The Kishis have some family friends coming to stay with them. The Hatt family used to live in Stoneybrook, but moved when Claudia was about four. There was some mystery surrounding exactly WHY they left. The dad, apparently, was accused of doing something awful. None of the BSC members know exactly what it was, though. Claudia isn't exactly thrilled at the idea of having a potential criminal and his family staying in their house, and she's even less thrilled when she's told that Janine wil be moving into her room for the duration of the Hatts' visit.
The day of the Hatt family's arrival comes pretty quickly. The parents seem nice enough, and ten year old Caryn is as well. High school age Steve is sort of quiet and sulky, but cute...a fact which both Claudia and Janine (who's having problems with her boyfriend, Jerry, at the moment) notice. Twelve year old Laura, who's going to be in seventh grade at SMS with Claudia, is another story. She's sort of rude, and isn't exactly thrilled with the Kishi house,and she's especially not thrilled with Claudia. Claud is given the job of showing her around school,. but Laura is obsessed with getting to know all the most popular seventh graders...none of whom Claudia actually knows.
At lunch that first day, the Hatts get to talking about the old Stoneybrook lighthouse. They actually own the property; it's where the bad thing happened that got them drummed out of town. They want to check it out, mostly to see how sturdy the building is. Steve, though, wants to have a late night party there for all of his friends. Mr. Hatt finally gets around to checking out the lighthouse one day after picking Caryn, Laura, and Claudia up from school. The building is structurally sound, and he's decided to paint and renovate it. While they're exploring, Claudia not only thinks she sees someone moving around inside the lighthouse, but she also hears a mysterious voice calling "I'm here." Spooky. Next, a Mr. Langley, who lives next to the lighthouse, comes over the the group, freaking out that the Hatts have dared come back to Stoneybrook. Later that week, Mallory, her mom, and Claire are driving past the lighthouse and they see someone trying to get in. The Hatts also start getting some threatening letters. It's pretty clear that someone hasn't forgotten what happened when they were in Stoneybrook before....
The club decides that they need to know more about exactly what happened at the lighthouse all those years ago, so they look up the incident in the newspapers at the library. 16 year old Adrian Langley (yep, just like the lighthouse's neighbor) died after falling out of the lighthouse window one night, into the freezing water. When they next have a chance to talk to Mr. Langley, they find out that he blames Mr. Hatt for the death of his son. After all, it was Mr. Hatt's responsiblity to lock up the lighthouse, and if that door hadn't been locked, Adrian would have been able to get out safely. Claudia's a little scared to be around Mr. Hatt after learning that....what if he'd locked Adrian in there on purpose? Then, just as the whole group is leaving the lighthouse that day, Claudia finds a note. It's clearly pretty old, and it says: If you last the night in the lighthouse, you will be one of us." The words are followed by a devilish looking picture of a gargoyle, and the name Fred. Janine recognizes it as the one that's over the front door at SHS. Whoever left that note must have been a student, so they hunt down Adrian Langley's younger brother, Paul, to see if Adrian had ever belonged to any high school gangs that might have used the lighthouse for initiation. Paul actually takes them into Adrian's old room, and shows them a scrapbook which contains a photo of a group of boys in front of SHS. Just as Claudia starts to ask Paul which one was his brother, Stacey sees smoke pouring out of the lighthouse. They call 911, but it turns out to be a false alarm. Someone had set of a smoke bomb inside; there was no fire. There was, however, a mesage scratched into the group nearby: "The party's over or else." Everyone figures that it refers to the party that Steve Hatt is planning on throwing. Mr. Hatt doesn't want his son to cancel the party, though. In fact, he wants to expand it. He wants everyone invited: the Kishis, the BSC, the whole town. Steve is not exactly thrilled with that; he wanted to have a cool party with just SHS kids.
The party begins a few days later without incident. Just to be on the safe side, the BSC members meet every 15 minutes to discuss anything suspicious that they might have seen. After one of these meetings, Claudia spots someone upstairs in the light house. No one's supposed to be up there, so Claud investigates. She runs into a man she's never seen before. At least, no in person. He looks very much like one of the guys in the photo Claudia took from the Langley's house. Claudia alerts Mr. Hatt to his presence, but they lose track of the guy. It turns out that he's trying to climb down a string of Christmas lights on the outside of the lighthouse. The string breaks, and he falls into the water. Mr. Langley (he'd shown up to complain about the party noise) fishes the guy out of the water. He's cold, but okay. His name is Patrick Bellknap, and he had been the leader of a gang called the Gargoyles. Adrian wanted to join, and the initiation was to spend the night locked in the lighthouse. So...Mr. Hatt had nothing to do with Adrian's accident, and Mr. Langley apologizes. Also, the Hatts finally move into their own house, much to everyone's relief. The only trouble? No one ever figured out where the mysterious voices that the BSC members kept hearing inside the lighthouse were coming from.
Also, some comet is flying past Stoneybrook, so the club arranges a comet viewing party for their charges.
Thoughts and Things
- It's kind of interesting that Claudia and Janine found themselves attracted to the same guy in this one....where have I read that some storyline recently? :)
- I love the books that don't completely solve the whole mystery, but leave a little bit of a question mark there as to whether or not something supernatural WAS happening.
- So the comet passes Stoneybrook within a few hours. Is that possible? The last time I remember a comet passing my hometown, I remember it being visible for days.