After reading through the complete Mystery Series for the umpteenth time I suddenly started to wonder what they would all be doing now, at this moment in time. That was in the year 2008. I quickly did some calculations of their ages by the information Enid had given in her books. Fatty was twelve in the first book, and the year of publication was 1943, so that would put him as being born in 1931. So that’s when it all began for me in that year of 2008. Fatty would have been seventy-seven, if he were a real person, and retired. So what if I brought them to life as they would be today, all retired, and still being the Find-Outers?
I set about writing the stories of Fatty and Co in retirement, which for me, kept them alive and I would lose myself in the stories I created for them all.
As any Find-Outer fan knows, Fatty always wanted to be the best detective in the world, and wanted to be as good as his hero – Sherlock Holmes. So inevitably in my stories he’d joined the police force and on retiring had reached the position of Police Commander. Bets having always admired Fatty as a child became his wife and over the years they’d had not only two sons, who joined their father in the police force, but they’d also owned a few black Scottie dogs and named them all Buster.
In the first story I wrote – Returning to Peterswood – I had Fatty walking around the village of his childhood with his present dog, Buster, stopping outside the various houses which brought back his childhood memories. The Red House where Pip and Bets used to live, Larry and Daisy’s house, and the police house where Mr. Goon had lived but was now a private residence. And of course his own house – the White House – which was being refurbished ready for he and his wife Bets to move into as they’d decided to move back to the village of their childhood.
After his nostalgic walk around the village, Fatty goes to meet Bets who is sitting in the garden of Daisy’s cottage having tea. Daisy wasn’t married at that time, but she would be later in the series of stories. In fact, surrounding Daisy and her husband would be a rather complex series of events, all explained in a couple of the stories, one entitled – Peterswood Players – and the other one – Find-Outers Head Westward. In the latter story not only do they discover the background of Daisy’s husband but they also run into Ern Goon, who they thought was deceased! So here we have another intriguing plot surrounding Ern!
Back in Daisy’s garden, Pip and Larry join them shortly after Fatty’s arrival. Pip being a retired school teacher and living in Burnham Beeches and Larry being a retired solicitor in the city, but soon to return to Peterswood also.
At this stage of the first story, I hadn’t really thought about writing any further stories but once Keith had put that very first one on his website – Enidblyton.net – I then got quite a few responses back asking for me to write more, which of course I did.
I then set about trying to add a bit of mystery and intrigue into the stories and brought back some of the characters they’d known from childhood. Here I had quite a bit of working out to do, as we were now in present times, and ages etc had to be worked out along with Enid’s information from the original books.
A few characters they once again met with were – Inspector Jenks and Hilary, his God-daughter, who had her own mystery surrounding her. Not only had she been married and divorced, having had a family with her husband, but years before meeting him she had a child out-of-wedlock, Alison. Alison’s daughter, Lisa, is involved in a few of the stories helping to solve the mysteries with Fatty and Co.
Eunice makes an appearance as an author in Author of Mystery as she too holds a secret which Fatty uncovers. We also meet Mr. Goon’s son, who turns out to be a threat to Fatty, and the reasons for this are told in the story of Just An Ordinary Sunday Afternoon.
In the very end story, which is in two parts, not only do the Find-Outers take a holiday away in Derbyshire, but another plot of intrigue unfolds. Fatty learns much to his annoyance that he has been used by Ern Goon’s ex employer, in the shape of M15, which puts Fatty and the lives of the other Find-Outers at risk.
Here I ended my group of stories which loosely follow on from number 1 right through to number 16. I have contemplated writing just one more short story, as this year of 2013 will be The Find-Outers 70th Anniversary, but as yet I haven’t really decided as I always feel that it is best to end on a good story, rather than to keep writing, only to end up with a story that doesn’t quite reach the readers expectations.
Enid always tried to respond to her readers’ letters, of wanting more and more, and some of her later books at the end of certain series never quite lived up to the rest of the books. I’m referring here to what I think is the weakest of the FFOs The Mystery of Banshee Towers, and for the Famous Five Five Are Together Again.
Before I close, I would just like to add that in 2010/11, the first 13 of these stories were stolen by a ‘man of the cloth’ named, M.E. Rosson, who took them from Keith’s website and put them into a self-published book of his own entitled The Return of the Five Find-Outers. He copied all my work, word for word, and only changed the titles, giving them chapter headings. Here are a few brief words from the acknowledgements of his self-published book:
I have enjoyed the works of Enid Blyton as a child and later as an adult. I was convinced that I could re-create the atmosphere of her works… I hope you enjoy my attempts…
Of course everyone hopefully now knows that those stories are all my own work and not his! At the end of the final ‘stolen story’ he adds his own work of 11 lines, which are a big mistake. He had Fatty die in his sleep!
Big mistake, as these characters are not his or mine to kill off. They are Enid Blyton’s characters, and as Enid is no longer with us to make that decision, then these characters will live on and on, thankfully, as it should be. AMEN.
Copyright Julie Heginbotham
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