The Mystery of the Invisible Thief by Enid Blyton (1950)

Someone in Peterswood is committing daring daylight robberies. And though the thief has left some big clues behind, it seems he is able to enter houses and get away without being seen. The Five Finder-Outers and Dog (aka Fatty Larry, Daisy, Pip, Bets and Buster) are on his trail—but so is the village policeman, Mr. Goon. Who will solve this mystery first?

I’ve wanted to read an Enid Blyton since I first found JJ’s reviews in his Minor Felonies posts over at The Invisible Event. So, when I found this in the sales bin at my local library I scooped it up. Yes, I know these are directed at preteens, but hey—a mystery is a mystery—and this is truly a first-class mystery!

I’ve said it before, I’m no expert on mysteries, and definitely not those of the locked-room variety. But, in my uneducated opinion, this fits solidly into that category. While I have little doubt that the experienced mystery reader will come up with the solution, it won’t be immediate. The mystery that Blyton created, while fairly simple, is extremely clever. The clues here are very well done, well placed throughout, and there is just the right amount of misdirection. The Finder-Outers interpret the clues, interview witnesses, and gather evidence, in an investigation that is intelligent and logically done (and may be better executed than some adult mysteries I’ve read).

It was great fun following the Finder-Outers on their investigation. Makes me wish I had found these when I was a kid, and I’m definitely going to be reading more of them.

Prior Judgments – JJ @ The Invisible Event, TomCat @ Beneath the Stains of Time

Vintage Mystery Extravaganza—2015 Bingo—Read one book with an amateur detective 

10 thoughts on “The Mystery of the Invisible Thief by Enid Blyton (1950)

  1. Delighted to see others reading and loving this, it’s such a brilliant example of how to do an intelligent mystery with legitimate detection. I enjoyed this one so much, I went out and bought a boxset of all 15. Haven’t regretted it yet…!

      1. I’m just reaching this point of the series from the beginning, and I’m hoping for a resurgence in those elements. The first — Burnt Cottage — is wonderful, and Disappearing Cat is very clever, but then they become a little less detail-oriented and a bit more hijink-y…almost like they’re written for 9 year-olds or something 🤷‍♂️ But Hidden House has some strong reasoning again, so here’s hoping these middle titles represent a more consistently high degree of this kind of thing. All I need now is the time to read the darn things… 🙂

  2. TomCat

    JJ and I have been amazed at the amount of good detective stories and locked room mysteries hidden in the genre’s juvenile corner, but this was one of the biggest and most pleasant surprises of all. The plot is not going to fool any adult readers, but the crisp, crystal clear clueing and use of multi-varied red herrings (red herrings that become clues once you realize they’re red herrings) is something (aspiring) mystery writers of today should take note of. The Mystery of the Invisible Thief can be read by adults as a textbook on basic plot structure, clueing and red herrings.

    When I began tumbling down this rabbit hole, I never expected Enid Blyton had something in her repertoire to match William Arden, Robert Arthur, Bruce Campbell, Norvil Pallas and Nicholas Wilde. But she did.

    1. I’m just dipping my toe in now, but from what I’ve read so far, her mysteries could stand beside that of many in the “adult” mystery genres. And, there are many modern day mystery writers who could learn from reading her work.

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