Original Publication Date: 1996
Ghostwriter? Yes, Ellen Miles
The BSC gets a string of unusual jobs sitting for two sets of cousins in the same house, often at the same times, but separately. Their mothers are sisters who are in town to settle their late father's estate, and they don't get along, so they don't let their children get along either. There's also something odd about their father's will: he's given his three living children (a son had previously died) individual clues to figure out a riddle, and the "winner" gets the inheritance. He used to pit his children against each other when he was alive, and his will continues this. The BSC lets the cousins play together, and the sisters eventually drop enough of their feud to work together on solving the riddle (naturally, Dawn is the one who actually gets it, because the BSC is made up of the smartest people ever). Oh, and it turns out the affable butler is actually the brother, who was only metaphorically "dead" to his father. So now it's all one big, happy family.
Dawn is also finding herself struggling to fit in her goodbyes before heading back to California. After talking with Mary Anne, she sets aside a few days to have get-togethers with different groups of people all at once: school friends, BSC clients, and family.
Established or continued in this book:
The Girls (and Logan):
Claudia candy: Dots, Tootsie Roll Pops
Dawn gets presents every time she leaves for California, and when she comes back too. Maybe that's why she likes to go back and forth so much.
Dawn's favorite animal is the dolphin.
The re-tellling of how Mary Anne's dad and Dawn's mom rekindled their romance is off. In this version, the discovery that they'd been high school sweethearts takes place after Tigger and Logan entered the picture.
The Club (and clients): nothing new.
SMS: nothing new.
If for some reason you find yourself inheriting all of an estate when you feel it should have been divided between you and others, there's nothing to stop you from simply giving part of your inheritance away after you accept it. It doesn't have to be a complicated legal thing.
This is Dawn's last mystery book.
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: 9
BSC Fights: 10
SMS Staff and Faculty: 56
Students (other than the BSC): 183: 118 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: 120