Monday, December 21, 2009

M#8 Jessi and the Jewel Thieves


Jessi's off to New York with Stacey for the weekend, and she's really excited. Quint is dancing in his first major ballet as a Julliard student, and he wants Jessi there to cheer him on. She's happy at the idea of seeing him (and the rest of his family) again, but she's come to a big decision about her relationship with Quint: doing the long-distance thing when you're only 11 is probably a bit too much for her, and she just wants to be friends. She's kind of struggling with how to break the news to him, and isn't quite sure how she'll get the words out.

On Friday evening, right after arriving in New York, Jessi heads over to Quint's for dinner and a movie (starring Fred Astaire, of course). After the movie is over, Quint confesses that he's nervous about his performance. That's when Jessi decides to give Quint the boot after it's over; no sense in creating more drama than he needs ahead of time, right? Just as she's come to that conclusion, Jessi hears voices coming from a neighboring apartment building. Angry voices. Angry, fighting, voices. Quint and Jessi overhear two men arguing about what appears to be a jewel heist that they're planning. They try to keep a low profile, but when Quint's mom calls out to them and says that Jessi needs to head back to the McGills', the two men see them. Quint and Jessi are pretty freaked out at the idea that these apparent criminals now know their names and what they look like, but they know they can't go to the police; they have no proof!

The next morning, Jessi heads back over to Quint's. They overhear the two men (Red and Frank) arguing again, and decide to follow them. They trail them through Central Park, and all the way to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. They lose the criminals once they get there (they don't have any money for admission), but they see a banner announcing an upcoming exhibit of jewelry from the Russian Empire. Jessi and Quint wonder if those guys could actually, really, be planning to rob the museum. I'm thinking not...

Mr. McGill takes Stacey, Jessi, and Quint out to lunch, and when Jessi and Quint are given the chance to pick the restaurant, they pick the Palm Court, in the Plaza Hotel. This is because they'd heard Red and Frank discussing it on the way to the museum, and our little detectives are hoping to run into them there. No such luck; all that happens is that Stacey gets suspicious as to why Jessi seems so spacey.

That afternoon, Stacey and Jessi take Quint's younger brother and sister to the Central Park Zoo while his parents go out with friends, and while Quint himself in rehearsing for that night's performance. Jessi tells Stacey everything, and Stacey (the sophisitcated New Yorker) totally buys it. No skepticism or anything. Wow.

That night at the ballet, Jessi tries really hard to concentrate on the performance (which is realyl good). Her efforts are slightly complicated by the fact that she spots Red and Frank there, and comes to the conclusion that they followed her and Quint there, because they know the two kids have information that they shouldn't about their upcoming crime. The next morning, Jessi once again heads back to Quint's to try and crack this case. First, they go through the garbage, hoping to find some evidence. When that doesn't turn up anything (except probably some germs), they follow Red and Frank in a cab all the way to a fancy jewelry store. Jessi and Quint are shown the door not long after getting there, and head back to Quint's. Later on, they once again hear Red and Frank arguing next door. There's something funny about the fight this time; it's exactly the same one that Jessi and Quint heard the first time. Well, mostly the same. One of the guys switches a few words around, and then apologizes to the other for messing up his lines. The two guys are actors, not thieves. Jessi and Quint were completely fooled.

Jessi finally manages to have that talk with Quint just before she gets in a cab to go back to the McGills.' He's okay with just being friends. As a matter of fact, he'd also been trying to figure out a way to tell her that friendship would probably be better for them at that point. All's well that ends well.

Back in Stoneybrook, Becca Ramsey is having a rough time of it. Not only is Jessi out of town, but her parents and Aunt Cecelia are attending a wedding in Massachusetts. Even though children aren't invited, they're brining Squirt with them and leaving him with a baby-sitter at their hotel. Since the Johanssens are away as well, Becca is staying with the Pikes. She has a pretty hard time at first; she cries constantly, complains that no one loves her, and won't eat or play with the other kids. She ends up having such a good time by the end of the weekend, though, that she doesn't want to go home.

Rating: 2.5

Thoughts and Things

  • Becca's constant whining was really annoying, but she had a reason to complain. If her parents could bring Squirt and leave him at the hotel, why couldn't they just do the same for Becca? That way, she wouldn't have felt so left out and abandoned. It wasn't fair that she got left behind.

  • I don't hate this mystery as much as other people seem to. It's not so farfetched to imagine that the people around you are criminals when you're that young. My best friend and I were once convinced that her next door neighbor was a violent murderer. We even used to dare each other to run into his garage, touch the back wall, and run out again without being seen.

  • I wonder if Red and Frank are a couple? They apparently live together, spend all their time together going to the museum and the ballet, and like jewelry stores. Hmmm.....

  • Speaking Red and Frank at the ballet, they were there because Red's niece is in Quint's class, not because they were following anybody.

  • I wonder how Mr. McGill felt about paying for lunch at the Palm Court? I'm guessing that's not a particularly cheap restaurant...


  1. " My best friend and I were once convinced that her next door neighbor was a violent murderer. We even used to dare each other to run into his garage, touch the back wall, and run out again without being seen."

    Were your friends Scout, Dill, and Jem? :D

    Anyway, I agree that it was kind of nuts to ask Mr. McGill to take them to the Palm Court...Dude, it's the Plaza!!

  2. Hm, I saw this in a used book sale last year but I didn't get it, mainly because I thought it would be totally unrealistic and it would end with two eleven year olds bringing mass robbers into the police station. Now that I know the end, it sounds funny--I should've gotten it! Ah well, maybe next year :). Loved the post, by the way.