George just got a job coaching the girl's soccer team at Pineview, which is some fancy pants private school. Her team has the chance to compete in the Canadian Cup, which is a big deal competition for high school teams. Nancy and Bess head over to cheer her on and wind up meeting Kate, the team's coach, as well as Janine, their star goalie. This is all important because both will be on hand at the Soccer Ball later that night.
The Soccer Ball is a big ass fundraiser for the school. Janine's mom, Mrs. Sedgwick, donated two antique brooches that were in her family for years. Though an appraiser already stated the jewelry was worth more than $100,000, he comes out, gives them a second look, and declares that both were fake. Mr. Garrison, the headmaster of the school, planned on auctioning off the jewelry but calls a halt to everything.
As it turns out, Mrs. Sedgwick is short on money. When she originally donated the brooches, she had tons of cash. She later learned that her husband, who died before the book started, made some bad investments and left her with almost nothing. Nancy points out that the woman can use the insurance money to stay afloat until her investments pick back up. Janine comes to Nancy and asks her to investigate the case.
This is seriously the slowest Nancy Drew book of all time and one where literally nothing happens. Someone hits George over the head when she's in the equipment room and then rifles through everything there. Another person shoves Nancy into the boiler room and locks her inside. We also find out that Janine has a big rivalry with Kelly, the back up goalie. That's seriously like 50 pages of the book right there.
Nancy also meets Mr. Morse, the school's art teacher. He's an older man and keeps making comments about how a smart and bright girl like Nancy should have gone to that school and actually makes her promise to send her own daughter there one day. He also tells her that if she were 50 years younger, he'd take her out for dinner. Mr. Garrison pops up a few times to mumble about how the old man should retire already.
Our only real suspects are Mrs. Sedgwick, Mr. Morse, and Kelly, but none of them actually do anything suspicious. Nancy does uncover this strange green gloop in the art studio that she later learns is the molding paste used to make fake gemstones. When she tries to talk to Mr. Morse about it, Mr. Garrison interrupts them and makes her leave. She also suspects Kate after learning that the coach borrowed against her pension twice and is always short of cash. It turns out that Kate cares for her elderly mother and that she just got a much better job that pays a lot more, which takes her off the suspect list.
Though the team makes it the Canadian Cup, Janine and Kelly get into it again, which causes the coach to shout at them about being team players. Janine gets so upset when the paper runs a story accusing her mom of stealing the brooches that she doesn't want to play, and Kelly conveniently misses the bus to Canada and misses the first game. She shows up later, gets into yet another fight, and the whole team splits between the two girls. Garrison finally tells her that she's done and throws her off the team.
Nancy is chilling in her hotel room when Mr. Garrison shows up with the hot chocolate she ordered from room service. She drinks it, passes out, and wakes up in a cabin in the woods. After walking 10 miles through the woods on her own, she comes across two women driving who stop and pick her up. They take her to the game where she tells everyone that Garrison was behind the theft.
He overhears her and runs for the hills, but she and George give chase after asking others to call the cops. They track him all the way to this big ass waterfall, and when he goes to throw the brooches over the side, George jumps in the air, freaking scissor kicks the bag into Nancy's hand, and saves the day. The cops show up and arrest him.
We learn that Mr. Morse helped him but only because he blackmailed the teacher with threats of forcing him to retire. Kelly cries about how Garrison kept her in his office one night and kept her from getting on the team bus, so Kate gives her back her spot. Janine then admits that if it weren't for her competition with Kelly that she wouldn't be such a great player and gives Kelly the starting spot for the next game. And then I assume they win the tournament or something.
*Mr. Morse is definitely a little too creepy for my tastes but Nancy doesn't help the situation. When he tells her that he would take her out if he were younger, she tells him that he can still take her out. What the hell is her problem?
*Though Bess is in the early part of the book, she disappears later and doesn't even go with them to Canada. Nancy explains it away as her not being a sports fan, but you would think she'd go and support her cousin at least!
*Nancy says that she called her dad and that Carson made arrangements for Mr. Morse to fly home. She also says that he won't face any charges because he's already been through enough. Excuse me? He literally helped steal and replace $100,000+ in antique jewelry. Is that not a crime?
*The women who pick Nancy up when she escapes from the cabin don't really believe her story but humor her and agree to drive her to the game. I like when people actually doubt her.
*Carson sets Mrs. Sedgwick up with an accountant who is so good at his job that she now has enough cash to maintain her lifestyle until the market recovers.