So I’ve managed to do that thing where I don’t manage to get through the entire book when I set myself this blog to write about on Monday. I don’t think I actually have a copy of this book and right now I wasn’t going to go searching, so I resorted to downloading a copy from Amazon Kindle and have been reading it on my phone when I’ve had time, but I haven’t really had time which is fairly surprising.
Either way, we can go over the 50% of the book I have read and have a look at how this mystery is shaping up, if at all!
Where is Fatty?
We join the gang a week into their Easter holidays and without Fatty. It appears that he has a different breaking up date from school than the others and so they have been without him and its been dull, apparently because he’s not been there and there hasn’t been any mystery. They’re all off to meet Fatty at the station with Buster and they are so convinced that he will turn up in disguise that they don’t check the time of the train. When the passengers get off the train, the children decide that someone wrapped up, around the same height as Fatty is their leader and decide to follow him, where as Buster stays sat on the platform, knowing that his master hasn’t turned up yet.
The gentleman in question is foreign and asks them to take him to “Grintriss” which turns out to be “Green Trees” a house on Holly lane, so our story already seems to be taking us in the direction of the mystery area, even though they don’t know it yet. When Fatty does eventually turn up, and laughs at them all for not waiting for the train, he speaks in perfect french (another thing he can seemingly do without effort), and directs the man to the correct house.
Now having found Fatty, the Five Find Outers want a mystery to get their teeth into, and even though there isn’t a sniff of one, they decide to set each other challenges and dares to try and brush up on their sleuthing skills. Larry dresses up as a window cleaner, which is where most of the books issues start. Fatty dresses up as an old woman to try and get Goon to buy a ticket for the raffle, and Pip I think has to follow Goon around town.
Anyway they don’t really have a mystery until they realise that Larry left his mothers leather in the garden of the house he was washing windows for and they have to go back to it and hear someone in distress, calling for the police. It turns out the old man in the bungalow has been robbed and lost almost £200. He doesn’t know who it could have been because hes partially blind and won’t tell the children where his hiding place in case they pinch the money. Either way, he’s a bit of an odd character but I’m sure as we get further into the book more will be revealed about him.
The Five Find Outers dismiss this as an ordinary robbery and nothing exciting until Fatty goes on a midnight jaunt to collect the leather for Larry, with Buster and a big car pulls up. Unfortunately this is where I got to, and wasn’t able to read past this bit this week, but it looks like things are kicking off at long last.
Slow, Slow, Slow
Every time I read a Five Find Outers book, even though Enid Blyton was a genius and a super writer, I’m just not convinced that these books actually had any main story behind them because it takes so long for the mystery to get started. Compare this to some of the Famous Fives and you will see how quickly it can take the Famous Five actually end up in a mystery and an adventure. There’s a sense of excitement with the Five that I just don’t get with the Find Outers. IS that just me?
We have a lot of interaction with Goon in this book and to be frank he gets worse and worse. I know he’s not supposed to be a nice character but its still frustrating that he can’t be a proper grown up and see past his dislike of Fatty, especially when Fatty rings Goon to report the old man’s missing money. He slams down the phone on Fatty, who then rings the head quarters to get hold of Superintendent Jenks in an attempt to report the robbery because Goon wouldn’t listen to him. I mean fairs fair, Fatty is as bad to Goon as Goon is to Fatty but there isn’t a single redeeming feature of Goon, where you could argue that Fatty is at least generous and fair to his friends.
I don’t know, but these books to take a long time to start it feels like to me. Maybe I’m just spoilt by the Famous Five. It wouldn’t be unfair to point out the continued popularly of the Famous Five where as the Find Outers don’t get mentioned as a Blyton Book and this must really have something to do with the way the books are written. Am I missing something? Maybe I have the wrong age group for the books in my head, putting them older than they actually are meant to be. Anyway I just don’t feel the connection with them that I do with the Famous Five. It may be my advanced years of course and the fact that I didn’t grow up reading these books.
Either way, this mystery might be half decent this time! Lets hope huh?
Next review: The Mystery of Holly Lane part 2
Don’t forget to read this analysis on “Holly Lane” by Duncan McLaren: http://www.enidblyton.me.uk/styled-25/index.html
I am currently reading my way thru the “Mystery” series, having been provoked to do so by Stef’s commentaries. The thing I notice comparing them with Famous Five, is the Mystery novels are almost 90% someone talking. There is very little description eg “He climbed up…” etc.
I feel the same, There’s so much more action in the FF, Adventure series, R series and Adventurous Four!