Findouters Challenge: Book 5. This is certainly among the most interesting of the Findouters’ cases. The story opens with Pip and Bets getting bored in their summer holidays, with the others at the seaside with their parents (they themselves have also been but have been back home for a few weeks now) and no mystery to solve. The children return soon and find Mr Goon busy at work with clearly a new case to solve which they have no clue about. Inspector Jenks doesn’t want them involved either but is happy to have them keep an eye open for a gang that’s been operating in and around the area and in Peterswood as well. But nothing short of solving the case will satisfy our findouters who put all of their detective skills into play, interviewing witnesses and employing disguises. Fatty this time around has grown much taller and his voice has begun to change really opening up the possibilities for disguises, and he uses this to his advantage. Mr Goon also manages to show that the children shouldn’t really underestimate him as they often do, almost neck-and-neck with them at every stage, though he does do something that was perhaps childish, considering his profession. Fatty also gets a taste of what Mr Goon always feels when the children are perpetually getting in his way. Still at the end, the findouters come out on top of course.
This was a proper “meaty” mystery with plenty going on, clues and suspects, secret messages, a gang of thieves, and a stolen necklace, with poor Goon managing to do a good job, with part of the case at least. The solution, definitely creative which once again little Bets works out. In fact, even if she doesn’t know as much as the other children, she manages to see through Fatty’s disguises, catch on to the important clues, and her intuition is always spot-on but the others, particularly Pip don’t seem to see that continuing to treat her shabbily and laughing at her for being a “baby”, with only Fatty to stand up for her. In this one though, the others do contribute in solving the mystery, coming up with some pretty good ideas, Pip, especially. Fatty of course is clever again with his “grown-up” disguises but in this one I felt he did act a little oversmart, getting involved in things much too dangerous just to show himself cleverer than Goon. Plenty of lemonade and ices in this one, in fact much of their detective work is based out of the lemonade shop 🙂 I also enjoyed the summer atmosphere, tourists, fairs, lots of cold drinks and icecream. This I think (if I haven’t missed anything in the earlier books) was the first one in which Goon uses what becomes a favourite expression―“that toad of a boy!” Very enjoyable.