The Enid Blyton Society
Five Go to Demon's Rocks
Back Book 19 of 22 in this category Next

Book Details...

First edition: 1961
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 German edition published by Blüchert Verlag, Stuttgart in 1962,
illustrated by Nikolaus Plump with the title Five Friends on the Lighthouse-Tower
Foreign Titles
German: Fünf Freunde auf dem Leuchtturm
French: La Boussole du Club des Cinq
Dutch: De Vijf en de schatvan de strandjutter
Spanish: Los Cinco en las Rocas del Diablo
Portuguese: Os Cinco nos Rochedos do Demónio
Italian: La Rocca del Naufrago
Swedish: Fem och sjörövarskatten
Danish: De fem pĺ djćvleklippen
Finnish: Viisikko Vanhassa Majakassa
Russian: Taina podwodnoi pescheri
Slovakian: Slavna Patka na Diabolskych skalach
Greek: To Iiepaema Toy Aiabonoy
Icelandic: Fimm á Dimmudröngum
Basque: Bostak Deabruaren Harkaitzetan

Brief Summary by Poppy Hutchinson: At first, the Famous Five can't believe that Tinker, a quirky young boy, with a pet monkey called Mischief – owns a lighthouse, on Demons Rocks! But then, when he offers to take them to spend the holidays, there – this extraordinary fantasy becomes an exciting reality – and they become involved in an adventure of undersea tunnels, a treasure trove of gold coins, and some ruthless villains, prepared to do anything to claim the fortune stored beneath the Lighthouse. The Famous Five and Tinker need to tell the Police: but then, they find themselves locked within the walls of the Lighthouse...

Full Review (This may contain spoilers):

Terry Gustafson's Review
In the search for characters a little different from the norm, the choices are rapidly becoming less and this time Enid Blyton introduces a person who is a potential candidate for the Funny Farm. It's a boy who thinks he's a car!
A Professor Hayling and his son — Tinker come to stay at Kirrin Cottage because the Prof. and his good friend Quentin need to confer over very important scientific matters. The Famous Five (Julian, Dick, George, Anne and Timmy) who also arrive for their hols would obviously be Disturbers Of The Peace especially when it is realised that one of them is a noisy dog so it would be advisable for them to consider absenting themselves. The boy Tinker has a monkey called Mischief and they naturally have to pass the George Acceptance Test which they do after a clash or two. Timmy and Mischief, having made their presence felt right through the stratification of the Kirrin household, make friends with each other but the combination of anthropoid and canine is too much for the learned men who are ensconced in Quentin's study with their scientific papers and the extraneous noise becomes even worse when Tinker exhibits his obsessive talent for imitating cars such as a Jaguar or a Bentley. EB produces several trade-mark names in this book although Bentley was mentioned as far back as 1944 — and Tinker can imitate the lot. He extends his noises to that of a bicycle bell and looks to be another of those impressionists who have featured in a few of the author's books one of whom comes to mind would be Julian Holland -a pupil at Whyteleafe School who could imitate any animal he fancied. Before the men in the white coats arrive to cart Tinker off he becomes less car-like and the novelty, having achieved its purpose, is more-or-less faded out.

Tinker owns a light-house! It's situated at a place called Demon's Rocks which is about ten miles (eighteen kilometres) from Kirrin Bay and it was originally bought by Professor Hayling who needed a place near water where he could work at his experiments with no disturbances. When he had completed his scientific work he couldn't sell the place so he gave it to his son. Will the Famous Five plus Tinker and pet be allowed to holiday by themselves in a light-house? It might be possible because the scientists have had enough of four children, a dog and a monkey tearing about all over the place. "Yes!" shouts Quentin. "Go to the light-house — go to the Tower of London — go and live at the Zoo, if you like ... just GET OUT!" (or words to that effect).

The children arrange everything which is just as well seeing that Quentin and his associate are lost to the world and Fanny (George's mother) has her time taken up keeping an eye them. They prepare their holiday gear and as it is 1961 they are able to include a portable record-player for a little entertainment during their next awesome adventure. A car with a driver is hired and they set off to experience a scenario envisioned by George: "... all alone high up in an old light-house with nothing but wind and waves around ... snuggled down in rugs and waking up to hear the wind and the waves again!"

They arrive, settle in, and partake of a tea-sup — a phrase which the historians can attribute to Dick, and then it is time for the part, as always, where an elderly gentleman tells them a story of old times. Enter an ancient individual named Jeremiah Boogle who is the Great Grand-dad of the chauffer who brought them to Demon's Rocks. The children plus dog search him out and hear the long ago tale of One-Ear Bill, Nosey his son, and a nephew called Bart and how they stole treasure from ships which they lured onto the rocks by using their own innovative method. The ill-gotten gains were hidden by One-Ear Bill before he was captured and imprisoned and not even his partners in crime knew the location. To this day, no one has found the cache although it has been searched for repeatedly.

On their return to the light-house they discover that, having forgotten to lock the door, someone has sneaked in, burgled the place and swiped the key as well! A policeman calls and reveals the fact that a descendant of the original wreckers is living in the village and he is naturally placed under suspicion but under questioning denies having any part in the matter.

A wet spell arrives and for something to do the Five develop an interest in the lighthouse and its foundations and they begin exploring. This usually leads to something and sure enough a shaft is found which goes down below the sea to a tunnel. Then an outing with Jeremiah Boogle to the cliffs further round the bay yields caves for them to explore and they come across a man who is anything but friendly. Something is found by one of the troupe and this leads to great excitement and anticipation. Unfortunately for them, when they return to the light-house a rather unpleasant happening forces them to stay there but being the resourceful children they are, a solution to their plight is attempted which leads to a dangerous situation intertwined with surprises and thrills. Near the end, there is still a problem to overcome but a brilliant idea which makes an impact on the whole village leads to the finish of this nineteenth adventure of the Famous Five.

It is worthy of mention that the pictures as drawn by Eileen Soper lean once again to displaying a little more youthfulness in the children. Readers who possess newer editions of the Kirrin books may or may not find them enhanced with the Soper pictures and if not, it is worth trying to find older copies so that the stories can be read as they should be with the authenticity needed for a fair appraisal. The updating of the EB books can lead to some confusion especially for those who are not all that familiar with the Kirrins and also for people who are interested in studying and commenting on Classic Blyton. The ageing of the Famous Five (or at least four of them) would mean nothing if the Soper illustrations weren't available and instead the reader had to rely on those from an artist such as Betty Maxey. Say no more!

Another rather annoying case in point for the Classic Enthusiast is the alteration of scripts — an example of which can be found in this very book. The children go shopping for some tobacco to give to old Jeremiah Boogle and in the picture it looks as if the shopkeeper is handing the packet over to Julian ... "There you are young sir — three shillings, please!" — yet on the next page the proprietor says that he'll give it to Jeremiah when he calls in. Later on they come across old Jeremiah, and Dick says that he hopes they bought the right tobacco for him! That's a bit muddling and it can become more so when "tobacco" is changed to "sweets" in re-vamped editions. In the film Five on a Treasure Island, George's mother- Fanny, had her named changed to Margaret! Quentin, her husband seemed to have a different occupation as well so I reiterate that it's worth looking around for older copies of the books in order to lessen the confusion and they don't have to be too ancient — hence expensive, because I found a 1980 paperback of Demon's Rocks which contains the original script. The older versions may probably be required by the more in-depth devotees of the author as well — purely as a matter of course. These illustrations are hidden by default to ensure faster browsing. Loading the illustrations is recommended for high-speed internet users only.