Some of the kids at SES have decided to hold a "Sitter of the Month" contest. Of course, every single member of the BSC wants to win, even though they agree not to get too competitive (yeah, that'll last long). Even so, they all kind of kick it into high gear on their sitting jobs. Dawn is no exception, and she thinks she has a pretty good shot of being the very first sitter of the month. At least, she thinks so until Mr. X starts wreaking his havoc on everything.
Dawn's first encounter with Mr. X happens during a sitting job at the Prezziosos. First, the phone rings and nobody's there. Then, the doorbell rings, but there's no one on the other side. Dawn does find a note, though, and it's pretty threatening. She decides that she won't tell anyone about the note; she thinks it'll hurt her chances of being named "Sitter of the Month" if anyone were to find out that things weren't going smoothly for her. The same things happens the next time Dawn sits at the Rodowskys (phone calls, the note). At first, Dawn suspects Alan Gray, remembering his role in the whole Phantom Phone Caller mystery. She even calls his house, but he's out with his dad. It's definitely not Alan...
Dawn isn't the only one getting visits from Mr. X. Jessi gets a lovely bouquet of dead flowers (with a note) while she's sitting at home, and Mary Anne and Mallory get a note threating the Pikes' freaking HAMSTER while they're sitting together at Mal's. As it turns out, everyone in the club has been getting notes from Mr. X. Everyone, that is, except Kristy. Dawns gets (understandably) suspicious. Kristy is awfully competitive, and Dawn is afraid that she's doing the whole Mr. X thing to try and ruin everyone else's chances at being the first "Sitter of the Month."
The BSC decide to put their "Sitter of the Month" competitiveness aside and work together to figure out the identity of Mr. X. The trouble is, they have no clues or suspects. Things fall into place one day while Dawn is sitting for Jamie and Lucy Newton. Dawn suggests that they take a walk, but Jamie tells her that they have to stay home, since Mel Tucker will be coming by to do a secret baby-sitting check. Dawn fills the rest of the club in on what she found out, and they decide that they'll set a trap for Mr. X, whether it's Mel or not. Dawn lets everyone know that she'll be sitting for a (fictional) cousin of hers at her house one night. The rest of the BSC sneaks over, and as soon as they hear suspicious noises in the secret passage, Dawn opens the entrance. Bingo: it's Mel Tucker. He takes off running, hoping to escape through the other end of the passage, but half the BSC is waiting in the barn for him.
Kristy and Dawn walk Mel home, and he confesses to everything. He got mad at the BSC after Dawn let Mrs. Hobart know that Mel and his friend Zach were still calling the Hobart boys "Croc." Mrs. Hobart called Mel's parents, and Mel got grounded. He found out where everyone would be sitting by letting other SES kids think that it would help with the sitter of the month contest. Kristy wasn't targeted because she'd been sitting in her own neighborhood lately; it would pretty tough for Mel to sneak out of the house and get all the way over there. Kristy and Dawn have a talk with Mel's parents, and they decide to send him to a child psychologist for some help.
As for the "Sitter of the Month" contest? A 7-way tie. :)
Thoughts and Things
- This book was so effing boring; I can't believe the Mysteries lasted for another 34 books after this !
- I can't believe the BSC fooled themselves into thinking they could avoid getting competitive. Haven't they read the rest of the series? ;)
- Man, the SES kids were sure little manipulators. They totally held their "Sitter of the Month" votes over the heads of the BSC members in order to get them to do stuff, and the BSC fell for it! Seriously...did Dawn really think that the Thomas/Brewer kids would vote for her over Kristy, and did Claudia think that Charlotte would pick her over Stacey?
- Mrs. Newton was apparently helping the kids out with the contest. That seems strange, since it was run by SES kids and neither of hers are old enough to go to school there.
- I wonder why we never heard about another sitter of the month contest?