The Enid Blyton Society
The Mystery of the Strange Messages
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Book Details...

First edition: 1957
Publisher: Methuen
Illustrator: Lilian Buchanan
Category: Five Find-Outers
Genre: Mystery/Adventure
Type: Novels/Novelettes

On This Page...

Reprint Covers
Review by Robert Houghton
Further Illustrations


Wraparound dustwrapper from the 1st edition, illustrated by Lilian Buchanan

1st German edition published by Erika Klopp Verlag in 1963,
illustrated by Egbert von Normann with the title Mystery of the Ivy
Foreign Titles
German: Geheimnis um eine Efeuvilla
French: Le Mystère de l'ennemi sans nom
Dutch: De Vijf Detectives – De vreemde waarschuwingen
Spanish: Misterio de los Mensajes Sorpendentes
Portuguese: O Mistério das Estranhas Mensagens
Finnish: Timanttikätkön salaisuus
Icelandic: Dularfullu skilaboðin
Greek: Ta Anonyma Mhnymata

Brief Summary by Julie Heginbotham: Mr Goon receives four letters, of which the wording is cut out from a newspaper. One says – Turn him out of the Ivies, the other one – Ask Smith what his real name is, another one says – Call yourself a policeman? Better go and see smith, and the last one says – You'll be sorry if you don't go and see Smith! Mr Goon is so angry he accuses Fatty of sending him the letters, and so goes to see the Find-Outers, who all deny having seen them or sent them. Mr Goon doesn't believe what they say and throws the letters at their feet. Once alone, Fatty turns to the others, and says – "Our next mystery is now beginning." And what an exciting mystery it turns out to be, with the help of Ern, Mr Goon's nephew.

Full Review (This may contain spoilers):

Robert Houghton's Review
The Mystery of the Strange Messages is unusual in that it opens with Mr. Goon, not with Fatty or any of the Find-Outers. This makes a refreshing change, and also helps the story considerably, as the plot begins straight away with Goon receiving the strange messages of the title. This fourteenth story could well be the best constructed of the whole series, but once again Enid uses several familiar elements. For instance, Goon immediately thinks that the messages are a trick of Fatty's and goes to his house to tell him so. Thus, the Find-Outers, who believe in the validity of the messages straight away, are handed the clues on a plate, in pretty much the same way as the clothes in The Mystery of the Strange Bundle. By the time Goon realises his mistake the Find-Outers are well on their way to solving their latest mystery.

Once again, Ern is introduced into the story, supposedly because Goon has decided to 'employ' him as a spy, infiltrating the Find-Outers ranks and reporting back on their progress. Quite why Goon should think this a good idea, especially after those other adventures when Ern helped the Find-Outers, isn't mentioned. Still, it turns out to be a super mystery, with blackmail, hidden hordes of priceless diamonds and plenty of interesting (and for the most part, totally believable) clues. Maybe the 'Rangoon Weekly' isn't exactly what I would expect to read whilst in Rangoon, but it does explain where the message maker-upper got the word 'goon' from, all be it in a rather unlikely fashion! The moment when the water pipes are cut by the police and the diamonds come flooding out, sparkling like new, may also seem far-fetched taken out of context, but Enid writes with such conviction that it becomes one of the most believable (and wonderfully visual) scenes in the whole of the series. These illustrations are hidden by default to ensure faster browsing. Loading the illustrations is recommended for high-speed internet users only.