I’ve covered my top Find-Outer books and my middling Find-Outer books so now it’s time for my least favourites. As I put in the first post least favourite doesn’t mean books I dislike. It just means I like them a bit less than the others in the series. I don’t think Blyton ever wrote a bad book!
11. The Mystery of the Missing Necklace
This is another one I didn’t read as a child (there’s a recurring theme here!). This one has the Find-Outers ‘on the case’ before anything has actually happened, as Peterswood might be next to have a jewel burglary. Fatty (now his voice has broken) does some good disguise work – and is particularly funny when the old man he is dressed as spots him – though the disguising takes up a lot of the book. I also like them investigating the bike horns as it’s clever but also amusing. It tickles me that Goon gets in on the disguising act as well, though it has disastrous consequences for poor Fatty.
12. The Mystery of Tally-Ho Cottage
I’m fairly sure this is one book that I did read as a child. I think a lot of people class this as one of the best mysteries, but I can’t say I agree. I think I found this one too confusing what with all the disguises – both Fatty and Mr Lorenzo disguise themselves as Mr Larkin – plus the unfathomable journey of the stolen painting. It also features a lot of Ern, who is not one of my favourite characters, Ern’s awful ‘pomes’ and Fatty’s awful Ern-inspired ‘pomes’, plus some of Ern’s extended family who I like even less.
13. The Mystery of the Hidden House
I had a hardback of this when I was younger but I never read it. The grey boards clearly weren’t as interesting as the Armada paperback covers (and I think I mistook the magnifying glass for a tennis racket…) Anyway, I have read it as an adult and it’s another one with a fake mystery, but this one takes up at least half the book. When we do get down to the real mystery it’s good, but confusing as it merges with the fake one. There’s a ton of Ern as well (this is his first book) and lord he doesn’t half drone on and on.
14. The Mystery of the Vanished Prince
I didn’t read this one as child, and I think I was a bit disappointed when I read it as an adult. The start is quite silly with the Find-Outers dressing themselves as royalty from a fictional country and people falling for it. Ern and his two brothers also appear in this one, Sid and Perce are really quite irritating characters with their baby obsession and constant eating of sticky toffee. The denouement is also disappointing as the phoney prince admits everything including where the real one is! So their decent detective work up to that point is a waste.
15. The Mystery of the Secret Room
Unsurprisingly this is also one of the books I didn’t read as a child. In it’s favour though, it doesn’t have Ern in it. Every time I read this, or even think about it, all I can think is that a furnished room in an otherwise empty house is not so insanely weird that it must be a serious mystery that needs immediate solving. Anyway, most of this book is adventure-y rather than mystery and that’s ok – the invisible ink and other tricks Fatty deploys are good – but for me the actual mystery is a bit naff.
And there we are, that’s my ordering complete. I had put these in order before I wrote the full post and I actually ended up reordering them. Mostly because I had to do some research to remind myself of the plots and rediscovered some moments I liked in these books. I think remembering as a lot to do with how much I like books. Looking forward to a favourite moment, anticipating the big reveal. If I only have a vague recollection of a book it’s harder to feel excited about it – unless I remember that I really liked it, despite not remembering the details.
So books I haven’t read multiple times end up lower down my lists (despite their apparent strengths meaning they top everyone else’s lists) but I also seem to not like Ern’s books very much either. I don’t condone the way the Five Find-Outers treat him, they can be rather snobnish and unkind at times (though only behave as children of their class would be expected to for the time) but honestly I find Ern really tiresome.
Don’t forget to let me know what your least favourite books in the series are, and don’t hate on me too much for putting your favourites at the bottom, eh?