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on 22 March 2016
Read this book as a child but forgot the title. I posted on abe books my brief and rather unhelpful recollection of the book and someone managed to point me in the right direction ! So glad have managed to track down this classic
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VINE VOICEon 20 March 2007
This book was intended to be the last of the Barney series but fortunately the fans had other ideas and cried for more.

Unusually, this mystery is set in a busy seaside town. There are spies, a secret submarine base, theatricals and adventure.

Very different from Ms Blytons usual, it is a very good read.
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on 26 July 2016
I have this version. It is the 4th one in the "R" series featuring Roger, Diana, Snubby, Barney, Loony the spaniel, and Miranda the monkey. This starts when Mr and Mrs Lynton (Roger and Diana's parents go to America for a few weeks, and leave their mother's old governess (Miss Pepper) in charge of all the children, including Snubby (Roger and Diana's cousin).

They go by train to Woodlingham, and change for Rockypool, Snubby nearly misses his train, and jumps into a separate carriage from his cousins. he meets two men whilst he is in the carriage, and studies them hard. He notices one man has a crooked little finger.

From Rockypool, they go to Rubadub by Taxi, where they stay at the Inn-called "Three Men In A Tub"! They soon get to know the guests there, who include Professor James, the Funny Man, and a conjurer, who works at a local pierrot show. There is also "Dummy" the strange doorman who has not properly grown up since an accident, but he is immensely strong.

The children go for a walk, and find a small fair along the pier. They are also told about a Secret Submarine Base at Rubadub.
When they get back, there is a message from Miss Pepper to say that Barney phoned. Through a number Barney gave Miss Pepper, they phone him, and discover that he had phoned their home, and the cook had given him a number for them and told them to ring him. They contact Barney, who has been ill, and says he will see them tomorrow as he has managed to get a lift down to Rubadub.

Next day, Barney turns up, and pours out his troubles to his friends. He is still looking unsuccessfully for his father. He has managed to get a little job at the small fair on the pier. The conjurer comes and offers him a job, but Barney explains he has just got one at the fair.

Whilst Barney is with them, they tell him about Dummy. Barney says he remembers a Dummy whom he once knew, and wonders if it is the same one. The children ask Mrs Glump (the owner of the Inn) if they can talk to Dummy, and tell him that they met a friend of his. They speak to Dummy, and at first, he doesn't remember, but when Diana mentions Miranda, the whole thing brings back memories for Dummy!

Barney later discovers that it is the Dummy he once knew, and Barney talks to Dummy. Dummy tells Barney he remembers Barney's mother, but he didn't know she had died. he tells Barney that he has grown quite unlike his mother in size, colour of hair etc. This leads the children to think that Barney must be like his father!

Back at the Inn, Roger is suspicious of Professor James, and Snubby has an unsettling experience with the conjurer. It is quite a relief when they go with a boatman to Rubadub Whirlpool with Miss Pepper. He also shows them the Blow Hole, which is a passage which has an entrance which isn't visible at high tide. The Boatman also points out Submarine Bay from the Blow Hole.

After an exciting night at the Pierrot Show, Snubby is excited, and can't sleep. Suddenly a deep boom is heard. Snubby goes out of his bedroom, up the little stairs, and through the trapdoor on to the roof. He also sees Professor James looking out. The children go to the landing, and try to open the staircase door. It is locked, but Snubby pulls the handle off. He then gets told by Mrs Glump to ask Dummy for a spare handle. Dummy obliges, and then tells Snubby there are bad men on the roof. Snubby gets more and more suspicious of the conjurer.

Meanwhile Barney leaves his job at the fair, and goes to work for the conjurer, who says he knows Barney's father. Barney is thrilled by this. The Professor is suspicious. The police come to the inn. and Dummy vanishes completely! Roger, Snubby, and Barney decide to spy on Professor James by roof crawling, and peering into his window! Barney tells them at the last minute that he can't make it, having been asked to do a job for the conjurer. Roger and Snubby roof crawl themselves, and see flashing! Snubby then goes back into his room through the window, opens his door, and sees someone opening the door of the little staircase on the landing! He follows the figure,, and then Snubby hears someone running after him! He gets grabbed, but gets away, and hides in the Grandfather Clock! He then comes out, gets caught in a torch beam, and rushes upstairs back to his room. Snubby climbs back out of his window to Roger who is still roof-watching. Snubby checks the door to the staircase and finds that it is locked. He checks the Professors room- to find the Professor isn't there. With slight exaggerations, Snubby tells Roger about his experience!

Barney then tells everyone that Mr Marvel(the conjurer) has told him that his father works in Submarine Bay. He then tells the children that Mr Marvel says he suspects Dummy of working in Submarine Bay. he then tells Barney that he has arranged a meeting with Barney and his father, and that Barney has to give him a package with a codeword. The meeting will take place in Submarine Bay at night!

Barney goes to meet Mr Marvel, who gives him the package. He then tells Barney the meeting place is near the whirlpool, and that his father would have to swim to receive the package. The package is handed over, and Mr Marvel tells Barney to talk to his father. But the man is already limbing over the rocks again. Barney yells at him, and tells him that he is his son, but the man reveals he is not even married, and never has been. The man tells Barney not to believe Mr Marvel. Barney realises that Mr Marvel has tricked him for his own purposes, and goes back to where Mr Marvel's boat was. It has gone, and Barney sees Mr Marvel rowing the boat away! Mr Marvel laughs at him, and Barney realises he has been used for Mr Marvel's sole purposes, and in league with all the other traitors in the Submarine Bay!

Suddenly, Mr Marvel's boat tips, and a man is thrown out. Barney realises he can't swim, and rescues the man, who is found to be Dummy! Dummy then tells Barney that he was suspicious of the conjurer, and managed to hide in his boat. He says he hid in the cellars when the police came. He also sees the man in the boat, and hears the man in the boat tell Barney things that make Dummy afraid for Barney. Dummy falls on Mr Marvel, and Mr Marvel pushes him into the sea. Barney is pleased, but still thinks Mr Marvel has got the papers, until Dummy reveals that while he was hiding in the boat, he noted that the man put the package in a bag. When Mr Marvel is distracted, Dummy opens the bag, and takes the package of papers, which are the plans of the next secret submarine! Dummy hid the package in his shirt, and he and Barney make their way to the whirlpool, where they escape through the Blow Hole.

Barney and Dummy find their way back to the Inn, and are met by Mrs Glump. in the kitchen.She is cross and threatens them with the police, but Barney tells her that they need to telephone the police themselves! Mrs Glump fetches Professor James, who asks about Mr Marvel, and reveals he is working for the police. Barney tells the Professor that Mr Marvel said that the Professor was one of the people being watched. Barney shows the Professor the plans, and the Professor reveals that Mr Marvel was seen as he came back to his hotel room.Barney then tells the Professor his story, with Dummy and Mrs Glump at the table. Barney slept in the attic, and Dummy gets his old job back.

Next morning, Mr Marvel is arrested without the secret plans. Barney is unable to describe the traitos, but he remembers that one of them has a crooked little finger. This leads Snubby to give a full description of him, for he was one of the men Snubby spoke to and observed on the train! Professor James hears this, but the Professor is now a much younger man, without the disguise of the Professor. He telephones Headquarters.
Meanwhile Barney decides to give up the search for his father altogether. Snubby then goes to see Dummy, and with the effect of Snubby playing a pretend banjo, Snubby gains enough information from Dummy about Barney's family members. He then tells Miss Pepper, who makes the arrangements, and tells the children that Barney's father has been found and is meeting Barney on the beach. They see Barney's father on the beach, and disappear, leaving Barney on the beach to meet his father. Father and son meet, and Barney discovers that his Grandmother also has a monkey! He then walks off with his father, watched by Roger, Diana and Snubby!
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on 14 May 2011
I did not read Enid Blyton as a child, I am now retired with plenty of time to read, so now I am catching up and enjoying her books
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on 31 October 2010
A great book to read to children who like mystery stories & adventure, The book says ages 8+ but my daughter is 6 & half & she loved it & couldn't wait to get to the end.

Lots of laughs at Snubby, Loony & Miranda & the thrills of roof crawling & late night snooping make this a great book for children & well done for stimulating the childs sense of adventure & not a sign of cotton wool or bubble wrap or a nanny state!

Good old Enid Blyton & thank you to the world of books for supplying a quality copy.

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on 19 December 2003
This is a great little book. An exciting and funny story that will appeal to every child's sense of adventure.
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