Sweet Valley High Super Thriller #8: Murder in Paradise

ST06-OuterThe Moral of the Story: Being pretty is a dangerous thing.

Synopsis:

Alice Wakefield has won a trip to the luxurious Paradise Spa. She takes along the twins and their best friends, Lila and Enid. Their mothers are invited too, but only Grace Fowler can make it. Adele Rollins can’t get the time off work, so already we know we’re supposed to feel sorry for Enid, who walks around feeling ugly and fat because Hugh just dumped her.

When the gang gets to the spa, Jessica immediately forgets about Ken Matthews and falls in love with Chris, the good-looking golf instructor. It appears that everyone who works at Paradise Spa is freaking gorgeous except the owner, Tatiana Mueller. She surprises everyone when she turns out to be ugly and disfigured. Alice feels like she and Tatiana have met before, but then shrugs the feeling off. Clearly, Alice doesn’t know she’s in a Super Thriller.

Jessica and Lila are freaked out and horrified when they realize there are no mirrors anywhere in the cottage. At breakfast the next morning, Jessica asks for one and Tatiana gets all creepy and says no, only inner beauty matters. Then breakfast comes and Liz notices their beautiful waitress, Katya, seems sad. After the meal, Jessica goes for her golf lesson with Chris. She gets annoyed when Chris starts asking about her sister, and when he asks if Jessica thinks Liz would go out with him, she throws her golf club on the ground and walks away.

Tatiana takes a special interest in Enid and gives her a special hair treatment “just for redheads.” While Tatiana works on her hair, Enid tells her how envious she is of Liz because she has straight blond hair and a boyfriend and a loving mother who was able to take time off work. Tatiana is all weird and eggs Enid on, trying to make her feel like nobody cares about her.

Chris finds Liz later and asks her to play tennis with him after dinner. Liz wants Enid to join them so she asks Chris to bring a friend. Enid gets pissy for some reason. But she goes and is instantly attracted to Chris’ roommate Alex, who works as a groundskeeper at the spa. Alex seems to like Enid, too, until Jessica shows up and starts putting on a cheerleading show. Chris and Alex invite the girls to their room for ice cream, and Lila and Enid watch while the twins monopolize the boys. Enid is miserable, but Lila’s just disgusted that they’re so interested in the hired help.

The next day, Liz asks Katya about her family. Katya bursts into tears and says she ran away and will never see her mother again. Then she runs off. Later, Liz and Chris have a picnic and start making out. It’s totally okay because when she’s with Chris, Liz forgets all about Todd so I guess it’s not like she’s cheating or anything.

Enid meets Tatiana for another hair treatment. Tatiana hypnotizes Enid and plants a suggestion that Enid’s mother doesn’t love her and wishes she’d never been born. Enid starts spending lots of time with Tatiana, who keeps hypnotizing her. Enid’s mom calls the cottage one day and Liz is shocked when Enid says she doesn’t feel like talking to her.

Katya, Chris and Alex take Lila and the twins out for a game of Frisbee golf and accidentally lead them into the woods where they all stumble upon a big white building with no windows in the middle of a clearing. The spa employees freak out and run off, yelling at everyone to follow them. Later, Liz overhears Tatiana yelling at Katya for bringing the guests into the woods.

Liz can tell that Katya has taken a liking to Alice, so she asks her to talk to her. Katya tells Alice she wishes she could go home, but she can’t. That night, Jessica finds Katya dead in the steam room. Tatiana says Katya had a heart condition, but Liz is suspicious. She snoops in Katya’s room that night and finds out she was a runaway. On her next date with Chris, Liz asks if he’s also a runaway. It turns out he and Alex both ran away from home to work at Paradise. Then she finds out all the other teenage employees are runaways, too, and they all work at the spa for no money, just room and board. Liz thinks they all seem brainwashed.

Alice, Grace, Lila and the twins go to a waterfall as a sort of remembrance thing for Katya. Liz is explaining to Jessica that something strange is going on when Grace suddenly starts shouting for Alice, who has apparently disappeared. The twins run back to the spa and tell Tatiana what happened, but Tatiana tries to placate them by saying Alice probably just wanted some alone time.

The twins go back to their room to try to call their father, but the phone is dead. Jessica goes to Tatiana’s office to tell her the phones are down. Before she can knock on the door, Jessica hears Tatiana talking on the phone. But when Jessica enters the office a few minutes later and asks to use the phone, Tatiana tells her all the phones are down, including hers. Jessica leaves the office and then sees Tatiana run down the hallway. She sneaks back into the office and finds a Sweet Valley University yearbook from Alice’s senior year. Alice’s picture has been cut out.

While Jessica is doing that, Liz checks out the phone cord in the cottage and realizes it’s been cut. Luckily, she has her trusty laptop and she plugs it into the phone line. If she’s got her own cord, I don’t know why she doesn’t just plug in the phone. Anyway, there’s a convoluted explanation of how Liz gets on the internet and emails her dad. Then she gets on “INFOMAX,” where she does a search for the skin and hair treatments Enid’s been undergoing. The result is “plastic surgery.” Liz can’t believe Enid would ever consider plastic surgery.

Back in Tatiana’s office, Jessica looks through a folder marked “Staff.” There are two files for each employee, a  Before and an After. There’s a photograph in each one, and it’s clear that all the employees have undergone plastic surgery. There’s a Before file for Enid, and it contains a computer generated image of what Enid would look like after having surgery. Jessica is freaking out over this when suddenly the door opens and the lights come on. Don’t worry, it’s just Enid. Jessica waves the file around and says Tatiana has a plan for her, but Enid just gets all happy and tells Jessica how excited she is to look like a supermodel.

Liz is freaking out and she decides to go outside to look for Alice again. She thinks she’ll go back to the waterfall. It doesn’t occur to her to check out the creepy building everyone was afraid of. Right after she leaves, Jessica comes back to the cottage and tells Lila and Grace what she found. Liz’s computer beeps, which means she has a message. Jessica opens the email from Ned, who wants Liz to tell Alice that they did know Tatiana Mueller in college. She lived down the hall from Alice’s dorm room and worshipped Alice. Everyone called her Tatty Mule because she was ugly. Last he heard, Tatiana went to medical school. Jessica realizes Tatiana wants to be just like Alice and that Alice is in trouble.

Liz is at the waterfall when she suddenly feels something close around her wrist. She gets pulled into a cave behind the waterfall and is surprised to see Chris standing there in a white lab coat and looking all mean. He takes her arm and tells her Tatiana is expecting her. Here’s what we learn:

  • Tatiana wants to look like Alice.
  • She went under the knife at twenty-three, but the surgeon sucked. That’s why she’s disfigured.
  • She became the best plastic surgeon ever so that she could train someone to do it right.
  • That someone is Marguerite, Tatiana’s assistant who’s only been mentioned once before at the beginning of the book.
  • Marguerite is going to make Tatiana look just like Alice.
  • Tatiana is going to kill Alice, because there can’t be two of them.

Just when Liz thinks Tatiana is going to kill her, Jessica, Lila and Enid show up to save the day. Well, Enid is sort of along for the ride, but during all the Evil Villain and Pleading Protagonist speeches, Enid’s brainwashing comes undone and she helps take Tatiana down. Then the cops show up. The next morning, all the spa employees run around yelling, “Mrs. Mueller is gone! We don’t have to work here anymore!”

Quotes:

Jessica: These portions are half of what we get for dinner at home, Mom. I’m going to wither away!

Liz: It feels good not to be stuffed, to eat just as much as you need and no more.

Is there some reason you can’t eat that way at home? Does someone force you to eat past the point where you’re comfortable?

“Fifteen love,” [Chris] said in a strong, clear voice as he set up for his next serve, and Elizabeth sensed that in addition to announcing the score, he was sending her a special message. A message about love…

Ugh, can Liz just get laid already? Maybe then she’d stop being so obsessed with “love.”

The Cover: I will never understand what Lila is doing, but Jessica seems to think it’s pretty funny. Liz (Alice? No, probably Liz.) is wearing an ugly swimsuit and has really bad hair.

ST06-Inner

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Comments
  • Merrie October 19, 2009 at 12:38 pm

    “Chris and Alex invite the girls to their room for ice cream …”

    Yes, because that’s what teenage/early 20s boys do.

    [Reply]

    Shannon Reply:

    Ha! I was really hoping “ice cream” would turn out to be a euphemism for something more exciting, but I should have known better.

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    Lorelai Reply:

    Hee! That reminds me of a time my friends and I were camping for Schoolies week (where all the high-school graduates basically congregate at various places around Australia and get positively shithoused for a week) we were being hounded by these two older guys from a town two hours away, and their excuse for being there was, “We just came here for ice-cream.” Yeah, okay, ICE-CREAM. I’m telling you, ice-cream is some kind of internationally-known euphemism for “sexy fun time.” Think about it.

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  • Sandy October 19, 2009 at 1:52 pm

    Yeah, Lila is making a pretty goofy face on the cover.

    Wow, Enid must be a dog. Mrs. Mueller’s gone, so did they rid the us of an evil person or lock up the best plastic surgeon the world could have??? Discuss. (kidding)

    I’m also shocked the Fowler’s didn’t have a satellite phone.

    The backside of the guy grabbing Liz’s leg is hot.

    [Reply]

    Shannon Reply:

    Ha! We may have lost the greatest mind plastic surgery has ever known.

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  • Sadako October 19, 2009 at 3:06 pm

    Those photographs look so oddly photoshopped. And very skeevy.

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  • Girl talk read October 19, 2009 at 3:32 pm

    Lila rocks in this book- she doesn’t want anything to do with hired help! 😉 And why is Ned all ” oh we were jerks to Tatiana in college?” all noncholant about it? I hate you, Ned.

    [Reply]

    Sandy Reply:

    I noticed Ned’s indifference as well.
    And as for the nickname Tatty Mule, (????) it’s just retarded.

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    Shannon Reply:

    Yeah, Ned’s just kind of like, “Oh, yeah, that ugly chick that used to follow you around. We were so mean to her. LOL.” Jerk.

    I agree, that is a really dumb nickname.

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  • Children of the 90s October 19, 2009 at 5:06 pm

    YES!!! You have no idea how long I have been patiently waiting for you to cover this book. I loved this book as a kid, which is painfully embarrassing to admit as your synopsis proves it to be one of the most imbecilic books ever allowed published. It does have its appeal, you must admit, in that trainwreck sort of way.

    I think I read this one a few times, seeing the cover brings back the memories. I remember hating Enid, even as a little kid. If Liz was so cool, why couldn’t she find some non-drippy friends? Oh, right, because she’s the nice one who always wears her hair in a ponytail. It makes sense.

    [Reply]

    Shannon Reply:

    It does have trainwreck appeal, I agree. It was so so bad.

    Enid is even more obnoxious than usual in this book. I think she should go get herself some ugly friends, maybe hang out with Lois Waller for a while. Hanging around the perfect Wakefield twins is really messing up her self esteem.

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  • HelenB October 19, 2009 at 6:39 pm

    I’m pretty sure I read a Nancy Drew mystery with the same plot (someone out for revenge sends Nancy a ‘winning ticket’ so that she’ll go to some trip through the jungle, or something. Or maybe I’m thinking of I Still Know What You Did Last Summer, where the girls win a trip to a mysterious hotel after the bad guy has them win a fake radio contest. Or maybe – you know what? This is always a dumb plot.

    [Reply]

    Shannon Reply:

    Yeah, the “main character wins a contest she never entered and goes on the trip without questioning anything” plot just pisses me off.

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  • Darren October 19, 2009 at 7:30 pm

    It’s funny how Liz kisses Chris, she’s not cheating on Todd. I guess Liz attracts a lot of weirdoes like the wereworlf and now a psychopath, wow!

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  • Darren October 19, 2009 at 7:32 pm

    I’m surprised Ned and Alice, though they met, had college. I thought if I read this right, Ned was going to Europe, but I assumed he graduated, and I’m not sure if Alice had graduated in the almost marriage to Hank. can somebody touch on this as well? I almost assume Ned/Alice had at least one or two years of college together, but I’m not so sure. Remember, Ned and Alice never met in high school.

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  • Lori October 19, 2009 at 8:58 pm

    Too bad the moral of the story can’t be stop being mean to ugly girls and they’ll stop trying to kill you. Then again Liz still doesn’t know what “cheating” means.

    [Reply]

    Shannon Reply:

    Ha ha, maybe I’ll change it to that!

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  • Lorelai October 19, 2009 at 10:46 pm

    Ahahaha this one was the most ridiculous out of all of them (and that’s really saying something, if you think about all the werewolves, vampires and doppelgangers these two teenage girls seem to come across). An ugly girl tries to STEAL ALICE WAKEFIELD’S FACE. That’s just…I mean..I don’t even…whatever.

    [Reply]

    Shannon Reply:

    I know! Alice Wakefield is so pretty that some ugly chick prepared for twenty years or whatever to look just like her. Come on.

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    Darren Reply:

    That’s nothing, they should’ve just made this into a bionic woman/Star Trek voyager episode…there is a female girl robot called Fembot, and she looks like Alice Wakefield! Or the Alice Wakefield clone is a borg, and those people want to take over the world! Then some meteor rock hits Jessica and Elizabeth and turns them into superheroes!

    Or they could’ve done Smallville, use Kryptonite on the ugly girl to improve her, she kisses people, and turns them into freaks! A h ahhaahahahahaaa!

    Are you sure that’s Elizabeth wearing that type of bathing suit? Yuck! LIla and Jessica are a 10 plus obviously! I wonder what they were laughing at?

    I got a cool character in my Sweet valley version story in Carrie White going ‘they’re all going to laugh at you, dumb ass.’ she’s zinged Jessica twice already on that line!

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  • Jenn October 20, 2009 at 5:53 am

    The one thing I remember very clearly is them plugging in the laptop to the modem. I thought that was so cool back in the day lol

    [Reply]

    Shannon Reply:

    Ha ha, I would have thought that was cool, too.

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  • Darren October 20, 2009 at 1:43 pm

    I know Ned and Alice met at college, my point is the way they talk about the girl, it’s like they both knew her…which I can’t see how if they met/eventually married when they both graduated. That leads me to speculate that either Ned or Alice had one year of college left if that’s right.

    Also Shannon, I can’t wait for you to review SV 117, that’s going to be something else when Jessica is accused of cheating and kicked out of school, then she fears her parents will think of her as a juvanille delinquent! Maybe they’ll send her to the same school Tony Rizzo was in, the reform school! I never read such drama in 117 with the dreaded SATs.

    Are the SATs though given in the fall, or is it by May? That dateline confused me though.

    [Reply]

    Shannon Reply:

    I wouldn’t get too hung up on details like that, Darren. The whole story changes depending on which ghostwriter is at the wheel.

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    Darren Reply:

    POint taken, as I’m confused that they had a Jungle Prom that stretched to 6 parts with margo the psycho killer, and a 3 part prom with Devon/Todd fighting over Elizabeth…next to 3 Christmases in one year (with Suzanne Devilin, then Margo, and then with Jeremy!)…how did that happen? Somebody needs to remind the ghost writers of what happened previously. Shannon, you got to read SVU, there is one book that says Olivia Davidson is alive! Man, how could that have happened if Olivia died in the Earthquake ‘junior’ ending?

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    Meredith Reply:

    The SATs are given just about every month through out the school year

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  • Lindsay October 20, 2009 at 2:10 pm

    “Tatiana is going to kill Alice, because there can’t be two of them.”
    THERE CAN ONLY BE ONE!

    /nerd Highlander moment.

    Lila never fails to disappoint.

    I thought Enid was a brunette?

    [Reply]

    Shannon Reply:

    Enid’s hair is usually described as “coppery.” I guess that means she’s a redhead.

    [Reply]

    Darren Reply:

    I thought Enid’s hair was curled, from book #43. Did she change her style i don’t know about?

    [Reply]

    Shannon Reply:

    It’s still curly as far as I know.

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  • DarfurHerald October 22, 2009 at 11:05 am

    Liz’s wetting her pants over the laptop still cracks me up. OMGZ! MODEMZ!

    I believe this was the second SVH book I ever read!! I actually thought it was fairly exciting (blush)…until I got to the sh8t about the face switching. COME ON, that’s just ridiculous! Not just the impossibility, but someone so desperate to be a WAKEFIELD that they’d spend $$$$ and years and making devious plans to get a Wakefield’s exact face?

    [Reply]

    Shannon Reply:

    It is an incredibly ridiculous plot. There’s no explanation for why she couldn’t just use a picture of Alice’s face or why Alice had to die or anything. It makes my brain hurt trying to make sense of this stuff.

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  • Darren October 22, 2009 at 3:06 pm

    I still say Fembot or Borg would’ve made the story 10,000 times better! Ghost writers need to watch TV more, Fembots and Borg were BIG HITS!

    I just ordered the 2 part Thriller where one of Ned’s clients is going after the twins! That should be fun to read about John Marin!

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  • jen November 18, 2009 at 1:08 pm

    I just discovered your site (LOVE) and I am riveted, reading through all the synopses. I was a huge SVT fan but I read the SVH books more sporadically. I definitely remember this one, though, I must have read it three times.

    You have inspired me to read through my pre-teen bookshelves and laugh heartily.

    [Reply]

    Shannon Reply:

    Thank you for reading! And I’m so glad I could inspire you to such an undertaking!

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  • Kristine November 25, 2009 at 7:23 am

    I wasn’t able to read this one. am glad for the summary and am glad i didn’t bought this book. 🙂

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  • Michelle July 6, 2010 at 4:41 pm

    I remember reading a few of these super thrillers, when I was young. After reading through your synopsis, I have decided that it must be absolutely wonderful to be a Wakefield. They seem to spend all their summers with their lives on the line. Yet they are never ever traumatized!!!!! I wish life was like that for me. I would have been in therapy after the first attempt on my life.

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  • Meredith December 17, 2010 at 3:10 pm

    THe thing I didn’t like about this book other then the cheesy Island of Dr. Moreau plot, was that the twins found it okay to cheat on their boyfriends but then again they always do and for some reason they always forgive them!

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  • pibetaalpha September 3, 2011 at 1:44 am

    Alice’s hair is horrible!

    Paradise Spa reminds me of Rubicon III in Star Trek (“Justice”).

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  • Dane Youssef October 8, 2015 at 7:16 pm

    “THe thing I didn’t like about this book other then the cheesy Island of Dr. Moreau plot, was that the twins found it okay to cheat on their boyfriends but then again they always do and for some reason they always forgive them!” –Meredith

    Because the boyfriends cheat, too. And that right there… just lets you know what these people are really like. And how much they truly deserve each other…

    –More Sincere Than Usual, Dane Youssef

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  • Kim December 12, 2015 at 11:37 pm

    “After the meal, Jessica goes for her golf lesson with Chris. She gets annoyed when Chris starts asking about her sister, and when he asks if Jessica thinks Liz would go out with him, she throws her golf club on the ground and walks away.”

    Damn, Liz’s milkshake really brings all the boys to the yard. I seriously don’t get it. They’re twins, they look just alike. He’s standing there talking to her identical twin, yet knows the difference between them and wants Liz? Why does every guy have to have Liz?

    “Alex seems to like Enid, too, until Jessica shows up and starts putting on a cheerleading show.”

    So this bitch just randomly starts cheering? I don’t get it is she still trying to get the Chris guy’s attention or what?

    “Lila and Enid watch while the twins monopolize the boys.”

    Of course they do. No man can resist a Wakefield.

    “Liz forgets all about Todd so I guess it’s not like she’s cheating or anything.”

    Well Jessica immediately forgot about Ken so….I guess it’s outta sight, outta mind.

    “» Tatiana wants to look like Alice.
    » Tatiana is going to kill Alice, because there can’t be two of them”

    This is like the Margo storyline where a look alike (or wannabe look alike) tries to kill a Wakefield and takeover her life.

    [Reply]

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