The Enid Blyton Society
Puzzle for the Secret Seven
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Book Details...

First edition: 1958
Publisher: Brockhampton Press
Illustrator: Burgess Sharrocks
Category: Secret Seven
Genre: Mystery/Adventure
Type: Novels/Novelettes

On This Page...

Reprint Covers
Artwork
Reviews by Dennis Worley and David Cook
Further Illustrations

Reprints


Cloth boards of the 1st edition



Endpapers from the 1st edition



Title page from the 1st edition, illustrated by Burgess Sharrocks



1st German edition published by Blüchert Verlag, in 1958,
cover by Nikolaus Plump, with the title Keep Your Eyes Open Black Seven
Foreign Titles
American: The Secret Seven and the Case of the Music Lovers
German: Augen auf Schwarze Sieben
French: Le Violin du Clan des Sept
Dutch: Raadsels voor de Grote Zeven
Spanish: Un rompecabezas para los Siete Secretos
Portuguese: Os Sete e o Violino Roubado
Italian: Il Violino Rubato del Club dei Sette
Finnish: SOS ja varastettu visulu
Czech: Tajna Sedma Housle pro Bennyho
Greek: Enae Aaytoe Tpioe
Catalan: Un Trencaclosques per als Set Secrets



Brief Summary by Julie Heginbotham: Whilst on a visit to a fair the Seven meet a gypsy woman, selling ginger-bread, and having no money left to buy any she gives them the crumbling bits she can't sell. The next time the Seven meet this lady and her two children, her shack on the hill top at Hilly-Down is burning to the ground. Thankfully help is at hand and the woman and her children are allowed to stay in an old caravan on Peter's parent's farmland. Odd things begin to happen. The old clothes from the scarecrow disappear, and a violin is stolen from an antique shop. This is a true puzzle for the Secret Seven.


Full Reviews (These may contain spoilers):

Dennis Worley's Review
The tenth book starts off with a visit to the fair, sponsored by Jack's mother who has, in a manner of speaking, won some money at the card tables. Jack goes to tell the rest of the Seven about the good news, but there is a catch — Susie is invited too. And for the first time we meet her friend Binkie, (what a character!) who is also invited, and why not? If Jack can take six friends, she is surely allowed to take one!

Binkie is made out to be worse than Susie, as if that could be possible. She seems to be quite friendly at first, but unfortunately the others are prejudiced because of her rabbit teeth, twitchy nose and the fact that she is Susie's friend. Susie and Binkie are a constant irritation to the Seven in this book. They eavesdrop seemingly at will and play tricks, taking in the Seven every time.

They all enjoy the fun of the fair. When Peter decides it's time to leave, Susie and Binkie want to stay. Night-time at the fair seems romantic to Binkie's artistic nature. It turns out that Binkie writes poetry, and is prepared to recite then and there. The others are horrified — it's the very last thing they want to hear!

Jack steps in hastily and says that she has to go back with him, thus saving the others from Binkie's poetry recital.

On the way home they see a fire on the hillside. Peter telephones the fire station and the others go to see if there's anything they can do to help. Peter decides to call a meeting.

"Susie and me too?" said Binkie, thrilled.

"No," said Peter. "Only the Secret Seven." Poor Binkie. She was so looking forward to being involved.

As usual, it has been some time since the last meeting, so Pam and Barbara aren't sure if the password is 'Woof' or 'Wuff'. Luckily Scamper gives it away and they get in, just!

However, Colin and Jack have forgotten it altogether and Peter, strict as ever, won't let them in. Help is on hand though! Susie has been hiding in the bushes with Binkie and, once again, has found out the password and comes to their aid.

The next highlight is Binkie's Secret Seven 'poem'. Her 'poetry' is not in the classic Ern Goon mould, but at least she doesn't need anyone to finish them for her.

The Seven are not impressed. Barbara thinks it's very rude and untruthful. Only George is willing to admit that it is just a little bit funny. Good for him for not 'blending in' with the others. No one else will agree with him, but it does seem that the characters are a little more mature in this book. Peter doesn't get half as upset as he normally does with Susie; he seems to accept her mischief with an air of resignation.

When Susie and Binkie come around singing their song during a meeting, Colin gets his chance to showcase his own talents. He opens the shed door and belts out his 'Binkie poem' in a loud voice.

Now, whereas Binkie's poem can be classified as a humorous dig at the Secret Seven as a whole, Colin's poem is very derogatory and personal — especially to a little girl who might be conscious of her looks. Binkie is hurt and bursts into tears and Susie has words with him, and he feels a bit guilty.

The puzzling thing is that someone has stolen the scarecrow's clothes and committed a robbery dressed in them. This is then linked to the Bolan family who lost their possessions in the fire. The Seven go to visit the Bolans and Scamper is distracted and starts to dig in a ditch. They think they have found the missing clothes or at least some clues, but all they find is some old clothes and Susie's old school hat. Needless to say, this is revenge for Colin's catty composition. The Seven are furious at first but then — surprisingly — see the funny side of it and take it with good grace.

The mysterious puzzle is eventually solved after the shepherd hears a strange wailing. The four boys go to investigate and are able to piece everything together afterwards. Janet wants to go with them. In fact poor old Janet often wants to join in their nocturnal adventures, less so the other two girls, but Peter won't allow it. "Only boys can go out at night" is one of the golden rules of the Secret Seven. Of course, girls who are not members are not restricted in this way. The strange case of 'The Weird and Wonderful Wailers' proves this. But you will have to read Puzzle for the Secret Seven yourself to find out more about the 'WWW', if you haven't already guessed!
Review by David Cook
This story must take place soon after the previous spring adventure as it's set in the Easter holidays again — one week into them, in fact, though the illustrations show the nights are strangely dark for that time of the year. In it, we are introduced to two new and recurring characters.

The first is Susie's friend, Binkie, a poetry-reciting girl with a 'funny little twitchy nose and teeth just like a rabbit', of garrulous and giggly nature. She becomes Susie's regular partner in crime for annoying and tricking the Seven. The other is Matt, the shepherd, who works for Peter's father and lives in a hut up on the hills with the sheep. This sheep farming aspect is one of two new facts we learn about Old Mill House Farm, the other being the keeping of hens, whose hen houses are lime-washed by Peter and Janet.

This is an absorbing story of much incident. When the Bolan family's hillside shack goes up in flames, the Seven assist in preparing Matt's old caravan for them to live in. Later events include two thefts, one of clothes from a scarecrow and another of a violin from an antique shop by someone wearing the scarecrow's clothes, and a strange wailing noise heard on the hills at night. The story has a very rural setting and is again concerned with social problems. One instance I found very amusing was that Peter's school violin teacher was called Mr Scraper! These illustrations are hidden by default to ensure faster browsing. Loading the illustrations is recommended for high-speed internet users only.