The Enid Blyton Society
Five Are Together Again
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Book Details...

First edition: 1963
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 1965,
illustrated by Nikolaus Plump with the title Five Friends and the Magician Wu
Foreign Titles
German: Fünf Freunde und der Zauberer Wu
French: Le Club des Cinq en Embuscade
Dutch: De Vijf en het circusmysterie
Spanish: Los Cinco juntos otra vez
Portuguese: Os Cinco e a Torre do Sábio
Italian: I Cinque e lo Strano Simmione
Swedish: Fem tillsammans igen
Danish: De fem rotter sig sammen
Finnish: Viisikko Jälleen Yhdessä
Russian: Taina solotich tschasov
Slovakian: Slavna Patka znova spolu
Slovenian: 5 Prijateljev Zadna pustolovscina
Icelandic: Fimm hittast á ný

Brief Summary by Poppy Hutchinson: Reunited with Tinker, who featured in an earlier adventure: the Famous Five are invited to camp out in a field close to his house (in which Professor Hayling, Tinker's father who is a scientist lives). When a Circus arrives, and sets up camp, close by – the Famous Five are contented with the mild excitement of watching the Circus folk's antics, and getting to know them, but then – real commotion strikes, when a tower in the grounds of Professor Hayling's house – is robbed. Can the Five track down the culprit? And what has the mystery got to do with Kirrin Island?

Full Review (This may contain spoilers):

Terry Gustafson's Review
In this instance there is a bad start to the holidays. The children arrive at Kirrin Cottage but before they can enter, George's mother — Fanny, sticks her head out of the window and tells them that Joan the cook has scarlet fever and because she (Fanny) and her husband are in quarantine the Five will need to make alternative arrangements. Timmy the dog who belongs to Georgina ("Call me George!") is healthy enough because animals don't seem to get human diseases and he has been kept at the cottage for the whole term which could signal that George's school may have changed its policy of allowing their pupils' pets to board there.

George's mother arranges for them to go and stay with someone whom they know from a previous book in the series. In Five Go to Demon's Rocks, they met up with a young boy named Tinker who, like Barney in another Blyton set of books, owns a little monkey and it is to Tinker's home — Big Hollow, that they adjourn to experience their final adventure.

Professor Hayling is Tinker's scientist-dad. His wife passed away some years ago so there is just him, his son, and a housekeeper/maid/cook called Jenny. Tinker who is a fairly talented imitator of the noises that are made by cars, trucks and other vehicles, indulges a little in his pastime but I think everyone got a little fed-up with his urges in the last book so they make just a few token appearances in this tale.

There's a circus that arrives to camp in a nearby field and the children vote to sleep there as well so that they will be less of a bother to Mr Hayling who wants to get on with his scientific work without disturbance. They meet Jeremy, a rough little circus boy and they are introduced to a large chimpanzee named Charlie and are even invited to watch a rehearsal where they mingle with all the wonderful performers who include a contortionist called The Boneless Man and a magician called Mr Wooh.

Around Chapter #11 the action really begins with a theft from a tower in the grounds of Big Hollow which is used by Mr Haying in his scientific studies. There are one or two clues but nothing substantive and the core of the plot, as would be expected, is an effort to find the crook or crooks whom the Five think may return to the scene of the crime. Later on after the children have enjoyed themselves swimming and chewing over the mystery which has fallen into their laps, Kirrin Island comes into the story and it is there that more action takes place.

The plot itself is not dissimilar from one or two others that Enid Blyton has written over the years although she always rehashed the stories in her own unique way when she slightly duplicated previous plots or even retold other authors' tales ... an example would be the King Midas-like scenario in The Witch Who Lost Sixpence. Reluctant as I am to criticise any of the Blyton works too harshly, I found that the latter part of the story where the gist of the excitement usually occurs, lacked a little reality and possibly the word contrived could be used when describing certain passages! There is also a part where the children have possession of some items which they want to keep hidden from the enemy. I think this could have been achieved in a much simpler way than by the rather involved method decided upon. There was also a slight similarity to the trend of the later Find-Outer tales where just one or two persons take on the burden of solving the mystery and dealing with the crooks at the end but, having said that, the adventure finishes on a positive note and the Five Are Together Again with Tinker and his mischievous monkey ready to reminisce over yet another adventure that can be recorded in their diaries for posterity.

Trivia: In the Eileen Soper picture that decorates the chapter — Ladders and a Lot of Fun, you will see the circus boy — Jeremy, attacking a donkey. The animal is actually a donkey-costume housing Dick and George but the Donkey looks very real right down to its hind legs which I do not think could adequately contain George's human legs.
The series has ended... "What an exciting time we've had! I really did enjoy every minute of it." So did we, George. Hurry up and fall into another adventure. We are longing to hear what you and the others will be up to next. How we wish we could join you! Good-bye for now — and take care of yourselves, Five. Good luck!" Those are the final words whereby the curtain falls on the Famous Five after twenty-one very popular books. Unfortunately there would be no more despite our "... longing to hear what you and the others will be up to next." — but imitators would come from the woodwork because, like the Sherlock Holmes series, the characters created by Enid Blyton were too real and all-pervading to be left in the grave. People such as Claude Voilier would produce their own versions but, although these may be enjoyed by many fans, they lack an essential quality — The X-Factor! I feel that Enid Blyton herself was the all-important ingredient needed for the total appreciation of The Famous Five! These illustrations are hidden by default to ensure faster browsing. Loading the illustrations is recommended for high-speed internet users only.