These extra chapters start out as an epilogue to the story, which was actually kind of interesting. Or, at least, it should have been. A lot of what I write here is me asking “Well, then what happened?” While it’s interesting to see how Encyclopedia solved a mystery, they rarely explain what happened to the culprit. We’d finally get to see. Or so I thought.
Josh brought Encyclopedia and Sally home and told his mother how they solved the crime. Mrs. Whipplewhite counted the money that the Tigers gave them and saw that there was enough to pay for the replacement garlic bread and cake ingredients.
What? No. She had a party to plan. She didn’t have enough time to bake another cake and loaf of garlic bread. Looks like it’s store-brand stuff for you this year, Josh. And why wouldn’t Mrs. Whipplewhite call Bugs’ parents to let them know that their asshole son stole from her and ruined her son’s birthday party?
So, I had hoped that seeing what happens after a case is solved, I would see some sort of punishment being doled out. But no. This is why crimes keep getting committed in this town. It’s because no one has to suffer any consequences for their actions in this town.
Encyclopedia and Sally offered to stay and help Josh and his mother help prepare for the party. Mrs. Whipplewhite laid down some rules for helping out in the kitchen. Rules like: make sure handles for pots and pans are turned towards the back so that they don’t get accidentally knocked over and clean up as you go.
I think this is a pretty good idea for children’s books. Have Encyclopedia solve some mystery and then have Encyclopedia, and the readers, learn some valuable lessons like how to help out in the kitchen. Or why walking around a junkyard barefoot may not be such a hot idea.
Of course, it’s a little late in the Encyclopedia Brown game to be bucking the trend in the sixteenth book, so I’m not sure what the story behind this was.
In classic Idaville fashion, Mrs. Whipplewhite’s kitchen lesson went forward beyond what one should teach 10-year-olds who one just met. The rest of this chapter is devoted to the proper way to cut different vegetables.
“I know we’ve just met, kids, but I think it’s time you learn how to use a sharp knife.”
Also, vegetables for a 10-year-old’s birthday party? This sounds like a super lame party.