The Mystery of Banshee Towers by Enid Blyton (Methuen, 1961) The Five Find-Outers’ swansong comes after a four-year break and proves sadly anticlimactic. Banshee Towers is a breezy read but Fatty is a shadow of his former self and the mystery itself is lamentable. (In fact, the villainy makes no sense whatsoever!)
The Mystery of the Missing Man by Enid Blyton (Methuen, 1956) The arrival of Eunice (plus dieting!) deflates Fatty of his pomposity and self-assuredness. The plot is more original than those of the preceding mysteries; at the same time, the other Find-Outers are near absent and the ending comes as a damp squib.
The Mystery of Tally-Ho Cottage by Enid Blyton (Methuen, 1954) A rather sombre mystery. Blyton rehashes several familiar plot devices but scripts little investigation and few hijinks. Goon is at his least likeable and Fatty his most fallible, while the other Find-Outers contribute virtually nothing (save yet another epiphany-inducing comment from Bets).
The Mystery of Holly Lane by Enid Blyton (Methuen, 1953) An enjoyable bit of detective work for the Five Find-Outers (and dog), stumbling upon another mystery and outwitting Goon. As ever, the investigation itself doesn’t amount to much. Fatty, however, remains irrepressible, and has much the same conceited appeal as Sherlock Holmes.
The Mystery of the Strange Bundle by Enid Blyton (Methuen, 1952) Another mystery stumbled upon and solved largely by chance, the investigation aided by a fortuitous discovery arising from Fatty’s having played a prank on Goon! The usual fun but not very satisfying. Fatty at last has some comeuppance for all his Goon-baiting.
The Mystery of the Hidden House by Enid Blyton (Methuen, 1948) Fatty and Co. invent a mystery to dupe Goon’s nephew, who then stumbles upon the real thing. Blyton takes the story into more adult territory (corporeal punishment, kidnapping) and hints at a lesson in consequences, though never quite bringing out the moral.
The Mystery of the Missing Necklace by Enid Blyton (Methuen, 1947) Entertaining but something of a misstep. Fatty proves fallible, Goon shows himself to have brains, and the Five Find-Outers shadow and disrupt a police investigation rather than go about solving the mystery themselves. (Also, the gang members’ secret communications seem needlessly convoluted.)
The Mystery of the Secret Room by Enid Blyton (Methuen, 1945); audiobook read by Ann Beach (Chivers, 2010) The third book in the series but perhaps the best place to start if new to children’s detective fiction and/or the Five Found-Outers (and dog). Fatty and the others come into their own, outwitting Goon the policeman while solving another mystery. …