Original Publication Date: 1997
Ghostwriter? Yes, Vicki Berger Erwin
The BSC is called upon by the granddaughter of a recently deceased local artist to help watch her son
while she goes through the estate. Claudia is interested, naturally, and soons discovers that after some particularly harsh reviews, the artist destroyed much of her artwork. But maybe there are a few paintings left somwhere...
Of course, since this IS a BSC mystery, she finds a painting that she thinks might be covering some original artwork by the deceased artist. It's not, but others are. And there's this whole craziness with someone posing as a real estate agent and an estranged relative of the artist trying to steal the painting and locking Claudia in a closet...it's a little out there. But the mystery is solved and the would-be theives foiled.
At the same time, the BSC helps set up an interactive art exhibit for children at the Stoneybrook art museum.
Established or continued in this book:
The Girls (and Logan):
Claudia candy: M&Ms under a pillow, Ho Hos and a Hershey bar in her closet, pretzels and Hershey's Kisses in a desk drawer, white cheddar popcorn and Gummi Bears
It's pretty minor, but the description of Mary Anne seems to mix up the chronology of certain events in her life, indicating that she got her dramatic haircut before getting a cat.
Claudia always carries tissues with her when she's sitting, in case her charges start crying. Not a bad idea.
Abby's allergic to paint? Just...all paint? There are so many kinds!
Claudia's mom wears a pair of earrings to work that Claudia made her. They're in the shape of open books. That's sweet of Claudia to make something meaningful to her mom, and sweet of her mom to wear them to work.
The BSC gets this job because Kristy's mom is friends with the granddaughter, who inherited much if not all of the estate. I wonder if they were friends before Kristy's mom married Watson or if being in "high society" lead to connections to local artists.
The Club (and clients):
The Addison parents still don't pay much attention to their kids.
SMS: nothing new.
PSA Time: nothing stood out.
This is Claudia's last mystery book.
There's a yellow/orange cat featured in the book, and it's mentioned that the late artist had a few in her lifetime, all of which are implied to have been female. Almost all yellow/orange cats are male, just as almost all tri-colored calico cats are female (the rare male ones are sterile, at that).
Starting 8th grade: 10
Halloweens in 8th grade: 6 (plus one in seventh)
Thanksgivings in 8th grade: 3
Winter holidays in 8th grade (that BSC members celebrate, not just reference): Christmas-3, Hanukkah-1, Kwanzaa-2
Valentine's Days in 8th grade: 3
Summers after 8th grade: 10
BSC Fights: 11
SMS Staff and Faculty: 67
Students (other than the BSC): 210: 120 8th graders (not including Amelia Freeman, who is deceased), 26 7th graders, 47 6th graders, 15 unspecified. Baby-sitters' Winter Vacation tells us that SMS has about 380 students.
Clients: 37 families
Types of candy in Claudia’s room: 131