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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9 thoughts on “The Mystery of the Spiteful Letters, by Enid Blyton”

  1. I never noticed those things before, Jed! They are funny wee blips aren’t they? I actually never even thought about them… You mentioned that the book lacks motive, but really Mrs Moon didn’t sound very nice and maybe she just felt spiteful and jealous because Bets, Pip and the others loved Gladys so much. You have a point though!

  2. Actually Jed, I thought a bit about this book and read it again, and now I do think it lacks motive. I personally like mystery books – so I can try and solve the mystery myself… and I now notice it is not very mysterious… but I think it is quite good anyway! I suppose it would be hard to remember what you had written, plus, it takes long enough to write a book without having to read every hour what you had written to make sure she doesn’t make any mistakes! I can imagine how hard it would be.

  3. Yes, sometimes. I found your tone quite witty in the review – for instance, I giggled at your “(sigh)”.

    I think I enjoyed the comments because Kezia reveals her interest in the whole writing process and it’s potential pitfalls… this is not surprising, since she is a budding author herself!

    Both of you are very talented!

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