The Ragamuffin Mystery by Enid Blyton; ill. Gilbert Dunlop (Collins, 1959) The final ‘Barney’ mystery is a fast, pleasant read, set in Wales and introducing another memorable animal (a goose named Waddle). Although there’s a sense of adventure, the children trip along rather than detect, and have too much access to adult help.
The Rat-a-Tat Mystery by Enid Blyton (Collins, 1956) The fifth ‘Barney’ mystery is, if anything, even slighter than its predecessors. Not much detecting goes on! Yet the children have fun—overseen on this occasion by Mrs Tickle—and the animals cause their usual mayhem. The story flies by pleasantly enough.
The Rubadub Mystery by Enid Blyton (Collins, 1952) In this fourth ‘Barney’ mystery, Blyton perfects the formula of having a mystery unfold around her young protagonists, to be fallen into as much as investigated. The clues appear innocuous for much of the story and then come together in a rush.
The Ring O’Bells Mystery by Enid Blyton; ill. Gilbert Dunlop (William Collins, 1951) This third ‘Barney’ mystery might easily have been written during a languorous English summer. The rustic idyll shines warmly from its pages and the adventure unfolds slowly, picking up pace only in the concluding chapters. A pleasant read enlivened by chaotic animals.
The Rilloby Fair Mystery by Enid Blyton (William Collins, 1950) The second ‘Barney’ mystery doesn’t really make good on its potential (in truth rather solving itself in the end) but Blyton lays down clues throughout and the children’s day-to-day adventuring makes for pleasant escapism. Blyton’s integration of animals makes the book memorable.