Enid Blyton - Shastrix Books

Enid Blyton

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Puzzle for the Secret Seven

Puzzle for the Secret Seven

Enid Blyton

4th November 2023

Book ten sees the Secret Seven confronted with a brief mystery at the end of what almost feels like some sort of social commentary without a moral at the end. I remembered barely anything of it from reading it as a child.

It’s a weird entry in the series because the mystery is almost the third plot, after the social one and the continued bickering with the group’s nemesis, Susie.

I felt slightly uncomfortable reading it, because there’s a very clear class divide, and although it’s not treated in a negative way it does feel like there could be a tad more sensitivity in presentation, and indeed more support provided by the state rather than relying on kindly middle class farming families.

Additionally my copy has clearly been altered from the original - it’s from the 1990s and has decimal currency throughout - so I can’t help thinking that the narrative might have originally been different, and again might be different now.

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Secret Seven Mystery

Secret Seven Mystery

Enid Blyton

27th August 2023

The Seven have a mystery to solve when a girl is reported missing from her boarding school and rumoured to be hiding in their local area.

As a mystery, it’s a good one - with plenty of investigating to do. The old dichotomy of sexism toward the main female characters, while presenting independent guest female characters with proper agency, continues.

I think this one struggles a bit against the modern reader though. The central plot point feels very scary in the modern world and I think perhaps the books ends up over glamourising running away from home, and so I suspect some parents might not be as comfortable reading this as parents would have been when it was written.

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Three Cheers, Secret Seven

Three Cheers, Secret Seven

Enid Blyton

27th May 2023

For nostalgia reasons, I’m revisiting the Enid Blyton series that I read as a kid, and have now arrived at this entry.

Three Cheers is a great Seven story, seeing them randomly find a mystery and need to investigate it. It shows a level of social consciousness that’s not often present, and paints a picture (maybe unintentionally) of the class divide of the era.

However as a modern reader there’s a hugely clear level of sexism within the seven - the boys must do almost everything, and only one of the girls gets anything to really do as part of the plot, most of the time just being told to stay at home or otherwise being excluded. Weirdly though this doesn’t extend to the protagonist character Susie, who although the boys act towards with sexism, refuses to partake herself and demonstrates a lot of agency. It’s an odd contrast between the characters and I’m not really sure what it’s meant to be saying to the reader.

Overall though a very simple, quick tale, without any risk or danger.

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Secret Seven Win Through

Secret Seven Win Through

Enid Blyton

31st October 2021

In this holidays the seven have to find a new meeting place when Peter and Janet’s father recklessly approves the refurbishment of their usual shed at exactly the time they most want to use it.

As a child, I only ever had this story as an audio book, and I remember it being one of the scarier of the series. As an adult reading it, it does seem less scary, possibly because I’m more in control of the flow of the narrative.

It’s a good little adventure, with some classic moments.

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Good Work, Secret Seven

Good Work, Secret Seven

Enid Blyton

2nd May 2021

I found it really interesting to return to this story in the Secret Seven series. As the children prepare for Bonfire Night, Peter and Janet are shocked as they witness a car theft, and set out to find the culprits.

As a child, I only had this as an audiobook, and even now some thirty-odd years later it still felt in places like I could hear the narrator’s voice floating somewhere in my memory.

However the narrative does seem to have changed since I was a child. My memory is of fireworks playing a more prominent role, however they seem to have been edited out of that to just an aside - presumably so as not to encourage younger readers of the 21st Century to do anything dangerous. Yet the cover image hasn’t been similarly edited, and so doesn’t depict any scene that’s in the story.

I’m not really sure what to think as a result. Probably one of the weaker stories that I’ve read in the series again so far.

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Go Ahead, Secret Seven

Go Ahead, Secret Seven

Enid Blyton

17th April 2021

Book five, and we’re a third of the way into Enid Blyton’s Secret Seven series. This time out the seven are split up after one of their number is caught practicing tailing a suspect.

The stories are all still quite cute, but this does continue the sexism that feels very dated to a modern reader, with the three female members of the team being left out of most of the adventure.

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Secret Seven on the Trail

Secret Seven on the Trail

Enid Blyton

11th October 2020

The fourth Secret Seven story is a classic of the series.

The seven children’s antagonism with Jack’s sister Susie and her friends is in full evidence, and there are several nice interactions between the groups, and some meta-references which are mildly amusing.

The mystery is straightforward but solid, with a good number of clues and peril for a younger audience. The only letdown is that once again Blyton’s characters demonstrate their now-extremely-obvious sexism, and Peter in particular has started to come across as a bit of a prat.

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Other reviewed books

Well Done, Secret Seven
Secret Seven Adventure
The Secret Seven
The Mystery of Banshee Towers
The Mystery of Holly Lane
The Mystery of the Strange Messages
The Mystery of the Missing Man
The Mystery of Tally-Ho Cottage
The Mystery of the Strange Bundle
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 Are Together Again
Five Fall Into Adventure
Five Get Into a Fix
Five Get Into Trouble
Five Go Adventuring Again
Five Go Down to the Sea
Five Go Off In a Caravan
Five Go Off to Camp
Five Go To Billycock Hill
Five Go To Demon's Rocks
Five Go To Mystery Moor
Five Go To Smuggler's Top
Five Have a Mystery to Solve
Five Have a Wonderful Time
Five Have Plenty Of Fun
Five on a Hike Together
Five On A Secret Trail
Five on a Treasure Island
Five on Finniston Farm
Five on Kirrin Island Again
Five Run Away Together
Fun for the Secret Seven
Good Old Secret Seven
Look Out Secret Seven
Secret Seven Fireworks
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
The Secret Seven Short Story Collection

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