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The Five Find-Outers #11

The Mystery of Holly Lane

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Who stole the money that the old man in Holly Lane had so carefully hidden in his cottage and where is it now? Why did his furniture disappear in the middle of the night? Fatty and the other Find-Outers have a long list of suspects, and a few clues, but this latest mystery just won't be solved! Mr Goon, the policeman, is hot on the scent too and he is sure that he has the answer when the others are still utterly confused. But who will solve the mystery first?

128 pages, Paperback

First published January 1, 1953

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About the author

Enid Blyton

4,090 books5,530 followers
See also:
Ένιντ Μπλάιτον (Greek)
Enida Blaitona (Latvian)
Энид Блайтон (Russian)
Inid Blajton (Serbian)

Enid Mary Blyton (1897 - 1968) was an English author of children's books.

Born in South London, Blyton was the eldest of three children, and showed an early interest in music and reading. She was educated at St. Christopher's School, Beckenham, and - having decided not to pursue her music - at Ipswich High School, where she trained as a kindergarten teacher. She taught for five years before her 1924 marriage to editor Hugh Pollock, with whom she had two daughters. This marriage ended in divorce, and Blyton remarried in 1943, to surgeon Kenneth Fraser Darrell Waters. She died in 1968, one year after her second husband.

Blyton was a prolific author of children's books, who penned an estimated 800 books over about 40 years. Her stories were often either children's adventure and mystery stories, or fantasies involving magic. Notable series include: The Famous Five, The Secret Seven, The Five Find-Outers, Noddy, The Wishing Chair, Mallory Towers, and St. Clare's.

According to the Index Translationum, Blyton was the fifth most popular author in the world in 2007, coming after Lenin but ahead of Shakespeare.

See also her pen name Mary Pollock

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5 stars
861 (35%)
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840 (35%)
3 stars
600 (25%)
2 stars
80 (3%)
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13 (<1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 54 reviews
Profile Image for Lydia Bailey.
335 reviews11 followers
August 8, 2022
Awww so very lovely to catch up with the Five Find Outers & Pip approximately 40 years later ;)
Profile Image for Adi Rocks Socks.
232 reviews50 followers
July 17, 2019
2.5 stars

Enid Blyton was one of my favourite authors growing up. My parents grew up on her books, as did many from my generation — all private school libraries in India would boast of a mix of all of Blyton’s serial works — a remnant of our Colonial past.

Some time last year, my mother and I were engaged in a conversation about books from my childhood, and my mother asked, “Have you ever noticed how there’s racism in Enid Blyton books?”

Thinking back, it was easy to spot them — the Scallywag doll from the Amelia Jane books, Carlotta in the St Clare’s books — they jumped to my mind pretty quickly. I wasn’t aghast — I guess I knew all along subconsciously. But thinking about these books made me wonder if the writing was ever any good, or if a lot of it had been over-simplified to make it easy for children.

Stopping at the Enid Blyton section at my library, I decided to try out a random book from one of my favourite series — The Five Findouters and Dog, and this was the book I grabbed first.

Coming back to the fictitious town of Peterswood as an adult was like coming back to a place you once used to visit a lot way back in the past, something that almost faded out of your memory. A place where not much has changed when you come back, but everything feels different because you have fundamentally changed.

Premise: Fatty (what a terrible nickname), Daisy, Larry, Pip and Bets, along with their furry friend Buster discover that an old, nearly blind man has been robbed of his savings. Naturally, it falls upon the shoulders of these pre-teens to solve the mystery, and ensure the man and his money are soon brought back together, since the one-man police squad of the town is clearly not as competent as five children.

Things that I liked:

— Mr Goon, the town’s policeman (the antagonist) decides to dognap Buster (Fatty’s dog) and shoot him dead, since he finds him super annoying. When Fatty learns of this horrifying plan, he concocts a truly amazing scheme to get Buster back from Mr Goon’s shed; and I was laughing so hard, that 1.25 out of the 2.5 stars I rated this book is just for this.

— It was nice to be thrown back to the simpler time of elementary school, where all summer I’d read these books. While the plot was a bit too simple, it was still a pleasant change from what I read usually. The remaining 1.25 stars is for this.

Things that I disliked:

— Frederick’s nickname is Fatty, not Fred or Red or Ricky. Nope, it’s Fatty, because big surprise, he’s fat.

— Fatty is such a Gary Stu (a male version of a Mary Sue) — he’s ranked first in his academics, is good at ventriloquism, is flawless in disguising/acting, is super popular, has an IQ of 200 (I’m kidding, but it’s somewhere in that range), knows nifty tricks like how to break into a house and pick a lock, can do anything he sets his mind to, is so good tempered that his servants like him, is tolerant of people making fun of size (often laughing along with them), and is rich to the boot. So yup, the definition of a Gary Stu.

— Oh my goodness, why does Mr Goon always have to be made incompetent for Fatty to look smart in comparison?

— The other four children are, what you call in Hindi, chamchagiris, i.e., people who exist to flatter someone else. This series could have been named One Kid and Dog, but then each book would be only 10 pages long, without all the adulation the other four pour about Fatty.

Bottom line: This experiment went well, and it was a lovely throwback to summer days when I’d lie on the floor haphazardly with my legs resting on the windowsill, taking in the setting summer sun as I buried myself in a world of scones, clotted cream, strawberry jam and lemon coolers. Ah, how wonderful it would be to be seven again. :’)

xx

Pre-review:
2.5 stars — I read this book as part of an experiment. I’ll elaborate on that when I post the review.
Profile Image for Kavita.
752 reviews361 followers
April 5, 2018
Without a mystery to solve, the Five are reduced to playing wild pranks to pass their time. One of these pranks was Fatty disguising himself (obviously!) but what really brought a mystery into their lives again was Larry's prank. Disguising himself as a window cleaner and cleaning windows of random people, Larry chances to see an old man feeling around for his money. When there is a theft in that very house, Fatty gets involved somehow!

Of course, Mr Goon is baffled and goes after the wrong person, while the children solve the mystery. Ern makes an appearance, which is always fun. I found this book a nice read but not really as much fun as many other books in the series. The element of surprise was mostly missing and the mystery itself was slightly mediocre.
Profile Image for Lady Clementina ffinch-ffarowmore.
734 reviews159 followers
Read
January 14, 2018
Findouters Challenge: Book 11. It’s Easter holidays again, and Bets and Pip are preparing to meet Fatty at the station as Fatty’s school breaks a week later than their own. Quite sure that Fatty will be in disguise again, the children get into a bit of a muddle when they mistake a Frenchman who is in Peterswood to visit his sister for Fatty but when the real Fatty turns up and is able to placate him with his impeccable French, he soon enough befriends the children. Meanwhile having no mystery at hand, the children decide to play the fool yet again, with Fatty taking Mr Goon in as a foreign lady who can read palms and Larry posing as a window cleaner doing some practice “shadowing”. But of course, their tricks lead them into a new mystery once again, when an old, nearly blind man in Hollies, a cottage on Holly Lane is robbed of all his savings, and the very next day, all his furniture is mysteriously stolen at midnight. Fatty just happens to be there to retrieve a window-leather Larry had dropped when cleaning the windows at Hollies, though he doesn’t till the next day catch on to what’s been happening. Once again, the children are in a race against Goon to try and beat him out at solving the mystery, where the chief suspect ends up being the old man’s granddaughter Marian, who did in deed look after her granddad very well but was the only one who knew where his money was and mysteriously vanished just after the money did.

This was one of my favourites as a child since I enjoyed the very creative solution to the mystery or at least part of it very much and though I hadn’t forgotten it, still enjoyed reading it very much. The part with Mr Henri convalescing, sitting by the window at his sister’s house had a bit of a “rear window” touch to it. In some books in this series, I found myself finding fault with the children for the kind of tricks they played on Mr Goon, who isn’t the most likeable of people, no doubt but doesn’t always deserve how far they go. But in this one, my reaction was quite the opposite. Mr Goon does a rather detestable thing with Buster, having him falsely accused and captured and it was fun watching how Fatty got back at him. In fact, I enjoyed seeing Mr Trotteville, who usually comes across as quite stern, approving of Fatty’s “revenge” and having fun at watching it play out. On the foodmeter again, this one rates fairly high with plenty of scrumptious teas and icecream, cake and macaroons, and Buster getting his favourite dog biscuits topped with potted meat. This was also one where Chief-Inspector Jenks, now Superintendent Jenks takes the children out for a treat with plenty more food. As far as solving the case was concerned, in this one it was Fatty who really did pretty much everything, catching on to the important clues and solving everything at the end, besides of course having a very good time with his disguises. So a really fun read which I thoroughly enjoyed (though modern readers may find some things non-PC about this one).
Profile Image for Abigail.
7,083 reviews173 followers
April 16, 2019
The eleventh title in Enid Blyton's fifteen-book Five Find-Outers and Dog series, in which a group of British schoolchildren play detective on their holidays, The Mystery of Holly Lane sees Fatty, Larry, Daisy, Pip and Bets (together with Buster the dog) stumbling upon a puzzling case involving an old man's missing money. When Larry's pretense at window-washing leads the children to Hollies Cottage, they discover the owner calling for the police. Naturally, the Find-Outers hope to catch the thief before their nemesis, police bobby PC Goon, and they set out to investigate. But as more and more suspects are eliminated, it begins to look as if the old man's devoted granddaughter, Marian, is the guilty party...

This installment of the series was moderately enjoyable, although I did begin to feel irritated by the persistent sexism, most frequently expressed through Fatty's orders that the girls must stay home during the exciting night-time adventures. While perfectly aware that this reflects the social mores of an earlier generation, Blyton's writing simply isn't accomplished enough to compensate for the annoyance.

The sixth most popular author in the world - despite being virtually unknown in the United States - it goes without saying that Blyton must still have immense appeal for young readers the world over. But eleven books into my project to familiarize myself with her work, I remain a little mystified by her continuing popularity. Perhaps I'm just growing a little weary of this set of characters - I found myself thinking, at the close of The Mystery of Holly Lane, "Only four more to go!"
Profile Image for Tom Seward.
25 reviews13 followers
March 21, 2010
Enid Blyton is an amazing childrens author, bestselling in the world. Although almost undiscovered by Americans.
This series (The 5 Find-outers) Features 4 friends who search out mysteries like detectives, often foiling the local constable while doing so. Fatty- The leader of the children, often dresses up in hilarious disguises as he solves these mysteries... Enjoy.
Top Notch reading... Introduce your kids to Enid Blyton today!!!
Profile Image for Ririn Aziz.
709 reviews92 followers
September 1, 2021
After the last mystery, I tried to read another book aside from these series. Actually, I am reading other books - a few of them haha - but then I got curious. What is the next mystery for the Five Find-Outers and Dog. I took a peek, just to meet those chidren again. The next thing I know, it's already halfway through 😂😂.

This one was one of the proper mystery for the Find-Outers. Exciting as always, but without much drama with Mr Goon haha.

One thing that is bothering me was how Mr Goon getting crueler towards the children with each book.
Profile Image for Utkarsh Bansal.
161 reviews57 followers
March 9, 2020
It's a nice, pleasant read. I picked it up directly after book 1, so the differences in the characters were stark. The kids weren't quite as mean to each other, and Fatty was even more of a superhero than before.

That said, the structure was baffling. The mystery was only introduced about halfway through, leaving very little space for twists and turns, so of course the ending was rushed and all too neat. Definitely not among the best in the series.
Profile Image for Nadette Xuereb.
196 reviews25 followers
December 27, 2018
I love how these books seem to stand the test of time, but I got a tinge of annoyance when reading this. First of all, it seems that the children are becoming more of "pests" with each book, disrespecting grown ups and meddling. Secondly it feels like it's only Fatty who does the work, with his friends acting as spectators. It feels like the stories are losing a bit of their charm at the end of the series. However, I still do enjoy these books... They're an important part of my childhood... But there's a reason why I only read the last few books of the series once, while I read the others around 5-10 times each. Still, I do love this series.
Profile Image for Tanti Rahmalia.
17 reviews
August 27, 2013
Enid Blyton selalu berhasil membuat saya ingin bertualang dan memecahkan misteri-misteri. Buku yang menarik, karena bisa mengembangkan imajinasi pembaca :)
Profile Image for Vinay Leo.
958 reviews71 followers
May 25, 2021
I like that the five are kind of like rescuers of the innocent, and in this mystery too, they are at it! Some danger is definitely there, and I don't really like part of Mr Goon's character in this book. It's not nice to see, and reading the part with Fatty and Bert was fun because of it. I liked Henri, and Superintendent Jenks (now having got a promotion) is there at the end again. Not surprising, given Goon seems like a buffoon in this mystery most of the time!
160 reviews7 followers
April 7, 2020
A enjoyable mystery story, the 11th of the 15 books in this series. It really is Fatty who works it all out to the disgust of Goon.

The mystery begins when the five are bored so are set tasks, Larry cleans windows of a bungalow, where an old man later has money then all his furniture stolen.

The pieces slot into place in a real Christoe-esq fashion. Great stuff.
Profile Image for Sean Harding.
3,256 reviews20 followers
December 3, 2018
The story of Penny's long lost sister Holly. Nope not quite this time Ethel, but that would make a humorous addition to mixed up books anyway I am not just digressing but in the next suburb, this one is book 11 of the Five Find Outers (and dog!) and surprise they solve a mystery whilst another surprise annoy Goon and they also have the Fatty and Bets show going on, well no surprise their either. By the numbers now as we get to book eleven, you know what to expect and yet here we are again - such is reading life!
Profile Image for Kirsti.
2,456 reviews83 followers
November 18, 2012
How strange! Who could have stolen all that money from a blind man? The Find Outers have a list of suspects, but Goon is on the case as well, and it will be a race to the finish. They will of course, show him up before the end, but that's part of the fun. A few new friends and glad people by the end, the Find Outers just go through life helping others and solving mysteries. A great, great book!
Profile Image for Daniel.
1,097 reviews659 followers
March 11, 2015
Akan selalu ada soft spot bagi saya untuk para anggota Pasukan Mau Tahu. Pip, Beth, Larry, Daisy, dan Fatty barangkali yang sudah menemani saya semasa kecil, tetapi mereka masih terus berumur dua belas tahun, sementara saya akan terus bertambah tua. Meski demikian, saya tidak akan pernah melupakan mereka.
Profile Image for Sakinah.
12 reviews
September 1, 2007
The story is about someone stole money that the old man had so carefully hidden in his cottage and it dissapear.The furniture is dissapear in the middle of the ninght to...Fatty and the other Find-Outers have long list of suspects and a few of clues.
Profile Image for Julie.
375 reviews4 followers
February 1, 2015
I think I'm a bit over-exposed to these mystery books now. I've read 7 to the kids and it's telling!... but the kids love them so onto the next one!
Profile Image for Debbie Sally.
102 reviews33 followers
March 2, 2016
Rasanya saya juga ikut bertualang bersama Fatty, Pip, Larry, Bets dan Daisy untuk memecahkan misteri di pondok Hollies. Menarik!
Displaying 1 - 30 of 54 reviews

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