Original Publication Date: 1998
Ghostwriter? Yes, Vicki Berger Erwin. And this copy reveals the new mystery cover artist: Ed Acuña.
A new bookstore is opening in Stoneybrook, with an emphasis on Edgar Allen Poe and other mystery writers. Mary Anne ends up there a lot, taking care of the son and daughter of the owner while it's being set up. The kids are dealing with not only moving, but their parents' recent divorce. Their mother hasn't been in touch a whole lot, either, which makes things even more difficult for them. The bookstore is in the former house of one of Poe's (fictional) contemporaries, and there's some rivalry between the contemporary's descendants and the new owner. The bookstore is full of creepy ambience, and Mary Anne and the other members of the BSC, who are helping set it up, often find themselves on edge. Is the house haunted, is someone playing pranks, or is it just their imaginations? A lot of the odd things going have to do with Poe: the family's black cat (named after a cat in one of Poe's works) accidentally gets trapped behind some drywall, someone's pet raven flies in through an open window; there's even the possibility of a grave in the basement. After some inspiration from a line in a Poe book, Mary Anne and the BSC get down to some detective work, and find that the owner and his assistant have been faking most of the incidents (the cat really was stuck, though) to drum up publicity for the store. Just before the grand opening, Mary Anne discovers a small hidden room, with the desk of its former occupant containing letters Poe had send him. All the publicity from the events, real and fake, culminate in a successful grand opening to the bookstore.
Established or continued in this book:
The Girls (and Logan):
Claudia candy: mini candy bars under her bed, popcorn in her desk drawer
Jessi's punny in this book. Looks like some ghostwriter read Jessi's first book and remembered she's supposed to be a joke-teller!
Kristy's able to use her experience with parental abandoment to help the bookstore owner's kids a bit.
It's hinted that Andrew and David Michael sometimes gang up against Karen.
The Club (and clients): nothing new (the Cates family--bookstore owners--don't become long-term clients; the son is almost old enough to watch his sister).
One reason Mary Anne is excited to help out with the bookstore is that she's doing a report on Poe for school. Refreshingly, it's for her English class and not for a Short Takes class.
PSA Time: nothing stood out.
This is Mary Anne's last mystery book.
This book used to belong to the L. E. Phillips Memorial Public Library in Eu Claire, WI.
Most non-Super Specials are around 150 pages. This book is just over 180.
To brush tangles out of hair with less pain, hold the hair between the scalp and the tangle. That way the brush won't pull the hair from the scalp so much. Also, start at the bottom of the tangle and comb and work through it bit by bit; don't just yank all the way through the hair. This message brought to by the owner of thick, wavy/curly hair and the mother of a curly-haired toddler.
Ooh, pet peeve of mine. Don't assume you can nickname a person. My name has many diminutives but I go by my full name and I don't like it when people assume they can call me by something cutesy. Especially when the person doesn't listen to me when I correct; it seems like some sort of power play to me (the recurrent "forgetting" of my real name has only happened with people older than I am). For example, if I were an Elizabeth, people trying to calling me Lizzie when I've introduced myself as Elizabeth would really annoy me. It's just rude to ignore what someone wants to be called. If you have trouble with names, be upfront with that so I don't seethe at you.
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 in the plot of a book, not just reference): Christmas-5, Hanukkah-2, Kwanzaa-3
Valentine's Days in 8th grade: 4
St. Patrick's Days in 8th grade: 1
Summers after 8th grade: 10
BSC Fights: 11
SMS Staff and Faculty: 67
Students (other than the BSC): 214: 120 8th graders (not including Amelia Freeman, who is deceased), 29 7th graders, 48 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: 139