Original Publication Date: 1996
Ghostwriter? Yes, Ellen Miles
In order to relieve her February doldrums, Abby gets the BSC into helping start up Stoneybrook's Greenbrook Country Club. It's housed in what used to be the Dark Woods Country Club, which was very exclusive, to the point of being racist. There were also rumors of extortion. The new owners are excited to reopen it to the whole community.
Naturally, it isn't long before odd things start happening. Sgt. Johnson, the police officer who often helps the BSC, tells Abby about his longtime friend who was working on a newspaper report about the seedy underbelly of the Club when he died mysteriously. A strange car is seen circling the premises. Then the BSC starts finding cryptic notes around the place. They eventually figure out that Sgt. Johnson's friend left a trail, and follow it to where he kept his notes uncovering the illegal dealings of several prominent Club members (complete with the former president being a creep). They are side tracked for a bit thanks to Cary Retlin.
While this is all going on, the BSC is also trying to help the new owners' son settle in to Stoneybrook. He's having a tough time because not only is he new, he's shy and feels uncomfortable about his biracial heritage (Korean and Western European). His own grandfather has never met him, because the last time his grandfather and mother spoke was when his mother announced she was marrying a Korean man. The grandfather had been in the upper echelon at Dark Woods. In the end, we find that the strange car belongs to the grandfather, who had been wanting to meet his grandson but felt too awkward given his deplorable behavior earlier.
Established or continued in this book:
The Girls (and Logan):
Claudia candy: Pringles
Abby and Anna make spaghetti sauce with sun-dried tomatoes, despite Kristy and the Dirty Diapers informing us that Abby's allergic to both raw and cooked tomatoes (some people are allergic to only one or the other). I'll bet that if these books were written today, Abby would have celiac, and it would be handled as well as Stacey's diabetes is.
Abby's able to sprint a good distance without using her inhaler first. I understand that her asthma is largely allergy-induced, but that still seems odd.
Claudia gets to be the one who's level-headed and logical TWICE in this book. I love when that happens!
Abby's mom used to be into fancy cooking and baking, but not so much since Abby's dad died.
Like many in the BSC, Abby's a fan of things before her time, oldies rock'n'roll in particular. But in her case, she specifies that it's her mom's music.
Everyone calls Sharon Schafer-Spiers's parents Granny and Pop-pop. Almost everyone calls my granny Granny as well (exceptions are Granddad, my mom, her siblings, and their spouses).
The Club (and clients):
A four-year-old named Brian Williams makes an appearance long enough to ask Mallory when she'll sit for him again, but I've never read of the BSC sitting for that family.
SMS: nothing new.
When the BSC decides to show Sgt. Johnson the clues, Abby narrates that they take all of them except a trophy, from which Kristy had copied a note. But they also found a note on a floorboard, so I guess they ripped that up and hauled it to the police station.
Starting 8th grade: 8
Halloweens in 8th grade: 5 (plus one in seventh)
Thanksgivings in 8th grade: 2
Winter holidays in 8th grade (that BSC members celebrate, not just reference): Christmas-2, Hanukkah-1, Kwanzaa-1
Valentine's Days in 8th grade: 3
Summers after 8th grade: 8
BSC Fights: 10
SMS Staff and Faculty: 55
Students (other than the BSC): 179; 114 8th graders (not including Amelia Freeman, who is deceased), 6 7th graders, 43 6th graders, 15 unspecified. Baby-sitters' Winter Vacation tells us that SMS has about 380 students.
Clients: 33 families
Types of candy in Claudia’s room: 117