After finishing my revisits of the Malory Towers books (series review here), I haven’t picked a series to read next yet, so thought I’d read a standalone in the meantime. This is a standalone by Blyton published in 1960, though I think in a revised (?) version, it has been repackaged as part of a series, The Young Adventurers. I came across it fairly recently, so it isn’t one I’d read as a child. I read the original version. Two children Pat and his sister Tessa come across a newspaper report one morning, describing a strange ruby (that of course, brings ill luck to any who have it) once the eye of an idol in India, which has now been inherited by two children, twins, David and Faith Gathergood. These it turns out were children they had met and befriended on a trip to Swanage the previous year. They decide to write to the children, who hope that they will meet again next holiday, but soon they receive another, more strange letter, sent in strange circumstances by the twins who claim they are being taken to a place called Brinking Hill for a holiday by their new governess. The old one left, frightened by the curse. Pat and Tessa who are once again to go Swanage find that this place is not very far from where they will be. Once there, they make their way to find Brinking Hill (which turns out to be Brinkin Hill), and find after some exploring that the twins are indeed there and being held prisoner by their governess who is hand-in-glove with the villains. The children come up with a plan to rescue their friends but not all goes as it should, and they find themselves in a spot of trouble.
This was a short, quick read, a typical adventure story from Blyton, perhaps slight different in a way, in the sense that one is plunged into the adventure right from the start, with not too much background or any build-up, and things are pretty action packed all through, with something or other taking place almost on every page, right until they escape the villains at the end. Still the children find the time to have enjoyable meals and paddle in the pond in the midst of it all. From the title itself, I did expect the book to have some stereotypical elements—the strange ruby had to be from a mysterious temple in India of course, and there would obviously be ‘villains’ from there out to recover it. And so it was, so not particularly PC in that way, but that of course, one didn’t expect it to be. But there are other little things, outright errors which were rather annoying. There is a temple on an island which the children find, which has idols and such, and then minarets! Why on earth would a temple have minarets? Even the illustrator (ok, he was may be being faithful to the description) has given this so-called temple very Mughal architectural characteristics—way off. There wasn’t also any explanation of who the villains actually were and why they wanted the ruby, which one does get some idea of in Blyton’s mysteries usually.
Quibbles aside, as a children’s adventure story it was a nice read—exciting, action-packed, and a good bit of fun. The children make mistakes of course when they are dealing with the ‘villains’ but still, they do a fairly decent job. As expected from Blyton, there is also lots of food! Nice read, and while I did enjoy it a fair bit, I didn’t as much as I had thought I would!
Have you read this one? How did you like it? Any other adventure stories around the same/similar theme/s? Looking forward to your thoughts and recommendations!
Cover image source: the Enid Blyton Society Site here, where you can also find a full review as well.