The Enid Blyton Society
Five Fall Into Adventure
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Book Details...

First edition: 1950
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Illustrator: Eileen A. Soper
Category: Famous Five
Genre: Mystery/Adventure
Type: Novels/Novelettes

On This Page...

Reprint Covers
Review by Terry Gustafson
Further Illustrations


Dustwrapper from the 1965 edition, illustrated by Eileen A. Soper

Endpapers from the 1st edition, illustrated by Eileen A. Soper

1st German edition published by Blüchert Verlag, Stuttgart in 1958,
illustrated by Nikolaus Plump with the title Five Friends Help Their Comrade

1st Spanish edition published by Editorial Juventud in 1966,
illustrated by José Correas
Foreign Titles
German: Fünf Freunden helfen ihrem Kameraden
French: Le Club des Cinq et les Gitans
Dutch: De Vijf op avontuur
Spanish: Los Cinco frente a la aventura
Portuguese: Os Cinco e a Ciganita
Italian: La Bimba Rapita
Swedish: Fem går i fällan
Danish: De fem går på med krum hals
Finnish: Viisikko Joutuu Ansaan
Russian: Taina dwuch bloknotow
Slovenian: 5 Prijateljev v pasti
Icelandic: Fimm í hers höndum
Basque: Bostak Abenturan Murgildurik
Catalan: Els Cinc Pasen aventures
Indonesian: Lima Sekawan Jo Anak Gelandangan

Brief Summary by Poppy Hutchinson: Uncle Quentin and Aunt Fanny are away on holiday, and the Five are left with their friendly cook Joan, for a peaceful holiday at Kirrin Cottage. What with endless days of bathing and good food ahead, the Five are extremely happy and relaxed, but a Robbery which has involved the culprit making off with one of Uncle Quentin's Scientific notebooks, cuts short their blissfully inactive days of the Summer holidays. How has the thief entered the house, and did the 'face at the window' which Anne earlier sighted, have anything to do with the mystery? Suddenly the household find themselves being closely watched.

Full Review (This may contain spoilers):

Terry Gustafson's Review
A rough estimate would place this book within the top three or so of my Favourites-in-the-Series. The children assemble at Kirrin Cottage according to ritual and it's just as well that Quentin's off to Spain with his wife for a well-deserved holiday because he's extremely touchy and nervy from overwork. One of EB's Telling Moments has him reprimanding Timmy-the-dog who's acquired a habit of snapping at passing flies. Quentin finds this extremely irritating and there's a rush to calm him down because he really has so much on his plate at the present time. His great works have been the subject of comment in the newspapers and he feels that reporters will besiege their home ; however, despite all this fuss and bother, he uncharacteristically shows quite a tender side of his personality to his nephews and niece after he has calmed down a little.

When Mr. & Mrs. have cleared out of the house the children can relax. They are not completely alone because faithful Joan the cook is there and ready to supply some smashing meals for them all — BUT, the larder is locked which illustrates that the Famous Five are not entirely without blemish!

An interesting little interlude comes up very soon in the piece when the children visit the beach. George is always good for a little bit of aggression if someone aggravates her and that's exactly what happens when a man and a ragamuffin boy materialize. The Five returning from a dip in the sea find that the man has disappeared but the boy hasn't and to George's annoyance he's lying in the very hole that she had dug for herself in the sand. She drags him out and they prepare to fight but the gallant Dick intervenes and offers himself as a sacrificial lamb. He receives an uppercut from the strange boy who is completely unaware that he's just attacked an Adventurer who has walked under the sea, tangled with evil men and women, lived rough on an island, explored secret passages and underground caverns and even encountered such a thing as a Spook Train which did not faze him all that much. No indeed! Dick makes short work of his adversary by delivering one good punch which sends him flying and then Gracious Goodness! — it turns out that the ragamuffin is a girl! Her deception is not necessarily that she wishes to look like a boy but her hair is as short as George's and her appearance is more that of a male than a female so what could Dick conclude? Following on from that I'm a little bit curious about Soper's portrayals. If Dick had looked at the illustrations he may have noticed the ragamuffin was wearing a skirt and was therefore a female, but perhaps Eileen was a little rough in her depiction of the clothing the strange girl wore so the sort-of-skirt she is wearing in the frontispiece and round about Page #30 may be sort-of-pants!

It would be very scary to wake suddenly and see a face at the bedroom window but it happens to Anne that very night when she sits up and switches on her handy torch. Possibly their light wasn't working because when George wakes she rushes to the window and uses a torch as well, but the face has disappeared. Anne reports it as having nasty gleaming eyes which could have belonged to a black man because he looked very dark. Next day the suspicion is that it might have been a cat burglar because the intruder seemed to possess fairly commendable climbing skills.

The ragamuffin girl appears again when the Famous Five hit the beach next day. She's sitting behind a rock and idly spitting damson stones at any target she decrees to be suitable and the Kirrin kids seem to fit that category. When I first read the book I hadn't the faintest idea what a damson was but from the general description of what happened next I imagined they were perhaps a fruit similar to a plum. A damson-stone spitting contest is organized between Dick and the ragamuffin on the understanding that she'll clear out when Dick, who is a very good spitter, wins. He doesn't, so they have to reward their new acquaintance with an ice-cream. This is a day to remember because it's the one where Jo the circus-girl enters the Famous Five Chronicles. Jo (short for who knows what? Josephine?) is smelly and dirty and dressed in rags and she's a bit of a thief amongst other things. She also has an uncanny way with dogs (and cats according to her) and this she proves by managing to entice Timmy away from Mistress George for a few secs. Overall she is quite a character and she seems to have rather liked being treated roughly because she practically falls in love with Dick on the sand dunes right there and then, despite the fact that she sports a bruise on her chin which she got when the brave boy knocked her silly!

Things happen pretty quickly after this. Timmy is put out of action so that a break-in can be made at Kirrin Cottage. How did the intruder enter? No one can sort that out because the only entrance is a tiny window through which even little Anne can't squeeze. A couple of policeman arrive and they set about eating Joan's home-made buns and then they start on the scones and more buns and end up eating a whole chocolate cake before they depart.

More news: — George and Timmy are kidnapped! Jo comes into the tale again and it turns out that she's a product of a very unstable environment and has been living with her father in a caravan. Her mother is deceased and at this present stage of the tale she's in dire straits. Where's Daddy? He's upped and gone with the caravan leaving Jo a homeless urchin unloved and uncared for but hopefully receiving the bare necessities of life from one of her father's friends who supposedly turns up every now and again. The Kirrin children are kind to Jo and before returning home they supply her with some food and a modest amount of money.

There's a little more to this urchin than that which the children have so far observed because the thief or thieves who broke into Kirrin Cottage did not get all they wanted. They send a note which explains their dilemma somewhat and perhaps the children would be so kind as to supply another of Quentin's top secret notebooks for their edification. Curiously Jo who seems to have many fingers in many pies is the deliverer of the note which in Find-Outer parlance would be classed as a Major Clue. Julian and Dick grab her and put her through a little interrogation but achieve nothing much at all so they let her go. Later on a plan is hatched which involves the local paper boy who, when he calls, might be their only hope because the house is being watched and the 'phone line has been cut. Putting the plan into action, Dick manages to slip out to see if he can discover who will collect a substitute scientific notebook which they have left hidden outside. Shortly he observes a mysterious prowling figure whom he does not recognize as the uncontainable Jo! He creeps up and pounces on her and at his call Julian rushes out and by the light of his torch he sees the valiant Dick at it again — struggling with the girl on the lawn and giving her the treatment she deserves. Despite being bitten and scratched and kicked, his superior strength wins through and Jo is his prisoner. Helped by his older brother they haul the circus-kid inside and eventually win her around so that she becomes a little more compliant and is prepared to help them find George. There's a nice picture of Jo and Julian round about page #100 and Enid Blyton had it well-figured because showing Jo a map in order to affirm the whereabouts of George and Timmy is utterly useless ... she just gazes vaguely at it and it's also learnt that she can't even read or write! Like Tassie in The Castle of Adventure, the girl is tidied up a bit and supplied with some of George's clothes. She looks very much like George and more so when dressed as her but it's not very diplomatic to remark about it because she doesn't like the girl. Dick? Yes ... very much so, but not George. Joan appears every now and again ... good old Joan she adds the needed stability because the children lead fairly unstable lives when they are caught up in an adventure. A name to note down is Simmy. He happens to be Jo's itinerant father and he features very much in the play later on when he joins up with certain people including an impressive man with a very weird name. I can say that the adventure Boils Up a few more times because Enid Blyton used it in this book and in the sixth of the series and for that matter in The Castle of Adventure!

One of the interesting aspects of this story is that the Five move round a lot — the locations change from Kirrin Bay to the woods and then they're away in a boat — sailing round the coast and searching for a particular cliff. It's one long saga and thrilling to say the least. The children learn that Jo has an extremely useful talent. Enid Blyton seemed quite drawn to characters with the ability to throw themselves around and who possess affiliated skills such as climbing and swinging about on ropes and scrambling up cliffs. She has bestowed these attributes on Jo and seen to it that this George look-a-like possesses them to an extraordinary degree. Jo would rival and probably surpass any similarly gifted persons such as the afore-mentioned Tassie (debateable), Margery of the St Clare's books, or Kit Armstrong who in essence was a tree-climber. Carlotta (also of St Clare's) may have given her some stiff competition because in a past life she was a circus child as well but she may be more at home with gymnastic skills. Only the Professionals could safely compete with the talented Jo and an example would be someone like the Rubber-Man in a later book who could literally run up a sheer wall!

After it has Boiled Up the adventure continues with pages of unadulterated action all the way. Jo is firmly cemented with the Famous Five and will appear in later books and it can be said that all is not lost for the girl who turns out to be a very loyal follower of the Famous Five. These illustrations are hidden by default to ensure faster browsing. Loading the illustrations is recommended for high-speed internet users only.