Monday, June 22, 2020


Title: The Mystery of Banshee Towers (The Five Find-Outers #15)
Author: Enid Blyton
Publisher: Mammoth
Pages: 180
My GoodReads Rating: 

The last and only Five Find-Outers book by Enid Blyton I read was when I was 10. Back then, I’d been quite impressed with the book, even more so than her Famous Five and Secret Seven series of books, which tended to display a certain sameness after a while. But I hadn’t managed to lay my hands on the other books in the series. We just didn’t have access to many books then. Very soon I moved on to Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys and left Blyton behind.

Recently La Niña picked up some books from the Five Find-Outers series at the library, and I decided to read it soon after she had finished, for old times’ sake. The first one I picked up was The Mystery of Banshee Towers. The characters are siblings Bets and Pip, siblings Larry and Daisy, and only child Fatty. Fatty is one of those people who always found themselves in the middle of something thrilling.

There were some good messages that the book enforced. The importance of being well-mannered, warning readers about how a hot temper led you into doing silly, rash things you were sorry for afterwards – and then it was probably too late. The book also said that describing someone as a friend is about the best thing anyone can say about anyone else.

In later years, we read critique about Blyton being racist, but back then we just didn’t latch on to that. We hadn’t assumed a racist mindset as a result of reading the books and so we vociferously defended the long-dead Blyton when this accusation was hurled at her. But the truth is we simply weren’t paying attention. 

We were so naïve then. We let ourselves get carried away by this enormously exciting world, where kids were left on their own, allowed to have exciting adventures without having to account for every moment of their day to their parents. And then there were the picnic baskets with scones, profiteroles and things like that, foods that we just couldn’t put a mental image to, but they excited us all the same.

The mystery of course was rather tame, looked at from an adult standpoint, although the child-me found it great, and La Niña was duly impressed.

In this book, we have Ern, nephew of Mr Goon, or Clear Orf, as the kids call him. Ern’s family has the measles and so he and his dog, Bingo, have been sent to his uncle’s house. Offended by his uncle’s ill-treatment of him and Bingo, Ern leaves his uncle’s house and moves into Fatty’s workroom. This is how he becomes a temporary member of the Five Find-Outers.

Clearly something isn’t right about the place. Also, the banshee wails every Thursday and the owner insists that it is real. Then Ern learns that a red boat painted in one of the paintings has been painted over. The investigation into the missing boat catapults them into yet another adventure.

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