The Mystery of the Spiteful Letters, by Enid Blyton

This book has quite a weak plot, in my opinion, although it is a good read.  In the “Five Find-Outers – and Dog” series there are two quite good books but unfortunately there are two quite bad books that follow.

The best thing about this book is its bags of humour – “red headed boys running all over the place” driving Mr Goon crazy!  Unfortunately I have not many more good things to say…

First in my long list of blips, errors and criticisms; on the anonymous letters the postmark is “Sheepsale 11.45” and according to them, as the person knows the Peterswood people so well, the letter sender must have got the 10.15 bus.  Er… a couple of problems with that: Wasn’t there cars in 1946?  Couldn’t they have gone on and posted the letter on Sunday?  Just because he knew the Peterswood people well, does it mean he can’t live in Sheepsale?

Also, this whole book lacks motive: why risk prison for just being spiteful or because of something that happened years ago?

This is just a silly error: at the start of chapter 13 Pip said they wouldn’t annoy Mrs Moon, the cook, if they play Fatty new noisy game, woo-hoo-colly-wobbles in the playroom, because she wouldn’t here away down in the kitchen.  In the middle of chapter 15, however, it states that the kitchen is right under the playroom, so they would certainly be heard if they started rolling around and groaning (all part of Fatty’s game!) in the playroom.  I’m very puzzled.

Nearing the end of the book, old Clear Orf aka Mr Goon is cycling along, finds a sack of clues and thinks Fatty put them there to spoof him, and gives all the clues to him – a few problems (sigh) with that as well; when people are cycling along on a bicycle, they don’t usually dismount at every bush and look under it for sacks of clues.  Also, one of the clues was a bus timetable with the 10.15 bus underlined – if the letter-sender gets that bus every Monday, even before the anonymous letters started, she hardly needs to remind herself what bus to take, and anyway, why does she have to hide an innocent-looking bus timetable in a bush?

The solution was blindingly obvious to me, yet, as with all the Find-Outer books (with one exception, which I will come to in my reviews soon), I still enjoyed reading it.

Buy it here…The Mystery of the Spiteful Letters

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The Mystery of the Secret Room, by Enid Blyton

After two quite good Five “Find-Outer – and Dog” books, this one slightly disappoints if you are looking for a good “juicy” mystery.

The start of the mystery is really just chance that they should explore the very empty house that the criminals are using and Pip climbs the very tree that lets him see into the “secret room” and for those looking forward to nice long lists of suspects and clues, you will be disappointed.

There is no suspects and no detective work at all really, except questioning Miss Crump and a thirty second long telephone call to “Mr John Henry Smith” aka The Criminal aka Finnigan that gets no information.

Apart from that, the only other event in the mystery is Fatty’s midnight escapade that ends up in him getting caught.

In my opinion, it isn’t even a mystery – I would class it as an adventure.

Although the actual plot is quite bad, the actual read is enjoyable enough, as the Fatty versus Mr Goon clashes are quite funny especially the “French boy” disguises!

To find out how Fatty escapes…

Buy The Mystery of the Secret Room!

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