Stacey and Charlotte have a big day planned. They're going to go shopping and have lunch in downtown Stoneybrook, and both of them are excited. Things go pretty well until they Stacey tries to buy some earrings at the Merry-Go-Round. The clerk there immediately recognizes the ten dollar bill that Stacey gave her as counterfeit, much to Stacey's surprise. Betty (the clerk) calls the police. She doesn't suspect Stacey, but there has been a rise in counterfeit activity in Stoneybrook, and the police need to be aware of what happened. Charlotte is convinced that Stacey is going to jail, but all the cops want to do is ask her, Betty, and the clerk at Bellair's (where Stacey originally got the $10). Maureen takes care of Charlotte while Stacey is being questioned.
The other girls in the club decide that they need to do some research on counterfeiting. They go to the library, and even pay a visit to Betty at the Merry-Go-Round, to pick up a flier that had been given to all local shops about how to spot counterfeit bills. They also decide to stake out various public copy machines around Stoneybrook, since counterfeiters would DEFINITELY use a public machine to do their dirty work. Sheesh. Anyway, they see Stacey's English teacher, Mr. Fiske, looking at new copy machines in an office supply store. Could he be the culprit? No one really thinks so. In fact, Kristy thinks it might be Terry Hoyt (a new boy in school) and his family, who are responsible for all the fake money. They showed up right around the time that the counterfeiting started, they move around a lot, there's a closet in their house that Terry's younger brother wouldn't let Kristy open when she was sitting, and she found a school ID card belonging to Terry's twin sister, Tasha, with a different name. Stacey doesn't want to believe that the Hoyts are capable of committing any kind of crime; she and Terry have a little thing going on, and she just doesn't see him as being capable of doing something so awful.
In spite of their initial skepticism about boring Mr. Fiske being a counterfeiter, the BSC decides to follow him one day after school. It's not exactly a successful trip, although Stacey DOES almost follow him into the mens' room. After she gets home, she gets phone call from Terry and ends up telling him everything they've been up to. He seems to know an awful lot about counterfeiting, but he doesn't come right out and confess that his family is responsible. Stacey isn't sure whether her conversation with Terry should make her feel better or not....
Later on, Stacey and Charlotte take another shopping trip downtown. They're just about to head to the Rosebud for lunch when a man runs toward them. He hadn't seen Stacey and Charlotte, so they hide behind a car. As he's running, he drops a bag, but doesn't come back for it. It's full of fake money! Charlotte suggests they call the police, but Stacey is determined to solve the case herself. She gets Claudia to come down and take a picture of the culprit when he comes back for the money, and then calls Terry as well. They have to wait awhile, but the man eventually comes back, and they get their pictures. Terry and Stacey take the roll of film to a one-hour photo place, and Terry says they can just give the pictures to his dad when they get them, and he'll take care of everything. Stacey starts to worry; was including Terry in everything a mistake. Not so much. Terry's dad is in the Secret Service, and he's the main guy assigned to work on the counterfeiting case. That's why the family moves around so much; once a case is solved, they head to a new place and a new case. His name isn't even Terry Hoyt, but David Hawthorne. Stacey is sworn to secrecy; NO ONE is supposed to know what Mr. Hoyt/Hawthorne does for a living. In the end, the counterfeiters are caught, and the Hoyts have to move on yet again.
Thoughts and Things
- So...8 year old Charlotte has the sense to want to call the police to deal with the bag of money, but Stacey doesn't. Way to set an example, Stace!
- Everyone who reads this book seems to like Stacey and Terry, but I don't care much for them as a couple. Terry/David is just kind of.....there. He reminds me of Jeremy from the Friends Forever books.
- I love the Charlotte/Stacey shopping trip from the beginning of the book. When I was 8, I would have loved having my sophisticated 13 year old baby sitter take me out on the town like that. Except...I didn't have a sophisticated 13 year old baby sitter. I had my grandma. :)
- Sam and Stacey are pretty much done as of this book. At some point, they'd agreed to see other people, and Stacey even runs into Sam on a date when she's out with Terry.