The Enid Blyton Society
In the Fifth at Malory Towers
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Book Details...

First edition: 1950
Publisher: Methuen
Illustrator: Stanley Lloyd
Category: Malory Towers
Genre: School
Type: Novels/Novelettes

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Reprint Covers
Review by Jo Chambers
Further Illustrations


Wraparound dustwrapper from the 1st edition, illustrated by Stanley Lloyd

Wraparound dustwrapper from the 1957 reprint, illustrated by Lilian Buchanan
Brief Summary by Julie Heginbotham: Darrell and her friends are excited this term, as it is the fifth form pantomime, which is written, acted and produced entirely by the girls themselves. But things don't go as smoothly as everyone wants them to with Moira giving out her orders, to the girls rehearsing on stage. Then there is someone who is sending out anonymous letters, which makes everyone uncomfortable. But Mam'zelle Dupont lightens the load a little with a trick she plays on the Fifth formers.

Full Review (This may contain spoilers):

Jo Chambers' Review
Darrell and co arrive in the Fifth form to find two unpopular girls, Catherine and Moira, have been left behind whilst the rest of their form went up to the Sixth. The domineering Moira is made head girl and from the first, clashes with Alicia and others due to her unpleasant personality.

At the start of term it is announced that the fifth formers are going to be writing and producing their own production at the end of the term and much of the book's action is concerned with this. It is decided that they will perform a Pantomime of Cinderella, and a committee (rather unbelievingly comprised of virtually exclusively North Tower girls) is formed.

In the matter of the play and the run up to it the form's new girl causes much hilarity. Maureen has come to Malory Towers after the head of her previous school died and makes herself unpopular from the first. Vain, shallow and egotistical, she is very like the selfish and unimproved Gwendoline. The two girls are thrown together by the others' mutual dislike of them and Gwen is horrified to see so much of herself in a person she dislikes so intensely. Both girls are vain and believe that they should have the lead role in Cinderella and amuse the others a great deal by parading about with their hair loose in front of their mirrors.

The play is eventually cast and Mary-Lou is given the role of Cinderella. This is a chance for many much loved older characters to shine as Belinda takes over the art work, Darrell the writing and producing, Irene the music, Mavis the singing and Alicia the role of the demon King in the play. Rehearsals run anything but smoothly however thanks to Moira's dominating ways and bad temper. When she eventually falls foul of Alicia and Alicia resigns, the whole project looks in danger of coming apart.

Whilst preparations are ongoing, a rather unpleasant campaign of spiteful letters begins against Moira. Moira has made herself unpopular in many quarters and is dismayed to realise that the letter writer could be any one of a number of people. By accident, it is revealed to be the brazen second former June, little improved by her terms at Malory Towers. June is sent for by Miss Grayling and told that she is to be expelled. Moira, revealing a decent side, intercedes for her and saves her this fate, prompting Alicia to withdraw her resignation.

The play is a roaring success and causes Darrell to believe that she may have a potential career as a writer. All the girls learn how to work independently of mistresses and to cooperate and rely on one another. The book ends with Darrell enjoying her first success as a writer and producer. These illustrations are hidden by default to ensure faster browsing. Loading the illustrations is recommended for high-speed internet users only.