March's Book A Samantha Mystery, The Stolen Sapphire

Grab this months 2 book selections, a blanket and your favorite 18 inch doll friend, don't worry if you happen upon us mid way through, join us when you can and leave your comments here or email me at with any book club questions.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Chapter reviews, Chapters 7-9

This chapter starts out with a telephone call from Aunt Cornelia. Samantha desperately wants  to ask her Aunt why she left but doesn't. Samantha worries about the "great danger" that Aunt Cornelia's mother mentioned on the phone. Mary seems to go out of her way to help the younger girls feel better, entertaining them with stories.While Samantha worries about what it will be like to visit the Poor part of town with Eloise Raven.
The girls dress in their oldest and plainest clothing for the journey with Miss Raven.
Eloise still believes that "this is all a misunderstanding" and is sure that the journey will prove the Nellie's story wrong. They travel to Macy's department store (which I have actually been in this store in New York! see photo below!)
The wooden slats are amazing on the escalators!
The girls pick Candy at Macy's and then they catch a cab to "Union Square" the driver will not drive them as far as they need to go, this surprises Miss Raven. The air is thick with smoke and the smell is awful. They also hear lots of foreign languages being yelled in the streets. The girls realize that others are looking and laughing at them. When they finally get to the building and knock on the door a young lady who Samantha seems to recognize answers the door and directs them to the Kildany family in 5C.

They learn that Grandma Kildany has passed away. When they reach the apartment they are surprised to find two young girls un attended in filth and squalor. The young girl explains that the older family members are at the factory. Samantha noticed that one of the young girl has Lice in her hair and offers her the Candy from Macy's.
Miss Raven asks why there is no fire and finds out quickly that there is no money for Coal, food or anything else. She gives the girl most of her money and asks her to buy coal and food with it.  They leave the building in a hurry! As they leave Samantha hears the pregnant lady laugh and realizes where she knows the lady from.

 Family resemblance is strong in many families, do you look like any of your cousins?
Samantha, stops and asks if the lady knows Mary Crosby, and is surprised to learn that the pregnant lady is Mary's cousin. Eloise Raven seems to be very upset and angry, they hurry to the subway system, as Miss Raven has given away most of her money. Suddenly Nellie and Samantha spot Aunt Cornelia! They wonder why she is in town when she said she had gone to Connecticut.
They arrive back at Ravenscourt, and tell Gertrude that they went to Macy's which is only a half truth.
 They wash up and sit down to tea and reflect on everything they saw that day.
Their younger sisters,Bridget and Jenny tell the girls of their own adventures of the day, playing with Mary and then getting to ride in the service elevator.
Later Samantha and Nellie retreat to their room to discuss seeing their Aunt Cornelia. Samantha tells Nellie about what she heard Aunt Cornelia's mom say on the phone. The girls try to reason why they have been left alone at Ravenscourt.  They decide to make a list to figure out what is going on at Ravenscourt and list all the facts about the Curse and happenings. The girls wisely decide to carefully watch all the people at Ravenscourt.

Chapter 9- CRASH
The chapter begins with Miss Ravencourt knocking on the door to invite the girls on a walk through central park. Where the girls run into Rival Building owner Mr. Enderby. Who is smug and mentions the rumors regarding Ravenscourt.
On their walk Miss Raven thanks the girls for accompanying her to see her fathers other building. She asks the girls about what changes they would recommend if they were the landlord of the building. The girls add thoughtful suggestions for improvements that would greatly improve the lives of the people living in the building. The girls all return to Ravenscourt in time to hear the huge crash of the service elevator. The girls go up stairs and find that their younger sisters could have easily been in the elevator, and after discussion, the girls retreat to their room. Later while Samantha was sleeping the door to her room opens and a white hand reaches through her open door.

So what do you think about girls traveling to the least desirable parts of New York with almost a stranger, do you think you could be as brave as Samantha and Nellie? Would your parents have let you do such a thing?

If you witnessed and elevator crash would you be okay to get in it right away?


  1. I think that in Samantha's time period, while it would still not be great to go with a near stranger to the rougher side of NYC, it would be safer than today I would think. As to whether or not my parents would let me go, I can't be for sure but probably not especially at their age. I'm not so sure I would want to go... I need to work on my "braverism" if I'm going to be like Nancy Drew :-)

    As for the elevator, I think back then I would have been more weary of getting on one again than I would be today. Thanks for commenting on my blog Karen!

  2. Thank you Emma! I can not think that my parents would let me go anywhere like with people that I did not know very well at Samantha's age. There are some elevators that make me feel uncomfortable still today!

  3. Hmmm...I guess you could think along the lines of "it was just a different time back them", but I don't think that it was necessarily safe for Samantha and Nellie to go. At least Samantha and Eloise had Nellie to tell them what kind of clothes to wear and what to expect from that part of town. However, as evidenced by Samantha's reaction to seeing the lice in the little girl's hair, she was appalled at the conditions inside the tenement. If Gard and Cornelia knew what they were up to, I'm almost certain that they would have tried to aid in the situation in a different way and kept the girls home.

  4. I agree Heather, though seeing is believing, I wonder if given their status in class at the time, if they would have been able to effect much change with out seeing first hand the conditions of the tenement.