Original Publication Date: 1997
Ghostwriter? Yes, Nola Thacker
Kristy, Stacey, and Abby score a three-day sitting job on a train ride. It's a publicity tour for Derek Masters's new movie about a mystery train. Several of Derek's friends (plus a friend for his little brother) are coming along, so Derek's parents requested three sitters. The train barely gets moving before Kristy spots a threatening note. Things ramp up quickly from there: fake severed hands in salads, smoke bombs masquerading as fires, and so on. Who's to blame? There are plenty of suspects: some actors, the publicist, sketchy passengers. After a million red herrings, because that's how BSC mysteries are, it comes to light that the screenwriter got the idea from a student of his, who has been blackmailing the writer, demanding full credit for the script. Someone higher up in the movie's chain of command decides both will receive credit, although the student is being held for psychiatric evaluation and the other writer will have trouble finding work in that field again.
Back in Stoneybrook, the BSC helps get the country club (from Abby and the Secret Society) ready for summer. They notice that the owner's son, Stephen, is having trouble making friends. The big issue is that he doesn't know how to swim. They teach him, and he's able to relax around the other kids.
Established or continued in this book:
The Girls (and Logan):
Claudia candy: none mentioned, although she does help plan the menu for a make-your-own sundae bar at the country club
Abby wears glasses or contacts depending on her mood (which, if she's like me, means glasses if she's too lazy to unscrew the lids on the contacts case). Wouldn't allergies also be a factor? If her eyes were all watery I'd think contacts would be a bother.
Stacey "likes perfume on guys sometimes." Not cologne, perfume.
While most characters in the BSC are stuck at their same ages forever, Karen has a birthday or two in her books (the Little Sister series which I'm not bothering with). Shouldn't the average age of the Krushers have changed just a bit since Kristy figured it out back in the twentieth book? It's still 5.83.
With all the fuss about how Abby and Anna are SO DIFFERENT even though they're twins, it's funny that the Adam, Byron, and Jordan Pike are usually described as pretty similar to each other.
Ah, question from the last book answered: all the Pikes have blue eyes.
Mallory thinks her parents wouldn't let her take the sitting job on the mystery train tour...but Nicky goes as Derek's guest.
Karen Brewer's imagination is more "active" than usual and the sitters aren't quite so delighted with her "spiritedness" as they often are. Maybe they don't feel like they have to fake it for Kristy's sake.
The Club (and clients):
In this book, Ben Hobart, once Mallory's sort-of boyfriend, acts like a sitting charge. It's hard to tell if he's just having fun goofing off, though.
SMS: summer break.
PSA Time: nothing stood out.
Just once it would be nice to read about a pair of best friends who are tons alike.
Bleh. One of the kids in the book has a rat tail. I remember thinking those were disgusting in kindergarten, which I started in 1990. Were they ever considered cool?
"Present and accounted for" doesn't mean everyone is at the same location. It means that those who aren't present are accounted for, as in, yes, that person called in sick and won't be coming today.
Starting 8th grade: 9
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): 207: 118 8th graders (not including Amelia Freeman, who is deceased), 25 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: 125