Enid Blyton (1897–1968) is and has been one of my favourite writers since I was a child. A prolific writer, she published over 700 books (wikipedia lists 762 during her lifetime) and while she essentially wrote children’s fiction, she wrote across a range of genres–mystery, adventure, and detective series like the Five Findouters, the Famous Five, the Adventurous Four, the Secret Seven, the Secret Series, the Adventure Series, the Barney Mysteries; school series, like St Clares, Malory Towers, the Naughtiest Girl; fantasy and magic like the Faraway Tree and Wishing Chair books besides standalones featuring pixies, brownies, goblins, and other fairy and magic folk; farm stories like the Six Cousins, and Willow Farm; circus stories like Galliano’s Circus, and the stories featuring Pip and Susy-ann; nature books like the Animal Book, Birds of Our Gardens, British Birds among many many others including short stories, retellings (The Land of Far Beyond, a retelling of The Pilgrim’s Progress) poems, and puzzles.
She may not be considered ‘literary’ but she is creative and fun, and I for one love her stories and characters. I enjoy revisiting books that I enjoyed as a child, and also reading her ‘new’ to me books. Over the last few years, I revisited one of my favourite series, the Five Findouters chronologically for the first time and shared reviews and experiences on this blog. This was followed by the Malory Towers school series. I plan to continue this with her other (standalone) books and series. Hope fellow Blyton fans will read and enjoy these, and readers new to her will pick some up as well. Below are links to reviews of the books I’ve read and reviewed so far, and also some other posts on the blog on Blyton’s books.
Five Findouters and Dog
Comprising five children, siblings Pip and Bets Hilton, and Larry and Daisy Daykin, and Frederick Algernon Trotteville or ‘Fatty’ and of course, Fatty’s little Scottie Buster, the five findouters live in the little village of Peterswood where they encounter various mysteries from a cottage set on fire to gangs of thieves to kidnapped cats. Their nemesis is the bumbling village policeman, Mr Theophilus Goon, while Inspector (later Superintendent) Jenks is their friend. This series has more of a detective element than Blyton’s other series with the children, Fatty in particular, using disguises and other skills to solve their cases.
The Mystery of the Burnt Cottage (1943): the five come together for the first time (Fatty is new in the village), and solve the mystery of Mr Hicks’ burnt cottage (review)
The Mystery of the Disappearing Cat (1944): a prize Siamese cat vanishes (review)
The Mystery of the Secret Room (1945): the five come across a furnished room at the top of an abandoned house (review)
The Mystery of the Spiteful Letters (1946): a poison-pen in Peterswood (review)
The Mystery of the Missing Necklace (1947): a gang of thieves on the loose, and a missing necklace to track down (review)
The Mystery of the Hidden House (1948): a fake mystery turns real; Ern Goon enters the scene (review)
The Mystery of the Pantomime Cat (1949): the findouters go to the pantomime where a robbery takes place and poor Boysie, the pantomime cat is the chief suspect (review)
The Mystery of the Invisible Thief (1950): the five trail an ‘invisible’ thief who leaves behind giant footprints and glove marks (review)
The Mystery of the Vanished Prince (1951): a little prince vanishes from a school camp (review)
The Mystery of the Strange Bundle (1952): Christmas holidays, a robbery and Fatty turns ventriloquist (review)
The Mystery of Holly Lane (1953): a blind old man’s furniture is stolen and his daughter is the main suspect (review)
The Mystery of Tally-Ho Cottage (1954): Christmas holidays, a poodle, and a stolen painting (review)
The Mystery of the Missing Man (1956): a coleopterist with a domineering young daughter (who gets the better of Fatty); a mysterious tramp (review)
The Mystery of the Strange Messages (1957): anonymous letters, Sid and Perce appear (review)
The Mystery of Banshee Towers (1961): sea pictures, mysterious trapdoors, Buster and Bingo–two crazy dogs (review)
Series review: here.
Malory Towers is one of Enid Blyton’s series of school stories. Set in a boarding school called Malory Towers in Cornwall, we meet Darrell Rivers, a young girl of twelve as she sets out to join Malory Towers, hoping to make new friends, and trace her journey until she is passing out of school at eighteen. At school she must tell the right sort of friend from the wrong, and also face she own bad temper. In the series we meet various characters and follow the girls’ adventures. The Cornish landscape stands out in many of the stories.
First Term at Malory Towers (1946): Darrell Rivers heads to Malory Towers for the first time (review)
Second Form at Malory Towers (1947): new students, school activities, and mysterious thefts (review)
Third Year at Malory Towers (1948): a new American student Zerelda and the horse whiz, ‘Bill’ join Malory Towers (review)
Upper Forth at Malory Towers (1949): Darrell’s sister Felicity joins Malory Towers, Darrell becomes head girl (review)
In the Fifth at Malory Towers (1950): Darrell becomes games captain, and the form puts up the Christmas entertainment (review)
Last Term at Malory Towers (1951): Darrell and her friends are about to finish school and head to college; Gwendolen Mary must face difficult truths (review)
Series review: here
Adventure of the Strange Ruby (1960): Pat and Tessa help rescue two children David and Faith who they had met on vacation the previous year, and who have been kidnapped after having inherited a strange ruby (review)
A general post I wrote on Enid Blyton’s various school series and stories (here)
Shelf Control is a weekly feature hosted by Lisa at Bookshelf Fantasies; I participate in this one featuring books from my TBR pile every Wednesday. These are books I haven’t read yet so don’t have full reviews of. I will add these as I read them. A few Blytons which I have featured are:
Holiday House (1955): twins Partrick and Mary stumble upon a mystery when they are convalescing in Holiday House here
The Caravan Family (1945-46): Mike, Belinda and Ann go on an adventure in a Caravan (here)
Well, Really Mr Twiddle (1953): absent-minded Mr Twiddle gets into various scrapes (here)