The Five Find-Outers
The Five Find-Outers and Dog (not to be confused with "The Famous Five"), also known as the Enid Blyton Mystery Series, is a series of children's mystery books written by
Enid Blytonand first published between 1943 and 1961. Set in the fictitious village of Peterswood, close to Marlow, Buckinghamshire, the children encounter a mystery every school holiday, always solving the puzzle before Mr Goon, the village policeman, much to his annoyance.
* Fatty (Frederick Algernon Trotteville) – the leader of the five. He was given the nickname Fatty by the other children because of his initials (F.A.T.) and his stout build. An only child, he receives generous amounts of pocket money from his parents and wealthy relatives. His wealth causes some friction with the other children, especially Pip, but Fatty is always willing to share his money with the group, often buying rounds of cakes, drinks and ice-creams. Fatty also uses his pocket money to finance his interest in
disguisesand stores a large collection of clothes, wigs, grease-paint, cheek-pads, false teeth and other items in his shed at the bottom of the garden. Fatty is a skilled oratorand poet, and able to create poetry ad-lib. He always comes top of his form at school and his ambition when he grows up is to become a detective. Bets in particular adores Fatty and is very loyal to him.
* Larry (Lawrence Daykin) – the eldest of the five who was the original leader of the Five Find-Outers, passing the role to Fatty (somewhat reluctantly) after the second mystery. Fatty however justifies his new role by demonstrating the use of invisible writing and escaping from a closed room. Larry is somewhat jealous of Fatty.
* Daisy (Margaret Daykin) – Larry's younger sister. Creating the Five Find-Outers was Daisy's idea.
* Pip (Philip Hilton) – The same age as Daisy. Pip often teases his younger sister, Bets.
* Bets (Elizabeth Hilton) – Pip's young sister, and the youngest of the Five Find-Outers. She adores Fatty and he is very fond of her. In contrast to Fatty's rather relaxed parents, Mr and Mrs Hilton are quite strict and often take a dim view of Pip and Bets's sleuthing activities, wishing that Pip especially would direct the same amount of energy into his schoolwork. In "The Mystery of the Hidden House" the Hiltons forbid Pip and Bets from getting involved in mysteries. Bets is often the first to spot vital clues and also tends to see through Fatty's disguises before anyone else.
* Buster – Fatty's jet-black
Scottish Terrier. He thinks the world of Fatty and his favourite pastime is to nip at Mr Goon's ankles.
Other recurring characters are:
* Theophilus Goon (or Mr Goon as he is known) – the village policeman, who is outwitted by the five children in every story. Mr Goon would dearly love promotion, but considers the children to be hindering him rather than helping. To chase them away he often tells them to "Clear Orf" (instead of clear off). Consequently, the children have given him the nick name "Clear-Orf".
* Ern Goon (short for Ernest) – Mr. Goon's nephew. Ern is introduced in the book "The Mystery of the Hidden House." Ern is a great lover of poetry, or 'portry' as he calls it, though he never finished any poem (or 'pome' as he calls it) but Fatty can always finish it for him. That is one of the reasons that he is a great admirer of Fatty. Ern has two twin brothers, Sid and Perce. Sid has a fondness for toffee, so much so that he has trouble speaking or being understood. At one time, Mr Goon scolded Perce for sucking stick-me-tight toffees in front of 'royalty'. (Actually just the Find-Outers in disguise.) In "The Mystery of the Strange Messages", Ern reveals that Sid is now chewing gum instead. Ern can be considered to be the sixth member of the group.
* Inspector (then Chief Inspector, then Superintendent) Jenks – the head of the local police department. Because the Five are resented by Mr Goon, the children always telephone the Inspector when they have solved a mystery. Over the course of the books he becomes a great friend of the children. Jenks is based on a real character from Blyton's home town who was promoted through the ranks of the police just as was his fictional counterpart. He becomes acquainted with the Five Find-Outers while fishing. He admires the children, especially Fatty, much to the dismay of Mr. Goon.Minor characters include:
* Luke Brown – Luke only appears in "The Mystery of the Disappearing Cat". He is the gardener's help at Pip and Bets' neighbour's house and forms a strong friendship with the five children, particularly Bets. When the neighbour, Lady Candling's, valuable cat is stolen with Luke right next to the cat-cages, Luke denies stealing the cat before running away. He later returns and hides in Pip and Bets' summerhouse. When the cat is found and the culprit discovered, Luke presumably continues his job at Lady Candling's, although he is never mentioned again in the series.
* Miss Trimble – Lady Candling's companion. The children call her Miss Tremble, because she is scared of everything. Her glasses often fall off and Bets loves to count them, much to Miss Trimble's annoyance. First appearing in "The Mystery of the Disappearing Cat", she reappears in "The Mystery of the Spiteful Letters", when the children question her about the regular passengers on the 10:15 Monday bus to Sheepsale. In "The Mystery of the Hidden House", the children (save for Fatty) see her at the railway station but that is the last time she is mentioned.
* Gladys – Pip and Bets' maid in "The Mystery of the Spiteful Letters". When she receives a spiteful letter from Mrs Moon, the cook, she flees the house to live with her aunt. When the children track her down, she admits that she used to be a thief but is trying to forget her old life. She then steals all of the letters from Mr Goon so that the children can read them. At the end of the book, Mrs Hilton announces the Gladys is coming back. She is mentioned a few times in "The Mystery of the Missing Necklace", but by "The Mystery of the Hidden House", the Hiltons have a new maid, Lorna (also known as Ern's cousin in "The Mystery of Tally-Ho Cottage").
At the beginning of the series, Larry is 13, Fatty, Pip and Daisy are 12, and Bets is 8. Bets goes to
day school, whereas all the others go to boarding school. The series spans across school holidays beginning with the Easter holidays and cycles through Summer and Christmas holidays. During all holidays the children solve a mystery till "The Mystery of the Invisible Thief". However there is a break here. After this the next mystery is in the next summer holidays.
The 15 books in the series are:
The Mystery of the Burnt Cottage" (1943)
The Mystery of the Disappearing Cat" (1944)
The Mystery of the Secret Room" (1945)
The Mystery of the Spiteful Letters" (1946)
The Mystery of the Missing Necklace" (1947)
The Mystery of the Hidden House" (1948)
The Mystery of the Pantomime Cat" (1949)
The Mystery of the Invisible Thief" (1950)
The Mystery of the Vanished Prince" (1951)
The Mystery of the Strange Bundle" (1952)
The Mystery of Holly Lane" (1953)
The Mystery of Tally-Ho Cottage" (1954)
The Mystery of the Missing Man" (1956)
The Mystery of the Strange Messages" (1957)
The Mystery of Banshee Towers" (1961)
* [http://www.enidblyton.net/mystery-series/ Mystery Series (Five Find-Outers) Book Reviews & Articles]
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