As you may have gathered from the title, this one is narrated by Claudia. Let’s see what ridiculous shenanigans THIS time!
Chapter 1. It’s a dark and stormy night, to borrow from Edward Bulwer-Lytton. Claudia wants to read Nancy Drew and eat candy, or paint and moon about boys. But, no, homework comes first. Sigh! It’s so tough, innit? It must be done, though, or she can’t stay in the BSC, of which she recaps the origins, as well as the fact that she hasn’t done any homework since the start of the school year. How did that go on this long without your parents being notified sooner?
School is boring, Claudia bitches. Who cares how to solve for x? I just want to read mysteries! And my sister, Janine, is a “real and true genius,” which is different from a fake and false one, believe me. Supposedly, Claudia’s IQ is also above average, but she doesn’t want to concentrate and buckle down, so her spelling sucks. Right, like that’s your only problem, especially when she uses the non-word “trigonomulus” a few paragraphs later.
On this night, it’s Claudia’s grandmother’s turn to help her with homework. Mimi has a “rolling accent that reminds [Claudia] of a ship at sea.” She’s Japanese, and polite. That’s about all we get.
Claudia talks with Mimi about Nancy Drew mysteries and Halloween. Claudia is already prepared for the latter: purple knee-high pants with suspenders, tights with a clock print, purple plaid shirt and hat (wasn’t she wearing purple plaid in the last book, too?), high-tops, and lobster earrings. The hallmarks of a crazy person, even in 1980s Stoneybrook.
Claudia wants to work on her portrait project, so Mimi sits for her. This devolves into a conversation about sisters and getting along, and Mimi advising her that these things involve patience and time.
Later, Claudia is settling in with Nancy Drew, but her thoughts quickly drift away to Trevor Sandbourne. He’s dreamy!
Stacey calls, and lots of sighing occurs – about boys, about no sitting jobs, about Stacey not knowing enough people. Claudia promises a get-together with the others, and goes back to her book.
Chapter 2. The girls are at Kristy’s and very bored. Kristy suggests looking at old toys, but that’s childish. Claudia tells us that both Kristy and MaryAnne look and act younger than twelve, and are totally not sophisticated like her and Stacey. MaryAnne suggests cookies, but Stacey has the diabeetus, so that’s out. The player is broken, so they can’t rent a movie.
Claudia tells them about the guy she’s been mooning over, and apparently, Kristy has a class with him – and Alan Gray, who is gross. Kristy was the only one to beat him at his own game – by packing an irresistible lunch for him to steal, only to find in covered in dead and disgusting things. Ha, ha.
MaryAnne goes back to her newspaper and is freaked out by the “Phantom Caller.” He calls people and then robs them. And he’s moving closer to Stoneybrook. Suddenly, Claudia remembers that at her last sitting job, she got two phone calls, and each time, they hung up without saying a word.
Chapter 3. The girls hold an emergency meeting. Claudia passes around chocolate, too distressed to really care that Stacey can’t have any. Wow, you’re a stellar friend! Stacey seems to have the most sense, however, as she thinks they could have a code if they’re in trouble at one of their sitting jobs. Kristy, who is president, I’ll remind you, is so very childish during parts of this discussion.
And then they decide to practice their new codes, and promptly forget them or answer incorrectly, which makes Kristy bossy. This annoys Claudia, but – YOU are the ones who are all scared and shit, so . . .
MaryAnne is afraid her dad won’t let her babysit anymore if he knows about the burglar, so Kristy advises them all not to tell their parents anything. Secrets!
Chapter 4. Claudia moons after Trevor and has a run-in with Alan Gray, who mocks her for liking Trevor. She wonders how he knows; I’m sure it’s more than obvious, what with you following him around and fetching deep sighs and all.
She daydreams her way through math class. She complains about the book they’re reading in her English class, The Pond. I did a Google search and this is a real book; it’s about a boy and nature and such. Anyway, Claudia doesn’t like it, and would much rather read Nancy Drew.
In the cafeteria, we learn that it’s impossible to cut in line when Alexander Kurtzman is there; Kristy and her friends can be childish (the twins still dress alike, for example); and it’s uncool to bring your lunch from home in 7th grade.
One of Claudia’s more sophisticated friends, Dorianne, reveals that her grandparents were robbed, possibly by the Phantom Caller. But her folks are in New Hope, so at least it’s not Stoneybrook, amIrite?
Her other friend, Emily, asks Claudia about liking Trevor; she heard it from Dorianne. Claudia thinks Kristy is blabbing her secrets, but why would Kristy care? She’s not into guys, remember?
There will be a Halloween Hop at school. Claudia wonders if Trevor will ask her to go, but he probably doesn’t know she exists. Sigh.
Chapter 5. Claudia babysits Jamie, the kid who likes to say “Hi-hi!” all the time. His mother likes Claudia’s teddy-bear barrettes from Merry-Go-Round. But what of Chess King?
Claudia becomes spooked by various things – lights on in the house, the telephone ringing, footsteps on the driveway. It turns out to be Kristy, because she was concerned. Aw, what a good friend! Don’t you feel sorry for calling her a baby now?