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

First edition: 1963
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



1st German edition published by Blüchert Verlag, in 1971,
cover by Nikolaus Plump, with the title Much Fun for the Black Seven
Foreign Titles
American: The Secret Seven and the Case of the Old Horse
German: Viel Spass Schwarze Sieben
French: Le Cheval du Clan des Sept
Dutch: De Grote Zeven redden het weer
Spanish: Los Siete Secretos se Divierten
Portuguese: Os Sete Salvam o Cavalo
Finnish: SOS ja vanhan hevosen tapaus
Greek: Oi Myetikoi Eota Eo Mia Aekeaaetikh
Catalan: Els Set Secrets Es Diverteixen



Brief Summary by Julie Heginbotham: The Seven hear about an old man called Tolly, who lives in a tumbledown house on the top of a hill, with his horse Brownie and his dog, Codger. But Brownie is almost lame from hard work and the vet's bill was more than Tolly could afford, and the owner of the horse wants him to be shot! But help is at hand for Tolly, Brownie and his dog, as the Seven find somewhere safe for them all to stay and Peter's father buys Brownie from his horrid farm owner, Mr Dinneford. And everyone is so pleased when Brownie is a great help with some awful horse thieves!


Full Reviews (These may contain spoilers):

Dennis Worley's Review
Fun for the Secret Seven starts off with Jack sending Peter a note asking him to call a meeting so they can help his friend Bob Smith. He ends his note with a slightly provocative statement "isn't it about time we met again, before we all forget we're the Secret Seven?" Peter is embarrassed by the fact that they haven't had any meetings for a while. It also turns out that he is very untidy and his room is like a pigsty.

Despite his request, Jack is quite surprised when Peter calls a meeting as he thought the Secret Seven had 'gone west'. This could be a sign that they are getting a bit older, as they never used to make comments like that. It is almost as if they are looking back on the series and past events in that Peter also has some friendly banter with Jack: "I suppose you've lost your badge as usual?" Jack is indignant, and replies that he only lost it once and it wasn't really lost as Susie took it. This is in the second book; though one might be forgiven for thinking it happens in most of the books (as Peter implies), such is Susie's reputation (and Jack's for that matter). As mentioned earlier though, on another occasion Susie was the one who found it for him, so that evens it up.

Peter has mellowed somewhat at last. He is still authoritative, but more polite, so we have "Stop chattering please, Pam and Barbara" rather than the customary "Shut up you two". Even Pam at last says the right thing at the right time and gets praised. Old Peter has never been in such a good mood and with Susie and Binkie safely out of the way at a party, maybe everything will go smoothly for the Head of the Secret Seven.

Bob is allowed to attend the meeting and is made a temporary member. "Is it the Secret Eight now?" he wonders to himself. (No, temporary members aren't counted I would think). Bob explains that he wants them to help old man Tolly pay the vet's bill for the horse Brownie who was in an accident that left him lame. Tolly works for the farmer who owns the horse. The farmer is not interested in Brownie anymore, as the horse cannot earn its keep.

Enid Blyton believed in teaching children to help others. She wanted them to become responsible grown-ups. This book is putting that into practice.

Janet gets quite bossy and calls for a meeting without Peter's knowledge and even orders him to go and deliver the notes that she wrote. This is a sudden turn around and is quite refreshing. Peter does return to form briefly and threatens to turn her out of the Secret Seven if she doesn't stop misbehaving. That's more like the Peter we know.

It's quite funny how everyone wants to own a piece of the horse. Even the vet wants his bit. There is a moral in all of this. The vet's kindness impresses George in particular and he remembers this when he is grown up and does similar acts of kindness. He is already very generous in this book as he gives his prize money to the horse fund. Pam is in tears of happiness because of all the kindness. It's a 'feel good' story.

There's one more plug for the Famous Five. Janet is reading a "very exciting book" about smugglers, featuring four children and their dog Timmy. The story is so riveting that she is still awake at 11 o' clock and thus it is because of the Famous Five that she is able to go for help when the horse thieves strike in the middle of the night. A violent fight ensues, in which a poker and a pitchfork are used as weapons. It seems to be a free-for-all with even Peter's mother joining in.

So the series ends as it started in a way, with horse thieves at work, but Janet is the heroine this time with Peter sleeping through most of it. Janet seems to take over here, and perhaps one can draw a parallel in some ways with the last Famous Five book (written in the same year), in which George 'takes over' from Julian.
Review by David Cook
The final Secret Seven story was issued simultaneously with the last Famous five book, Five Are Together Again, and was thus one of the final full-length stories that Enid ever wrote. (The Five, whilst not named, do get a final plug when Janet reads a story about four children in a smuggler's cave with their dog, Timmy!) This tale is quite different to the other stories in this series and, whilst a relevant, worthwhile, and eye-opening story for younger readers, it is marred by Enid's obviously waning powers as there is much contradiction, repetition and confusion in the telling of the story. It is quite serious in tone — Susie and Binkie are mentioned briefly but they and their usual pranks are noticeably absent.

Chronologically it follows on nicely from the previous story, taking place at the end of the summer holidays, just prior to the start of the Autumn term. The Seven are alerted by their friend, Bob Smith, to the plight of old Tolly and Brownie, the horse he looks after. Farmer Dinneford, Brownie's owner, has caused injuries to the horse's back legs by making it pull an overloaded cart, but refuses to accept responsibility for this and pay the vet's bills, blaming Tolly and saying the horse must be destroyed. The Seven temporarily recruit Bob to their ranks and determine to find somewhere to keep the old horse safely (plus Tolly and his dog, Codger) and then pay for the vet's bills and the horse's upkeep. This is done by persuading the vet to lower his bill, help from Peter's father and doing jobs to earn money.

But, from the start, there is confusion in this story. Enid calls the village Peterswood, the home of the Find-Outers. Prices quoted throughout seem very cheap, even for 1963. On page 48, Tolly says that he has given notice to Mr Dinneford who tells him to leave at once and Peter's father offers him a job, yet on page 54 he says he shall soon be leaving the farm on the hill, he can't work for Mr Dinneford anymore, and that he could go elsewhere with Brownie and get a job! Enid has Bob attending the Seven's meetings, yet she and Burgess Sharrocks both forget he's there. Tolly says none of the Secret Seven owns horses which is why they want to share in Brownie, yet they are staying in Peter's father's stables! Finally, Janet awakens one night to find horse thieves attacking Tolly and rouses her parents who go to the rescue and effect the horse thieves' capture aided by Scamper and Codger, yet minutes later Tolly claims credit aided by Brownie and a pitchfork! All in all, a confusing end to the series. These illustrations are hidden by default to ensure faster browsing. Loading the illustrations is recommended for high-speed internet users only.