Meet the Characters

Article by Keith Robinson

"The Five Find-Outers and Dog" is not the greatest title in the world for a small band of young detectives, but it's unclear to me whether this was through a lack of inspiration on the part of the author, or a deliberately silly name thought up by little Bets Hilton. Perhaps it's a bit of both; perhaps Blyton couldn't think of a good name so put the "blame" squarely on Bets' shoulders!

In any case, the title is very familiar to all Enid Blyton fans, and the series is arguably one of the best-loved. But why? Perhaps because it's a series that almost stands alone in its genre. With endless stories of smugglers, secret tunnels and hidden treasure, a sizeable portion of tattle-tales running amock in schools, a healthy dose of yarns concerning farms and circuses, and a shelf full of fables that delve into one family crisis or another, the Five Find-Outers deliver a relatively unique blend of mystery and comedy.

True, other stand-alone novels have tried to muscle in; The Mystery That Never Was, for instance, is like a short and very inferior version of the Find-Outers' The Mystery of the Hidden House. The closest competition for the Five Find-Outers is the Secret Seven, and – by a strange coincidence – each series sports fifteen titles. Other comparisons between the two series include secret meetings held in a shed, a yearning for a good juicy mystery, and the respect of the kind Police Inspectors. Also, while it's very clear throughout the series that the Find-Outers live in the village of Peterswood, the name "Peterswood" slipped into one of the Secret Seven books and was described as a town rather than a village, making the reader wonder if this was a deliberate tie-in with the Mystery series or simply a slip-up on the part of the author.

(To be completed...)