Books

Crime Fiction Alphabet – E is for Enid Blyton

Rather than an actual book review, for this weeks Crime Fiction Alphabet I thought I would reflect on something that occurred to me whilst I was considering books to read for the challenge. When did I start reading Crime Fiction? Was it in my childhood or much later? Childhood books automatically mean a mention to Enid Blyton.

I have vague recollection of reading a Nancy Drew book when I was younger but could not begin to tell you much about them as they were American and then I was rather snobby about reading books set in America . Then I suddenly realised what were the Famous Five, Secret Seven, and Five Find Outers books – mystery books but there was a crime normally involved, and always the presence of the police or a responsible adult at some time.

Certainly in the case of the Five Find Outers there are the wonderful conversations with Mr Goon the local policeman who thought the nosey, interfering children and their dog (of course) were a simple nuisance. But his superior Inspector Jenks always praising the thought and results that these children got.


I recently picked up a Famous Five books (Five go off in a Caravan) and read the book, looking for crime within, a different approach than just reliving a childhood book. First of all it had been changed ever so slightly in terms of words used but no matter, this is a post about the crime. Two men from the travelling circus that the children come across are suddenly very upset that they have befriended one of their group and also that they have parked their caravans in a place where they seem to have a rather keen interest.

With a bit of subterfuge, knowing that the men must be up to no good. One of the children watches events, and suddenly discover that their caravans are in fact covering something underground – a cave.

A cave with what looks like stolen goods.

The inevitable, threat and danger looming, the children make an attempt to capture, whilst the men make an attempt at escape. There is the danger of drowning, starving in the cave and even being shot. With Blyton good overcomes evil. The denouement; the police appear and the men are taken away. The children thanked for the police had been interested in these two men for some time but could not find out what was going on. It takes four children and a dog to do that in a matter of days, with ginger beer, ham sandwiches, boiled eggs and cake.

And so without me realising whilst I was growing up, consuming these books I had already started to take an interest in crime fiction. It was many years probably only the last five where I have actually consciously picked up a crime genre novel. Now I read quite a few!

This post is part of The Crime Fiction Alphabet Challenge hosted by Kerrie at Mysteries in Paradise.

14 thoughts on “Crime Fiction Alphabet – E is for Enid Blyton

  1. Very interesting. I have not read any of these, but did not realize they included crime fiction for the younger set. Sounds like a good introduction for children. The first mysteries I remember reading were Perry Mason mysteries, but I must have read some children’s books that fit that description earlier.

  2. I loved Enid Blyton too and never really thought of those books as being crime fiction, but I suppose that’s what they were. I think I liked the Five Find Outers better than the Famous Five though.

  3. Thank you for reminding me that my crime fiction reading career started long before Agatha Christie!

  4. This post generated a massive wave of nostalgia, not least of the that edition of the book which not only did I have but I remember watching the TV series too (I actually crossed paths with the actor who played ‘Dick’ (we went to the same dentist!).

  5. Well, yes my crime fiction reading began with Enid Blyton too. I loved her books, especially the Famous Five, the Secret Seven and the Mystery of … series. Actually I dug out one of the Famous Five books the other day and am enjoying Five Fall Into Adventure. I don’t have many of her books, as I passed them on to my sister. As an adult she bought loads of them secondhand to sell and when she died she still had some left, so I have a few now.

  6. I have a huge desire to pick up an Enid Blyton book now! I read most of the school stories as a child, so it will be interesting to read some Famous Five and I know there is an amazing Enid Blyton bookshop in Dorset, so maybe I need to take a road trip.

      1. Go to gingerpop.co.uk. They have shops near Corfe Castle and in Poole! The woman who runs it is amazing; I had a favourite Enid Blyton book as a child that got lost along the way, when I was about 19/20 I really wanted to read it again but could not find it anywhere and found out it was out of print. I literally had my relatives looking everywhere they went and then one of them heard about this shop and I wrote to her and she had a copy.

  7. I went straight from Famous Five to Agatha Christie, unfortuntely my mum gave all my books away. I think it’s a real shame that they decided to update Enid Blyton’s books, it’s like trying to change history.

  8. I read a LOT of Enid Blyton’s books when I was much younger, but I didn’t read the Famous Five Series. Mostly, I read her fairy stories.

  9. I can’t wait to start looking for her books for my grandkids!

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