The Mystery of Holly Lane, by Enid Blyton

July 14, 2011 at 17:21 (Adventure, Book Reviews, Children's Books, Fiction, Highly Rated Books) (, , , , , , )

10/10

One of the stand-out Five Find-Outers books, and chiefly for the way in which Enid Blyton chooses to incorporate her secondary and tertiary characters. This book is one of the reasons why the series is not called Fatty and Goon. Furthermore, even her better novels seldom include more than one or two supporting characters in major roles, while this book features impressive roles from both Larry and Pip, as well as a delicious caricature of a pidgin-speaking, head-wagging excitable Frenchman, carried through the entire story heroically.

“In France policemen did not behave like that. They were interested and excited when a complaint was made to them…but this policeman had said “Gah” and gone cycling away. Extraordinary!”

-The Mystery of Holly Lane

Considering the effort Blyton went into with these fleshed-out portraits, it is perhaps unsurprising that this is not the most ambitious of mysteries the children have to solve: but her careful creation of Wilfrid and Marian, not to mention the clearest look we get at Larry outside of the first book in the series, is achieved at the expense of prosaic visits to the bakery, or arguing with parents about dinnertime punctuality, and there is still an adventure to be had. Coupled with the Five’s most entertaining set-piece at the mystery’s conclusion, this is surely one of the highest points in a very entertaining series.

Related reviews:
The Mystery of the Burnt Cottage
The Mystery of the Spiteful Letters
 
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