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