Original Publication Date: 1996
Ghostwriter? Yes, Ellen Miles
The BSC gets a new client, the Martinez family, who live near a park that a local businessman wants to develop. The Martinez house has some fire damage, which might be the work of arsonist. Their house also happens to be in the way of the planned development. Hmm...
The Martinez children were home with their former sitter when the fire started, and Luke, the older one, still seems shaken up about it. He also starts getting what seem to be threats warning him not to talk about the fire. After some sleuthing, they discover that the girl who used to sit for the Martinez family had her boyfriend over briefly, and he tossed out his cigarette butt in the garage, which started the fire. Worried that Luke would tell, the boyfriend had been threatening him.
While Fowler wasn't behind the fire, the BSC still isn't happy with him. They start a grass-roots campaign to halt the development. They also investigate his past, suspicious of his intentions. They uncover hints that he's using an assumed name, and has an estranged twin brother. Plus, the twin saw the fire, and blackmailed the boyfriend into vandalizing property to try to stop the development project (which made the boyfriend more concerned about Luke telling about the fire). As this is revealed, Luke shows the town council blueprints he found which prove Fowler wants to industrialize all of Stoneybrook. The council halt the development of the park.
Then the BSC gets a letter from the Stoneybrook Parks Department: in honor of their efforts, an area of the park will be renamed Baby-sitters Walk. Except, as Janine, points out, there is no Stoneybrook Parks Department. Cary Retlin is at it again...
Established or continued in this book:
The Girls (and Logan):
Claudia candy: jelly beans
The door to Dawn's room is closed. I hope it's not like that all the time, or it's going to smell pretty musty when she visits.
Mary Anne and her dad now keep a mostly vegetarian diet.
Their Families: nothing stood out
The Club (and clients):
New clients: the Martinez family, eight-year-old Luke and three-year-ol Amalia. Luke is friends with Cary Retlin's younger brothers, Steig and Benson.
SMS: nothing new.
PSA Time: nothing stood out.
The Martinez family has a Lion King sing-a-long video. My younger brother had that!
Wow, the BSC mystery writers have never heard of Occam's Razor, huh?
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: 34 families
Types of candy in Claudia’s room: 117