audience of the BSC is young?

The numbers:

Starting 8th grade: 7

Valentine's Days in 8th grade: 2

Halloweens in 8th grade: 4 (plus one in seventh)

Thanksgivings in 8th grade: 1

Christmases in 8th grade: 1 (Hanukkah is also mentioned, but no one in the BSC celebrates it)

Summers after 8th grade: 7

BSC Fights: 9

SMS Staff and Faculty: 47

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

Clients: 31

Types of candy in Claudia’s room: 97

Mary Anne-2


noseinanovel said...

This was probably my favorite BSC mystery when I was younger and I read it more times than any of the others. It is also probably the reason I am sometimes still afraid of being home alone. There could be a convict using my hairbrush, after all.

SJSiff said...

This mystery seemed a lot more plausible than most, which I definitely appreciate! Here's hoping no escaped convicts are using your hairbrush...

Laura said...

noseinanovel: LOL

I've never been clear about whether Bill left a note for Stace or the Johanssens. I got the impression he didn't know the J's were away and didn't know S. was house-sitting. But if so, why would he even bother leaving a note? If the J's have a standing ivitation extended to him, that just seems like the kind of situation where you would't need to leave a note.

I'd love to do the sleigh ride thing sometime. Definitely on my bucket list.

Why are the Kuhns listed under the club? Wouldn't there be a clients category for them? (I should cut you some slack on this because you've just knitted a baby blanket in three days.)

Maybe a bunch of red-heads in stories is tradition. I've read a Trixie Belden fanfic where many characters had red hair (because it turned out they were all somehow related to the canon red-heads, Jim, Matt Wheeler and Regan.)

SJSiff said...

I don't have a heading for clients because I don't often have things to put there, so I stick information about the BSC clients under "club."

I would imagine that Bill figured out that the Johanssens weren't home after they didn't return at night. Plus, he knew to meet them at the airport. Basically it was a major fail that no one made sure Stacey knew what was going on.