Sweet Valley High Super Thriller #5: Murder on the Line

ST05The moral of the story: Doing cocaine will get you murdered.

The Big Deal: A party at Winston’s is mentioned, but we don’t actually see it happen.

Synopsis:

  • It’s summer again.
  • Liz is going out with Todd (he’s out of town), but Sam Woodruff appears not to exist.
  • The twins are working as interns at the Sweet Valley News. Again? Still? Not sure.
  • It’s only their second week there.
  • But they have the Jeep instead of the Fiat.
  • But Adam Maitland is living with the Wakefields again/still.
  • It’s still the same summer as the other Super Thrillers, though, because the twins are still sixteen.

As with our first trip through this time loop, Jessica is bummed about working for the summer, but a handsome news editor named Bill Anderson makes it more bearable. Seth Miller still works there, but I guess Jessica is over him. Not far away from the Western Building, where the newspaper office is located, George Fowler has a project underway. The construction of Fowler Tower is interfering with the phone lines at the newspaper office, and Jessica spends a whole morning listening in on other people’s conversations. She overhears a man calling himself Greenback make a murder threat. She tries to tell Liz, but of course Liz just thinks she’s being paranoid. She convinces Jessica she must have misunderstood, and Jessica decides to focus on snatching up Mr. Gorgeous, the hunk who works across the street. From Jessica’s window, she can see Mr. Gorgeous at his desk.

Jessica listens in on another phone call and hears Greenback saying something diabolical. She gets all scared and skips out of work to meet Lila at the beach. Once she’s out in the sunshine, she decides it’s much too nice of a day for anyone in Sweet Valley to be planning a murder. She and Lila hang out at the beach for a few minutes, and then someone screams. A dead body is floating in the water. Ew.

The next day, Jessica goes to the police station and tells a Detective Jason about the phone calls. He writes everything down and asks her to keep listening to her phone. He wants to know about any more phone calls, but he tells Jessica not to tell anyone, even Liz, that she’s helping the police. He doesn’t want a leak. Jessica tells her family, but nobody else. That weekend, Steve answers a phone call for Jessica, but when he hands her the phone, the other person doesn’t say anything, just breathes. Jessica gets freaked out. She gets freaked out again at work on Monday when she thinks a guy in a baseball cap and sunglasses is following her. She goes to the Western Building coffee shop, but runs out when the guy sits at the table next to her. In the lobby, she runs right into Mr. Gorgeous, who barely glances at her before hurrying away.

Her ego a bit deflated, Jessica returns to her desk. Later that afternoon, she looks out the window to see Mr. Gorgeous looking at her. He smiles when he recognizes her, so Jessica writes her name and number on a piece of paper and holds it up to the window. Mr. Gorgeous, whose real name is Ben Donovan, calls her a second later and they agree to meet after work. They go out for coffee, and Jessica is disappointed to discover Ben likes books and classical music.

The police identify the dead girl as Tracy Fox, a runaway from San Diego. Liz calls the family and finds out Tracy ran away after Mrs. Fox found a packet of cocaine in Tracy’s dresser and the two of them had a fight. Seth tells them the police found a packet of cocaine on Tracy’s body, and this information coincides with one of the phone calls Jessica overheard in which Greenback mentioned getting all the packets from “her.” Liz and Jessica realize Greenback must be involved in a drug ring, and they spend half a page talking about Regina and how destructive drugs are. Later that night, Liz sees a picture of Tracy and is sure she’s seen her somewhere before.

When Jessica gets to work the next day, Bill Anderson tells her the receptionist got a new job and quit, and Bill thinks Jessica would be perfect for the job. He’s replaced her phone with the reception switchboard, so she can’t listen in on phone calls anymore, but she’s not that concerned since Greenback has been quiet since Tracy was killed. Later in the day, however, she decides to try dialing her own extension to see if she can eavesdrop. It works, and she uses a Dictaphone to record a couple calls from Greenback. The last call scares her, because Greenback tells his associate that the “nosy girl” isn’t spying today and he’ll handle her “when the time comes.” He says there’s an undercover cop at the newspaper office, and he also mentions a “buddy at the police station,” so when Detective Jason makes his daily phone call to find out the haps, Jessica doesn’t feel comfortable telling him. She lies and says she’s working on the receptionist’s phone now and can’t eavesdrop anymore.

That night, Liz answers the phone. The person on the other end says, “If I had my way, you’d be shark bait by now, Jessica Wakefield.” Liz and Jessica are both terrified when the phone rings again. This time it’s Detective Jason, and Jessica is suspicious because she already told him she can’t eavesdrop anymore and it seems like he’s keeping tabs on her. She’s sure he’s the bad cop. The next day at work, Jessica is thinking about Seth Miller because he seems to have a lot of money lately. He just moved into a swanky condo and bought a new car. Jessica goes to his office and asks him where he got so much money. Seth is amused but secretive. Just as Jessica is about to leave, Seth’s “telex machine” (what is that?) starts printing out a news report. It makes the same noise she heard in the background of Greenback’s last phone call, so now Jessica is convinced Seth is Greenback. Ugh.

Liz gets a call from a man named Old Riley who lives in Big Mesa and has some information about Tracy. She drives out there to talk to him, and the man says he saw Tracy on the beach a few times. He drew a picture of her, which he gives to Liz. He says that one day a man met her there and they talked for a minute. Liz asks if he can describe the man, and Old Riley draws a picture of him. Liz thinks the man in the picture looks familiar. She takes the sketches back to the office, and Jessica says the man looks like Seth, and goes on to tell Liz her newest theory. Liz scoffs at her and they walk out to the building’s lobby. Suddenly, Liz remembers that this is where she saw Tracy about a week or so ago. Jessica says they can find out what she was doing there if they check the visitors’ log. They discover Tracy was in the building to visit Seth.

Late that night, the twins go to the Western Building to snoop in Seth’s office. They don’t find anything, but hear footsteps as they’re leaving. They freeze in terror, then breathe huge sighs of relief when it’s just Bill Anderson. He says he’s just picking up some things he forgot. Then he hands Jessica a little cassette, saying he picked it up by accident thinking it was his. Jessica realizes it’s the tape on which she recorded Greenback’s phone conversation. She’s greatly relieved it was Bill who found it instead of Seth. The twins are followed on their way home, but Liz shakes the guy off their trail.

Liz convinces Jessica to give her at least until Monday morning to clear Seth. When Monday rolls around, Jessica decides to tell Bill. Moron. Bill listens to Jessica’s accusations and her “evidence,” and tells her she’s absolutely right and Seth must be Greenback. He asks her to meet him that night around nine and they’ll go to the police station together. Jessica is sure Bill is the undercover cop Greenback mentioned. How is she so dumb?

Liz goes to Seth and tells him Jessica’s suspicions and about Tracy coming to see him. Seth says he never saw Tracy, but he does remember getting a phone call from a girl who had a story to tell him, but who never showed up. He tells Liz he isn’t Greenback, but he thinks he knows who is. He won’t say who he suspects, but asks Liz to meet him that night, as he’s supposed to have some information faxed to him at home. Liz stops at the grocery store on her way home and runs into Rose, the former receptionist. Liz asks her about her new job and Rose looks puzzled and says she didn’t quit, Bill fired her. Liz, who is just as dumb as her sister, wonders why Bill would lie.

Later that night, Jessica goes back to the office to meet Bill. When she gets there, of course, Bill is all weird and not himself. Jessica sees a vial of white powder with a tiny spoon in it and realizes it must be cocaine. It’s clear she’s made a big mistake, so she starts to run out of the office and Bill chases her. He catches her and takes her up to the roof.

Meanwhile, Liz and Seth are at the Box Tree Café, where Seth is showing Liz the faxes he received. All his evidence points to Bill being the murderer. Liz tells him Jessica is with Bill right now, so they rush out of the café and over to the newspaper office just as Ben Donovan, aka Mr. Gorgeous, rushes out of the building across the street. He sees Liz and says he’s glad she’s all right and was worried Bill Anderson had gotten her. Liz tells him he’s got the wrong twin, and Jessica is inside with Bill. Ben flashes a badge and calls someone on a radio, then they all run inside.

On the roof, Bill shoves a packet of cocaine in Jessica’s pocket and is about to push her over the edge when our heroes show up. Ben tackles Bill, and after a struggle, Bill falls over the side. There’s some talk about how drugs are bad, and we find out for sure that Ben was the undercover cop, Detective Jason was the bad cop and Bill was Greenback. We find out Seth got his money because he finally got a contract with a publishing company for five more mystery novels. We hear a little more about how destructive cocaine is. The next day, Rose the receptionist gets her job back and Jessica is treated like a hero.

Quotes:

“A packet of cocaine was found in the pocket of the jacket she was wearing when her body was found. They’re sure the killing was drug-related.”

Jessica gasped. “Drug-related!”

It’s already a murder, Jessica. How is it worse that it’s drug related?

“It’s horrible!” Elizabeth cried. “That poor, stupid girl. Oh, Jess, I hate thinking about it. It reminds me of what happened to Regina Morrow. Drugs are so destructive. Why would anyone get involved with them?”

I guess not everyone is as smart and wonderful as you, Liz.

The Cover: Jessica looks all weirdly proportioned, like a Skipper doll. That is one of the ugliest skirts I’ve ever seen.

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Comments
  • Misty August 12, 2009 at 3:40 pm

    LOL – between the strange proportions, the vacant look on her face, and the unnatural way she is standing/ posing, Jess looks just like a Skipper doll.

    Also, does anyone else think that the person casting the shadow looks like he’s doing jazz hands?

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  • HelenB August 12, 2009 at 4:45 pm

    It took me ages to figure out what was wrong with that cover. Do you notice that the mystery man has the same size shadow that Jessica does? Therefore, he should be standing right in front of the wall like she is. Since he’s not, I can only assume that that shadow is actually just painted on to the wall.

    I actually kind of like this book, plot-wise. It’s your standard teen detective fare! Although why does everything bad in SVH come down to drugs? Was Francine an ex-junkie or something?

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  • Lori August 12, 2009 at 7:03 pm

    The shadow looks like Peter Pan. I have expect to see move the hand to his nose and wiggle his fingers.

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  • Daners Isadora- Bond Girl August 12, 2009 at 11:56 pm

    Why is anyone telling Liz anything? Don’t encourage her people from San Diego!

    If I had my way, Jessica Wakefield would have been shark bait ages ago.

    “That is one of the ugliest skirts I’ve ever seen”

    That reminded me of this:

    “Oh my God, I love your skirt! Where did you get it?

    It was my mom’s in the ’80s.

    Vintage, so adorable.

    Thanks

    That is the ugliest f-ing skirt I’ve ever seen. “

    [Reply]

  • Kate August 13, 2009 at 10:03 am

    I guess that SV is now science fiction, too, seeing as they are always time traveling and such.

    The cover reminds me of the days when I wore huge, oversized t-shirts and tucked them into my high-waisted pants. Ha ha ha! Oh pre-teen Katec. What were you thinking?

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  • Sandy August 13, 2009 at 12:49 pm

    Yes, the tight roll!!! I have pix of me in LAVENDER denim!

    [Reply]

  • Anonymous August 13, 2009 at 1:01 pm

    Oh man, I rolled my jeans up long after it went out of style too!

    [Reply]

  • Smiley August 13, 2009 at 1:33 pm

    Jessica’s hair looks so flat and oily. She must not have washed it that morning.

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  • Lelandria July 2, 2011 at 3:03 am

    I hate how in All Night Long and Soap Star, Liz is freaking out about Jess dating an older guy, but doesn’t care that she goes out with a 25 year old.

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  • Kim March 19, 2012 at 2:14 am

    Why is all their drug hysteria about blow? Does no one smoke weed in SV?

    [Reply]

  • Shannon Levy July 23, 2016 at 1:01 am

    What happened to the coca inexpensive in Jessica’s pocket? Lmao.

    [Reply]

  • Shannon Levy July 23, 2016 at 1:02 am

    Ugh. I mean what happened to the cocaine in Jessica’s pocket?

    [Reply]

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