The Mystery of the Burnt Cottage: How has Blyton’s original text fared in a modern edition? part 6

Another month, another instalment! Hopefully I will get this finished within the next three months then. Previous parts can be seen  herehereherehere and here.

As always my own copy is a Methuen from 1957 – a 12th reprint/impression of the original. The new version is the most modern of any paperbacks I have looked at so far,  which is an Egmont copy from 2014.


First up, the chapter title loses its exclamation mark. That rather sets the tone for the rest of the chapter, which suffers from a further dozen pedantic and pointless little changes.

First up, queer was used three times, and has now become peculiar once and odd twice.

The all the italics were removed as usual:

  • Now this document…
  • a pair that had rubber soles
  • well, not exactly
  • what have you got

At a recent training day (World Host customer service – the same as all the Olympic staff went through) we had a short exercise to do. Six of us were given the same sentence written on a small piece of paper and we had to read it aloud. Each sentence had a different word highlighted, and so each was read out slightly differently. Then we all discussed how each sentence then had a different meaning.

What have you got? What have you got? What have you got? What have you got?

Those are all different, and I cannot understand why you would choose to remove those meanings when republishing a book. Does it cost more to use an italics font in places?

They’ve also changed any one to any one twice (and removed the italics from any in one of them).

Daisy is no longer the little girl, she is just the girl.

Mr Smellie (perhaps more politely!) now calls his housekeeper Miss Miggle rather than just Miggle.

And lastly when Daisy is searching the boot cupboard there are no longer goloshes in there. I would have expected it to be spelled galoshes, though. I thought that was how it was spelled in the Famous Five but I could be wrong.


This chapter seems to have half the world’s italics in it (though I still firmly believe each and every lot should be left alone!).

  • It is
  • Well I don’t think it is
  • As if you could tell
  • She really had learnt
  • I don’t suspect her of anything
  • Well, I do know
  • It might have been Horace
  • somebody saw Horace
  • I was here
  • What do you know about it?
  • But Horace saw someone
  • So Mr Smellie did go down here
  • He did it! (twice)
  • I don’t know… I think
  • What I do know is

Some other smallish changes:

Dinner bells are also still out – Blow – there’s your dinner bell, Pip is now Blow, it’s lunch time, Pip.

Peeks and Smellie are referred to as Mr Peeks and Mr Smellie by the children.

Lily’s father said he’d thrash me is now said he’d punish me.

And then we have an enormous amount of text cut regarding Fatty’s bruises.

By the way – how are your bruises, Fatty?
“Fine,” say Fatty proudly. “I’ll show you them.”
“Can’t stop now,” Said Larry. “I’ll see them this afternoon. So long!”

“Ones going yellow already,” said Fatty. But Larry and Daisy were gone.

Followed by:

[Fatty] Hoping that the others wouldn’t forget about his bruises in the afternoon.


Nobody asked Fatty about his bruises.
He was offended, and sat gloomily whilst the others discussed what to say to Lily. Bets noticed his face and was surprised.
“What’s the matter, Fatty?” she asked. “Are you ill?”
“No,” said Fatty. “Just a bit stiff, that’s all.”
Daisy took a look at him and gave a little squeal of laughter. “Oh, poor Fatty! We said we’d look at his bruises and we haven’t!”
Every one laughed. “Fatty’s an awful baby,” said Larry. “Cheer up, Fat-One. Show us your bruises and let us admire every one of them, big, medium and small.”
“They’re not worth mentioning,” said Fatty stiffly.

With all that cut it seems like they simply arrive at the summerhouse and then get up and leave again.

And another bit of cut text from after they get up:

“We’ll see his bruises at tea-time,” whispered Daisy to Larry. “He’s gone all sulky now.”



I make that thirty-two changes this time. That doesn’t include the italics but I have counted each sentence that has been cut.

That brings us to 141 in total.

This entry was posted in Updating Blyton's Books and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to The Mystery of the Burnt Cottage: How has Blyton’s original text fared in a modern edition? part 6

  1. Francis says:

    You must be getting to be an expert on Blyton books updating, Fiona.
    Another valuable comparison – thank you very much.


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