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The Famous Five #8

Five Get Into Trouble

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Dick's been kidnapped, mistaken for someone else, and the Famous Five are frantic! Desperately, they track him down to a sinister old house in the middle of nowhere - and he's safe and well!

But just when they thought their troubles were over, the gang find themselves held captive and in terrible danger! Who will come for them now...?

246 pages, Paperback

First published January 1, 1949

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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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Displaying 1 - 30 of 240 reviews
Profile Image for Mark Lawrence.
Author 74 books50.5k followers
December 23, 2021
In this tale the Five are banished to the wilds because forgetful Uncle Quentin has to go to a conference over the holidays and for some reason Aunt Fanny has to go with him. And to top it all the cook is ill!

Note: in Quentin's excuse he cites that when the children are not at Kirrin they are with Fanny's sister, implying that Julian, Dick, and Anne's mother is Fanny's sister, which would make some sense. However book 1 makes it very clear that their father is Quentin's brother. And whilst it is possible that Quentin's brother married Fanny's sister, nobody ever mentions this and it is overwhelmingly likely that it is another example of Enid Blyton forgetting the details of her most famous story.

Now, clearly the Five are too young to survive in George's house without a cook, so the obvious solution is to send them on a cycling tour with Timmy running free alongside, where not only will they have to dodge cars etc, and find fields to camp in, and swim in random unknown lakes, and deal with tramps ... but still have to cook for themselves!

Swallowing this non-logic we follow the kids into wilds. The books generally demand a 5th child and in this one they randomly encounter a boy, Richard, who delivers a neatly packaged adventure.

Richard is the son of a millionaire who has many enemies. Richard is randomly spotted by his father's former bodyguard who decides to kidnap him. The men with the bodyguard, Rooky, manage to capture Dick by mistake and the bodyguard conveniently vanishes before this error can be spotted.

The others manage to track Dick to an isolated house with a wall around it and automatic gates that are worked by some mysterious non-electric (as far as I can tell) mechanism in the house.

The story relies on the conceit that it is impossible to escape the grounds when the gates are shut. This is rather hard to buy into, but let's roll with it.

The kids try to rescue Dick and are captured in turn, but the still absent Rookie isn't there to identify Richard as the boy he really wants.

Anyway, there is some to and fro-ing, They almost escape but the gates are closed and that's an end to it.

Timmy serves as a buffer between the criminals and the children. An attempt (one of about a dozen in the series) is made to poison him.

The children discover that a man is hiding in a secret room in the house. This provides the "treasure" element so common in the series. The baddies kidnapping children is not sufficient. Treasure must be recovered, and in this case it's a bag of 'sparklers' in the possession of the escaped convict.

Our spare child gets to atone for earlier foolishness and to demonstrate some stiff-upper-lipped character growth by escaping to alert the police.

Note: The boy's escape depends on the conceit that neither Julian or Dick can fit into the boot of a Bentley, but Richard can... A Bentley is a LARGE vehicle. The idea that a boy can't fit into the boot is hard to swallow.

And finally Julian is able to do a Poirot-style walk through, incriminating the baddies and exposing the hidden man with the diamonds.

A big bag of nonsense but good enough fun for children. I'm listening to the whole series with my disabled daughter and it seems to be entertaining her pretty well.

So this one has kidnapping, 5th child, secret room/passage & attempted poisoning of Timmy. But lacks any circus folk/ gypsies and there's not a single cave in the whole story!!!


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Profile Image for Luffy.
932 reviews702 followers
January 11, 2019
This offering in the Famous Five series was a solid and sometimes brilliant entry as far as enjoyment goes. There had to be some coincidences. And there had to be a secret room. There always is!

I thought that Enid Blyton was at the top of her game. If anyone new to the series would set the ball rolling with this 8th book, that would be fitting and welcome.

The pacing is out of this world. The four kids and dog are going off on their bikes, on a trail. But a new rich spoiled kid upsets the apple-cart by wanting to join them for selfish reasons.

This is a must read middle grade book. The author put a lot of brainpower into her little story and there are a couple of foreshadowing events. One detail struck me, the mention of a certain Mr Luffy. That's the earliest instance where my moniker is mentioned, in literature. Toodle-oo.
Profile Image for Apoorva.
190 reviews170 followers
January 8, 2021
As a teen, Enid Blyton's works are clearly your go-to books if you desire to while away your time. Sadly for me, I was never serious about reading then & chose reading as a hobby while at university. So recently, at a book exhibition, when I got an opportunity to buy one of Enid's novels, I was elated. I really couldn't help myself with not purchasing it. Experience this novel without reasoning as to whatever will fit wherever.

I got the illustrated version & I must say the pictures assist in building a graphic plot to further savor the book. Children/adolescents are surely gonna like this one more than the mere textual production one. The overall novel-writing form is eloquent & the plot unusual. Though I began with #8 in the series, other than the five's connection, I didn't truly miss anything from the earlier ones.

The events at the commencement for the five kids to commence a trip look a little too absurd; but, I think the narrative wouldn't have grown as it did. I am not positive I'll re-read this one; yet, I believe the youngsters might savor it. Seems like a fine buddy-read book if anyone is into mystery/adventure reads.
Profile Image for Paul.
2,306 reviews20 followers
May 7, 2019
Whoa! Book 8 certainly made-up for the comparative lack of thrills in the previous volume!

Five Get Into Trouble starts off innocuously enough, with Anne, Dick, George, Julian and Timmy setting off on a bike ride (I’m assuming Timmy, being a dog, wasn’t riding a bike… but with him you never know; I’ve long suspected him to be the most intelligent of the Five). They stop to swim in a lake and meet a young chap called Richard, whose family own the lake and the surrounding area.

Things go awry when, in a classic case of mistaken identity, Dick is kidnapped by a criminal gang who are under the impression he’s the rich Richard (hang on; Richie Rich? Nah)…

The remaining members of the gang (plus rich Richard) aren’t going to take that lying down, though, and they set off to rescue their abducted pal.

I won’t say anymore for fear of spoilers (everything I’ve said so far is on the back cover of the book, so I’m pretty certain that doesn’t count as a spoiler) but, suffice it to say, there are thrills and spills aplenty in this book. I recommend reading it under the bedcovers with a torch…

Buddy read with Sunshine Seaspray
Profile Image for Sophie Crane.
3,538 reviews114 followers
July 29, 2021
For the child within you...from 5 years old to 500 years old ...There will only ever be one Enid Blyton ..Timeless.
Profile Image for Kirsti.
2,456 reviews83 followers
November 13, 2011
Back to reading one of my old favorites, Enid Blyton. Enid had some magic formula that kept kids hungry for her books, and I'm not exactly sure what it is, but when I was 12 years old I was hooked. Over ten years later, I still pick up one of her books and smile- and then get hungry as the children describe all the wonderful things to eat!

In this novel, we see the five off on a cycling tour because Uncle Quentin has booked to go away for conferences and they can't stay at Kirrin cottage. Along the way, they meet up with Richard Kent, a young boy longing to be allowed to do as they do, so he lies to them and gets them to take him along too. All of this comes apart when he is spotted by one of his father's enemies, and Dick is taken instead to use as a ransom.

The five of course, come through their adventure without a hair harmed on their head; this day and age they'd probably be killed or worse, but Enid makes everything seem like a grand adventure.

Five get into trouble, certainly the title fits!
Author 0 books249 followers
December 20, 2019
This was one of the most enjoyable Famous Five books. The Five have decided to go on cycling tour and get into trouble, as expected of them. Another boy, Richard has joined them in the adventures. From getting kidnapped, to showing bravery in front of police, turning the criminals behind the bars, to having nice meals along the way, the Five have done it all.

I just realized how there is no background story to the criminals. They are just bad people, born to do bad things.
Profile Image for Nadja.
1,509 reviews58 followers
September 25, 2018
Die Fünf Freunde auf Fahrradtour, eine Entführung aus Verwechslung (passiert zwei Hörspielfolgen später gerade nochmals 😂) und dank heldenhaftem Julian endet alles gut (das erinnert mich gerade an das TKKG Tim ist der Beste Schema). War ganz okay, aber der spätere ähnliche Fall tick besser. [22.08.2018]
Profile Image for Irma *Irma The Book Whisperer*.
1,455 reviews113 followers
July 15, 2018
... reading with my 9 year old daughter...

I've read all these books way back when I was a child and I've read them numerous times. I thought it was time to show them to her.


This one was absolutely thrilling!
Profile Image for Varsha .
73 reviews16 followers
May 28, 2021
This is another one of those Enid Blyton books in which the five escape without a scratch in their body.
In this novel, the five are going biking as Uncle Quentin has to go to a conference over the holidays, and for some reason, Aunt Fanny has to go with him. And to top it all the cook is ill.[ completely illogical]
They meet Richard Kent, a billionaire's son, and trouble to the five in the woods. Richard lies to them and his mum to join them for selfish reasons. He is followed by his dad's bodyguard Rooky and Dick is kidnapped instead of him. Anne heard the kidnappers say Owl`s Dene.
So, the five(including Richard) go to save Dick. In there they get themselves trapped. They find secret passages and the kidnappers try to poison Timmy. At last, Richard saves the day proving himself worthy
Profile Image for Elizabeth.
660 reviews50 followers
September 28, 2018
Yet again the Famous Five get themselves into a highly improbable scrape and manage to save the day just in the nick of time!

Actually, this one took a rather dark turn when a kidnapping goes very wrong (a case of mistaken identity) and they all end up being held captive. It was well plotted, with good pacing and a very exciting storyline. Very enjoyable. It's also very interesting to see how Enid Blyton is developing Julian's character. He seems to be the only one who is actually growing up and maturing with each story. Poor Anne seems destined always to be a little girl. And how much longer can George continue to pass for being a young boy?
Profile Image for Dave Johnston.
Author 4 books16 followers
February 15, 2018
These kids are one courageous bunch. Rooky was a great baddie - hope he doesn't give my little boy nightmares. 9/21
Profile Image for Regitze.
741 reviews98 followers
Want to read
July 3, 2018
My aunt just gave me an old copy of this book after I graduated from university. Why? Because she remembered that this particular book was probably my very first favourite book. I used to loan in from the school library ALL THE TIME, it was literally going back and forth between me and another student from my sister's grade. I was probably in like between 2nd and 4th grade at the time, and when the book was too tattered from use, the school librarian gave it to me. Sadly, I lost my copy some time in the years after, as I moved a couple of times. I couldn't stop laughing at the gift, it was so thoughtful and I'm excited to have this back in my book collection for good.
Profile Image for Gurnam Sodhi.
Author 3 books11 followers
March 23, 2015
Really thrilling. Finished in few hours. Could not leave it.
Profile Image for *Tau*.
242 reviews21 followers
October 16, 2022
As a kid I absolutely adored the adventures of The Famous Five by Enid Blyton and I've reread the entire collection of 21 books several times.
A few years ago I reread the first few books and was disappointed. Thus I gave 2* to the first installments.

Now I started to read the rest of them.
Have I become even harsher in my ratings?
Probably, because - despite my love for these books as a kid - I can't bring myself to give more than 1*.

A few of my biggest gripes:

What an utterly sexist nonsense
Annie does nothing else than 'playing mother/housekeeper': cooking, doing the dishes, …
Actually Dick and Julian should've switched names, as Julian often really acts like a real dick by being condescending towards girls.
This may be a representation of the zeitgeist, as the first book was published in 1942.
But then again, there exist lots of older books that were more 'modern' in thoughts.

So much eating and sleeping
What are those kids: marmots?
They just finished breakfast and they're already thinking about lunch. Oh, and of course they have to get food for the afternoon tea and for dinner.
It's true that I already heard of the importance of food in children's books. As you can read on this blog: "In Blyton’s books, eating food is the central focal point that brings children together. This in turn ingrains the value of having a bond with family and friends."
Taking into account when the first books about The Famous Five were published, I can understand that World War II and the aftermath were of influence. And thus, that food played a big role in people's lives.
But to me, there's a big difference between mentioning the meals or using them as pure page-filling.
Just out of curiosity I scanned one of the books for mentions of food and sleep and it turned out that they appeared on more than 45% of the pages.
Which brings us to the remaining (approximately) 55%:

Plot holes
In between all the eating and sleeping, our protagonists also solve some 'mysteries' that are either unbelievable or totally clear from the beginning.
There are lots of situations that aren't credible to begin with: young children from 10 years old who go on camping trips all alone, they can buy cigarettes, …
And it doesn't get better as there are definitely many plot holes in the described adventures (they hadn't the bag with food within reach, but still managed to eat without going back to get it; etc.).
Some of the errors could be due to a bad Dutch translation, but not all of them.

Line work
Did you know that Enid Blyton (° 1897 - † 1968) wrote hundreds of books and at some periods even 50 books per year?
762 of them are listed on Wikipedia.
But if you want a more detailed list of all her works (> 1.000) you can take a look at https://www.enidblyton.net/ or https://www.enidblytonsociety.co.uk/list-all.php.
Bearing in mind the amount of written books, it's understandable that they often come across as pure line work with a lot of page-filling content.

The conclusion

If I had children, I wouldn't let them read this crap.
It's true that as an adult, you rate books in another way than you would've as a child.
But there are so many really good children's books out there that definitely deserve more attention than this overrated and outdated series.
And as George Bernard Shaw said: "Make it a rule never to give a child a book you would not read yourself."
Profile Image for Inga.
1,257 reviews53 followers
July 29, 2020
Wieder einmal hat Onkel Quentin die Termine durcheinandergebracht, so dass die fünf Freunde unbehelligt allein auf Fahrradtour gehen müssen. Unterwegs treffen sie auf Richy, Sohn eines sehr reichen Mannes. Der findet die Kinder so sympathisch, dass er unbedingt mit ihnen mitfahren will und sie anlügt, er habe um Erlaubnis gefragt. Dummerweise ist ein ehemaliger Bodyguard der Familie darauf aus, Richy zu entführen, so dass die fünf Freunde "in Schwierigkeiten" geraten, die sie natürlich dennoch meistern.
Insgesamt ist die Geschichte ein wenig weit oben auf der Unwahrscheinlichkeitsskala, sowohl was die Charaktere der Bösewichte als auch den Plot angeht - dennoch immer eine meiner Lieblingswohlfühlkinderserien trotz aller Klischees der 40er und 50er Jahre.
Profile Image for Vinay Leo.
958 reviews71 followers
September 16, 2018
I loved it. Super fun. And shows one finds bravery when others least expect it. I also loved the definition of bravery too.
Profile Image for Ayacchi.
601 reviews10 followers
October 12, 2021
Akhirnya baca Lima Sekawan lagi. Tapi kali ini baca buat Toppler, jadi nggak akan baca semua serinya.

Dibaca berkali-kali pun ternyata nggak membosankan!
Profile Image for David Sarkies.
1,773 reviews300 followers
April 21, 2015
A cycling tour of South Cornwall
24 August 2012

Blyton seems to have moved a bit from her standard formula in this book in that it is not that the Five go off on some holiday by themselves to discover some crooks concocting some nefarious deed hidden away in a lonely part of the country, but rather that the crooks mistake poor Dick for the child of a wealthy industrialist (it is not mentioned what made him wealthy but I always like the term wealthy industrialist) and kidnaps him. While it is a case of mistaken identity, we do know that they had met this child, who is quite deceitful and selfish, and it is because of his lies that the Five find themselves in trouble. Obviously, being the adventurous heroes that they are, they simply had to go and rescue Dick.

Basically it is holidays again and this time they can't stay at Kirrin Cottage because Uncle Quentin and Aunt Fanny are going off to a conference, so they agree to let them the Five go off on a cycling tour. It is funny because we wonder if such a thing would be allowed today, though we must remember that Julian, Dick, and George are teenagers, and even with this concern, we suspect that at their age, even today, they would be able to go off by themselves. However, trying to work out their ages around this time is all but impossible (at least for me) because Julian and Dick go to the same school, and George and Anne also go to the same school. Now, I don't know how boarding schools work in England, but I suspect that if they are anything like the private school I went to when I was a teenager, the school catered for everybody from reception to year 12 (using modern Australian terminology).

This book is different, and I guess that is why I liked it and gave it a higher score (though it seems that I have been giving these books pretty decent scores anyway). As they are travelling along, they meet young Richard who lies about being allowed to join them, and when he departs, and then run into an enemy of his father's (and while it is suggested that Richard lied to his father about this guy, I suspect that Richard was probably being honest because it does turn out that this guy is mixed up with some rather crooked individuals). After Dick gets captured, they manage to locate the house where he is being held, and sneak in to attempt to rescue him only to discover that they are trapped inside the grounds and that there is no way out.

Julian takes most of the credit for this adventure because he is the one sneaking around, listening in to the conversations that are going on, and finding out the secrets that the crooks are trying to keep hidden so that when the police arrive everything is brought out into the open. It is even suggested (though remember that the Five never actually grow up) that Julian, and possibly the others, will no doubt join the police force when they have finished school. This, though, is probably a no brainer because one does not go around catching as many crooks as these children do and not be brought to the attention of the powers that be.

Another interesting thing I noticed is how one good turn brings out an ally. Even though the children are suspicious of the inhabitants of the house, Julian does manage to speak to the maid that works there, and further shows her kindness. When the crooks decide to let them go (before changing their minds when they discover that Richard is actually with them) they give them a heap of hush money, which Julian then turns around and gives to the maid. No doubt this act of kindness creates a valuable ally which allows them to survive. I guess the further moral of this story is that we shouldn't always judge a person by the company that they keep. Sometimes, as in Aggie's case, they simply have no choice. A little kindness does indeed go a long way.
Profile Image for Vera Maharani.
301 reviews75 followers
July 7, 2013
Satu-satunya buku seri Lima Sekawan yang saya punya. Tadinya pengen beli secara berurutan, tapi terpaksa beli random karena...yah, di Gramedia dulu nggak selalu ada berurutan. Dulu pengen koleksi, tapi belum kesampaian karena uang jajan nggak cukup. Hiks. Sekarang pas udah punya duit sendiri untuk ngoleksi seri ini sampai tamat sekali pun, bukunya udah dicetak ulang dengan desain sampul berbeda. Hmmm...saya rasanya lebih suka desain sampul yang lama. Juga nggak tahu perasaan saya aja atau gimana, rasanya jadi lebih tipis. Saya baca review edisi-edisi terbaru dalam bahasa Inggris dan banyak yang kecewa karena banyak yang diubah (bahasanya dianggap terlalu kuno buat anak sekarang). Moga-moga siiih edisi terbaru dalam bahasa Indonesia nggak mengalami hal yang sama. Gaya terjemahan edisi yang saya punya bikin saya merasakan nuansa 1970-an (walau sebenarnya seri ini terbit tahun 1940-an). It's my mother's favorite childhood book series too, and somehow it's soothing to share the same childhood nuance with her.

Pada buku Lima Sekawan kedelapan ini, Julian, Dick, Anne, George, dan Timmy melancong naik sepeda karena Bibi Fanny dan Paman Quentin harus pergi menghadiri konferensi. Petualangan mereka dimulai ketika bertemu seorang anak bandel dan cengeng bernama Richard Kent yang ngotot ingin bersepeda bersama mereka. Ternyata Richard ini anak seorang miliuner dan jadi sasaran penculikan. Apesnya, penculik-penculik itu salah orang. Bukannya Richard, mereka malah menculik Dick (yang namanya merupakan kependekan dari 'Richard', selain juga berarti bahasa slang untuk menyebut kemaluan laki-laki. Poor Dick, so unlucky with names).

Lima Sekawan benar-benar membangkitkan keinginan masa kecil deh. Mereka boleh berpetualang tanpa pengawasan orang dewasa (saya ga boleh). Mereka bisa ke mana-mana naik sepeda (saya ga bisa). Mereka punya abang kayak Julian yang sopan dan bisa diandalkan (saya ga punya). Agak aneh sih excuse yang dipakai untuk membolehkan mereka jalan-jalan. Bibi Fanny dan Paman Quentin nggak bisa membiarkan anak-anak di pondok karena mereka mau pergi, dan nggak ada yang jaga anak-anak. Namun mereka boleh melancong tanpa ada orang dewasa yang jaga karena "ada Timmy, dia sama seperti dua orang dewasa." Guess what, kalau anak-anak ini ditinggal di pondok pun mereka bakal bareng sama Timmy, nggak ada masalah kan? Penjahatnya agak tolol di buku ini --untunglah. Meninggalkan anak-anak di halaman, bukannya menyekap mereka di ruangan tertutup? Tiba-tiba saya ngerasa lebih berbakat jadi kriminal dibanding penjahat-penjahat ini karena saya bisa mikirin cara-cara lain yang lebih efektif supaya anak-anak ini nggak jadi ancaman.

Saya nggak pernah menyadarinya waktu baca buku ini di masa kecil dulu, tapi Lima Sekawan ini ternyata memang lapar melulu, hehe. Saya juga jadi lapar. Juga pengen coba limun jahe yang kayaknya jadi minuman wajib mereka di setiap seri.

Menawan imajinasi buat anak kecil, gaping plot hole and one-dimensional villain buat orang dewasa. Apa pun, sepertinya buku ini akan jadi buku yang asyik untuk dibaca bareng dan didiskusikan bersama anak-anak saya nanti :)
Profile Image for Farseer.
601 reviews1 follower
January 27, 2017

Brief Summary by Poppy Hutchinson (from http://www.enidblytonsociety.co.uk, quoted since the actual book blurb is not very informative): On their peaceful camping and cycling tour of the English countryside, the Five come across Richard Kent – the son of one of the richest men in the country! When Dick is mistaken for him and kidnapped, by Rooky, a dangerous criminal who had been a bodyguard in the Kent household, the children know they have two leads: Owls Dene on Owls Hill, and a Black Bently – KMF 102. The children's search for Dick leads them on a moonlit bicycle ride to the eerie mansion: Owls Dene. What will they find there? And most importantly, will they be able to rescue Dick?

Random thoughts:

By now (book 8 in the series) the beginnings of the books are settling into a formula. These books are formulaic by design, but we are all right with it. We want more of a good thing, and we know we are in the hands of a master storyteller. So, standard Famous Five book beginning: Uncle Quentin, forgetting the children were coming, made another commitment and has to leave with Aunt Fanny. Joanna the cook is ill (of course). What a problem! Fortunately the children suggest a solution: they want to go on a cycling holiday. I'm very happy with the idea the children come up with this time. That's bound to be fun! I love it when they go on their own!

And yes, we are treated to another glorious pre-adventure story, full of joyful freedom. The children cycle from one small countryside village to another, enjoying the natural scenery and the freedom, having great meals and drinking ginger-beer.

Then they meet Richard Kent, the somewhat spoiled son of a millionaire, who joins them using some lies, and after that the adventure soon starts.

They meet Richard at a lake belonging to his father. The lake is called "Green Pool". In the previous book the children were also at a different lake with the same name. A weird coincidence that a watchful editor probably would have changed.

Richard lied to the children about having permission to go with them. A disgruntled former bodyguard of his father sees him and his accomplices end up kidnapping Dick by mistake, thinking he is Richard Kent and that they'll be able to get a large ransom from his father.

While that is happening, Julian and George were buying food from a small farm, owned by a very nasty fellow. I immediately assumed that this farmer would play a role in the story as a villain, because that's how EB's stories work, but surprisingly we never hear of him again. He was just a regular nasty farmer, no connection with the criminal plot that the children uncover. I'm glad of it, by the way. A little misdirection is necessary from time to time or the plots just become too obvious.

After Dick's kidnapping, one would expect the children to go to the closest village and call the police, sharing the information they have. However, these being the Famous Five, they decide to look for Dick themselves, taking the scared Richard with them. It's true that they are in a desolate area, far from the closest village, but still it's kind of a strange decision, considering how eager Julian is about keeping Anne out of danger. Besides, having Richard with them complicates things, because there is the possibility that the rogues will free Dick when they realize they got the wrong boy, but if the others show up with Richard they might all be in worse trouble.

Sure enough, the children are captured. They are kept prisoners in Owl's Dene, another atmospheric location. It's a creepy old manor with high walls around it. They villains are a colorful lot (Hunchy, Rooky...), but they don't know quite what to make of the children, and they keep them prisoner but allow them to roam the property to a certain extent. Julian takes advantage of that to find secret passages and even locate Dick.

It's funny how surprised the children are by the automatic gates of the manor. It sounds perfectly normal now, but such a mechanism would be unexpected and eery in the 40s. Blyton's storytelling is so timeless that details like this dating the story catch my attention.

Soon Rooky, Richard's father former bodyguard, arrives and realizes that Dick is not the boy he wanted. They are going to leave the children free but, frustratingly, when they are almost through the gates he realizes that one of the other children is Richard Kent. They are prisoners again! Their captors feed them very poorly (the beasts!), but fortunately the kindly but scared maid feeds them large meals on the sly, and warns them of the attempt to poison Timmy.

Speaking of Richard, from the beginning Julian is quite harsh with him. Perhaps a bit too harsh. It's clear that the boy is spoiled and too used to getting his way when he really shouldn't, and perhaps a little bit cowardly (although under the circumstances I can't really blame him for being scared... not every twelve-year-old boy is used to fighting criminals and kidnappers, Ju!).

However, the scorn from Julian and the others actually have a good effect on Richard. The fact that these children think so little of him actually pushes him to grow beyond his spoiled ways and try hard to earn their respect. It's a plot that reminded me of Captains Courageous.

So Richard volunteers to hide in the boot of the car and try to escape. Big mistake on the bad guys' part, leaving the children freedom to roam the property. It's scary and dangerous, but Richard is determined and finally manages to get to a police station, after a thrilling chase.

Then the police gets to Owl's Dene. The bad guys try to play it cool, but to their dismay Julian thwarts them by telling the police every little bit of the criminals' devious plot, since the children had found all the relevant clues during the adventure.

The story ends with Richard's parents inviting the children to their home. Richard's father says his son acted very foolishly, and Julian agrees but then says that he redeemed himself by his bravery and determination during the escape. Everything ends well!

Apart from Richard Kent, the big hero of the book is Julian. He is the one who continually confronts the bad guys (with Timmy's help!) and finds the secret passages and everything.

All in all, a very enjoyable installment in the series. The beginning reminded me of Five Go off in a Caravan, because the children get to go on their own for their holidays. Then the adventure itself was quite original when compared to other books in the series. Instead of going to a desolate location and finding clues of strange going ons, the children get plunged into the adventure when Dick is kidnapped without warning. Also, Richard Kent's character arc is quite interesting, and I cheered for him when he succeeded, since the others had been quite harsh on him.


Next up: Five Fall Into Adventure (Famous Five, #9)
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Roman Khan.
104 reviews1 follower
March 30, 2018
This book was about 5 children who were on a holiday and they wanted to go somewhere else without their mum and dad or granny and when they were on their way Dick got kidnapped then the other 4 children tried to help him but they were too late and got trapped in Owls dene. I only gave this book one star because I dint really like it because there were loads of chatting and I didn’t really like the cliff-hangers.
Profile Image for Summer.
137 reviews186 followers
April 3, 2016
These books (Famous five) are hands down one of my favorite books from my childhood. All those adventures and mystery …and those sandwiches they always packed! aww, just the best! I would love to read one of these again. To bring back those memories..memories of first experiences with reading books.
Profile Image for Gayatri.
10 reviews
October 8, 2016
This was my very first 100+ pages novel that I read all by myself when I was 6 years old. Though it took me almost 2 weeks to finish it, I really loved it. This book is the one which introduced me to reading and what prompted me to become an avid reader.
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