The Mystery of the Strange Messages by Enid Blyton (Methuen, 1957) A return to form, despite some glaring continuity issues. There’s a freshness to the storytelling (less happenstance and more from Goon’s perspective) and Blyton structures the plot more tightly around the mystery and its investigation. One of the better Five Find-Outers books.
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 Invisible Thief by Enid Blyton (Methuen, 1950) A high point of the series. In retrospect, the denouement is obvious—not least of all because Blyton has twisted a plot contrivance from the previous two books!—but the clues are cleverly seeded and remain overlooked amidst a resplendence of 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 Spiteful Letters by Enid Blyton (Methuen, 1946) The Five Find-Outers hit their stride and Fatty, assured beyond his years, comes to the fore as their cheeky, disguise-wearing, outrageously daring leader. The mystery in this instance remains slight but the plot is cleverly structured around the children’s interactions with Goon.