Five Go To Mystery Moor
Series: Famous Five 13
Reviewed date: 2010 Dec 13
The Famous Five were never my favorite Enid Blyton adventurers, mainly because I didn't think Timmy the dog really should count as one of the five. Famous Four, perhaps. Also, they didn't have an exclusive club with secret passwords like the Secret Seven, and they weren't as clever as Fatty from the Five Find-Outers and Dog series. But I did remember George, the girl who wanted to be a boy.
Now perhaps back in the 1950s, girls who wanted to be adventurous and outdoorsy had to fight for that privilege, so Georgina's desire to be George wasn't silly. Today, my daughters can be 100% girl and still wear pants and get muddy and play outside, and nobody blinks an eye. You don't have to be a boy to climb trees, catch lizards, and play in the creek. I had to explain to my daughters that back when Five Go To Mystery Moor was written, girls didn't usually get to do those things, so that's why George wanted to be a boy.
The Mystery: The Five are spending their summer on a farm, helping with the horses. They have a couple of run-ins with the travelers, a band of seedy-looking and suspicious gypsies who take their caravan out into the desolate Mystery Moor every few months. The Five are desperately curious, but the travelers won't talk. So the Five decide to go camping on the moor and hopefully find out what the travelers are up to.
The Five do find out: the travelers are meeting with an aeroplane that buzzes the moor and drops packages for them. But the plane's aim is bad: the packages fall close to the Five, and they gather them up. Peaking at the packages, the Five discover they are made of American money: stacks and stacks of $100 bills!
Just then a mist engulfs the moor, and the Five get lost. The girls get separated from the boys and are captured by the travelers. They manage to send Timmy for help, and he makes it back to the farmhouse. The girls are rescued, and the police arrive to fill in the rest of the story. It seems the money is counterfeit. It's being smuggled in from France and is being distributed through a crime syndicate in London. The police have known about the scheme but weren't able to locate the source of the forgeries. Thank you, Famous Five! You've cracked another case!
Despite the dated stereotype of girls, it's really a fantastic story. I highly recommend it.