It’s all mystery from here

Posted on August 29, 2010

There is a reason that crime fiction sells in huge quantities around the world. Humans love a mystery. Even when there’s no mystery.

Last week, Fam Fibro hit the road, winding up at various locations (of which you’ll no doubt hear more over the coming week). One of these places was Mystery Bay, just south of Narooma on the NSW South Coast.

Mr6 was captivated by the prospect of this destination as soon as he heard about it. “What’s the mystery?” he kept asking. “Will we find clues and solve it?”

Mr3, not to be left out, began singing the theme song from his latest favourite show on ABC Kids – Hooray For Huckle – “You and me solve a mystewy with Huckle”, over and over.

Suffice to say that The Builder and I wished we’d never heard of Mystery Bay by the time we actually got there on the last night of our holiday.

Once there, however, we got into it. Mr6 is a Famous Five fan. He loves the whole sleuthing, smuggling, sneaking gang, from bossy Julian to grumpy George to housewifey Anne to personality-free Dick to fearless Timmy. Add in his current zest for Zac Power and the mighty influence of Star Wars, and we found ourselves heading off down a bush path in search of the mystery of Mystery Bay – accompanied by a ‘SpyPad’, a torch/lightsabre, a plastic compass and a Spy ID card. We were fully equipped for whatever we might find.

We were not disappointed. Billy’s Beach, on Mystery Bay, is a wild and windswept place, cleaved by a swathe of blue pebbly shale, surrounded by cliffs and featuring (gasp) two perfect ‘smugglers caves’ and tunnel furrowed out by the water near the beach.

Mr6 immediately began plotting a mystery story, involving boats and smugglers and, in true Blyton tradition, afternoon tea, at nearby Montague Island. Mr3 busied himself looking for ‘clues’, turning up a couple of shells and several opportunities to get his feet soaked. In the end, he turned to us and stated that he couldn’t see a mystery – and what did one look like anyway?

We took a lot of photos. Mr6 has promised that if I buy him a new notebook, he will write out his mystery and use our photos to illustrate it. A brand new Mr6 original book. Guess who’s going stationery shopping tomorrow?

The true mystery of Mystery Bay remains a mystery. It involves boatloads of men disappearing never to be seen again. I think I’m going to like Mr6’s version better.

{image: enidblytonsociety.co.uk}


  1. Sarah

    oh how i adore reading the famous five…so many childhood memories.

  2. allison tait

    I’m going to do another post about this. Stay tuned. I have important things to say about Trixie Belden in particular.

    Thanks for all the comments. I knew that everyone loves a mystery, but not just how much. And am with you @Bronnie Marquardt – how in heavens name did those kids get so much time to themselves? We just read one where the Famous Five went off in a caravan on their own for two weeks. Woudn’t happen in my day, let alone today.

  3. Bronnie Marquardt

    I loved most of the Enid Blyton series, including Famous Five and Secret Seven. I always thought it unfair that these kids were allowed to go off on their own with the parents’ blessing, and usually lashings of ginger beer and other goodies as well. Love your family’s version!

  4. Kerry

    I love that your little one is reading Enid Blyton, or having it read to him. Some things, like solving mysteries, pass the test of time. Meet me at Mikes has a book club going on if you want to join…Anne of Green Gables is one of the books…I’m sure I still have my copy!

  5. Maxabella

    I’ll look forward to reading a new mystery! I love them. A passion honed by countless Famous Five, Secret Seven, Trixe Beldon, Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys and Encyclopedia Brown books in my youth. No wonder we’re still so into crime fiction these days!!

  6. Toni

    What an amazing childhood you’re gifting to your boys!

  7. nic@ourparklife

    We love Famous Five and Secret Seven in our house. Junior Hoges especially loves FF and we have bought him many audio books to listen to in his bedroom whilst building lego, drawing writing etc.
    We also read the books together – some of them are originals from my mum. I love the language, even if it is a bit politically incorrect these days.
    When I was about 10, I was given a choose your own adventure style Famous Five Game book, which came with a little folder and inside it was a plastic rucksack, dice, a map, and cards with either bottles of ginger beer or lunch packs on them. It was hours of fun. I wish I still had it.

  8. Tracy (ruddygood)

    Ah – Blyton, the Famous Five, windswept headlands, setting off on jaunts with a notebook and torch tucked in a little backpack – memories are made of this!

    I spent quite a large portion of my childhood convinced of my future as a world-famous sleuth. I was really rather good at cracking codes. Glad to see your lovelies are following in my/our footsteps. My boy loves the Faraway Tree crew, but has slipped past the Five in favour of Zac Power. Maybe I should take him gently by the hand, take him back and show him what he is missing?

    Or maybe not. All those buttered crumpets and lashings of ginger beer will make me hungry…

  9. Motorbikes_Lady

    Love mysteries pretend & real life ones.

    When I was a kid I read the Nancy Drew Mystereies (I still do although I’m in my 40’s now), also read The 3 Investigators, The Hardy Boys just to name a few.

    In fact I love playing Mystery games like the heaps of Nancy Drew ones, the heaps of Sherlock Holmes ones & any other murder/mystery ones I can get my hands on.

    Glad to see that this hasn’t died & that your kids are just as much into Mysteries as older people are.

  10. allison tait

    @Lucy – we have also tried the Secret Seven, but so far they haven’t captured Mr6’s imagination in quite the same way.

    @Gill – Smugglers Caves are what you make of them. A small indentation in a rock wall is enough to get Mr6’s imagination going.

    @Aging Mommy – I’m sure Mirabelle will love Famous Five. But be prepared for the request for a dog!

    @Irish Gumbo – we visited Bateman’s Bay as well. Narooma is much nicer. It’s a beautiful part of the world. I hope this weekend with your daughter is full of ‘fun dad’ stuff.

    @Tricia Rose – it’s really all about the afternoon tea, isn’t it? There’s a preoccupation with hard-boiled eggs as well.

    @A-M – I suspect the spies will be with us for some time to come.

    @DeerBaby – LOL! I am loving the idea of the bugged headland and the ‘exciting’ information gathered. Feel free to write as much as you like – you know I love your work.

    @Kristy – I’m pretty sure Mr6’s version won’t be too bloodthirsty – if Mr3 were writing it, on the other hand…

    @anjwritesabout – you know that I can’t stop at one stationery purchase. There’s plenty of scope for accessorising here…

  11. anjwritesabout.com

    Love it! The part I love the best is where you get to go stationery shopping…do you think you – I mean Mr6 – might need some cool new pens or pencils to go with the notebook? 😉

  12. Kristy

    I love his version better too! Sounds like fun!

  13. Deer Baby

    Love a great mystery and the Famous Five brings back loads of memories. Hope Mr6 writes that book – sounds like a best seller.

    Smugglers caves and mystery bays always reminds me of where we used to go on holiday in Wales. There was beautiful headland covered in heather. One year, smugglers were bringing drugs in under cover of darkness and using the caves as cover, then sneaking up the beach. The drugs squad got wind of it but couldn’t catch them so they bugged the beach with tiny microphones embedded in the headland. All they must have got was hours and hours of conversation of my mum and my aunt talking about private versus public education. We still laugh to this day at the thought of drugs squad officers in headphones listening to that.

    Sorry to have taken up half your comments box!

  14. A-M

    I adored the Famous Five Series and read the original books my Mum collected when she was a little girl. Sounds like a fabulous day… your children sound absolutely delightful. Don’t know what it is about boys and spys but my lads still dress up and play with their spy gear even with big one being almost 13! A-M xx

  15. Irish Gumbo

    Maybe that’s what I need, a mystery. My daughter likes a good mystery, too, I think we can create one together.

    BTW, Narooma gets a mention in one of my favorites song’s by your countrymate, Jeff Lang. One of my all-time favorite songwriter/guitarists, he did a tune called “Bateman’s Bay”, which has Narooma in the first stanza. Small world!

    And I like your goldfish theory. I have my daughter again this coming weekend, it’ll be a fresh start. Hope your day was, too!

  16. Tricia Rose

    …lashings of ginger beer…

  17. Aging Mommy

    The Famous Five brings back so many memories for me. I loved Enid Blyton and especially The Famous Five and read every single book. I hope my daughter will one day enjoy them as much as I did although her interest in books so far remains very limited.

    Sounds like a wonderful end to your trip, a stop at Mystery Bay.

  18. Gill@OurParklife

    The Famous Five brings back lots of memories….I was always looking for a mystery to solve when I was 6. However, there was a serious lack of “smugglers caves” in my childhood.

    Your children sound like they have the most amazing imaginations-I love that your Mr 3 wondered what a mystery looked like!

  19. Lucy

    Oh your children are enchantingly similar to mine. We have just finished the final Secret Seven. Olivia cried. I suspect she would love your Mr6 as much as she would fall in love with the idea Mystery Bay….and the stationary too…

Pin It on Pinterest