The Enid Blyton Society
Five Go to Mystery Moor
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Book Details...

First edition: 1954
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Illustrator: Eileen A. Soper
Category: Famous Five
Genre: Mystery/Adventure
Type: Novels/Novelettes

On This Page...

Reprint Covers
Review by Terry Gustafson
Further Illustrations


Dustwrapper from the 1st edition, illustrated by Eileen A. Soper

Endpapers from the 1st edition, illustrated by Eileen A. Soper

1st American edition published by Reilly & Lee in 1961
illustrated by Frank Aloise

1st German edition published by Blüchert Verlag, Stuttgart in 1962,
illustrated by Nikolaus Plump with the title Five Friends in the Fog

1st Spanish edition published by Editorial Juventud in 1968,
illustrated by José Correas
Foreign Titles
German: Fünf Freunde im Nebel
French: La Locomotive du Club des Cinq
Dutch: De Vijf en het geheim van de zigeuners
Spanish: Los Cinco en el páramo mistrioso
Portuguese: Os Cinco na Planície Misteriosa
Italian: Perduti nella nebbia
Swedish: Fem på mystiska heden
Danish: De fem på den mystiske hede
Finnish: Viisikko Salaperäisellä
Russian: Taina tsiganskowo tabora
Slovenian: 5 Prijateljev v megli
Icelandic: Fimm á Hulinsheiði

Brief Summary by Poppy Hutchinson: George meets her match in this thirteenth Famous Five adventure: with Henrietta (or Henry, as she prefers to be called), who is intent on acting like a boy, and the first few chapters of this fantastic book are based purely on their disliking of each other. It seems as if George's cousins: Julian, Dick and Anne are in for an awkward time, when George refuses to let Henry join their company – but will the fiery tomboy prove to be more decent than George expected, when a mystery evolving around the atmospheric: Mystery Moor, emerges, and the children find themselves: yet again, caught up in another adventure!

Full Review (This may contain spoilers):

Terry Gustafson's Review
This book deals with the period when the Famous Five stayed at Captain Johnson's riding school in the Milling Green area which is situated near the moor. Anne and George are on their own initially because the boys are at a school camp. George's father becomes ill so the girls are advised to stay at the riding establishment for another week or so. George is currently rather miserable because the boys aren't with them and to worsen matters, there's another girl besides Anne who is taking lessons in horsemanship. Normally that would be quite acceptable but in this case the strange girl thinks boys are so fantastic that she wants to be one. Now that sounds familiar and any reader of the Kirrin books would be in tune with the concept. The girls who want to be boys must represent an unfulfilled desire or something on the part of the author and it has happened again! This additional she-male is Henrietta but like George she refuses to answer to anyone who associates her with a female name. She is Henry whether you agree with it or not! Like two opposing poles of a magnet these boy-aspirants repel each other which is a pity because they are thrown together quite a bit.

Julian and Dick finish up at their school camp and decide to join the girls. They travel to Milling Green and are picked up in a wagon by Henry whose appearance deceives the boys into thinking that she's a jolly good chap. You wouldn't think that a girl could be more boyish than George but there's a pretty good case for it in Henry because she has straight hair as opposed to George's curls and she capitalizes on this. According to her philosophy it's more boyish to have hair without curls! Is it? Dick apparently thinks so. Henry is also a top-class horse-rider who has won cups and because it is stated that she does things so competently and quickly, the idea is placed in the reader's mind that these qualities make her to some degree more masculine! The girl plays her role quite fervently and, as Anne observes, she even has her riding jacket buttoned up the wrong way! Thinking about that, I can't see how buttons can be done up the wrong way unless you put the second button into the top hole or something. Henry could have been wearing a boy's riding jacket which may have had the buttons placed in the opposite position to a female's. This would adhere to the long lost tradition whereby high-class ladies were often dressed by their maids and the placing of women's buttons in their particular opposite-position made them easier to manipulate by a second person. Fascinating stuff this boy/girl comparison syndrome and worthy of laughter and frivolity but in the case of the two competing females their strange urges are serious and dedicated and the two girls' competition with each other together with many traded insults makes interesting reading. Curiously, or maybe it wasn't so unusual in those days, the girls have to put on dresses at supper time and you can but imagine a picture (Soper hasn't obliged) of the two girl-boys thus attired!

There's a band of gypsies who camp on the moor and one of them — a young lad, brings a horse with a damaged leg to the stables for treatment. Sniffer is what this boy's father calls his little ragamuffin and it has to suffice because unfortunately he can't remember his real name. A little later the children meet Sniffer's father who is a fair representation of a gypsy as generally portrayed by Enid Blyton. He looks a nasty piece of work and there's plenty of evidence that he thumps his son quite regularly.

Dick and Julian sleep in a familiar setting — the stables, and they accost Sniffer's father again who sneaks in when they are settled down for the night. He wants to take away the horse that young Sniffer had brought in but as the animal's leg isn't quite healed the boys won't let him and they threaten to call Captain Johnson. That's enough for the gypsy and he slinks away into the darkness.

Next day, the Five prepare to go on a ride together but without Henry because George wouldn't countenance her presence. At the last moment — three of the Five contemplate that it's not quite right to leave Henry out because, although she's a little boastful and a teller of tall-tales, she's a good sort and so a decision is made to invite her. To put it mildly, George is horrified to such an extent that she develops a headache which prevents her from accompanying them! Poor George ... but one can read between the lines. Julian, Dick, and Anne plus Henry canter off to Mystery Moor. They come across caravans manned by the surly gypsies and they also get lost but manage to use their initiative which leads them back to civilization. Whilst they are away George becomes a more knowledgeable about their new friend Sniffer who turns up with a little mongrel dog — Liz. He shows the girl his caravan and educates her a little about patrins. There are other references to patrins in EB literature and my own introduction to them would probably have been Enid Blyton's Animal Lover's Book where the children therein were also taught about these quaint items. Basically they are pattern-arrangements made with sticks and leaves which are left on the roadside to point out the trail taken by gypsies so they can be located by their associates or would-be stragglers. The Kirrin kids want to know what the gypsies get up to on the moor so when Sniffer reclaims the horse brought in a few days ago, George arranges with him to leave patrins on his route when he travels to rejoin the rest of his tribe.

The Five visit an elderly blacksmith — Old Ben to learn a little of the moor's history. It had a different name before it became known as Mystery Moor and the reason is intertwined with an old railway which was built by a family who fell foul of the gypsies. The dark dire deeds upon the hill, Strike my heart with a deadly chill ... those words declared way back in 1948 by the poet Ernest Goon could be prophetic. Dark Deeds happened all right and to add a little extra intrigue, the moor is prone to damp mists that swirl up unexpectedly and blot out every single thing on the landscape. The children have done what they often do — had a talk with an elderly codger who recalls long-gone times and relates a poignant story to eager ears and the Hanger-on or Outsider is catered to in this story as well. There are at least two of these — Sniffer, who could equate with a number of urchins that the children have known in their lives, and Henry (who is certainly no urchin).

The Five plus Henry follow Sniffer's patrins and locate the gypsy camp where there is a confrontation which looks as if it could become quite violent so Julian hastily decides that he and the others had better clear out. Admittedly, they have Timmy with them but the gypsies also have a dog — in the plural!

The next thing is that the Famous Five go camping out on the moor due to the stables having an influx of guests. Henry can't join in with them because a couple of convenient Great-Aunts who will be passing by want to take her out with them for a day or two! Convenient aunts and uncles occasionally cause one or other of the persons involved in a mystery or adventure to miss out on some communal activity or at least delay the storyline for a short interval ... usually about 24 hours. It happens every now and again in the Find-Outer books and in this particular case it has snared Henry so the Famous Five are together again with no outsiders. Up on the moor they discover something which old Ben had mentioned in his tale. Then strange happenings take place and the Five are in the thick of it together with the menacing presence of the gypsies who are definitely up to something. Things come to a head and all that's needed is for one of those terrible mists to unexpectedly rise and cover everything in sight. George and Anne become separated from the boys and are captured by people who are acting illegally. George thinks up a clever ruse which is reminiscent of one that took place in The Mystery of the Secret Room and the question is of course — will it work? Many more things happen and Timmy gives his all as would be expected in fact he almost gives too much! A thrilling finale involves ingredients that make up a good Famous Five tale and the cast all give credible performances. Although Henry who needs to be in at the end is a very capable person, she's still only a girl and therefore a male needs to be called upon when things get a little sticky — enter a boy called William who is also boarding at the riding school. There's hilarity in this Famous Five tale as well. Enid Blyton had a real turn for including humorous episodes in her books and this will be appreciated by those who have read the Smugs and Find-Outer tales to mention just two sets and in this adventure you can read about Sniffer and his handkerchief! For those who are interested in George and Henry, the ending features a reappraisal of each other ... Say No More! For those lucky people who belong to the Enid Blyton Society, many would have read the article in an old Journal in the year 2000 (EBSJ#13) about a real place in Britain which was quite possibly the inspiration for Enid Blyton's Mystery Moor. These illustrations are hidden by default to ensure faster browsing. Loading the illustrations is recommended for high-speed internet users only.