Literature / Five Find-Outers

The Five Find-Outers and Dog are five friends living in Peterswood Village who solve mysteries together with a dog, Buster. The Find-Outers are Laurence "Larry" Daykin, Frederick Algernon "Fatty" Trotteville, Philip "Pip" Hilton, Margaret "Daisy" Daykin and Elizabeth "Bets" Hilton. Buster the dog belongs to Fatty.

Apart from tackling criminals, the children have to face the wrath of the bumbling, interfering village policeman, P.C Theophilus Goon, who bears a grudge against Fatty for solving crimes before him. Recurring characters include Inspector Jenks, friend of the children, and Ern Goon, PC Goon's nephew who sometimes comes to stay with his uncle for the school holidays.

One of the more popular of Enid Blyton's series, which may be due to the sense of old time and nostalgia in the books (the series was started in the 1940's).

Books in the series:

  • The Mystery of the Burnt Cottage (1943)
  • The Mystery of the Disappearing Cat (1944)
  • The Mystery of the Secret Room (1945)
  • The Mystery of the Spiteful Letters (1946)
  • The Mystery of the Missing Necklace (1947)
  • The Mystery of the Hidden House (1948)
  • The Mystery of the Pantomime Cat (1949)
  • The Mystery of the Invisible Thief (1950)
  • The Mystery of the Vanished Prince (1951)
  • The Mystery of the Strange Bundle (1952)
  • The Mystery of Holly Lane (1953)
  • The Mystery of Tally-Ho Cottage (1954)
  • The Mystery of the Missing Man (1956)
  • The Mystery of the Strange Messages (1957)
  • The Mystery of Banshee Towers (1961)

Tropes present in this work are:

  • The Ace: Fatty excels in both his studies and sports (including poetry), is able to solve crimes better than the police, and is very rich too.
  • Adults Are Useless: Wherever there is a problem the Find-Outers must resolve it.
  • Beneath Suspicion: One of the suspects in The Mystery of the Pantomime Cat has such an airtight alibi the Find-Outers initially don't think it's worth checking it. Guess who turns out to be the robber?
  • Big Brother Mentor: Fatty towards Beth, more than her real brother.
  • Elective Broken Language: Downplayed in The Mystery of the Vanished Prince: Bets and her friends pose as Princess Bongawee and her retinue as a part of a prank. They speak broken English and their own made-up language.
  • Embarrassing Initials: Frederick Algernon Trotteville. And yes, he is fat.
  • Embarrassing Nickname: Downplayed. Fatty doesn't really like being called Fatty (for obvious reasons), but he dislikes being called "Frederick" even more, so he puts up with it.
  • Fat Bastard: Mr Goon. Totally averted with Fatty.
  • Food Porn: The children's tea-time food is described often. A popular place for them to eat is a tea-shop, where they order buns and cocoa. There is also a dairy mentioned in The Mystery of the Vanished Prince, where they have ice-creams.
  • Master of Disguise: Fatty.
  • Police Are Useless:
    • Mr Goon. Several times he befriends the criminal, and refuses to rescue Fatty from their clutches. The children end up solving the crime before him. He is also very fat and unable to run fast.
    • Averted with Inspector Jenks.
  • Refuge in Audacity:
    • Fatty's disguises.
    • The thief in The Mystery of the Invisible Thief, who goes into houses he's just robbed to search for the thief.
  • Spotlight-Stealing Squad: The early books set up the Find-Outers around the Larry, Daisy and Pip trio, with Larry as the leader and Fatty and Bets as unwanted hanger-ons. By the third book Fatty takes over as leader and the rest of the series is pretty much "The Fatty Show" with Bets as his sidekick, while the others hang in the background. By the end of the series, readers know just to wait for Bets to drop a innocent observation that triggers Fatty cracking the case.
  • Uncle Pennybags: Whenever the Find-Outers go out to eat, Fatty is the one who pays for it all, since he has much more money than the other kids.
  • You Meddling Kids: Some of the villains say this. Goon occasionally complains about the children interfering in his job, despite that he never could resolve the cases on his own.