The Baby-Sitters Club Wiki
The Baby-Sitters Club Wiki
This article is about the original novel. For the graphic novel, see Mary Anne's Bad Luck Mystery (Graphic Novel).

Mary Anne's Bad Luck Mystery is the 17th book in the original The Baby-Sitters Club series.

Back Cover[]

Mary Anne should never have thrown away that chain letter she got in the mail. Ever since she did, bad things have been happening — to everybody in the Baby-sitters Club. With Halloween coming up, Mary Anne's even more worried — what kind of spooky thing will happen next?

Then Mary Anne finds a new note in her mailbox: Wear this bad-luck charm, it says. OR ELSE. Mary Anne's got to do what the note says. But who sent the charm? And why did this person send it to Mary Anne?

If the Baby-sitters don't solve this mystery soon, their bad luck might never stop!


Main Plot[]

Set before Halloween, Mary Anne gets a chain letter in the mail which orders her to send out 20 copies of the letter or not only she would have bad luck, but her friends and family will too. After Mary Anne ignores the letter, bad things start happening to her & her friends.

A few days later, Mary Anne gets a necklace in the mail which orders her to wear the bad luck charm. Even though Mary Anne doesn't want to, the rest of the BSC thinks that she should. The BSC tries to find a good luck spell, but to no avail.

After Mary Anne attends her school's Halloween Hop with Logan, she finds a note taped to her door telling her to appear at Old Hickory's grave at the cemetery on Halloween at midnight. After calling the rest of the BSC, everyone decides to go for it (with Kristy using a late night slumber party as a cover).

In the end, it is discovered that Cokie Mason was responsible for the whole thing, so the BSC decide to get back at Cokie and her friends. The BSC goes to the cemetery, rigs up some bedsheet ghosts with a sound effects tape, flashlights, and scary masks for effect. When Cokie and her friends arrive, the BSC scares them.


  • Jamie Newton is afraid of Halloween. Jessi helps him overcome his fear by showing him friendly ghost books at her house.
  • Claudia and Mallory babysat for the Pikes which caused chaos due to Mary Anne breaking the chain letter. Byron (who didn't want his parents to leave) lets the Daddy Stew running, a bird flies in the house which led the Triplets and Vanessa go wild (Margo manged to let the bird out), and Vanessa loses her tooth after eating hard candy.
  • Dawn babysits Jackie Rodowsky. Jackie wants to build a robot for Halloween, but it ends up failing due to him knocking things over. Dawn believes it because of her soon-to-become-stepsister breaking the chain letter. At the BSC meeting, Jackie was born to knock things over.


Mary Anne's Family

BSC Members





Pop Culture and Real-Life References[]

  • This book mentions that Mary Anne and Dawn watched Night of the Living Dead and the former also watched Halloween and Halloween II.
  • References the play Cats
  • Little Women, Nancy Drew, Georgie's Halloween (books)
  • Pollyanna and Hayley Mills
  • Stephen King

Continuity and Inconsistencies[]



  • Claudia keeps saying that she hates the library and doesn't know her way around, yet in later books she knows exactly how to use a card catalog and other materials. But she could’ve been lying as a way to try to get out of going because she just didn’t want to go.
  • When the girls are at school eating lunch, Mary Anne mentions Dawn brought her lunch from home, except she had cottage cheese which would not hold in her locker. But if Dawn had a cold pack in her lunch bag, the cottage cheese would’ve been fine.
  • In this book and former books it was Grace that had a crush on Logan, but in later books it's Cokie that has a crush on Logan.
  • On page 85 the library is described as a newer building when in later books it's described as an older building.

Ann M. Martin's Dear Reader Letter[]

Dear Reader,

Mary Anne’s Bad-Luck Mystery is the second spooky book in the Baby-sitters Club series, and the first book that takes us to Old Hickory’s grave in Stoneybrook’s cemetery. When I was young, I was fascinated by graveyards. And like the rest of my friends, I believed in a superstition about them — that I must hold my breath if I went by a graveyard. For this very reason, when my family was on long car trips, my father would often park our car in front of a graveyard. Then my sister and I would try to hold our breaths for as long as we were parked there!

The idea for this story, however, came to me after I received a chain letter in the mail. It was not an eerie chain letter like the one Mary Anne receives. It was just a regular one. But I hate chain letters, and began to wonder if this would make a good plot for a mystery. I think it did. And later, it led to The Baby-sitters Club Chain Letter book, which is all about an unusual chain letter that is passed through the members of the BSC.


  • First appearance of Cokie Mason.
  • A reprint of the book was released August 3, 2021 [1]
  • On the dedication page it says "This book is for Aunt Martha and in memory of Uncle Lyman."
  • Kristy buys the hot lunch just so she can make fun of it.
  • Jobs lined up but never seen: Mary Anne for the Newtons and the Marshalls,
  • Jackie plans on being a robot for Halloween.
  • Some bad luck everyone has includes:
    • Claudia hasn't been flunking spelling tests lately and yet failed one.
    • Jessi fell in ballet class
    • Stacey broke her dad's paperweight
    • Kristy lost her watch
    • Mallory got in trouble for talking during math
  • Logan sits with the BSC at lunch twice in this book.
  • The Braddock kids caught the flu.
  • Claudia doesn't think that she'll live to be 90.
  • There's 2 emergency club meetings in this book.
  • This is the first time Jessi learns about Old Hickory.
  • Richard is a light sleeper and Sharon could sleep through WWIII.
  • Richard mentions that his grandmother used to have a necklace like Mary Anne's "bad luck charm."
  • Mary Anne was so late for a sitting job that Mrs. Newton called her and asked if everything was all right. It’s unknown if she called the BSC to tell them what happened, but Mary Anne told her friends.


Baby-Sitters Club Books
The Summer Before | #1 Kristy's Great Idea | #2 Claudia and the Phantom Phone Calls | #3 The Truth About Stacey | #4 Mary Anne Saves the Day | #5 Dawn and the Impossible Three | #6 Kristy's Big Day | #7 Claudia and Mean Janine | #8 Boy-Crazy Stacey | #9 The Ghost at Dawn's House | #10 Logan Likes Mary Anne! | #11 Kristy and the Snobs | #12 Claudia and the New Girl | #13 Good-bye Stacey, Good-bye | #14 Hello, Mallory | #15 Little Miss Stoneybrook... and Dawn | #16 Jessi's Secret Language | #17 Mary Anne's Bad-Luck Mystery | #18 Stacey's Mistake | #19 Claudia and the Bad Joke | #20 Kristy and the Walking Disaster | #21 Mallory and the Trouble with Twins | #22 Jessi Ramsey, Pet-sitter | #23 Dawn on the Coast | #24 Kristy and the Mother's Day Surprise | #25 Mary Anne and the Search for Tigger | #26 Claudia and the Sad Good-bye | #27 Jessi and the Superbrat | #28 Welcome Back, Stacey! | #29 Mallory and the Mystery Diary | #30 Mary Anne and the Great Romance | #31 Dawn's Wicked Stepsister | #32 Kristy and the Secret of Susan | #33 Claudia and the Great Search | #34 Mary Anne and Too Many Boys | #35 Stacey and the Mystery of Stoneybrook | #36 Jessi's Baby-Sitter | #37 Dawn and the Older Boy | #38 Kristy's Mystery Admirer | #39 Poor Mallory! | #40 Claudia and the Middle School Mystery | #41 Mary Anne vs. Logan | #42 Jessi and the Dance School Phantom | #43 Stacey's Emergency | #44 Dawn and the Big Sleepover | #45 Kristy and the Baby Parade | #46 Mary Anne Misses Logan | #47 Mallory on Strike | #48 Jessi's Wish | #49 Claudia and the Genius of Elm Street | #50 Dawn's Big Date | #51 Stacey's Ex-Best Friend | #52 Mary Anne + 2 Many Babies | #53 Kristy for President | #54 Mallory and the Dream Horse | #55 Jessi's Gold Medal | #56 Keep Out, Claudia! | #57 Dawn Saves the Planet | #58 Stacey's Choice | #59 Mallory Hates Boys (and Gym) | #60 Mary Anne's Makeover | #61 Jessi and the Awful Secret | #62 Kristy and the Worst Kid Ever | #63 Claudia's Freind Friend | #64 Dawn's Family Feud | #65 Stacey's Big Crush | #66 Maid Mary Anne | #67 Dawn's Big Move | #68 Jessi and the Bad Baby-sitter | #69 Get Well Soon, Mallory! | #70 Stacey and the Cheerleaders | #71 Claudia and the Perfect Boy | #72 Dawn and the We Love Kids Club | #73 Mary Anne and Miss Priss | #74 Kristy and the Copycat | #75 Jessi's Horrible Prank | #76 Stacey's Lie | #77 Dawn and Whitney, Friends Forever | #78 Claudia and Crazy Peaches | #79 Mary Anne Breaks the Rules | #80 Mallory Pike, No. 1 Fan | #81 Kristy and Mr. Mom | #82 Jessi and the Troublemaker | #83 Stacey vs. the BSC | #84 Dawn and the School Spirit War | #85 Claudia Kishi, Live From WSTO! | #86 Mary Anne and Camp BSC | #87 Stacey and the Bad Girls | #88 Farewell, Dawn | #89 Kristy and the Dirty Diapers | #90 Welcome to the BSC, Abby! | #91 Claudia and the First Thanksgiving | #92 Mallory's Christmas Wish | #93 Mary Anne and the Memory Garden | #94 Stacey McGill, Super Sitter | #95 Kristy + Bart = ? | #96 Abby's Lucky Thirteen | #97 Claudia and the World's Cutest Baby | #98 Dawn and Too Many Sitters | #99 Stacey's Broken Heart | #100 Kristy's Worst Idea | #101 Claudia Kishi, Middle School Dropout | #102 Mary Anne and the Little Princess | #103 Happy Holidays, Jessi | #104 Abby's Twin | #105 Stacey the Math Whiz | #106 Claudia, Queen of the Seventh Grade | #107 Mind Your Own Business, Kristy! | #108 Don't Give Up, Mallory! | #109 Mary Anne to the Rescue | #110 Abby the Bad Sport | #111 Stacey's Secret Friend | #112 Kristy and the Sister War | #113 Claudia Makes Up Her Mind | #114 The Secret Life of Mary Anne Spier | #115 Jessi's Big Break | #116 Abby and the Best Kid Ever | #117 Claudia and the Terrible Truth | #118 Kristy Thomas, Dog Trainer | #119 Stacey's Ex-Boyfriend | #120 Mary Anne and the Playground Fight | #121 Abby in Wonderland | #122 Kristy in Charge | #123 Claudia's Big Party | #124 Stacey McGill... Matchmaker? | #125 Mary Anne in the Middle | #126 The All-New Mallory Pike | #127 Abby's Un-Valentine | #128 Claudia and the Little Liar | #129 Kristy at Bat | #130 Stacey's Movie | #131 The Fire at Mary Anne's House
Super Specials
#1 Baby-sitters on Board! | #2 Baby-sitters' Summer Vacation | #3 Baby-sitters' Winter Vacation | #4 Baby-sitters' Island Adventure | #5 California Girls! | #6 New York, New York! | #7 Snowbound | #8 Baby-sitters at Shadow Lake | #9 Starring the Baby-sitters Club #10 Sea City, Here We Come! | #11 The Baby-sitters Remember | #12 Here Come the Bridesmaids! | #13 Aloha, Baby-sitters! | #14 BSC in the USA | #15 Baby-sitters' European Vacation
Portrait Collection
Stacey's Book | Claudia's Book | Dawn's Book | Mary Anne's Book | Kristy's Book | Abby's Book
The Baby-Sitters Club Notebook (1987) | The Baby-Sitters Club Postcard Book (1991) | Trivia & Puzzle Fun Book (1992) | Ann M. Martin: The Story of the author of the Baby-sitters Club (1993) | The Baby-Sitters Club Guide to Babysitting (1993) | The Baby-Sitters Club Chain Letter (1993) | The Baby-Sitters Club Secret Santa (1994) | Audio Books on Cassette Tape (1994-5) | BSC Movie Novelization (1995) | The Complete Guide to the Baby-Sitters Club (1996) | Autograph Book (1998) | BSC Graphic Novels (2006-present) | We Are the Baby-Sitters Club: Essays and Artwork from Grown-Up Readers (2021) | Welcome to Stoneybrook: A Guided Journal (2021) | The Official Coloring Book (2023)