Sunday, July 5, 2009

Mystery #26: Dawn Schafer, Undercover Baby-Sitter

Tagline: Dawn's a detective in a baby-sitter!

Cover: Actually, Dawn's a baby-sitter...who just likes to snoop around in other people's business. And that's pretty evident in this cover. She's only vaguely paying attention to the kids, to make sure they don't see her going through their mothers' stuff. And it's not even like, looking at the desk to see what's out there...she's going through a little box of stuff! Unbelievable. Other than that, Dawn looks a little off but not as bad as some covers, and it looks like Hodges Soileau just skimmed through the book for the cover: portrait? check! red-haired kids? check! uncomfortable looking house? check!

Plot!: Dawn's in Stoneybrook for one of their many summers, but it's already coming to a close. Before she leaves, she takes a semi-regular job with a new family who are living in a mysterious mansion. The three Livingstone sisters are trying to solve a mystery in order to claim their inheritance, and of course the BSC has to get involved (because two of the sisters hire sitters to come and watch the kids while they're out doing...stuff? Solving the mystery? I don't know). So they do, not only solving the mystery but also repairing the broken family dynamic. Meanwhile, Dawn overbooks herself because that's what the plot demands of her, and she's finding it hard to say goodbye to everyone because Dawn is just so awesome everyone in the whole town wants a piece of her before she leaves. So she says goodbye in groups, and eventually moves the whole town with her heart. No, that's actually what the last line of the book: "Because I would be moving the whole town out there - in my heart."

Points of Interest:
  • As far as mysteries goes, this one at least makes sense, because there is a mystery but it's not ridiculous, in the sense that it could happen. What is ridiculous is that the BSC gets so involved in it and the family lets them, and also that the family hasn't already solved it.
  • I think I've touched on this before, but 'steady boyfriend' is one of those stock BSC phrases that I just don't get. What teenage girl uses that? It seems really out of date.
  • In terms of chronology, this one takes place just after the Super Special Aloha, Babysitters! But then at the end of the book, Kristy and her family go to Hawaii too, which I think is mentioned in the rest of the series. This is probably also the summer of Dawn and Too Many Sitters, the terrible experiment where Jeff and the Pike Triplets join the BSC.
  • "Mary Anne and Richard aren't above eating a steak once in a while, or ordering their pizza with extra pepperoni." Thanks, Dawn.
  • Dawn is using cosmetics that haven't been tested on animals: "After all, why should some fluffy little bunny suffer so I can be beautiful?"
  • Both Erica Blumberg and Emily Bernstein make plans with Dawn to do stuff before she leaves. I didn't know they were this close. Dawn didn't really have a chance to make other friends before she was taken in by the Cult of the BSC, and since then she's only really socialized with them. I know they're friendly, but Dawn starts blowing plans with like, Mary Anne to accomodate these people? This is a stupid plot-driven plot.
  • For the Chapter Two set up, Dawn takes "memory pictures" of the club. But Mallory and Jessi have to share one - they don't even rate their own memories!
  • The BSC goes against the wishes of the Livingstone sisters (now Mrs. Keats and Mrs. Cornell) and bring their children to play together. In addition to having a reputation for being good sitters, the BSC should have a reputation for being enormous buttinskis.
  • Okay, this was when I almost threw the book down in disgust. Dawn, in planning all of her 'before I leave' stuff, made plans to go to the pool complex with Matt and Haley Braddock. Not as a baby-sitter...just...because. What? I mean, I guess it's no different than Claudia going to the museum with Corrie Addison and the Arnold twins, but's just such a different mindset from the one I have.
  • Also, in order to facilitate this "Dawn is just too popular for her own good" plot, she also overbooks herself, forgets appointments, and in general acts very unlike the regular orderly, organized Dawn. She acts a lot like her mom does with keys and shoes.
  • Ugh. At one point, Dawn sees a check signed by A. Livingstone and immediately assumes that Arthur Livingstone, the dead man, is alive. Rather than thinking that it was signed by Amy Livingstone, who is still alive. OR it was a post-dated cheque. This book is full of "red herrings."
  • Each sister got a clue from Arthur Livingstone that would help them find the treasure. The clues are: "The first is always the most important," "The signature tells all," and "I didn't do it, I was _______." The first two are kind of obscure, but doesn't the third one give it away? What else could it be? Set up? Innocent? In Europe at the time?
  • Oh, and the butler is really their brother. Their father had told them he was dead, but Amy was in touch with him the whole time. That is really messed up. But then later, Mrs. Keats says that she wanted to find him but the father said to forget about him. So...huh?
  • Anyway, the mystery is solved, because the answer is behind a really ugly portrait of Mr. Livingstone. And they decide to split the estate four ways. Hurrah.
  • Yawn. Another BSC party for the charges.
  • On page 122 it says that Jamie Newton ate three cupcakes and then asked Dawn to marry him (heh, he was sugar-drunk!), but on page 123, it says Claudia matched Nicky by eating three cupcakes. Which is it?
  • At Dawn's party for her friends, it's BSC members, Emily Bernstein, and Mari Drabek. Who?
  • OMG! The BSC members skip their meeting because they're at Dawn's, partying. You know that shit would not happen if Kristy was not in Hawaii with her family.
  • OMG II! Dawn eats some Ben & Jerry's ice cream and does not lecture about sugar content or having teeth when she's 90.
  • The next day she has Family Day, where the Schafer-Spiers do things like: eat breakfast! eat lunch! and eat dinner! Pretty wild.
Final Thought: This is the last book narrated by Dawn in the BSC series. Farewell, Dawn.

1 comment:

Sadako said...

I always hated it when Dawn was all, "And MA and her dad don't watch what they eat...they eat RED MEAT!!!!!!!" Shut up, Dawn!