In Zilpha Keatley Snyder's novel The Egypt Game, who is Mr. Schmitt and what are his main character traits?

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vangoghfan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Zilpha Keatley Snyder’s novel for young readers titled The Egypt Game, Mr. Schmitt is a relatively minor character.  In the Bantam Doubleday Dell Books edition of the novel, he is described in various ways throughout the text.  His name is first mentioned on page 53, in connection with “Schmitt’s Variety Store,” which he apparently owns, and the same store in mentioned again on page 54.  On page 74, Mr. Schmitt is unattractively described as someone who tries to get a competitor expelled from the neighborhood on a pretext, his real reason being that the competitor

sold old and cheap some of the things that Mr. Schmitt sold new and expensive.

Schmitt, in other words, appears here as a businessman who is unscrupulous in various ways.

Slow service at Schmitt’s store is mentioned on page 129, and someone explains that part of the reason for such service is that Schmitt is reluctant to pay employees decent salaries. Therefore Schmitt operates the store by himself with the help of a cousin. Schmitt always attends to adults before attending to any customers who are children.  Later in the book, the cousin admits to a serious crime (see page 193), and it turns out that Schmitt himself had, on previous occasions, provided the cousin with an alibi. Schmitt now changes his tune, however, when the cousin confesses to aspects of the crime that only the real criminal could have known about (page 194).

By the time we reach page 199, rumor has it that Schmitt plans to sell out his inventory, and he is characterized by some other characters as a hypocrite.

Schmitt appears as a character in later works by Snyder.