The Enid Blyton Society
Third Year at Malory Towers
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Book Details...

First edition: 1948
Publisher: Methuen
Illustrator: Stanley Lloyd
Category: Malory Towers
Genre: School
Type: Novels/Novelettes

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Reprint Covers
Review by Jo Chambers
Further Illustrations


Wraparound dustwrapper from the 1st edition, illustrated by Stanley Lloyd

Wraparound dustwrapper from the 1957 reprint, illustrated by Lilian Buchanan
Brief Summary by Julie Heginbotham: Darrell and her friends once more return to Malory Towers and are in their third year at North Tower. Three new girls turn out to be really exciting this term. Zeralda an American girl who is into film stars and thinks she can act as well as her screen idol. Bill short for Wilhelmina, who is mad on horses and thinks of nothing else. And Mavis who has a lovely singing voice and is desperate to be an opera singer. Darrell's third term is full of laughter, fun and quite a few surprises.

Full Review (This may contain spoilers):

Jo Chambers' Review
In this third book of the series, Darrell has reached the age of 14 and, along with most of her friends, has moved up to the Third Form of the school. Unusually for a MT book, we are introduced to one of the new girls before the term starts in the shape of a new girl, Zerelda Brass, who is being driven to Malory by Darrell's family. Conveniently, Sally is recuperating from illness and is hence unable to share this journey.

Because of this device, we are given Darrell's impressions of Zerelda before anyone else. We learn that she is 'tall and willowy' and that she looks a good deal older than her age. She appears sophisticated and Darrell feels shy of her. At the school her appearance causes a sensation and snobby Gwendoline immediately attaches herself to her.

Zerelda, however, is initially put into a higher form and for a time it looks like we will not see much of her. This allows the book to concentrate on the other new girl, Wilhelmina (last name?). Wilhelmina is a tomboy in the George Kirrin mould and immediately asks to be known as Bill.

The form mistress for this term is Miss Peters, a hearty and rather masculine character who is fond of horses and outdoor life. She and Bill collide from the first due to Bill's inattention in class and her complete inability to pay attention to anything other than her beloved horse, Thunder. Matters come to a head when Miss Peters learns that Bill has disobeyed her command not to see Thunder as punishment for her inattention in class and Bill is told that Thunder is to be sent home.

Elsewhere, attention is once more focused on Zerelda who due to her low standard of work is moved down to the third form from the fourth. This allows her friendship with Gwendoline to develop and Gwen encourages Zerelda in her belief that she is 'wunnerful' at acting. The showdown comes during a drama class when Zerelda is humiliated by the teacher and told that she cannot act. She decides that the best thing to be in life is, after all, an ordinary school girl and settles down towards the end of the term.

The biggest drama of the term is provided by Mavis, a new girl from the term before who we learn is spoiled and selfish and thinks of nothing but the career in opera that she is to have as a result of her wonderful voice. One night Mavis slips away by herself to attend a talent contest in a nearby village, sure that this is her ticket to fame and fortune. She misses the last bus home and is found and three in the morning by the side of the road — rather too coincidentally by Miss Peters, who is riding through the rain to fetch a vet for Bill's seriously ill horse. Both Mavis and Thunder recover and Bill and Miss Peters are reconciled, but Mavis loses her voice and, in the time-honoured manner of Blyton's school stories, is forced to become A Much Nicer Person as a result of this.

Other things happen along the way including a lacrosse match and Sally's jealousy on her return that Alicia and Darrell have become close during her absence. However, by the end of term all is sorted out and friendships are resumed again. These illustrations are hidden by default to ensure faster browsing. Loading the illustrations is recommended for high-speed internet users only.