My Three Top Baddies

And so here is my ‘surprise’ for the week. Talking of surprises we will also have one on Sunday for you – a Halloween themed one.

Continuing on from three favourite characters, and three favourite adults I have decided to look at my top three baddies. Why not favourite baddies, you ask? Well, mostly because I couldn’t say that I like any of these people. They are the kind you probably love to hate and enjoy reading about, though.


Jo-Jo is only marvellous as long as he is actually Jo-Jo, and not the insipid Joe of later updates. The original Jo-Jo is truly masterful, playing the slightly deranged and very stupid handyman/servant at Craggy Tops. Jo-Jo is neither stupid nor entirely deranged, rather he is extremely clever, cruel, devious and evil. He is a criminal mastermind, essentially, under the bumbling exterior he presents to others.

Jo-Jo is such a good villain because he is frightening whether he is playing his stupid and cruel servant role or being his true coldly evil self. Could you imagine being caught by him and his rope-end on the cliffs at night? Makes you shudder.



I’ve had to keep these two together as really they are a criminal double-act. They work together as cat-burglars, using their circus skills to break into homes to steal valuable jewels. They are incredibly unlikeable as people, however. We never get to see them doing their circus performances where they are probably marvellous, but in their every-day clothes the Five can barely believe than Dan is a clown. He is the least clown-like person you could ever imagine, even if most circus clowns are known for looking rather sad when out of the ring. They, Dan in particular as he is the uncle, are cruel to Nobby and very bad-tempered with him and the Five. They are also not above poisoning animals to try to protect their secret stash of jewels. Nor would they think twice about pointing a gun at a group of kids.



Gwen probably isn’t the sort of person you would have expected to see in this list. (To be honest I didn’t think she would crop up either.) I was struggling a bit to choose between the remainder of Blyton’s traditional baddies – I mean you have a fairly long list from the Famous Five alone – as although they are all proficient at being scary, cruel and bad there weren’t many that stood out on their own.

And so, Gwen. She was actually a suggestion from Stef – never let it be said that I don’t give credit where credit is due. Is Gwen a baddie? I think she is. She is certainly an important antagonist through her six years at Malory Towers. She has many undesirable qualities like vanity, laziness, selfishness and boastfulness, but she also shows many behaviours which make her the villain of the piece, and certainly an enemy of sorts to Darrell.

First of all, she can be a bully. She pushed Mary-Lou into the pool in their first year – and not in a joking way. She did it purely out of spite. She will do anything to get her way, including carrying out acts of vandalism to frame innocent parties.

In her defence she had a spoiled upbringing and her mother and governess seemed to do everything in their power to make her vain and selfish, and she does have a huge epiphany at the end of the series when her father becomes seriously ill. That doesn’t change the fact that she’s one of those characters that you can love to hate for their sheer awfulness. I’ve read a few posts from people defending Gwen and saying she never had a chance, but I think you’ve got to look at girls like the O’Sullivan twins, Elizabeth Allen and all the others who turned up at boarding schools and learned some very hard lessons about their inner selves. It takes the near-death of her father to get through to Gwen.

I’m not saying that the other girls don’t have their faults. When it comes to writing stories set after the girls have grown up I rather tend to have Alicia as a baddie, because let’s be honest she was a rather unkind person. She does learn a couple of lessons along the way though. Darrell has her flaws too, being quick to anger and judgement but she knows this and fights a battle against it her whole time at school.

So go on Gwen, give me one of your best scowls!

Gwen scowling at Belinda

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Monday #188

Good Monday all! Hope you had a lovely weekend! We shall have a bit of a surprise on Wednesday as to what we’re getting from Fiona as she’s having difficulty deciding at the moment, but I’m sure she’ll come up with a corker – as always!

Apart from that, this is how the week looks:


Have a good week everyone!

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The Mystery of the Burnt Cottage: How has Blyton’s original text fared in a modern edition? part five

I’m keeping up with my resolution to do at least one of these a month (so far!). Previous instalments can be seen  hereherehere and here.

As always my own copy is a Methuen from 1957 – a 12th reprint/impression of the original. The new version is the most modern of any paperbacks I have looked at so far,  which is an Egmont copy from 2014.


The new version of the text continues to make Fatty seem lazy and uninterested in find-outing. Originally he says he would like to go with the others on a bike ride  but I believe I’m too stiff. This is changed to the weak-sounding but I don’t feel up to it. 

Considering the majority of the references to his bruises, stiffness and soreness have been cut from earlier chapters his not feeling up to going with the others sounds like a lame excuse.

The children no longer get called in to tea by a bell. The tea-bell rang. The children ran indoors to wash, and were soon sitting down, has become The children were called into tea, and ran indoors to wash. They were soon sitting down. 

It’s bad enough that they had to change a bell to being called, but it annoys me even more that they then alter the following sentences to accommodate it. Why not Mrs Hilton called out that it was tea-time. The children ran indoors… Or of course, they could still have a bell! If they have an enormous garden it still makes sense for a bell (or gong) to be rung to save someone bellowing.

As with one or two earlier chapters hie is changed to hey, and all instances of italics are lost.

  • I’d like to go
  • That seemed very suspicious indeed. Very suspicious.


In all chapters so far any capitalising of words like suspect has been removed. It is a bit strange therefore that Bets’ phrase of find-outing suddenly becomes Find-Outing here. They are Find-Outers (a name for their group) because they find things out, or find-out as Bets says. I don’t think that qualifies the act of find-outing for capitals.

As with the last chapter the bell is done away with. Instead of Then a bell rang it is Then they were called for dinner. At least it doesn’t necessitate other text being changed – but it makes slightly less sense because not all the children would have been called. Daisy and Larry went home and Fatty went back to the hotel with Buster. So, it should have been Pip and Bets were called for dinner, except it says after that how Pip went in to supper and Bets went to bed. So why was anyone called for dinner?

And again, not a single italics survives. It’s so annoying!

  • she couldn’t have started the fire
  • tell us where he was
  • Then what do we do?
  • Did you really see them?
  • now we seem to have two people

Perhaps five uses of italics in one chapter could seem like a lot, but the pages are hardly peppered with it.

Only six individual changes between those two chapter, but we now have 109 altogether.

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Famous Five 70s Style: Five Have a Wonderful Time


Five Have a Wonderful Time was one of the Fives that brought my attention back to Enid Blyton when I was about eleven or twelve. I remember coming across the Millennium editions in the local library and loving that they were in colour. I fell straight back in love and I must had gotten my mother to renew those books for weeks and weeks and weeks in the beginning. So as you might be able to tell, Five Have a Wonderful Time is a book that is close to my heart, and here’s what I think of the 1970s adaption.

The Good

As we all know the 90s version of Five have a Wonderful Time has some flaws, largely due to Marco Williamson’s broken leg demanding plot be changed to accommodate him. The 70s episode however has none of these problems, and for the most part the episode sticks right to the script, but as with most of Richard Sparks (one of the writers, the other being Gail Renard) adaptations the episode doesn’t tend to always keep to the story. More about that later, however.

To start with, we have George’s illness which is why she is late joining the others to the caravans they’re staying in at Faynights Castle, which is by the book and we’re treated to a joyous reunion a few minutes later when George and Timmy arrive with Rogers.  From this bit forward we do tend to skip a lot of what I think of as ‘action’ but in fact it’s more setting the scene.  It does turn it into a fast-paced episode, and even though that is no bad thing, we’re moved very quickly from one scene to another. However the key points of the story are accurately portrayed such as Uncle Quentin ending up locked in a caravan by the fair folk, and Buffalo with all his amazing tricks with his whip.

The fair folk are nicely portrayed, with their bright clothes, amazing tricks and dancing. I always wonder if the people used in these sorts of scenes are just amazing actors who have these talents that remind us of fair folk or whether they are actually are fair folk. If someone can clarify for me, I would be grateful.

The rescue mission of Professor Terry-Kane  and the children is quite amazing, even though the dark filter offers a little awkward viewing when we can’t quite see what’s going on. However, the rope ladder tied onto a strong string thats tied onto a knife is a fantastic scene to see, and the escape is very well choreographed.

What I really do like is the last line of the episode being an exchange between Uncle Quentin and George where Uncle Quentin asks her what he should tell her mother about what has been going on and she says “Just tell her, the five are having a wonderful time.”


The Not so Good

First off the bat; Where is Jo? Or even Sniffer? (See my review of the 1990s adaption here) We have no companion for the Five, which in itself is not a bad thing by any means. They are perfectly capable of solving a mystery without help, but its in the book, and there is no hint that there might have been someone else, given how easily they seem to be working with the fair folk. In fact because he is a stranger, Rogers is the one who comes in for some flack. Now in the book, the fair folk aren’t nice to anyone, let alone the children because they don’t know them. The moment Jo arrives however, there is a shift in their attitude and they embrace the children. So the lack of Jo, bothers me, not just from a plot development point of view, but from a character interaction point of view. There was a lot in that book that the Five couldn’t sort out just because they were decent children, it had to be someone from the same background who came to their rescue and actually that’s what makes this book stand out from the others, because for once, the Five can’t charm their way through the situation.

During the rescue of Terry-Kane, due to the lack of Jo or Sniffer, Anne is the one who gets away from Pottersham  and runs off to get help. Now, I guess I don’t mind Anne being the free one, but as it comes down to tying in with the lack of Jo it jars. Its not a natural split all for a candle that might not hurt Terry-Kane’s eyes so much. You also need to remember that when Pottersham gives chase to Anne in the episode, she’s only a slip of a girl, usually thought of to be quite weak so what was the likilhood of her being able to get away from him? Surely Dick should have been the one to slip out, or George which would make more sense in the chase.

The other major bug bear with this episode is that the entire adventure takes place in ONE WHOLE DAY! George arrives early in the morning and by the evening her father had turned up and they have rescued Professor Terry-Kane. Now I know they only had a twenty-five minute slot to fill but still they could have made it last more than one day! This isn’t one of Blyton’s usual quick endings and rushed adventures, this one is more of a pot boiler and it doesn’t come through. I know its a niggly little thing to pick on, but it annoys me; if you can make it work in other episodes, why change it?

One last thing, the main cast didn’t seem to have much spark in them during this episode. There were a few interesting pieces about the binoculars George has with her being a birthday and Christmas present, and towards Dick about letting everyone else have some breakfast, but there doesn’t feel like there is a spark in this episode between them at all. I don’t know what could have caused it, but its something that makes me wonder what might have been going on behind the scenes. It may have been as simple as the cast were tired or the script wasn’t as good as usual. Will we ever know? I don’t know, not unless we get told.


Overall, not the best episode, or maybe I’m being too picky. There are some really good little bits, like when Aunt Fanny’s dressing gown almost matches the wallpaper in George’s room, and everyone teasing Dick about breakfast, but its too rushed, too hurried and the script just doesn’t shine on this one. Unfortunately that happens sometimes, and the fact that the cast seem rather flat doesn’t help it at all. Still, its a good episode if you want to introduce someone to the story on a basic level, and parts are still joyful to watch.

Why not tell me what you think?



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Monday #187

Well, it’s Monday again. I’m lucky not to get the Monday blues like so many people do, as I’m either off on Monday (and Tuesday!) or working 5-8pm on a Monday (and still off on the Tuesday). But for those of you now facing another working week, I hope to give you something to look forward to.


I’ve finally finished bringing all my old posts up to date with new headings etc, and now I just have to work my way through the rest of my list. Some of you might have had a sneak preview at that very rough list when I accidentally published it last week. Whoops!

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My Three Favourite Blyton Adults

As so often is the case Stef had a good idea for a blog and now I am going to shamelessly  copy her and do the exact same. Strangely, coming up with three favourite adults has been a lot easier than coming up with three favourite characters was for me.


Don’t forget Bill Smugs! Bill once shouted, from a helicopter atop a dangerous mountain no less. And indeed, how could anyone forget Bill Smugs? A daring secret-agent of unknown origins, yet he’s affable and friendly and even willing to take on four teenage children as his own. Bill is brace, resourceful and yet he is not infallible. He does make mistakes upon occasion, but always owns up and tries to fix them.

bill in castle


Mam’zelle Dupont also features on Stef’s list, and I’ve chosen her for much the same reasons. Mam’zelle Dupont, the younger and fatter of the two French mistresses at Malory Towers is by far the better tempered. She sounds like a great teacher to have – even if only because she likes to tell long rambling stories about her chers nièces and other family members, meaning everyone gets out of work for a while. She even takes most of the ‘treeks’ played on her by the girls in goof humour. Her mistakes with the English language are an absolute hoot, as well. Who wouldn’t laugh at her mistaking stones for pebbles and asking how many pebbles Amanda weighs? Or her talking about Alicia and her measle. And as Stef mentioned, Mam’zelle’s final revenge in playing her own trick is très magnifique.

mam'zelle dupont malory towers


There are several good characters in the ‘knowledgeable old man’ vein amongst Blyton’s books, but for me Jeremiah Boogle is the best. The others like him would be Yan’s Grandad from Five Go Down to the Sea, Great-Grandad from Five on Finniston Farm and Old Grandad from The Ring O’ Bells Mystery for a start. For me, though, Jeremiah is the best. He might be old and spend much of his time sitting around the docks, but he also elevates himself beyond being just a source of old story and memory. He is the one who gives the Five a tour of the underground tunnels around Demon’s Rocks, and even gets into a scuffle or two with the baddies of the story. His granddaughter may think he’s a bit of a hopeless old man who’s in need of coddling but he proves that he is still brave and capable in his old age. I would have loved for him to make another appearance in a Famous Five book.

jeremiah boogle demon's rocks

And so those are the best three Blyton adults, in my humble opinion. Who would you choose?

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Review: The Queen Elizabeth Family

My Confession

the-queen-elizabeth-familyWhen I mentioned in my Monday post that I was going to read and review The Queen Elizabeth Family, Fiona (as it turns out quite rightly) queried my choice of starting at the end of a series. (I have also just discovered that I have the penultimate book The Buttercup Farm Family on my shelves – D’oh!) However, back to my point, it is clear to me that by starting at the end of the series, I have managed to miss lots of important points, such as why do the children and their parents live in caravans but board at a school during the week. These are clearly things I will need to come back to, but I am hoping to look at the story as a stand alone story as much as possible.

The Story

As you may have gathered from the first part of my blog, I may not be quite as knowledgeable about the characters Mike, Belinda and Ann as some others of you may be, and as if I had read the books from the beginning, but I hope I can give all your first time readers to the Family series (like myself) inspiration to read them as well. So I am hoping to just be able to look at the story like a stand-alone. Blyton does write in the front of the book that each of the books in the series can be read separately even though they are part of a series, so shall we see if that stands?

So when I started reading the book I realized I was at a disadvantage, but it didn’t seem to matter too much when I got into the book. The short chapters are quite handy because the story moves quickly and given that these stories were serialized in the Enid Blyton’s Magazine it makes sense to have the short chapters. Anyway, back to the story; we join Mike, Belinda and Ann on their return from their boarding schools on a Friday evening to spend the weekend with Mummy and Daddy. They are excited to see their mother, who had a nice tea sorted for them and had kitted out their caravan with new curtains during their week away at school. The curtains become very much admired and then the questions start coming; “Will Daddy be late or early today?”

The answer is late, and when he comes home he had a big surprise for the children. They are going to go and have tea on the big cruise ship The Queen Elizabeth. Naturally the children are very excited at the prospect of having dinner on the amazing ship. They discuss that Granny can lend them her car and join them for the trip. What I didn’t realize at this point that Granny was clearly someone who had a lot of money – she has a driver! – in fact there seems to be a lot of money in the family, because they’re not like the usual people Blyton puts in caravans. In fact the father’s job must be well paying (though I don’t know what it is) because part of his job seems to be a bit of travel given that after the children have tea on The Queen Elizabeth a couple of weeks later they get told that they are going to go to America on ship.

Obviously they are delighted and can’t wait to get on board, explore, experience the food and America. Blyton’s descriptions of the food and experiences of the ship, and of America may be in part down to her own trip to the continent on The Queen Elizabeth and returning on the Queen Mary in 1948. This means she probably had an idea of what went on on these ships and the luxury they provided.

Its a very simple story all in all, about the build up to the trip, and then the trip itself. There is a little bit about the stay in New York and all the presents the children get, treats and visits to the tourist attractions. It all sounds very nice and civilized, lots of references are made to how much the Americans make and have to spend, as well as the portion sizes being much bigger than the English portions.

The children have a lovely time, being spoilt and then enjoy their trip back to show off to their school friends.

My Thoughts

Overall, the book is one for younger children. The language is simple and the chapters are short, possibly as I mentioned before because it was serialized in the Enid Blyton magazines.  Its a very simple story, there isn’t anything mysterious or anything like that, but the most simple of things, a big adventure and new experiences.

I didn’t click with the characters, they may be too young for me, and it may just be because I hadn’t read the previous books in the series. Maybe when I’ve done a bit more reading things will become clearer and I could make a proper assessment of the characters who I found a bit two dimensional .

Even though Blyton says that these books can be read independently, I think I Fiona had a point when I first said I was going to read and review: I should have really started at the beginning!

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If you like Blyton: Dead Man’s Cove reviewed by Fiona

This is the first in the Laura Marlin series by Lauren St John. Stef read and reviewed it a while back, and when I spotted it in my library I thought I might as well give it a go.

Dead-Mans-Cove Lauren St John


Laura Marlin, our heroine, is an orphan. There are a number of orphans in Blyton’s stories, and even more children who lack one parent. Jack and Lucy-Ann Trent are orphans, being raised by an old uncle and housekeeper at the start of The Island of Adventure. And of course Philip and Dinah’s father has been dead a long time by then. Snubby, cousin to Roger and Diana is also an orphan, sent from aunt and uncle to great aunt and so on during the school holidays in the Barney series, and Barney himself has no mother. Other orphans, like Fenella in Come to the Circus also end up with an aunt and uncle. Tinker Hayling of Five Go to Demon’s Rocks and Five are Together Again has no mother, and I could go on for ages with more examples.

In Blyton’s stories, however, our orphans (and half-orphans) are past the stage of mourning their parent(s). There is a sense of stiff-upper lip about it all, and characters only occasionally give in to a moment of mild jealousy when they see others with loving parents. It’s all handled very stoically, though I wouldn’t say the subject was treated coldly or uncaringly.

Laura Marlin has been without her mother for her whole eleven years, five months and x days by the start of the book. While she doesn’t mope excessively about that fact, it is at the forefront of her mind as she prepares to go to live with her newly-discovered uncle. So instead of a fairly speedy Blyton-style first chapter before an adventure starts we have a slower build up. And that’s fine.


When I first picked this up and read the first few pages I was gripped with that slight melancholy feeling of there’s nothing really like Blyton. No matter how many books come out with that promising sticker saying if you like Blyton, you’ll love this, I have never found anything that’s truly like reading a Blyton. I even put this book down momentarily to ponder this more. And I came to the conclusion that this too, is fine. Blyton is Blyton and there’s nothing else out there that’s truly like Blyton. Instead there are great books that you and I will also enjoy if we stop analysing it for, to make up a word, ‘Blytonness’.

So I picked up the book again and kept reading. I can’t say that I stopped being aware of similarities and differences to Blyton, because I knew I was about to write a blog about it. But I did get quite lost in the story, enough that the not-Blytonness of it no longer mattered.


Anyway, as I said at least two rambles ago, Laura goes off to live with an uncle she’s never met. After that, we are fairly quickly immersed in the slightly strange world of St Ives, Cornwall. Uncle Calvin is kind, genial and generous, but hardly ever around. Mrs Webb, the housekeeper, is alternately falsely-over-nice and nasty. Mrs Crabtree, the neighbour, is always full of gossip and has a strange thing about seagulls. The kids at school are mostly non-entities as far as the story is concerned, apart from Kevin, who picks on Laura. Then there’s the Muhktars who run the local shop. Mrs M seems vapid and vain, Mr M comes across pleasant to your face and horrible when he thinks you aren’t looking, and their son Tariq who hardly speaks English and is what Mrs Crabtree calls ‘slave labour’ in the shop.

I don’t think there’s any great conspiracy going on in Laura not having any real friends to turn to but she is pretty isolated in St Ives. It doesn’t bother her too much (though she is quite upset when a fledgling friendship with Tariq ends prematurely) as she is just happy to have freedom, trust and a family at last.

The Dead Man’s Cove of the title is a little way along the coast from Laura’s Uncle’s house, and he expressly forbids her to go there as it isn’t safe. In fact the only rule of the house is that she is not to go there. This all makes it rather surprising that he then takes her to Dead Man’s Cove, saying she is allowed there as long as he is with her. He also points out the smuggler’s tunnel that is only rarely accessible at very low tides.

This would all be quite unusual in a Blyton book. Usually if you’re banned from going to that dangerous place you’ve been warned about you’ve got to find a way of sneaking there in the dead of night (without telling any direct lies about going. And without endangering any girls that might be with you).

It takes away some of the immediate mystery about Dead Man’s Cove for the moment, though. Well, I was wondering if the other end of the tunnel really was blocked up, but Laura wasn’t.

The real mystery then appears quite suddenly, literally in the middle of a footpath. It’s a message in a bottle, one that’s never been in the sea by the looks of it. Who put it there? And why?

Laura corresponds with the mysterious letter writer a few times, but meanwhile, she starts digging into her uncle’s past. She follows him out at night and discovers that one familiar face and an unfamiliar one are also following him.

I’m not sure how to explain all the rest of the story, but the mystery around Tariq (who ends up going missing), the letter writer and Uncle Calvin’s past all turn out to be smaller parts of the big picture.


With so many of Blyton’s reprints losing their illustrations it’s nice to see new books that are illustrated. Every chapter in this book has a picture at the start of it. They are by David Dean but are rather in the style of Brett Helquist who illustrated the Lemony Snicket books.

daviddean/dead mans cove


Unsurprisingly, I have quite a few thoughts. I enjoyed the start and middle of the book, while we didn’t know what was happening – though Uncle Calvin’s vague references to secrets were quite annoying. Usually adults deny all knowledge, but he would admit to having secrets and ask for patience and understanding etc.

It all got a bit silly towards the end, though. After the big reveal of Uncle Calvin’s secrets he and Laura start working together to solve the mystery and he pretty much tells her everything about his job and enemies.

Then there’s the problem with the bad guys plans and motives. If you’re going to ship in a secret cargo in the dead of night you want to do it as cleanly and quietly as possible. You might use a secret tunnel – sure – but not if you have to dynamite your way out of the end of it. That’s going to give the game away, rather. Especially when some of you get off the boat and get into a quiet, unobtrusive car and drive away. Realistically, they would just have used a van! The rescue of Laura and Tariq at this point also sounds kinda ridiculous – a dog leaping down a flooded mineshaft, down a tunnel and dragging two kids to a dry ledge. (It’s told as an afterthought the next day too, which doesn’t help.)

I also had a problem with the letter writer, as they had a dozen or more ways they could have communicated their problem. Instead they chose Laura to tell, and set up an elaborate series of secret messages in the hope that she would find them.

There’s also the problem of the timeline around finding the last message. Laura has two routes to school: the straightforward ten minute one or the meandering 30 minute one via the beaches. On the morning in question she gets up extra early so she can walk Skye (the dog) along the beaches, drop her off at home then get to school. She’s delayed for a while waiting for peace and quiet to pick up the message, then ends up running all the way home after Skye who’s run off. (Never mind that two pages previously, at the start of the walk she’s limping on a sprained ankle and then jumps down onto a beach and runs…) She thinks to herself that if she took Skye to the house and explained how to look after her to Mrs Webb she would be an hour late for school. So she takes Skye to school instead, and is still nearly an hour late. It just doesn’t add up!

And it irritated me that Laura waits for a document to upload when she’s trying to read a newspaper article online. Her uncle has a top-of-the-range laptop so a simple news article should appear very quickly – even if she had to download it.

I don’t mean to give a really bad impression of the book, honestly! Over-all I did like it, I just felt several flaws managed to creep in over the last third or so. If you don’t over-analyze motives and clues like I do, then you’ll probably enjoy this even more.

It has hints of Blyton at times – a storm was nature’s way of doing the laundry, thinks Laura, and after the waves have frilly cuffs. There’s the secret passage, of course, (though it’s a shame that Laura doesn’t get a chance to do any exploring of that before she’s dragged along with the smugglers), the faithful canine companion and so on. It’s probably more like Helen Moss’ books than Blyton’s, though, thanks to the modern setting. I hope that in future books Laura isn’t doing all her crime solving with just Skye for company, as I think I do prefer children’s detectives/adventurers to work in a group.


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Monday #186

Happy Monday all and sundry, we had a lovely day down here on Sunday – there was sun and there were times I didn’t even need a jacket!

Anyway we’ve got a three article week lined up for you this week, so I hope you’re ready for some reading!


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More on Enid Blyton’s Magazine

A while back I wrote about my new (and admittedly meagre) collection of Enid Blyton’s magazines. I had 23 at the time, out of the 162 that were printed. I thought I’d be unlikely to grow that collection as the only copies I’d seen for sale were going for about £5 each, which would be £700 for the remaining ones!

enid blyton magazines

How my collection did look

But I’m happy to say I now have 91 magazines, and they cost less than a pound each. A very generous gentleman who had collected the magazines as a child wanted them to go to a new home, and was happy to accept the postage cost plus a donation to his favourite charity. I thought that was an exceedingly good deal!

enid blyton's magazines

My new magazines

And the whole lot:

Enid Blyton's magazines

I nearly ran out of floor space!

I haven#t had the chance to examine the contents properly yet, but I’m hoping that there’s a complete serial amongst them somewhere.

Now I just have to find some way of storing them! My previous, small, pile was just sitting on a shelf. Some of these new ones are starting to fall apart though, hardly surprising given they are more than sixty years old, so I’d like somewhere safe for them.

If anyone has any ideas or experience with storing these types of magazines I’d love to hear about it.


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The Adventure Series on TV – The Valley of Adventure

I am going to watch the third episode from The Adventure Series this week – and thankfully we are back to a familiar title and hopefully a more familiar plot!


This time we are on an unassuming street in “London”. We see a Dumbledore-type briefly before an old and somewhat homeless looking man is abducted into a van by two other men, one with a gun.

The men are ‘Uncle’ Tel and Boris. Well, Tel calls him Boris but it turns out his name is really Ivan. ‘Vot ve do?’ Boris/Ivan asks, as they have been seen by a policeman and now cannot go to the ferry as planned. Obviously, the solution is to gag the old man with a giant chicken’s head they just happen to have in the van and head for the nearest private airport…


Bill, who’s not really an uncle either, is taking the kids and Allie up to Scotland to do some hiking. Since they are pretending to be in England, and not New Zealand, this would only facilitate a short flight in the sort of small, private plane Bill could manage. Can you see where this is leading?

Yes. Exactly as the episode telegraphs it, the kids plus Tel and Boris end up on the same plane together. It’s a bit different from the book though. Bill is off arguing with the air traffic controller (the only staff member in the airport it seems, there’s certainly no security!) about taking off with a storm approaching. That way Tel, Boris and their BLANK get into a plane which the children are already on. They hide because they’ve seen the gun that Tel flashes around all the time.

Allie’s the one to notice the plane taxiing down the runway without them, but it’s Bill who rushes down to the Land Rover to try to prevent the plane taking off. Tel the pilot-without-a-licence manages a rather sharp takeoff however.


The plane ride is actually quite well done, surprisingly! Saying that, Tel sounds like an over-enthusiastic rodeo rider most of the way. The other portion of the flight he spends threatening their hostage, and holding him out the plane’s door.

They are flying low to avoid radar detection, and so manage to get far away without anyone knowing where they’ve gone.


At first Tel calls the old man Fritz, but it seems he just has a habit of making up names for people. As the man declares, my name is Otto you Cockney clown! 

As an aside, Tel is played by a New Zealand actor putting on a (mostly) reasonable Cockney accent. Not that you’d be likely to recognise him but it’s William Kircher who played Bifur in the three Hobbit films. And, the actor playing Otto also plays Lord Foggo in the Secret Series.

Anyway, Bill explains to Allie that Otto (Speir, not Engler) is a gangster who looted church treasures in Eastern Europe in the last war. He is the only survivor of a plane crash (presumably the other passengers were looters too) and has lost his memory. He hasn’t been able to tell anyone where the treasure is hidden, and so it has remained unfound.

The above-mentioned threats of being thrown out a moving plane is enough for Otto to guide them to the Black Mountains and to a valley with no road.

Boris/Ivan, Otto/Fritz and 'Uncle' Tel

Boris/Ivan, Otto/Fritz and ‘Uncle’ Tel


There is a big burnt out shed near the place, so far so good! It’s missing great chunks however, so Otto has to be tied to a chair.

The children sneak off and find an old barn to hide in. The valley and the buildings lack the eerie quality you get from the book – it doesn’t convey the same story of families being burnt out of their homes to never return.

Lucy-Ann likes the barn so much, in fact, that she tosses straw up in the air and laughs. Meanwhile, Jack makes his first big mistake and climbs up to the upper floor where he goes to the big loading door and lets himself be seen by Tel and Boris.

He then makes his second (and probably third) big mistake. Despite this being their third adventure he leaves his rucksack behind. Then, saying ‘they’ll know we’ve been there’ he goes back to retrieve it! They already know you were there, Jack, they saw you with their own eyes!

The others aren’t much more use as they decide to ‘hide’ within ten feet of the rear of the barn. Otherwise it’s vaguely familiar to the book. Jack hides in the rafters while Kiki distracts the men. He’s lucky not to be shot to pieces as he then hides up on the roof right before Tel shoots wildly at Kiki.

Meanwhile, Philip finds a lizard. He and the others ooh and ahh over it for about a minute before he abandons it. Nice to know they were so worried about Jack after the gunshots!

Jack gets himself caught by Tel and ends up tied up back-to-back with Otto, so he’s there when Tel makes Otto draw a treasure map for them – Otto saying he’ll tell them the way if he gets a share of the reward for returning the treasures to their rightful owners. Jack also gets let in on the secret that the treasure map is fake, and the real location is near a bear-shaped rock.

The other children have to hide in some sort of cave as it starts to pour. At first it looked like a real cave with roots trailing down, but later it looks more like a pile of twigs with a tarp across the top! Philip finds a tunnel leading out of the back of it, which is just as well because a rock fall blocks the entrance soon after. Despite being ‘so narrow they can’t turn around and go back’ and so dark they need torches, it’s extremely well-lit and looks plenty large.


Dumbledore is actually Father Paul, the uncle of Ivan who he professes to be too simple to pull off a kidnapping. He’s also the Mad Monk from The Secret Island. After being interviewed by Bill he shaves off the beard and long hair and heads out to the Black Mountains too.


Amazingly the tunnel actually comes out behind a waterfall. It isn’t the biggest of waterfalls, but it is a waterfall none the less. It doesn’t have a handy dancing ledge either, but you can’t have everything you want in a TV adaptation.

It’s then a Mars bar for breakfast before letting themselves down a rope to leave the waterfall.



To summarise: Otto and Jack escape and run into the others, while Tel and Boris run around after them. Otto wants them to help him get into the treasure cave, mostly to bring him a gun to defend themselves with. I can’t see four kids running round with a gun being a great idea though! Otto has his bad heart from the book so doesn’t run as much as the children.

Still, there’s an awful lot of running about thrown in here for no particular reason.

Boris manages to follow the kids back to their cave without them seeing him (he’s rather big, slow and lumbering) and almost climbs right into up their rope as they leave it dangling until the very last minute.


With Otto recaptured the children set off to find the treasure. It’s not like in the book where they do it because they have found they cannot leave the valley, and are desperate for something to keep their spirits up, though.

They hunt for the bear-shaped rock without a map or guide, and find it fairly easily as soon as they think ‘maybe it fell apart’.


Having found the rock they literally walk right into the treasure cave. It is booby-trapped with giant spiky traps that fall from the roof and padlocked metal doors. Inside, with the treasures is a machine gun.

Otto arrives with Tel, Boris and Father Paul, having struck a deal, but immediately double crosses them by grabbing the machine gun and instigating a stand-off.

They then agree to share again – but in the treasure itself and not in the reward for returning it. Father Paul doesn’t approve at all, and Boris backs up his uncle. Both of them end up locked in with the children while Otto and Tel go off to bring in extra muscle to move the treasure.


Things continue to be over-complicated as Otto immediately double-crosses his double-crossing partner by nabbing his gun. Tel grabs the discarded machine gun, but discovers it doesn’t fire when he tries to kill Otto. Clearly there are going to be trust issues in this tenuous pairing. Despite that, Otto somehow talks Tel into giving him a cuddyback (I believe this is known as a piggyback in other parts of the UK).



To preserve torchlight, Dinah and Lucy-Ann light candles in the extremely bright room, then extinguish a lot of them with no effect on the lighting levels ‘to make them last longer.’

Though they make no impact on the lighting, the candles do provide the clue that there’s a draft coming in. This leads them to a giant grate which opens into a tunnel of flowing water. Flooding issues aside, this seems their only way out.

Boris, their new friend, offers up a torch and Dinah and Philip escape together, riding down a water-slide back to the pool under their waterfall.

Philip then sneaks aboard the plane while Jack and Lucy-Ann start singing with the Russians, because apparently Russians sing when they are sad.


Otto and Tel return again, this time with their men, and expect Boris to help them. A fight then breaks out over the ugliest Madonna statue you ever saw. I’m not kidding, it’s the spitting image of Jesus in the Spanish fresco botched by a well-meaning old lady.

Anyway, that’s when Bill and his mates swoop in to save the day, and the ugly Madonna falls on Otto who has grabbed Jack and Lucy-Ann as hostages. And Boris punches Tel for calling him Boris all the time.


This is probably the episode closest to the book so far, out of both this series and the Secret Series. I still wonder why they made them an hour and twenty minutes long though. They have cut a great many inconsequential moments which added so much to the books, and replaced them with a lot of running around and ‘dramatic’ moments.

This is such a great book and it’s such a shame that the old couple (and Martha) have been omitted. I also missed Juan, Pepe and the real Otto Engler. It was quite unsettling to never know if he was really a misunderstood old man trying to reform or if he was just as bad as the bad guys.

Despite a long run-time it also seemed rather rushed. There was no home-making in the cave, no long walk to find the bombed valley pass. They didn’t spend much time looking for the treasure cave either.

All in all it was a decent episode though, without any ridiculous ghostly additions for once!

P.S. The theme song really grows on you. You can hear it in full here.

Posted in Blyton on TV, The Adventure Series DVD | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Famous Five 70s Style: Five on a Hike Together

For those of you who are avid and regular readers of the blog, you all probably know my favourite Famous Five novel is Five on a Hike Together and the adaptations on to screen are the most scrutinized due to my love of the book. So shall we take a look at how the 1970s version holds up?


The Story

Like the 90s adaptation we start with the Five already on the moor, enjoying their weekend away from home. Its a fair enough entry point because otherwise we have all the faff about getting permission from school and their parents whereas from this point we’re pretty much on the home straight to action.

It is established fairly early on that Dick hasn’t wound his watch on, and thinks it’s half past two, this sets us up nicely for later on in the episode where they’re talking to the policemen about the escaped convict. It also makes it more believable for the police to disbelieve him because of getting the time wrong, because they would know when the convict, Nailer, had been recaptured.

We move quite quickly between the beginning, introducing the escaped criminal, the delivery of the message to the wrong Dick, and the arrival at Two Trees without all of the explanation. It would be interesting to find out if people who hadn’t read the books when this first aired could follow things as easily as those of us who are able to fill in the blanks. If you watched the episode first before reading the books, please can you let me know? I’d be really interested!

Moving on with our synopsis and overview of the episode, we are treated to the Five finding a raft and rowing out to the preset marker by Dirty Dick and Maggie, which differs from the cork mentioned in the book, to a bright yellow balloon; I suppose it makes more of an impact on screen. When the raft is paddled out to the middle of the lake, and the boys strip off their shirts and dive down to the loot. However instead of it happening in the cover of darkness it happens in the middle of the day so Dirty Dick and Maggie who have gone to get diving equipment notice what they’re doing and try and stop them. Not so clever there were we, Julian, Dick, Anne and George?

The Not So Good

As we find with all the episodes we have those little niggles that get us every time. There are a couple here which we need to look at. The biggest one that stands out to me is the fact that Julian and George don’t separate from Dick and Anne to take Timmy to the vets. This means that they are all present when Dick is talking to the convict, and I want to know why someone like Julian doesn’t wake up and join in with the detecting with his brother. Timmy also, should have barked at the approach to the barn from someone new, as he’s always considered to be a good guard dog. So then Tim, where was the warning bark?

Julian’s impeccable map reading skills are thrown into doubt as well when the police officer they are reporting Dick’s sighting of the convict to, points out that they were going the wrong way, and yet they still don’t find Blue Pond Farm, where they are staying the night, supposedly. You can only assume that moors are tricky to navigate, and maybe Julian had the map upside down.

One last not so good thing, the whole discovery of the lake, the house and the treasure seems to take place in one afternoon, whereas in the book it is stretched out over two or three days, as they all have a long weekend off from school. Undeniably it’s not a long time difference, when you compare the book to the script, four days turns into two, perfectly reasonable, but it just all feels rushed. I am not disputing in the fact that the story flows nicely as a stand-alone, but compared to the book, it lacks Blyton’s finesse.

What We Like

A seamless adaptation of one of Blyton’s best works, in my humble opinion, apart from a few difficulties which are clearly down to the twenty-five minute time slot and the eradication of the long weekend. I like the fact that both boys dive into the lake as well, which as you may remember has been cut from the the 1990’s adaptation, either because of health and safety or because of previous injuries, and its quite funny as Timmy does almost fall in, as does Anne when the boys dive off the raft.


There are some truly hilarious lines in this episode, one that really fixes is my head is one I want to share with you now:


It’s an exchange between George and her father when he comes to collect them at he police station after they turn in the jewels. Its quite a good line, showing the Five’s unerring instinct for falling into trouble.

My final thoughts come down to Hike being an successful episode, but just that I wanted it to be closer to the book and longer, and all my other little niggles. However, this episode is one of the best, and might (I did say might!) trump the  1990s adaption. I know! How honest of me is that?

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Monday #185

We are going to have another TV themed week this week, with both Stef and I continuing with our reviews of the 7os Famous Five and the Adventure Series respectively. Fear not, though, if you’re not a fan of the idiot box there will be something different on Sunday.




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September Round Up

Its that time of the month again, where we round up what we’ve been up to and what’s been going on behind the blogs and the computer! Hope you’ll join in and let us know a little of what you’ve been doing this last month as well!


I was terrible this month in regards to reading books. I just have been so preoccupied with other things I haven’t really given myself a chance. I still have pretty much the same reading list as last month.

  • Frozen in Time – Ali Sparkes which I reviewed here
  • Crash into You – Katie McGarry
  • Raising Steam – Terry Pratchett (audio book)

I haven’t started anything new but I have picked up several interesting books that I can’t wait to sit down and actually read;

  • Kidnap in the Caribbean (Laura Marlin #2) – Lauren St John
  • The One that Got Away  – Melissa Pimentel
  • Keep the Midnight Out – Alex Gray
  • The Last Letter from your Lover – Jojo Moyes
  • Cover Girl – Nic Tatano
  • The Special Dead – Lin Anderson
  • The Masked City; An Invisible Library Novel – Genevieve Cogman (I LOVE this series!)

There is a real mix there and I am very much looking forward to reading them, but I am going to try and finish the others first!



  • This last month I’ve been making sure I caught the new episodes of Red Dwarf which seem to be an improvement on the previous series, which is good.
  • I’ve watched some episodes of the 1970s Famous Five, for review on the blog.
  • Mock the Week, I love going back over old episodes as well as watching the new ones and seeing how quickly opinions change and how stories develop and grow over time.
  • QI, now it is one of my favourite wind down programs, its good to just to have on in the background and even just listen to when you’re doing other things. (I wonder if anyone has realised it would make a very good radio show?)


What with the schools being back and being a school librarian as well as a public one, I have been busy trying to organise things between the library and the school, time tabling  the year seven’s library lessons, so I can show them what the library has to offer, as well as organising timetables and activities for the next three months.

I have also been having a busy social life. A couple of weeks ago, I went to see Sue Perkins (Of Great British Bake Off fame) do a reading and book signing at my local theatre. Now that was a truly epic night, I laughed so much and I even got to ask her a question during her Q &A section of the show, one she really enjoyed answering! I also got a high five off of her at the book signing because I thanked her for answering my question so well.

One thing that has made a dent in my reading time this month is having found someone new to date, so it’s been busy weekends, deciding on trips, and when we can see each other, but at the moment, I am happy to report its going very nicely, thank you. We even went to a funfair, which was super and I’ve been on the back of his motorbike (in proper gear!) for the first time – and I mean first time in general and not just with him so I was a little scared, but it was an exhilarating experience.

Unfortunately for me, September is a month tinged with sadness for me, as it is the anniversary of my Grandmother’s death. This year it has been four years since we lost her, and she played such a big part in my life it hurts to think of her sometimes, and the end of September is hard sometimes. However I have lots of people around me, supporting me and reminding me that she wouldn’t want be to be upset, and I’m incredibly lucky to have such loving friends and family. Always a negative to a positive. Always.

I think that rounds up my news for September. Please feel free to share your September round up with us in the comments, we would love to know. Fiona will be doing October’s round up next month, so look out for that!


  • Shakespeare’s Trollop (Lily Bard #4) – Charlaine Harris
  • Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire – Audio book narrated by Stephen Fry
  • Facing the Demon Headmaster (Demon Headmaster #6) – Gillian Cross
  • The Hunter (The Forbidden Game#1) – L. J. Smith
  • The Queen’s Nose – Dick King-Smith
  • The Chase (The Forbidden Game #2) – L. J. Smith
  • Escape From Mr Lemoncello’s Library – Chris Grabenstein
  • Obsidian Fate – Buffy the Vampire Slayer TV tie-in
  • The Kill – (The Forbidden Game #3) – L. J. Smith
  • Arsenic for Tea (Wells & Wong #2) – Robin Stevens
  • My Secret Admirer – Carol Ellis
  • The Accident – Diane Hoh
  • The Funhouse – Diane Hoh
  • Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix – audio narrated by Stephen Fry
  • Yes Sister, No Sister – Jennifer Craig

And what I haven’t finished yet:

  • The Mystery of the Burnt Cottage I’m still blogging about this
  • Dying in the Wool (Kate Shackleton #1) – Frances Brody
  • April Fools – Richie Tankerlsey Cusick



  • Hollyoaks (still haven’t missed an episode, though many have been watched on catch-up)
  • The Paralympics – Just amazing watching the super humans compete
  • Only Connect – this month was a good one as I was able to answer at least three questions on more than one show!
  • The Good Wife – I have run out of episodes unfortunately!
  • Red Dwarf – The cast are back for yet another series and I really liked the first episodes
  • The X-Files – resumed a marathon I started last year (now on season five)


  • A lot of work behind-the-scenes on the blog, making older posts more attractive etc.
  • Celebrated my thirteenth anniversary with Ewan
  • Compiled an extremely long list of books I want to borrow from the library (including at least a dozen that have potential for reviewing…)


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My Favourite Blyton Adults


Blyton in front of her books

This week I thought it would be a good idea to talk about my favourite adults in Blyton’s books. As with my favourite characters post I have decided to do a top three.

1. Aunt Fanny

Now who can not love Aunt Fanny? Who else didn’t love the idea of having an aunt like her? So understanding, accommodating, and such a whiz in the kitchen alongside the wizard Joanna. She was still a lovely person, cared for her daughter, niece and nephews by letting them go away on adventure hunting holidays, while packing smashing picnics so they wouldn’t go hungry, while pacifying her stressed scientist husband. I wish my aunts lived closer and could act like this, I would have loved all the chances she gave the children and Timmy, not to mention the food. I know I keep mentioning the food, but its a proper big part of what makes up Aunt Fanny; she is stereotypically the perfect housewife, she even tries to dust off her husband when she gets a chance. I dare you not to love Aunt Fanny!

quentin and fanny

2. Mam’zelle Dupont

Malory Towers is one of the books where we have a number of adults to choose from. There’s Miss Potts, Miss Parker, Miss Peters, Miss Williams, Miss James, Miss Oakes, Miss Grayling and not to forget Mam’zelle Rougier! So many teachers with all those qualities to choose from and I decided that Mam’zelle Dupont would have to pip the others to the post. She’s funny in her reactions, mostly over the top and acted out, a lot more so than Mam’zelle Rougier who is more dignified. Mam’zelle Dupont has a good sense of humour as well, for example when Belinda draws a ‘humorous’ picture of the two Mam’zelles fighting, it is Mam’zelle Dupont who finds the pictures amusing and convinces the other French teacher to take them in humour. She definitely lightens up the book, and her ‘treek’ in book five is utterly superb! Bravo, Mam’zelle, bravo!


3. Miss Grayling

It has to be Miss Grayling for number three, the cool, level-headed headmistress of Malory Towers. She was always there in the background, marking the passage of the girls through the forms, sorting out all the silly little squabbles that take up the time of the pupils and her staff. Miss Grayling runs Malory Towers with a steadying hand, knowing how to get the best out of her staff and girls. She is the headteacher I always wanted, calm, kind considerate and never too busy to listen to the girls and their problems, like Daphne for example. Its a shame we don’t get to see more of her however, like Miss Theobald from St Clare’s who seems to be appear regularly within the story. However as an avid Malory Towers fan, Miss Grayling will always have a special place in my top three adults that Blyton wrote.

miss grayling malory towers

There we are then, my top three adults; this was much more of a challenging than I thought it was going to be, mostly because I had to gather the reasons I like these characters the best. Its not easy because Blyton was much more focused on the children and their adventures than the adults, but I did my best.

Why don’t you tell me about your three favourite adults? I’d love to know!

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The Mystery of the Burnt Cottage: How has Blyton’s original text fared in a modern edition? part four

I’m determined to keep coming back to this every third week or so, purely so that it doesn’t take me a whole year to get through it! The other parts are herehere and here.

As always my own copy is a Methuen from 1957 – a 12th reprint/impression of the original. The new version is the most modern of any paperbacks I have looked at so far,  which is an Egmont copy from 2014.


dscn6424 dscn6425This chapter starts off quietly on the updates front. Hie, when the boys greet a farm-labourer has been changed to Excuse me. Perhaps they thought this sounded more polite. Talking of politeness, when Mrs Hilton is talking about Fatty, that fat boy has been cut to that boy, twice.

As previously, italics are just been chopped out whenever they appear. This time in we must get in first, and so he changed the subject quickly too.

Bruises have gone the way of italics too, it seems, and a few lines from Bets are cut. “No. He’s got some lovely bruises though,” said Bets. “The best I’ve ever seen. I guess he’ll boast about them till we’re sick of hearing about bruises.”

dscn6426And then, after that fairly mild set of updates, the editor simply went mad and chopped out an entire page. That’s not even an exaggeration.

“Do you want to see my bruises?” asked Fatty.
“I’ve seen them,” said Bets. “But I don’t mind seeing them again. I like bruises best when they begin to go yellow, really. Pip hasn’t seem them, have you Pip?”
Pip was torn between wanting to see the bruises, and not wanting Fatty to boast and show them off.
Fatty didn’t wait for him to answer, however. He began to strip off various garments, and display bruises of many sizes and shapes. They were certainly good ones.
“I’ve never seen such beauties,” said Pip, unable to stop himself admiring them. “I never have bruises like that. I suppose it’s being fat that makes them spread so. Won’t you look lovely when they go yellow-green?”
“That’s one thing about me,” said Fatty. “I’m a wonderful bruiser. Once, when I ran into the goal-post at football, I got a bruise just here that was exactly the shape of a church-bell. It was most peculiar.”
“Oh, I wish I’d seen it,” said Bets.
“And another time,” said Fatty, “some one hit me with a stick -just here – and the next morning the bruise was exactly like a snake, head and all.”
Pip reached out for a stick. “I’ll give you another snake if you like,” he said. “Just tell me where you’d like it.”
Fatty was offended. “Don’t be mean,” he said.
“Well shut up about snakes and church-bells then,” said Pip in disgust. “Bets has only got to say ‘Oh, how wonderful,’ and you make up the tallest stories I’ve ever heard.

That’s a whole page, nearly 300 words, just chopped right out of the middle of a chapter! Having looked at a lot of updates I think I can see why this page might have given them a few ‘problems.’ Saying that, it could have been handled much, much better, with Fatty simply pulling up his sleeves to show off some bruises if they didn’t want him stripping off. I can’t see much wrong with the rest of it. There are countless current books about bottoms and bodily functions out right now, so I don’t see why a few bruises have been considered so offensive!


The first update in this chapter makes Fatty sound lazy and entirely uninterested in their investigations. Originally, he really was too stiff to want to do anything more that day, and so is left in the garden with a book. After his fall from the hay-rick, that’s quite understandable. The newer version is that Fatty really didn’t want to do anything more that day, with no explanation as to why.

Mrs Minns sister is described as a very large woman instead of a very fat woman. Is large significantly kinder than fat?


Mr Hick’s threats to the kittens has been cut again – Unless they are out of the house by this evening, I’ll drown the lot! This is despite the fact that a paragraph earlier the cats entered the kitchen as they flew through the air, landing on the floor with mews and hisses. And they were thrown by Mr Hick, no less.


There is one change here that I actually don’t mind so much – Blyton has capitalised Suspect in the middle of a sentence, seemingly at random, and this is ‘corrected’. If that had been the case throughout and it was a stylistic choice to have Suspects, Clues and Motives etc, then it would be fine. And as one correction is made, a mistake creeps in elsewhere. Generally hyphens have been removed throughout these updates, so I was surprised to see dis-heartened appear in the paperback. Checking the hardback, it is rendered as dis-heartened too, but appears at a line-break. I don’t know if it would have originally been hyphenated to start with.

Mr Goon no longer calls Mrs Minns Mam, he calls her Madam instead. This is a strange one, because although usually written as ma’am, mam – to rhyme with ham is how the title is usually pronounced (if you are talking to the Queen, for example). I imagine that’s how Goon would have said it, so as a manner of speech it should have been left alone!


And lastly, the italics have all been removed again.

  • We simply must get Horace Peeks’s address
  • Mrs Minns would chase us
  • I don’t know
  • I am pleased

While chapter seven certainly should win an award for ‘most text cut’ I’m choosing to count each sentence – rather than each word! – and so, while it may seem like many more, it is only 34 changes. Added to those from previous chapters and we reach 103.


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