Mary Anne and the Music Box Secret (M#31)

Original Publication Date: 1997

Ghostwriter? Yes, Ellen Miles


While Sharon's parents on a cruise trip for their anniversary, some pipes leak in their house causing a flood. The BSC volunteers to help clean up, and during the process Mary Anne finds the titular music box behind a loose wall panel. Written on it is a warning that anyone who opens it will be cursed. Perhaps having learned a lesson from Mary Anne's Bad Luck Mystery, she ignores the warning and opens the box to find that it plays "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star." It also turns out to contain a cryptic note that seems to be from one smitten person to another, and picture of a young man in a Navy uniform (about whom Mary Anne had mysteriously dreamed the night before). Some letters from Granny Porter's past help shed some light on the mystery, but it's not really solved until after Granny returns from the cruise. Turns out she was in love with the sailor, but he was killed in action. She never forgot him, but also never mentioned him, and kept the music box as a secret momento. She passes it on to Mary Anne to keep.

Established or continued in this book:

The Girls (and Logan):

Claudia candy: both regular and "Lite" Three Musketeers (for comparison purposes)

Claudia's interest in photography resurfaces.

Mary Anne waxes poetic about kids from different families blending together when parents remarry...without mentioning any personal experience with this sort of thing. It's written in a way that she should have mentioned it, and seems to have forgotten that she has a step-family.

Their Families:

Did we know that Sharon is a realtor?

Sharon tries to sneak tofu into things for Richard despite his aversion to it, which in my mind is just as bad as trying to sneak meat into a supposedly vegetarian dish. Newsflash: not everyone likes the same foods. Unless you're a caregiver trying to ensure a well-balanced diet, don't be underhanded with food. Especially for adults!

Why would Granny Porter have made a quilt out of non-colorfast fabric and/or thread? It's on a bed, so presumably meant to be used...I like my bedding to be machine-washable, myself.

A couple things confuse me about the big surprise anniversary party. First, Dawn and Jeff are back in California by then and miss it. Second, in Dawn's Portrait Collection book, Granny and Pop-Pop celebrate their fiftieth wedding anniversary when Dawn is in fifth grade. So this is their fifty-third or fifty-fourth, neither of which are milestones that would usually involve a party, especially if there wasn't one for their fiftieth. And I still think it's odd for the child of a couple to organize wedding anniversary plans instead of the couple themselves.

The Club (and clients):

The Barrett-DeWitt family completes the renovations to their house, and the finished product fits with the description of the plans from earlier books.

SMS: summer break.

PSA Time:

Check your homeowner's or renter's insurance for flood coverage. It's rarely included automatically. Don't have either homeowner's or renter's insurance? Get the appropriate one. (At least, this applies to the US; not sure about other countries)


According the address label stuck on this book, it belonged to a Priscilla S. of Portland, OR.

I'm sure it's just a coincidence, but I find it really funny that the letters Mary Anne reads mention a Mr. Bailey embezzling from his company. Wonder if the company was a building and loan (It's a Wonderful Life).

The numbers:

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: 130

Mary Anne-2


Anonymous said...

"While Sharon's parents on a cruise trip for their anniversary, some pikes leak in their house causing a flood."

Do you mean pipes or Mal's brothers and sisters because that would be really runny to read about them breaking into a house and messing to the point of a flood and watching them get away with it.

SJSiff said...

Haha, pipes! I'll go edit that; thank you.