Title: The Mystery of the Pantomime Cat
Author: Enid Blyton
Age Rating: 9+
The Mystery of the Pantomime Cat is seventh in the wonderful classic Find-Outers series by Enid Blyton and is easily one of my favourites! It is such a comical entertainining addition to the series, and there is some great detecting done and wonderful new characters introduced. Once again the story is based around Peterswood, home to Fatty (Frederick) Bets, Pip, Larry and Daisy, but Peterswood isn’t the same without Mr Goon the village Policeman, who is absent in the first few chapters (away on holiday). PC Pippin takes his place for a seemingly quiet few days of patrol in the seemingly quiet village of Peterswood! But as usual things aren’t quiet for long: after he is tricked by the children by a series of random clues and sent on a wild goose chase, he witnesses a true crime. The reason he is witness to it, is actually all due to the children’s ‘trick’ and following the instructions on a note made by them, he goes to a Little Theatre and picks up the clues practically scattered across the verandah behind it! There are several interesting clues left by the children, but the one which plays the most major part in the following plot is the handkerchief with the ‘Z’ on it, left by Daisy. The Z was mainly chosen because of the unique initial. Pippin is delighted, of course. And then the true mystery kicks in. Pippin sees the Pantomime Cat (all part of the performance the Little Theatre is putting on) and hears groans and noises. And then he discovers the drugged manager (of the Theatre) and open safe! Then, as any officer would, he put out the clues and considered the suspects. Everybody who was present at the Pantomime, of course. These included most of the actors of the current show: Zoe, Boysie (the Pantomime Cat in the performance: in reality a confused young man who doesn’t seem quite right. Zoe is often the one to look out for him), and several others who all have alibis (discovered by the Find-Outers, after hearing about the crime and setting out to investigate by speaking with those present at the Little Theatre at the time). So it is quite a puzzling case. Goon returns from his holiday destination, ready for solving the case, but the Find-Outers (and dog) are determined as ever, to solve it first. Of course, Zoe is a prime suspect with the Police, because of the handkerchief with the Z on (which the children are long feeling guilty about) and also Boysie. The children are sure both these suspects couldn’t have possibly committed the crime because Zoe is so nice and Boysie is so gentle and quiet. It is discovered however (after questioning the manager) that Boysie (dressed as the cat) was seen just before the crime. He brought him a cup of tea. Things don’t look good for the Pantomime Cat at this point. Did he poison the Managers tea?… is the question on everyone’s lips…
As well as knuckling down to some good old detective work, the Five-Find-Outers are also becoming friends with the Pantomime folk in the story, and often visit them after shows, etc. A seemingly innocent clue drifts past the children’s noses one evening when Boysie declares there is a rip in his Cat costume. Zoe promises to mend it for him.
And so the story goes on, the children ticking all the suspects off one by one, until suddenly – brainwave! Bets makes a comment which gets everyone thinking. “It almost makes you think it must have been somebody else in Boysie’s skin.”
Of course! Anyone could have been in Boysie’s Cat costume! It’s just a matter of who? Someone bigger than Boysie of course, to cause the rip. So…
This book certainly deserves a five of five star rating for some excellent characters, a wonderful plot and a very original ‘whodunnit’. I highly recommend you pick up the book for a wonderful read.
Sorry the review this week is a day late! Next week’s review will (definitely!) be posted on Wednesday and will be based on Michael Morpurgo’s War Horse. A classic tale…