The Mystery of the Disappearing Cat, by Enid Blyton

The second “Find-Outer Mystery” is, in my opinion, possibly even better than the first book.

This time the Five Find-Outers are investigating the robbery of Lady Candling’s Siamese cat, but the Find-Outers friend Luke, the gardener’s help, is Mr. Goon the policemans’ chief suspect.  The Find-Outers are determined to clear his name.

However, all the evidence points to Luke – Dark Queen, the cat, was last seen at 4 o’clock, and was found disappeared at 5 o’clock, and Luke  was working on the flower bed near the cat house that whole hour, but he says no-one came near the cat house.

Any reader would guess who had stolen Dark Queen (he is downright horrible and no-one would be able to imagine Blyton making such an awful character, without giving readers the pleasure of seeing him squashed), so the mystery is more about how he stole her.

Like the previous book in this series, there is an interesting twist in the last few chapters, although the Find-Outers did not work it out as quickly as I would have expected.

All in all, a very good read and I would recommend buying it.

Buy The Mystery of the Disappearing Cat here!

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The Mystery of the Burnt Cottage, by Enid Blyton

This is the first “Find-Outer Mystery” in Enid Blyton’s series.

The Find-Outers are made up of Fatty (Real name, Fredrick Algernon Trotteville – his initials fit him a bit more than he would like!), Larry (Laurence Daykin), Daisy (Margaret Daykin), Pip (Philip Hilton) and the youngest, Bets (Elizabeth Hilton).

The Find-Outers are so named because when Larry explains that detectives “find out who did a crime”, Bets dubs them the Five Find-Outers.

This book, contrary to the title, is about a burnt workroom, but we can assume that once upon a time it was a cottage.

The crime happens in the first chapter which is unusual for an Enid Blyton book, because usually the first chapter is about “what boring hols we are having”.

There is an unexpected twist later on in the book, but unfortunately Blyton has broken the golden rule of whodunit mysteries – give the reader as much chance to solve the mystery as the characters – the clue that breaks the case open is only revealed very late on.   By some slight plot alteration, I think Blyton could have made the book better.

That said, the Mystery of the Burnt Cottage is a very good book, and it definitely tells well of the books that are to follow.

If you would like to find out who did burn the cottage, you can

Buy The Mystery of the Burnt Cottage here!

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Interview with Helen Moss!

I haven’t been blogging in a while as I’ve been very busy starting secondary school, but I’ve got a very exciting comeback here-an interview with Helen Moss!

Helen Moss,  whose books feature a lot on my site, has very kindly agreed to answer some of my questions related to writing children’s books!

Here are my questions and her answers….

1. How did you become an author?

“I didn’t start being an author until about seven years ago. Before that I was a scientist for many years. I did research into how our brains understand and remember language. It was great fun, but I always enjoyed making up stories (I used to write lots of stories and plays when I was a kid).  I moved to America for a year with my family and when I came back it seemed like a great chance to try something new instead of going back to my old job. I thought I’d try writing a book and give it a year to see if I was getting anywhere; if not, I’d go back to being a scientist.  Luckily I was able to find a fantastic agent and was taking my first steps on the way to having a book published just in time.  I feel very lucky as I’ve had two of the best jobs in the world – scientist and writer.”

2. How do you get your ideas?

“It’s mainly a case of catching ideas as they whizz past. I always have my eyes and ears open for intriguing stories or snippets of stories. I might hear something on the radio or see it in the paper or even just hear people talking on the bus or in a cafe (I’m very nosy). Then I put lots of different bits together and mix them up to make them into something new.”

3. How much do you write in a day?

“It very much depends which stage of a book I’m at. I might be doing research and planning, or editing a draft. At other times I’m doing school visits or other publicity things. But when I’m working on the first draft of a book, I try to write about 1500 words a day (which is about the length of an Adventure Island chapter). In fact, to end up with that many words on the page, I’ve probably written 10 times as many and deleted them. I’m very indecisive when I write and change things around a lot as I go along until I’m happy with it.”

4. What’s the best thing about being an author?

“The best thing is getting to make up stories and always having something to be thinking about. The other best thing is when people say that they have enjoyed reading the books.”

5.What’s the worst thing about being an author?

“Sometimes you have to finish things by a deadline and if you’re stuck on a tricky bit – like a plot that won’t quite work out – then it can get quite stressful, because it just goes round and round in your head. But deadlines are also good, because without them, then it would be tempting to just give up when the story isn’t working too well – and there is always a way through in the end if you just keep working at it.”

6. Why do you write books for children?

“I was a massive bookworm when I was a child (I still am) and now it really makes me happy to think that I might be able to recreate the joy of being lost in a book that I used to feel. It’s still one of my favourite feelings – when you have a really good book on the go and all day you are looking forward to when you can get back to it! And then reading just one more chapter and one more . . . my goal in life is to keep children up past their bedtimes reading my books!”

7. What books did you like when you were young?

“I loved reading mystery and adventure stories so Enid Blyton was a big favourite. But I also enjoyed animal stories like Watership Down and The Incredible Journey. And I enjoyed historical books like The Wool Pack and spooky stories like The Owl Service – actually I liked reading most things!”

Thank you so much to Helen for taking the time out of her busy schedule to answer my questions.

Check out Helen’s website here, it is very interesting and gives an insight into the mind of a famous author  🙂

 

 

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