Sweet Valley High #26: Hostage!
The Big Deal: A celebratory “Our whole family is back from being kidnapped” party.
Liz is still worrying about Regina, so she drives over to the Morrows’ house. A strange woman answers the door and tells Liz that Regina isn’t there, but then Regina herself walks into the foyer. The woman pretty much kicks Liz out. Liz goes home, deciding on the way that she can’t tell her parents what’s going on because then they won’t let her go back to the Morrows’. But she does call the police. An officer goes to the Morrow house and meets the woman, who identifies herself as Claire Davis, Mrs. Morrow’s stepsister. The officer is just like, “Oh, okay.” He calls Liz back and kind of tells her to mind her own business.
Jessica comes up with the idea to have Bruce pose as a grocery delivery boy. She and Liz talk to Eddie, the regular delivery guy who first told Liz that Regina was back in town, and set everything up so that Bruce will take the delivery. They sneak a message in with the groceries. After Regina reads it, she writes a message back, tucks it in a compact and drops it out the window. We find out she’s being held hostage by a couple who wants a computer chip prototype her father invented. Or something. They have told her that her parents are being hidden, but that they’re fine.
Bruce and the twins find Regina’s note, in which she explains everything that’s happened. She doesn’t want them to call the police because the officer Liz called before made Claire nervous. She asks that they call Nicholas, who has been visiting a friend in San Francisco. Bruce calls him and tells him to come back to Sweet Valley. Nicholas and Liz drive to the Morrow house to check things out again and they see a car coming down the driveway. They pretend to be a couple on a romantic drive. This gives Nicholas the opportunity to kiss Liz. Very smooth. I don’t really get if they stopped in the middle of the road or if they kissed while the car was moving or what. Nicholas recognizes the driver of the other car as Phillip Denson, a guy Mr. Morrow had arrested for embezzlement about five years ago.
The kids find an address for Phil Denson and the four of them drive out to his house. There’s a teenager mowing the lawn, and Jessica works her magic on him and flirts with him until he tells her that his name is Mitch and that his father is indeed Phil Denson. Jessica asks him for a glass of water and peeks in the living room window while he’s inside. Mr. and Mrs. Morrow are tied up on the living room floor.
Back at Bruce’s, Nancy Drew and the gang try to figure out a part of Regina’s note that doesn’t make sense. Regina mentions that she’s been trying to figure out when Phil and Claire are going to have her go to Mr. Morrow’s plant to steal the microchip. She heard Claire say something that sounded like “Money is heaven,” but she doesn’t know what that means. I’m guessing she really said, “Monday at seven.” Regina’s hearing is only at eighty-five percent, you know. It takes the kids until page 79, and then it’s actually Jessica that figures it out, but they finally get it. Good work, Jess. They come up with a plan to save all the Morrows, then go to the beach to rest up for the adventure.
On Sunday morning, Jessica goes back to the Densons’ house and flirts with Mitch some more to try to find out where Phil is going to be the next night. She doesn’t get anywhere. On Monday morning, Denson makes Mr. Morrow call the plant and tell them he’s still in Switzerland meeting with clients who want to see the chip and that he’s sending Regina to the plant to get it.
So here’s the Scooby plan: Jessica and Bruce will take Nicholas’ Jeep to Phil Denson’s house. Nicholas and Liz will go to the plant. They’re sure Claire won’t do anything to hurt Regina while at the plant, so when Nicholas sees that Regina is safely inside, he’ll call the Jeep’s phone so Bruce and Jessica know it’s okay to rescue the Morrows and hightail it back to Sweet Valley. Liz will intercept Claire and Regina and stall them somehow, and that’s when Nicholas will FINALLY call the police like he should have a hundred pages ago. The only problem with this plan is that the kids have no idea where Phil will be during this whole thing.
Turns out Phil will be barreling down the street towards home just as Jessica is flirting with Mitch to distract him while Bruce is inside untying the Morrows. A commotion ensues and in the end Phil has a gun and nobody else does so I guess he wins. But when he points the gun at Jessica, Mitch freaks out and tries to grab it. Bruce takes the opportunity to rush everyone out of the house and into the Jeep.
Meanwhile, Liz is stalling Claire and Regina while Nicholas is on the phone arguing with the police. Apparently he managed to get the same officer who told Liz nothing was wrong at the Morrow house. The bastard actually puts Nicholas on hold and takes another call, then comes back and tells Nicholas they’re on their way because the other call was from Mr. Morrow. I guess he only believes adults. As soon as he’s off the phone, Nicholas “charges forward” and grabs Regina’s arm. Claire threatens to shoot. Just then the Jeep pulls up with Phil Denson’s car right behind it. Phil and Claire have them all at gunpoint, and just as Phil finishes his Evil Villain Speech, they all hear sirens approaching. Phil, Claire and Mitch are arrested and everyone else is invited to have pizzas at the Morrows and help plan “the biggest, most spectacular party that this neighborhood has ever seen!”
Setup for the next book: Ken Matthews is flunking English. If he does he’ll be kicked off the football team. And yes, this is brought up in the middle of conversations about the Morrows’ kidnapping. It looks like Ken is dating Suzanne Hanlon, some uptight know-it-all PBA member. Liz hopes Suzanne will be able to help Ken with his English.
“Jess is downstairs, calling Eddie Strong on the second line that our parents just had installed,” she added.
Gee, thanks for that extraneous information. I wonder if it will come in handy?
Nope, it sure didn’t.
Nicholas and Elizabeth were special friends.
I guess you could say that…
“It looks like Walter is giving Regina a package.”
Nicholas gasped. “The chip prototype!”
Um, yes. Are you surprised? Don’t you remember this being part of the plan?
The Cover: I’m consistently disappointed in Regina’s covers. She’s nowhere near as pretty as she’s supposed to be. And I don’t really get what’s happening here. “You see this rag? Well, if you don’t want to end up like this rag, you just do what I say.” Totally don’t get it.