Tag Archives: Enid Blyton

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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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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My Top Ten Mystery Books

This is my list of the best adventure/mystery books for children.  I’m listing them in reverse order, starting from ten to my favourite of all, number one.

10. The Mystery of the Burnt Cottage, by Enid Blyton.

A mystery with a very surprising solution.  The Five Find-Outers solve the mystery with a bit of Sherlock-Homes-rivalling deduction and observance.

Buy This Book


9. The Secret of Spiggy Holes, by Enid Blyton.

A wonderful adventure book, complete with secret passages and a gang of kidnapping criminals.

Buy This Book


8. The Mystery of the Hidden Gold, by Helen Moss.

A brilliant story, expertly told.

Buy This Book


7. The Mystery of the Invisible Spy, by Helen Moss.

I love the spy theme to this book and the way the plot completely twists half way through.  A very, very good book.

Buy This Book


 6. The Adventurous Four, by Enid Blyton.

This is a very exciting book, with loads of adventure, and because of that, it’s getting a sixth place finish.

Buy This Book


5. The Mystery of the Black Salamander, by Helen Moss.

This is a BRILLIANT book, and is possibly number one in the most complicated plot competition (if there is one!).

Buy This Book


4. The Strike of the Shark, by Bear Grylls.

When I started reading this I thought it was going to be about a boy surviving all kinds of extreme locations and animals, which would have been brilliant, but it combines this with a whole load of mystery, which secures its number four finish.

Buy This Book


3. The Mystery of the Secret Room, by Helen Moss.

I like this book because it is packed with adventure and kept me hooked until the very end.  I also like sort of history-mystery thing because the feeling in the book that the mystery is centuries old makes this definitely the third best mystery book I’ve read so far.

Buy This Book


2. The Extraordinary Cases of Sherlock Homes, by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

I have just bought this book and it is brilliant.  It is a selection of eight Sherlock Homes cases and it is amazing.  If I had to give it a rating out of ten, I would give it eleven!

Buy This Book


1.The Mystery of the Phoenix Code, by Helen Moss.

This is, without a shadow of a doubt, my favourite mystery book ever, with one of the most unguessable plots ever.  As soon as I bought it I read it three times in a row I liked it so much!

Buy This Book

 

I hope you enjoy my list, and call back as I might be reviewing some of these books in more detail soon.  🙂

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