Finally! The BSC gods realized they were writing a lot of installments featuring mini-mysteries and decided to just make a Mystery offshoot for the series. And the first one stars my queen, Stacey. She tells her mom that she’d really like a diamond ring for her birthday, since diamond is her birthstone (her birthday is April 3rd, duh). Only one problem: the ring is really expensive, and her mom balks. She basically tells Stacey there’s no way in hell she’s getting an expensive diamond ring, and Stacey storms out. (I mean, come on – every queen deserves some diamonds.)
Queen Stacey does land a job for new clients, the Gardellas, who have a seven-month-old baby. Oh, and they also have a dog named Bird and a cat named Mouse – and Mouse eats dinner with them at the table. The Gardellas are rich, but nice, but also weird. Stacey spends the night taking care of Tara and then entertaining Bird and Mouse, who like to be pet and played with and throw things under the couch and retrieve them. Stacey thinks it goes well and she gets a big tip. But the next morning, Mrs. Gardella calls her, upset because her diamond ring (which she’d set out on her dresser) is missing… and she’s wondering if Stacey “borrowed” it. To make matters worse, after Stacey vehemently denies even seeing the ring, Mrs. Gardella asks to speak to Mrs. McGill. Despite their fight about the diamond ring Stacey desperately wants, Mrs. McGill defends Stacey to Mrs. Gardella; still, Mrs. Gardella says she won’t be hiring the BSC again and she’s going to call their other clients to tell them what happened. Stacey is mortified and calls Kristy, who calls an emergency meeting of the Baby-sitters Club. (You know that Kristy just lives for the days when she can call emergency BSC meetings and feel like she’s super important.)
No one in the BSC blames Stacey and no one believes that she stole the ring, but they are all bummed at the thought of Mrs. Gardella bitching to their other clients. Stacey feels awful. And no one has a plan for how to solve the problem. At their next BSC meeting, they only line up two jobs. This is not looking good. And Mary Anne doesn’t help matters when she’s sitting at the Prezziosos’ and invites a new boy from across the street – Joey Conklin – to come play with Jenny. He ends up bringing the garden hose into the Prezzie house and drenching everything. God damn, Mary Anne. Might be a less expensive blunder to steal a diamond ring.
At the next meeting, not only does the BSC not get any new jobs, but they get two cancellations. Weeeell, shit. Then Jessi hears a report on the radio about a thief on the loose – several homeowners have reported break-ins. She’s freaked out about her own house at first, but then… what if it was a burglar who took Mrs. Gardella’s ring, a thief? NOT STACEY. (Obviously not Stacey. In a few years she’ll have, like, five rich husbands to buy her diamonds. No use messing that up with a criminal record.) Then, when Claudia is sitting for the Prezziosos, they come home an hour and a half early and tell her that the Gardellas were spreading shit about the BSC at a dinner party and that they left so they wouldn’t duke it out with them. As annoying as the Prezzies can be, at least they’re loyal!
… unlike Claudia, who invites herself over to Stacey’s house and then goes through everything in Stacey’s room, looking for Mrs. Gardella’s ring. She knows Stacey wanted one, and she decides she might as well make sure Stacey doesn’t really have it before the BSC goes down with the ship on her behalf. RUDE! Stacey does have a plan, though – she offers to baby-sit for the Gardellas for free until the price of the ring is paid off. She feels like it’s the only way to get the club back into people’s good graces and make sure she’s the only one getting punished, not the whole club. Mrs. Gardella hesitantly agrees, but only if Kristy accompanies Stacey the first time.
So Kristy and Stacey have another easy time with Tara the adorable baby, who drinks up her bottle and immediately falls asleep. Then they have the task of entertaining the spoiled bastards Bird and Mouse. They notice that Mouse keeps leaving the room with toys and coming back without them. Eventually Stacey follows him and finds out that he has a little secret stash where he keeps his toys, under a desk in the library. And another in the living room under the corner of a rug. She pulls back the rug to find some twist-ties and a toy and A DIAMOND FUCKING RING. The culprit was Mouse all along. (Of course.) When the Gardellas get home, Stacey and Kristy guilt/shame them, and get an apology as well as double their pay (SCHWING!).
The BSC is back to getting their normal one million baby-sitting jobs a week and the burglar is caught and Claudia apologizes to Stacey and everyone agrees they won’t ever sit for the Gardellas again. #StaceySquad for life.