Today, we have my mother’s third pick for the #1954Club, Good Work, Secret Seven by Enid Blyton!

If you were a child in the fifties and sixties, Enid Blyton’s child detective series would have been an essential part of your existence. The Five Findouters and Buster, the Famous Five and Timmy, the Barney “R” Mysteries with Loony and Miranda, and of course, The Secret Seven with Scamper. In fact, the Secret Seven series has the second largest number of books, fifteen in all, published between 1949 and 1963.  

The sixth in this series, Good Work Secret Seven is an exciting mystery set in the week preceding Guy Fawkes Day. Unlike most of Blyton’s mystery stories, this adventure does not take place during the holidays, but very much when school is in session, so the young detectives have to confine their sleuthing to after-school hours, and still find time to complete their homework. The seven children, four boys–Peter, Colin, Jack and George, and three girls–Peter’s sister, Janet, Pam and Barbara form the group, the most important member of which is Peter and Janet’s beautiful golden spaniel, Scamper, who faithfully attends all the secret meetings, enjoys his share of goodies, and stands guard to prevent snooping by unwanted outsiders, especially Jack’s naughty sister Suzie, who delights in  eavesdropping, uncovering their secrets, and making them a laughing stock at school. The children are very serious about their Society, change the password regularly, (forget it equally often) and meet several times a week, either in the garden shed at Peter and Janet’s house, as Peter is the Leader or at the homes of the other children. Their meetings are always accompanied by scrumptious eats: cakes, cream buns, chocolate biscuits and fruit provided by the host’s mother, and sometimes purchased with their own pocket money.

Their meetings are becoming a bit routine and lacklustre, when Colin comes rushing in with a tale of a scuffle taking place in the bushes bordering the lane, and the seven are thrilled with the thought of a new mystery, but it turns out to be a damp squib. When the dejected children decide to forget all about mysteries and focus on fireworks and the coming Guy Fawkes Day, an accident occurs, and all their hopes of a smashing celebration peter out. Then one evening, Peter’s father picks up him and Janet, who were visiting their mother’s old nurse, and while the tired and overfed children snooze in the back seat, waiting for their father to collect a package at the station, the car is stolen. But the scared pair keep their heads and slide off the seat to remain hidden, and thankfully the car is abandoned by the thieves and the children escape unhurt. To their disappointment, their father feels that there is no need to report the theft as the car is undamaged. But the Secret Seven are not the kind to let go of things and they decide to find the thieves themselves. Much brainstorming takes place, but every lead they follow peters out, and they find themselves in the midst of a perplexing mystery, where they can’t make a breakthrough. Will they manage to help the police once again?

Find this review on Goodreads here

Images from the Enid Blyton Society page here

27 thoughts on “Guest Post: Book Review: Good Work, Secret Seven by Enid Blyton #1954Club

    1. Thank you. Scrumptious food is very much a part of Enid Blyton. Remember the midnight feasts at St. Clare’s and Malory Towers, and the sardine and tomato sandwiches on every train journey, and how could I forget it? Condensed milk. I still have a sneaking liking for it.

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  1. I read a few of these Secret Seven books back in the day, when I was trying to wean myself off the Famous Five treadmill, but found them a bit bland – though it was probably just me going off Blyton and seeking a change of pace with Geoffrey Trease, Rosemary Sutcliff and Henry Treece…

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    1. I agree. The Secret Seven adventures were never quite as good as the Famous Five, but my favourite series was the Five Findouters. I just loved Fatty and Buster and all the disguises.

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      1. The mystery books with the five findouters were my favourites too. The mystery of Tally ho cottage was also published in 1954, she was certainly a prolific author.

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      2. It’s nice to meet other fans. Remember Goon, Earn and Sid and Perce? My absolute favourite was “The Mystery of the Vanished Prince”. I must have read it a million times. I think I still have a copy of Tally Ho cottage. I’ll look it up.

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      3. The five findouters are my favourites too, Janette. I reread the series a couple of years ago and loved how creative some of the solutions were. She was indeed, Five Go to Mystery Moor, and The Children at Green Meadows were also from 1954 plus some Noddy titles and more

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    2. I agree too, I think the Secret Seven weren’t as interesting as her others. I enjoyed the Findouters the most, but also the Famous Five, the ‘adventure books’ with Jack and Dinah, Philip and Kiki, also the ‘secret’ books with Mike, Nora and Prince Paul. I did love Scamper from the Secret Seven though

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    1. There’s nothing quite like an Enid Blyton! People talk about making books more culturally appropriate, but her books were widely read and loved and still are, in India. I had never seen the wildflowers, nuts and berries she describes in her books as they never grew in the hot plains where we lived, but when I went up into the mountains, I could instantly identify all the flowers and berries, etc. because of those perfect descriptions and drawings. I love her Nature books, too.

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  2. I gre up on Enid Blyton, so was so pleased to see her featuring here. I was always fondest of the Adventure series, the Mystery series and the Famous Five. And of course the wonderful school stories. Thanks for reminding me how much I loved them!

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    1. I really didn’t think that so many readers would still remember Enid Blyton, and want to revisit. I’m so glad that there are more like me.

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    2. Me too 🙂 I loved the Findouters, the Adventure series and Secret series (Mike, Peggy, Nora, Prince Paul), the Faraway Trees, the school stories, farm and circus books and lots of her short story collections

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    1. I discovered Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys much later. I’ve read a lot of them, and still do. You really must try Enid Blyton, though the characters are much younger, all pre-teens.

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