The Secret Seven are a secret society who hold regular meetings and organize things to do, whether it's helping the community in some way, solving mysteries that turn up, or just having fun playing Red Indians in the woods.
The Seven have a secret password, a badge, and a secret headquarters in a garden shed. The Seven are led by Peter and include Peter's sister Janet, and their friends Jack, Colin, George, Pam and Barbara. They are joined by their golden spaniel, Scamper.
The society was actually formed in a short story prior to the first book in this series. The first was At Seaside Cottage, featuring Peter and Janet, and the second was The Secret of Old Mill, which featured the entire gang in their first Society meeting.
Peter enforces the rules and delegates tasks for the members. The Seven investigate mysteries by shadowing, interviewing and, most importantly, looking for clues. The Seven tackle all sorts of mysteries from missing dogs to mail robbery, and always come out on top.
Straight away we meet Peter and Janet two siblings at home. Peter - the leader of the gang/group - tells Janet that they need to arrange a meeting of the Secret seven as there hadn’t been one for ages. They sit at the table and write letters to announce the meeting informing them they can only enter with a password.
‘Janet always wrote with her tongue out, which made her look very funny.The headquarters of the Secret Seven was the shed in the garden with a sign ‘SS’ on the door. Janet had made it all cosy. Janet places five boxes and two flowerpots for people to sit on along with sacks as rugs. There is also a shelf where biscuits and blackcurrant tea, a mix of blackcurrant jam, sugar and boiling water sit.
But she said she couldn’t write properly unless her tongue was out, so out it had to come’
When the time comes for the meeting everyone starts arriving and as it has been a long time Jack has forgotten what the password is and you’re not allowed in without it so he tricks Colin into telling him what it is. This later gets changed toO in case someone else had heard it and might try to enter.
Both Janet and Barbara reminded me of me, as I stick my tongue out and I get my words mixed up like Barbara does.
“Delumptious’ says Barbara says ‘do you mean delicious or scrumptious?” asked JanetThey sit around and eat and drink and discuss what they should do.
“Both of course!” said Barbara”
“Can we solve a mystery or something?” asked GeorgeAfter agreeing this is what they should do they go and build snowmen in the fields. As they leave Scamper (the dog I forgot to mention) runs off and escapes into the garden of a large house where an old man called the ‘caretaker’ lives. Spooky name! He shoos scamper off and threatens if he comes in again he would shoot him.
Later at bedtime, Jack who gets sent to be early with no supper for kicking his sister’s governess under the table. He was meant to hit his sister which of course was still wrong. When he gets to bed he realises he has lost his badge and knows he can’t got o a meeting without it. He remembers he had it while building snowmen and that must be where it is!
So Jack sneaks out and goes back to the snowmen and while looking he thinks one moves and gets spooked and says to himself:
“Don’t be silly” he told himself, sternly. “You know they’re only made of snow! Be sensible and look for your depressed button!”He finds his button and heads back only to see a car at the end of the field and think it’s lost. He goes to help but then sees two men, and sees a car with a van or something attached and hears squealing. Jack realises they are up to no good and runs off home. Jack decides it’s a mystery for the Secret Seven to solve and leaves a message at the shed to arrange an urgent meeting.
The next day, Peter tells Janet to open the door to the shed to air it as it won’t be used that day and almost misses the note. A meeting is called and they all agree to split up and investigate believing it might be a tied up prisoner they decide to go in search of different things, like finding out who owns the house, did the old caretaker here anything. They also investigate where the tracks go.
They all meet back at the headquarters and discuss their findings and agree they need more evidence before they can go to the police in case it turns out to be something quite simple. They decide to set a plan for the boys to sit and watch the house and decide it would be a good idea to wear sheets and disguise themselves as snowmen.
I know this is fictional but I was amazed that these kids could wander around at the dead of night and their parents not find out or stop them, but obviously this was a long time ago and possibly a lot safer.
At this point I had picked up a clue what was going on but did a silly thing and flicked through the book looking at the illustrations and saw what happened, so slightly spoilt it for myself. Silly me.
Anyway back to the story.
‘The three boys and Scamper had had an exciting time. They had gone down the lane. Noting the car and the tracks’The boys find the snowmen have started to melt but still stand in wait. They then here a noise and Peter and Jack go and investigate. They find a window of the house open and climb in. They find the old caretaker still asleep upstairs and go and investigate the lower floors. From the cellar they hear a noise and call out but get no reply. They then here a key turning in the door they try to hide but the two men who entered come across them and lock them in the cupboard.
Dun! Dun! Dun!
The men leave them there and go and deal with Kerry Blue. Who’s Kerry Blue you ask. Well it’s a horse. When the men leave, Peter switches on his torch and there standing in the corner is a horse.
It is a fine horse and appears to be covered in dye. There is nothing the boys can do but sit with the horse and wait.
Meanwhile outside Colin, George and Scamper are still in the field waiting and start to wonder where they are when they hear the car and the men approaching and stand stock still so as not to give the game away. When they’ve gone they rush to the house and find the others locked in. They help them escape and lock the door back up. Peter takes the horse back to his parent’s farm and
puts Kerry Blue in the stables.
In the morning Peter shows his father the horse and explains what happens and they call the police who capture the men and find out they were horse stealers and Kerry Blue was an important horse
and they were trying to pass him off as another.
The owner of Kerry Blue is informed and an award is sent to the children who in reply say,
“We didn’t expect a reward. The adventure was enough!”ending with
“The best secret society in the world! Hurrah for The Secret Seven!”
Although it was a big adventure and the boys were captured and that was quite scary, I don’t think it stands up against the other books so far. Yes the children took risks as worked as a team, and pointed out they didn’t do things to be rewarded they did it as fun, it just didn’t grip me as much. Granted I spoilt it for myself but I just didn’t enjoy it as much as the Famous Five. Someone pointed out on Goodreads that there were too many characters and it was a bit like Scooby Doo and not so serious.
‘Damn those pesky kids!! or whether it’s because I really didn’t like Peter who annoyed me because he thought he was better than the rest of the gang. It could be I didn’t like this story as
much because I had recently read three adventure stories and this one just didn’t stand up against the others. However I am sure loads of little boys would love a story like this.
Throughout the book I caught sight of a little letter at the bottom of the page and I thought there was a secret code going through the book but found out it may have been what the printers used to bind sections together. Another mystery solved J!
One last thing before I go. A big thanks Alison from Leeds Book Club for lending me this copy. This edition was illustrated by George Brook and printed in 1952 in Norwich (the place where I was born) I loved the feel and the smell of the book. Old books have such a nice smell, that’s why I love secondhand book shops. They’re like another world.
The Book List
Nov - The Mystery of the Pantomime Cat
Oct - The Naughtiest School Girl
Sep - Mr Galliano’s Circus
Aug - The Boy Next Door
Jul - Adventures of the wishing Chair
Jun - The Magic Faraway Tree
May - The Enchanted Wood
Apr - The Adventures of Scamp
Mar - Secret Seven
Feb - Five on a treasure Island
Jan - The Book of Brownies
Helen tweets from @isfromupnorth and has her own blog Hello from me to you. It's worth bookmarking because Helen knows EVERYONE and is involved in all sorts of lovely events!
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