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on 29 May 2014
The halfway point in the Five Find-Outers and dog series - apparently aimed at a younger audience than Enid Blyton's other numbered mystery series, but to me still the best.

The title says it all really - there's a thief in town who is never seen, and the Find-Outers once again find themselves mixed up in events. It's another of the excellent mysteries that Blyton's style developed into, with clues everywhere and plenty of opportunities for the reader/listener to guess who the thief is.

One of the best in the set - a good mystery with good characters, although some of the names have aged a little.
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on 4 April 2000
Fantastic book. I read it more times than I care to remember as a child, but it was just as great each time. Now I've re-discovered it and am reading a couple of chapters each night before sleeping - a good way to unwind.
Important letters and other invaluable documents are being stolen from locked rooms with barred windows - how is it being done? Roger, Diana, their cousin Snubby and friend Barney go on a mission to find the answer, hampered by Great Uncle's belief that a group of people called the Green Hand Gang have something to do with the mystery.
Re-reading this book as an adult is great and I can remember the excitement of trying to work out the mystery for myself as a child. Enid Blyton does have flaws in her writing style, but she tells a great story, so why does it matter?
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on 14 September 2005
This book is wicked for people who LOVE adventure books.I have read it and it inspired me to read other Enid Blyton books,i recommend this book for ages 8 and upwards as it is quite long (of course peeps under 8 can read this,it's just that theye'd have to be quite clever!).Join the Five Find Outers as they follow the clues,but who will be the thief?????????
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on 14 February 2009
I have never read an Enid Blyton book as scary as this. Every time at night i thought there was an invisible thief in my bedroom. I still liked it especially how Enid made the ending, eg how she made it a surprise who the robber was. And that was George's [age 7] report. I am now reading the mystery of the burnt cottage.
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VINE VOICEon 20 March 2007
This book is the first of the Barney series. It is aimed at the slightly older child but the Famous Five fans should love it. The action centres on a dilapidated mansion. There is the tutor who is not quite what one would expect, lashings of fabulous meals, a monkey, a circus boy who does not quite ring true, a cheeky 12 year old, two older cousins, a lunatic dog, secret passages, mystery and suspense. A musty atmosphere permeates the story and it is an excellent read.

You will not be disappointed with this one.
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on 9 April 2015
Amazing book. I had to do a book review of my favourite book and I chose this one. It's the second best Enid Blyton book that I read after 'Shock for the Secret Seven'. The baker is annoying the find-routers by treating them like young children but there is a thief on the loose and nobody can spot him/her. Can the find-outers solve the mystery before Goon? If you want to find out more about this perfect book BUY IT NOW AND READ IT STRAIGHT AFTER YOU'VE BOUGHT IT NOW. I'm 7 and it's the perfect book for 7+.
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on 26 July 2016
I have had this version since I was eight years old in 1969, and I still have it. We first meet Roger, Diana, their orphaned cousin Snubby (real name Peter) and Miss Pepper. As Mr and Mrs Lynton (Roger and Diana's parents), Miss Pepper (Mrs Lynton's old Governess) is put in charge of Roger Diana, and Snubby, as their other relatives children got measles, so Miss Pepper is the next in line. She meets Roger and Diana at the station, and goes to a little village called Rockingdown, which is a derelict mansion. Diana is not pleased that Snubby is coming the next day, and her and Roger are horrified when Miss Pepper tells them that Mr Lynton has arranged for them to have coaching in the summer holidays. This includes Snubby!

Snubby arrives next day, and is told about the coaching. He, like Roger and Diana, is horrified. A couple of days before they are due to be coached, the coach's wife rings to tell them her husband can't come because he has been admitted to hospital with acute appendicitis! Snubby takes the call, and passes the message on to Roger and Diana. Miss Pepper then gets told, is shocked, and then to Roger, Diana and Snubby's dismay, she makes phone calls to obtain another coach, and finally drafts an advertisement in the local paper and posts it!

In the meantime, the children explore the surrounding area, and learn something of the old mansion's history. On one of the walks, they meet Barney and Miranda for the first time. Barney tells them a little bit of his history, and that his late mother was in a circus, and took Barney with her, away from his father. Barney knew his father had done some Shakespeare acting, and since his mother died, he and Miranda (a monkey named after the Tempest character) have been walking round the country looking for his father. He strikes up a friendship with Miss Pepper and the children.

Using his circus skills, he manages to get into the old mansion and prepares a room for himself to sleep in, and a room for the children to play in.

Later on, Mr King comes to teach the children. Barney and Miranda listen and absorb.

Later, Barney and Miranda go to sleep in the mansion. They are woken by strange bangs in the middle of the night. When Barney meets Roger, Diana, and Snubby, he tells them of his experience. He then joins them for lessons with Mr King.

After a few more nights, of sleeping in the mansion, he is woken by strange noises, and decides to find out more the next night. He goes downstairs, and finds the entrance into the cellar which is worked by using a screwing motion. He gets into the cellar, and the hole above him closes. Barney and Miranda spend the night in the cellar, but are caught by the men the next night when Miranda gives them away. Barney refuses to work with the men, so the men keep him prisoner in the cellar.

In the meantime, Miss Pepper's sister falls ill. Miss Pepper goes to her sister, and leaves the children in Mr King's charge!

Meanwhile, the children are getting worried over t he disappearance of Barney, and suspect Mr King of being involved, So much so, that Roger brings home a constable who tries to question Mr King. Mr King, however, shows him proof that he is a lot higher in rank than the Constable. Mr King then reveals that he took the job on as coach in order to investigate smugglers at the old mansion. Mr King tells them what he knows, and the children do the same. Mr King is actually let into the mansion with the children, and goes down into the kitchen. They do not however, discover the screwing motion.

In the meantime, Barney has to help the men do some dirty work, and realises Winches are used. He finds a very close barred iron gate. He manages to write a note, and ties it to Miranda's leg. Miranda squeezes through the iron gate and delivers the note to the children. Mr King gets told,and arranges reinforcements.

The children have discovered an old barn, with a hole in the floor. They find out that the smuggled goods are being winched up there at night. They follow Mr King and his men down to the mansion, and tell him where the hole is. Mr King and men then go down the hole, and into the cellars. The men are arrested, and Barney and Miranda are saved. It turns out that the owner of the barn and old farm was the leader of the smugglers- he was the son-in-law of the old farmer, and ran the whole operation.

Miss Pepper returns, and decides she can't now stay at Rockingdown, and says she will take the children to a seaside town. Snubby asks Miss Pepper if Barney and Miranda can come. Miss Pepper agrees, but Barney has got another job at a small fair, so he turns down the invite. Disappointment ensures, until it is realised that the fair Barney is going to is visiting the seaside town that they are visiting, in about ten days time!

Mr King leaves on friendly terms with everyone!

This is the first book in the series!
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VINE VOICEon 20 March 2007
Here is a tale of a fair ground, stolen documents, apes, elephant, Snubby, Barney and the night-time adventures and mystery one would expect from this super series.

An excellent book which will not disappoint.
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on 30 June 2013
My 9 year old daughter loved these Barney Mystery stories. She is perhaps starting to outgrow Enid Blyton now, but she really enjoyed all books in this series. I had to persuade her to try them initially, because she didn't find the front covers particularly appealing, as they are a little old fashioned, but she had to admit after reading them that you shouldn't always judge a book by its cover!!! She has since moved on to Enid Blyton's 'Adventure' series which is proving just as good!
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on 3 October 2015


Enid’s ‘Mystery’ books (The Five Find Outers and Dog) were the catalyst which encouraged me to start reading more than 50 years ago. Thank you, Enid. The BBC, many libraries, local authorities and alleged educational experts have been completely wrong about the worth of the Blyton works. I can remember having substantial difficulty obtaining the original books as so many shops would not stock them but they were wonderful stories! The tales are great to read for their simplicity and straightforwardness.

When one did find copies of the book they were quite expensive all those years ago but great to own. I loved the letter on the back cover from Enid in some editions and the physical appearance of the books as well which I treasured as a youngster with the way in which the books were produced then making them somehow much easier to read.

It’s a delight to read these mystery stories again in middle age although recent editing has diminished some of the memories I have of the original editions and words used then (but I am now getting old).

Never mind… these books remain one of my best friends for life: they began my own reading adventure so do read these special adventures for yourselves.
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