Enid Blyton - Shastrix Books

Enid Blyton

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The Secret Seven

The Secret Seven

Enid Blyton

24th May 2020

Having completed my adult revisitation to Enid Blyton’s Five Find-Outers series, I turned next to the Secret Seven, which had been my second-favourite of the prolific author’s mystery series as a child.

This first book sets up the group, introduces the main characters and sets them off on their first adventure.

I was slightly surprised by how different it feels to the other series - this is clearly aimed at a younger audience, and uses simpler language, is shorter (barely 100 pages) and the plotting and mystery more straightforward (there is so much blatant foreshadowing that I don’t think anyone of any age wouldn’t spot the twist coming).

The gender roles feel very dated right from the start, and this is I suspect going to be a recurring feature as I make my way through the 15 stories, but I can always hope…

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The Mystery of Banshee Towers

The Mystery of Banshee Towers

Enid Blyton

3rd May 2020

The final story in Enid Blyton's Five Find-Outers (and Dog) series feels different from the earlier fourteen. Home again for the holidays, the group decide to fill their days with excursions, and just happen to head up the hill to Banshee Towsers to see a gallery of paintings - where lo and behold a mystery awaits.

I don't know whether Blyton intended this to be the final adventure, and had assumed from vague memories of reading this as a child that my memories of it being different were probably because I had a different edition of this story to all the others.

But it still feels different reading it now - the tone of the narration is different, subtly more colloquial - almost feeling patronising to the reader in a way that wasn't the case in previous novels. Almost as if Blyton had lost the voice of the series in the three years between stories. There are returning elements - from early books as well as recurring characters.

And it continues to feel like a conclusion - the ending in particular feels like it's not going to lead to more adventures - it's wrapping up. And unlike Blyton's more famous series - The Famous Five and The Secret Seven - there's no follow up by another author.

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The Mystery of Holly Lane

The Mystery of Holly Lane

Enid Blyton

18th April 2020

Somehow I got lost in my read through of the Five Find-Outers series and skipped this one - going back it’s one of the best, so I’m glad I realised.

The five are back together for the school holidays, setting themselves random challenges, when Larry comes across an unusual gentleman, who is soon the victim of a crime. Thought the usual classic combination of clues, disguises, and a baffled policeman, the team aim to solve the mystery.

It’s got all the elements that make this my favourite of Blyton’s detective series, and I really enjoyed revisiting it.

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The Mystery of the Strange Messages

The Mystery of the Strange Messages

Enid Blyton

2nd January 2020

This is the absolute classic Five Find-Outers mystery. One of the best investigations that Fatty and his friends have had, and possibly one of the best that Enid Blyton ever wrote.

The clues stack up in turn like a grown-up detective story, and allow the reader to slowly piece things together at the same pace as the characters.

Erin’s guest appearance stands out as a returning legend of the series, and the focus on him and Fatty, and what feels like quite revealing points about their relative social status, and indeed a plot that in places seems to be part commentary on social issues, feels quite a diversion from the earlier books in the series which were very focussed on prim and proper behaviour.

Like I say, the best novel of Blyton’s I’ve read.

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The Mystery of the Missing Man

The Mystery of the Missing Man

Enid Blyton

29th July 2019

Book thirteen of the Five Find-Outers (and dog) was an interesting one in that I had very little memory of the plot from when I read it (probably multiple times) as a child.

The case is slightly unusual, in that it’s issued by the police, rather than being randomly uncovered by the children. The story is also unusual in introducing some quite prominent new characters into the lives of the children (who I again had no memory of) and having a lot going on that served as comic relief.

While the solution seemed obvious to me, I am most certainly not the target audience (any more) - and I think a child reading or being read the story would work it out before the reveal, which is the ideal timing for a mystery (although on second thoughts, some of the clues might be too dated for a modern youngster to get).

Probably one of the best in the series actually.

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The Mystery of Tally-Ho Cottage

The Mystery of Tally-Ho Cottage

Enid Blyton

4th May 2017

The eleventh mystery about the Five Find-Outers is probably one of the best and most representative of the series.

The language, of course, is incredibly dated, and an attempt to read aloud the opening pages led to much hilarity, but reading silently that can easily be mentally pushed aside and the beauty of the simple mystery story can show through.

This is overall an excellent story, and a great introduction to the world of mystery fiction, which I've enjoyed ever since first reading this story years ago.

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The Mystery of the Strange Bundle

The Mystery of the Strange Bundle

Enid Blyton

10th July 2015

This time out the Five Find-Outers have all been ill in the holidays and it seems they'll be back to school without a mystery to solve, when one suddenly appears just two houses away.

I'm starting to feel that the series has started to lose its way by this point - with some of the lighter elements moving toward absurdity and distancing themselves from the realism that I enjoyed about the earlier books.

There is also a scene that actually shocked me - I had no memory of this book from when I was younger, so I imagine it wasn't one that I regularly re-read, and I'm not surprised if a scene like that can happen - it's the sort of thing that would definitely have major repercussions if it happened today but was kind of ignored here.

Overall, nothing special as far as the series goes, even a bit disappointing really.

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Other reviewed books

The Mystery of the Vanished Prince
The Mystery of the Invisible Thief
The Mystery of the Pantomime Cat
The Mystery of the Hidden House
The Mystery of the Missing Necklace
The Mystery of the Spiteful Letters
The Mystery of the Secret Room
The Mystery of the Disappearing Cat
The Mystery of the Burnt Cottage

Unreviewed books

Five Get Into Trouble
Five Go Adventuring Again
Five Go Off In a Caravan
Five Go Off to Camp
Five Go To Billycock Hill
Five Go To Mystery Moor
Five Go To Smuggler's Top
Five Have Plenty Of Fun
Five on a Hike Together
Five on a Treasure Island
Five on Finniston Farm
Five on Kirrin Island Again
Five Run Away Together
Fun for the Secret Seven
Go Ahead, Secret Seven
Good Old Secret Seven
Good Work, Secret Seven
Look Out Secret Seven
Puzzle for the Secret Seven
Secret Seven Adventure
Secret Seven Fireworks
Secret Seven Mystery
Secret Seven on the Trail
Secret Seven Win Through
Shock for the Secret Seven
The Mystery That Never Was
The Secret Island
The Secret Mountain
The Secret of Killimooin
The Secret of Moon Castle
The Secret of Spiggy Holes
Three Cheers, Secret Seven
Well Done, Secret Seven

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