Nostalgia & Synopsis
Whether you know them like this (left) or like this (right), they’re the Five-Find-Outers – a delightful series of children’s mystery books by Enid Blyton dating back to the 1940’s. Enid Blyton is basically the Agatha Christie for 10yr olds regarding this set of 15 books, and The Mystery of the Burnt Cottage gets the series off to a fantastic start! She sets the scene for a great book within the first couple of pages:
Enter: Larry, Daisy, Pip, Bets, Fatty (yep, that’s what they call him – his real name is Frederick, though) and last but not least:Fatty’s little Scottie dog – Buster. They are the Five Find Outers (and dog) or that’s what they become, anyway, when crime falls upon the quiet little village of Peterswood. (And no, these books are for children – they are not murder mysteries ;-)) Instead of murders, the children are faced with some more perplexing mysteries like in this book – who set fire to Mr Hick’s workroom?
Immediately, the Find-Outers are plunged into a mystery complete with clues, suspects and ultimately a criminal that needed finding. Can the Find-Outers bring him to justice?
Enid Blyton’s stories are truly timeless in my opinion. I think that she would have been thrilled if she knew that her stories were being read as avidly as ever to this day. She gets everything just right in this book; so carefully structured. Just when you think the Find-Outers have failed in their efforts to find out who the criminal is, along comes the conclusion. She keeps the reader compelled throughout the entire book. It’s clear that this series is brilliant, solely because they are still being published to this day.
Fatty and the others are amazing characters. They make the books so interesting, so humorous and so enjoyable. At some points in this book, I had to laugh at loud! Especially at this particular extract describing the rather plump Mrs Minns:
“What a shock that was!” she said [Mrs Minns, relating to the fire]. “My word, when I saw what was happening, anyone could have knocked me down with a feather.”
Both the children felt certain that nothing short of a bar of iron would ever knock fat Mrs Minns over.
Naturally, I am awarding this book a five star rating. It’s components are spot on – an excellent mystery (with a more than satisfactory outcome), fantastic characters, and plenty of hilarious humour!
Guess what is just around the corner? Halloween! I will be doing three festive posts a bit nearer to the time. Look for for them. One will be a review on a Halloween-related book (probably Hallowe’en Party by Agatha Christie). The second will be a look at my sister’s Halloween costume (based on a scary character from one of my favourite books). And finally, the last will be a review on a Halloween event that I’m going to called Gothic For Girls on the 30th of October. It involves readings from classical books, so I’ll let you know how that goes. 🙂 Keep checking in! Thanks for reading.