Rosemary Well’s When No One Was Looking is a suspenseful story of a girl’s ambition, friendship, and love of tennis, that takes her to the top. Although she is not beautiful, rich, or good in school, fourteen year old Kathy Bardy has a natural talent for tennis. One day, Kathy loses a match against Ruth Gumm that should have been simple for her. The next day Kathy finds out that Ruth is dead. Although Julia, Oliver, and Kathy’s parents try to comfort her, Kathy feels guilty for wishing Ruth was dead the other night. Because of Ruth’s death, Kathy has problems concentrating, and she starts lazing off. Kathy’s will, spirit, and love from her friends takes her to the New England championships.
Kathy loves tennis. She finally finds something that she is good at, and practically makes her into a celebrity. Kathy is told by many people, including Marty her tennis instructor, that she has got what it takes to make it to the top. When Kathy plays against Ruth, she becomes annoyed because it should have been a simple match. When she finds out ruth is dead, people accuse Kathy of it, and kathy even blames herself. Kathy proves she was at the ball game the night of the murder. She regains her confidence, and works her way up to the top. Julia and Kathy have been best friends since they were in first grade. Because of Julia’s wealth, she is different, and is treated just that way. Kathy would defend her when she used to get picked on. Since then, Kathy and Julia are inseparable. They have such a good relationship, that they would do anything to stop the other from getting hurt.
Ruth Gumm has no special talent when it comes to tennis, she is just okay at the sport. When Kathy competes with her, she expects it will be a snap, but she actually loses. Annoyed by the match, Kathy wishes Ruth was dead. The next day, she finds out Ruth was drowned in the pool. Some suspect Kathy of the murder, and because of some clay (that appeared to be from a tennis court) found on the floor surrounding the pool, investigations are done. It turns out the clay is molding clay, and Kathy proves she was at the game. Finally, after hard detective work by Kathy, she discovers that Julia put extra chlorine in the pool to distort Ruth’s vision. Kathy doesn’t tell Julia that she knows, but she sympathizes with Julia and tries to imagine the guilt Julia must be feeling. After a while, the murder case is forgotten, but Julia and Kathy’s friendship is not. The mystery When No One Was Looking is proof that where there is a will to accomplish something, talent to do it with, and the help of the ones who love you, you can conquer the world.