The Enid Blyton Society
Good Old Secret Seven
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Book Details...

First edition: 1960
Publisher: Brockhampton Press
Illustrator: Burgess Sharrocks
Category: Secret Seven
Genre: Mystery/Adventure
Type: Novels/Novelettes

On This Page...

Reprint Covers
Artwork
Reviews by Dennis Worley and David Cook
Further Illustrations

Reprints


Cloth boards of the 1st edition



Endpapers from the 1st edition



Title page from the 1st edition, illustrated by Burgess Sharrocks



1st German edition published by BlŘchert Verlag, in 1967,
cover by Nikolaus Plump, with the title All Respect Black Seven
Foreign Titles
American: The Secret Seven and the Old Fort Adventure
German: Alle Achtung Schwarze Sieben
French: Le Telescope du Clan des Sept
Dutch: De Grote Zeven en het geheim van de ru´ne
Spanish: Los formidables chicos del Club de Siete
Portuguese: Os Sete e o Telescˇpio
Swedish: Hemliga Sjuan slottsmysteriet
Finnish: SOS ja kaukoputken arvoitus


Review by Dennis Worley

The prominence of Susie continues in Good Old Secret Seven. Jack's uncle Bob gives him a telescope, but he is told to share it with Susie. Jack wants the society to share it and thinks the shed is the best place to keep it so they can all use it. This is not fair on Susie though, as the telescope was meant for both of them to share. She comes to their meeting, without permission this time of course, to state her case. Getting the password is easy enough — just hide in a bush close by and listen. Peter doesn't flare up as quickly as he used to. He adopts a more resigned sort of attitude. All he can do is declare the meeting over. "I will NOT have strangers present at our secret meetings."

Susie has a lot to say and the worst part is that she wants to share her half with Binkie. Now sharing it with Susie is one thing, but to have to put up with Binkie as well is a harrowing thought for the otherwise intrepid Seven.

"I shouldn't think Binkie knows what a telescope is. Her head's full of wool," remarks Jack, summing up the general mood.

Peter rises above this sort of talk and proves that he is a worthy head. He realises that Susie has a legitimate claim: she is entitled to share the telescope. He also knows that if his mother had told him to share something with Janet, he would have to do so. So Susie and Binkie are told where the key to the shed is kept and they are reluctantly accepted.

When Janet sees someone in the old castle, they plan a trip there. Peter thinks it'll just be an outing for the boys, as the girls will never make it up the hill on their bikes. Janet is having none of this of course and insists that they will manage it easily.

As it turns out, there is someone else who is even faster! Susie finds out about their plan and goes there first with Binkie. This enables them to play a trick yet again, and the Seven flee from the wails and bangs they hear. Susie and Binkie also find out a lot about the castle and report everything back in the next meeting. They are now almost as good as members: they know more than anyone else at this stage and virtually take over the meeting. This actually makes it three meetings in a row, spread over two books, with Susie present. It's probably the closest they come to really participating in a mystery. It is very trying for Peter, who, to be fair, does keep his temper with Susie as best as he can. I can't imagine him taking as much cheek from Pam! It doesn't seem like much of a mystery after Susie has told them everything.

Susie can't resist playing jokes on Peter and pretends to see all sorts of exciting things through the telescope. He almost gets taken in by a dramatic incident, which plays itself out on the rooftop of a big old house. It's not surprising then, that when Susie sees a light in the castle, Peter thinks it is another joke. They realise later that she was telling the truth. In fact, Pam says she has never known Susie to tell a fib to get out of trouble at school. Then Barbara (or Barbie as Janet calls her here) makes a rare and remarkable speech in which she concludes, "If she (Susie) were a boy I'd like her awfully — but as she's a girl, she's just a nuisance."

This sounds confusing I think and suggests that Susie behaves like a boy in some ways, but what she is really saying is that Susie is brave and not afraid to own up when she's done something wrong (which must be quite often). It is a welcome and rare insight into the way these characters thought. It's comparable to the passage in Five are Together Again when Julian thinks to himself: "George should have been a boy not a girl — the things she did!" Only Janet seems to understand this speech, and the boys are naturally scornful.

They are still not sure what is going on at the castle, and decide to go up one evening to investigate after Jack suggests that the paintings that Susie saw there could be stolen ones. The castle is a genuine Blytonian one, complete with dungeons, a tower and jackdaws. The trip to the castle under cover of darkness and the plan to signal with lamps, are the right ingredients for the climax to the mystery.
Review by David Cook

This story is set in November, presumably following on from the previous adventure, though no mention is made of it, and, therefore, still during term time. The central plot device reuses the idea of the short story The Humbug Adventure, some six years earlier, of a telescope, on this occasion gifted to Jack and Susie by their Uncle Bob, an ex-sailor. Therefore, to the Seven's annoyance, although the telescope is kept locked in their shed, they have to share it with Susie and her friend, Binkie, who makes a reappearance. George uses it for watching seagulls and then Janet for watching jackdaws that nest in Torling Castle on its hill across from the farm, where she spots someone lurking suspiciously, which heralds further investigation by the Seven.

It's likely that Torling Castle, both from Enid's description and its depiction by Burgess Sharrocks, is based on a real place that must have been well known to Enid when she lived at Bourne End. This is Hedsor Towers, which can be viewed on the hillside from just over the river from Cookham, on the Ferry Road that runs between Cookham and Bourne End, where it dominates the hillside.

We learn nothing new about the Seven. As in the first book, we are told that their shed backs on to a hot greenhouse and Scamper chases the stable cat, an area yet to be described. Matt, the shepherd, also returns and, along with the gardener (he, who is always vying with the Seven for the use of their shed) helps Peter's father effect a rescue and a capture at the conclusion of a story that is the most mysterious and exciting since Go Ahead, Secret Seven, a trend that continued in the next excellent story. These illustrations are hidden by default to ensure faster browsing. Loading the illustrations is recommended for high-speed internet users only.