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Mystery #04 — The Mystery of the Spiteful Letters tff-4

Enid Blyton

  Mystery #04 — The Mystery of the Spiteful Letters

  ( The Five Find-Outers - 4 )

  Enid Blyton

  Someone is sending spiteful letters. Gladys and Mrs Moon are terribly upset. There are lots of suspects it could be gossipy Miss Tittle or Old Nosey, a very curious man. The Five Find-Outers and Dog will find the culprit!

  Mystery #04 — The Mystery of the Spiteful Letters

  Mystery04 — The Mystery of the Spiteful Letters—Blyton, Enid.


  Bets and Pip were waiting impatiently for Larry, Daisy and Fatty to come. Bets was on the window-seat of the play-room looking anxiously out of the window.

  ‘I wish they’d buck up,’ she said. ‘After all, they came home from boarding-school yesterday, and they’ve had plenty of time to come along. I do want to know if Fatty’s got any more disguises and things.’

  ‘I suppose you think there’ll be another first-class mystery for us to solve these hols,’ said Pip. ‘Golly, that was a wizard one we had in the Christmas hols, wasn’t it?’

  ‘Yes,’ said Bets. ‘A bit too wizard. I wouldn’t really mind not having a mystery these hols.’

  ‘Bets! And I thought you were such a keen detective!’ said Pip. ‘Don’t you want to be a Find-Outer any more?’

  ‘Of course I do. Don’t be silly!’ said Bets.

  ‘I know you don’t think I’m much use, because I’m the youngest and only nine, and you’re all in your teens now - but I did help an awful lot last time, when we solved the mystery of the secret room.’

  Pip was just about to say something squashing to his little sister when she gave a yell. ‘Here they are! At least - here are Larry and Daisy. Let’s go down and meet them.’

  They tore downstairs and out into the drive. Bets flung herself on the boy and girl in delight, and Pip stood by and grinned.

  ‘Hallo, Larry! Hallo, Daisy! Seen Fatty at all?’

  ‘No,’ said Larry. ‘Isn’t he here? Blow! Let’s go to the gate and watch for him. Won’t it be fun to see old Buster again too, wagging his tail and trotting along on his short Scottie legs!’

  The four children went to the front gate and looked out. There was no sign of Fatty and Buster. The baker’s cart drove by. Then came a woman on a bicycle. Then up the lane plodded a most familiar figure.

  It was Mr. Goon the policeman, or old Clear-Orf as the children called him. He was going round on his beat, and was not at all pleased to see the four children at Pip’s gate, watching him. Mr. Goon did not like the children, and they certainly did not like him. There had been three mysteries to solve in their village of Peterswood in the last year, and each time the children had solved them before Mr. Goon.

  ‘Good morning,’ said Larry politely, as Mr. Goon came by, panting a little for he was plump. His frog-eyes glared at them.

  ‘So you’re back again, like bad pennies,’ he said. ‘Ho! Poking your noses into things again, I suppose!’

  ‘I expect so,’ said Pip cheerfully. Mr. Goon was just about to make another crushing remark when there came a wild ringing of bicycle bells and a boy came round the corner at top speed on a bicycle.

  ‘Telegraph-boy,’ said Pip. ‘Look out, Mr. Goon, look out!’

  The telegraph-boy had swerved right over to the policeman, and it looked as if he was going straight into him. Mr. Goon gave a yelp and skipped like a lamb out of the way.

  ‘Now then, what you riding like that for? A public danger, that’s what you boys are!’ exploded Mr. Goon.

  ‘Sorry, sir, my bicycle sort of swerved over,’ said the boy. ‘Did I hurt you, sir? I’m downright sorry!’

  Mr. Goon’s temper cooled down at the boy’s politeness. ‘What house are you wanting?’ he asked.

  ‘I’ve got a telegram for Master Philip Hilton,’ said the telegraph-boy, looking at the name and address on the orange envelope in his hand.

  ‘Oh! Here’s Pip!’ said Bets. ‘Oooh, Pip - a telegram for you!’

  The boy propped his bicycle by the side of the pavement, its pedal catching the kerb. But he didn’t balance it very firmly and it fell over with a clatter, the handle-bar catching Mr. Goon on the shin.

  He let out such a yell that all the children jumped. He hopped round, trying to hold his ankle and keep his balance too. Bets gave a sudden giggle.

  ‘Oh, sir, I’m sorry!’ cried the boy. ‘That dratted bike! It’s always falling over. Don’t you be angry with me, sir. Don’t you report me, will you? I’m that sorry!’

  Mr. Goon’s red face was redder than ever. He glared at the telegraph-boy, and rubbed his ankle again. ‘You deliver your telegram and clear-orf,’ he said. ‘Wasting the time of the post-office, that’s what you’re doing!’

  ‘Yes, sir,’ said the boy meekly, and gave Pip the orange envelope. Pip tore it open, full of curiosity. He had never had a telegram sent to him before.

  He read it out loud. It was from Fatty.


  The children crowded round to see the telegram. They couldn’t believe their ears. What an extraordinary telegram! Mr. Goon could hardly believe his ears either.

  ‘You let me see that,’ he said, and took it out of Pip’s hand. He read it out loud to himself.

  ‘This is from that boy Frederick Trotteville, isn’t it?’ he said. ‘Fatty, you call him, don’t you? What does it mean? Leaving by aeroplane for Tippy - Tippy - whatever it is. Never heard of the place in my life!’

  ‘It’s in South China,’ said the telegraph-boy unexpectedly. ‘I got an uncle out there, that’s how I know.’

  ‘But - but - why should Fatty go - why should he solve a mystery out there - why, why...’ began the four children, absolutely taken aback.

  ‘We shan’t see him these hols,’ suddenly wailed Bets, who was extremely fond of Fatty, and had looked forward very much to seeing him.

  ‘And a good thing too,’ said Mr. Goon, giving the telegram back to Pip. ‘That’s what I say. A jolly good thing too. He’s a tiresome nuisance that boy is, pretending to play at being a detective - and using disguises to deceive the Law - and poking his nose in where it’s not wanted. Perhaps we’ll have a little peace these holidays if that interfering boy has gone to Tippy - Tippy - whatever it is.’

  ‘Tippylooloo,’ said the telegraph-boy, who seemed as much interested as any one else. ‘I say, sir - is that telegram from that clever chap, Mr. Trotteville? I’ve heard about him.’

  ‘Mr. Trotteville!’ echoed Mr. Goon, indignantly. ‘Why, he’s no more than a kid. Mr. Trotteville! Mr. Interfering Fatty, that’s what I call him!’

  Bets gave a sudden giggle again. Mr. Goon had gone purple. He always did when he was annoyed.

  ‘Sorry, sir. Didn’t mean to make you all hot and bothered, sir,’ said the telegraph-boy, who seemed very good indeed at apologizing for everything. ‘But of course we’ve all heard of that boy, sir. Very very clever chap, he seems to be. Didn’t he get on to some big plot last hols, sir, before the police did?’

  Mr. Goon was not at all pleased to hear that Fatty’s fame was apparently spread abroad like this. He did one of his snorts.

  ‘You got better things to do at the post-office than listen to fairy-tales like that!’ he said to the eager telegraph-boy. ‘That boy Fatty’s just an interfering little nuisance and always was, and he leads these kids here into trouble too. I reckon their parents’ll be pretty glad that boy’s gone to Tippy - Tippy - er...’

  ‘Tippylooloo,’ said the telegraph-boy obligingly
. ‘Fancy him being asked out there to solve a mystery, sir. Coo, he must be clever!’

  The four children were delighted to hear all this. They knew how the policeman must hate it.

  ‘You get along now,’ said Mr. Goon, feeling that the telegraph-boy was a real nuisance. ‘Clear-orf! You’ve wasted enough time.’

  ‘Yes, sir; certainly, sir,’ said the polite boy. ‘Fancy that fellow going off to Tippylooloo - by aeroplane too. Coo! I must write to my uncle out there and get him to tell me what Mr. Trotteville’s doing. Coo!’

  ‘Clear-orf!’ said Mr. Goon. The boy winked at the others and took hold of his bicycle handles. The children couldn’t help liking him. He had red hair, freckles all over his face, red eyebrows and a funny twisty mouth.

  He got on his bicycle, did a dangerous swerve towards Mr. Goon, and was off down the road ringing the two bells he had as loudly as ever he could.

  ‘There’s a boy that’s civil and respectful to the Law,’ said Mr. Goon to the others. ‘And he’s an example to follow, see!’

  But the other children were no longer paying attention to the fat policeman. Instead they were looking at the telegram again. How surprising it was! Fatty was surprising, of course - but to go off by plane to China!

  ‘Mother would never let me do a thing like that,’ said Pip. ‘After all, Fatty’s only thirteen. I can’t believe it!’

  Bets burst into tears. ‘I did so want him to come back for the hols and find another mystery!’ she wailed. ‘I did, I did!’

  ‘Shut up, Bets, and don’t be a baby,’ said Pip. ‘We can solve mysteries without Fatty, can’t we?’

  But privately each of them knew that without Fatty they couldn’t do much. Fatty was the real leader, the one who dared to do all kinds of things, the real brain of the Find-Outers.

  ‘Without Fatty we’re like rabbit-pie without any rabbit in it,’ said Daisy dolefully. That sounded funny, but nobody laughed. They all knew what Daisy meant. Things weren’t nearly so exciting and interesting without Fatty.

  ‘I just can’t get over it,’ said Larry, walking up the drive with the others. ‘Fatty off to South China! And what can be the mystery he’s solving there? I do think he might have found time to come and tell us.’

  ‘That telegraph-boy thought an awful lot of Fatty, didn’t he?’ said Bets. ‘Fancy! Fatty must be getting quite famous!’

  ‘Yes. Old Clear-Orf didn’t like him praising up Fatty, did he!’ chuckled Larry. ‘I liked that boy. He sort of reminded me of some one, but I can’t think who.’

  ‘I say - what’s going to happen to Buster?’ suddenly said Bets, stopping still in the drive. ‘Fatty wouldn’t be allowed to take his dog with him - and Buster would break his heart left alone. What do you suppose is happening to him? Couldn’t we have him?’

  ‘I bet Fatty would like us to have him,’ said Pip. ‘Let’s go up to Fatty’s house and ask his mother about Buster. Come on. We’ll go now.’

  They all turned and went back down the drive. Bets felt a little comforted. It would be something to have Fatty’s dog, even if they couldn’t have Fatty. Dear old Buster! He was such a darling, and had shared all their adventures.

  They came to Fatty’s house and went into the drive. Fatty’s mother was picking some daffodils for her vases, and she smiled at the children.

  ‘Back for the holidays!’ she said. ‘Well, I hope you’ll all have a nice time. You’re looking very solemn. Is anything the matter?’

  ‘Well - we just came to see if we could have Buster for the hols,’ said Larry. ‘Oh, there he is! Buster, Buster old fellow! Come here!’


  Buster came tearing up to the children, barking madly, his tail wagging nineteen to the dozen. He flung himself on them and tried to lick and bark at the same time.

  ‘Good old Buster!’ said Pip. ‘I bet you’ll miss Fatty!’

  ‘It was a great surprise to hear that Fatty has gone to China,’ said Daisy to Mrs. Trotteville. Fatty’s mother looked surprised.

  ‘In an aeroplane too! ’ said Larry. ‘You’ll miss him, won’t you, Mrs. Trotteville?’

  ‘What exactly do you mean?’ asked Mrs. Trotteville, looking as if she thought the children had gone mad all of a sudden.

  ‘Gracious - Fatty can’t have told her!’ said Bets, in a loud whisper.

  ‘Told me what?’ said Mrs. Trotteville, getting impatient. ‘What’s the mystery? What’s Fatty been up to?’

  ‘But - but - don’t you know?’ stammered Larry. ‘He’s gone to Tippylooloo, and...’

  ‘Tippylooloo! What’s all this nonsense?’ said Mrs. Trotteville. She raised her voice. ‘Frederick! Come here a minute!’

  The children turned breathlessly to the house - and out of the front door stepping lazily, came Fatty! Yes, it really was Fatty, as large as life, grinning all over his plump face. Bets gave a loud shriek and ran to him. She hugged him.

  ‘Oh, I thought you’d gone to Tippylootoo! Didn’t you go? Oh, Fatty, I’m so glad you’re here!’

  The others stared. They were puzzled. ‘Did you send us that telegram?’ said Daisy suddenly. ‘Was it a joke on your part, Fatty?’

  ‘What telegram?’ asked Fatty innocently. ‘I was just about to come down and see you all.’

  ‘This telegram!’ said Pip, and pushed it into Fatty’s hand. He read it and looked astonished.

  ‘Somebody’s been playing a joke on you,’ he said. ‘Silly sort of joke. And anyway, fancy you all believing I was off to Tippylooloo! Gosh!’

  ‘You and your jokes! ’ said Mrs. Trotteville. ‘As if I should let Frederick go to China, or wherever that ridiculous Tippylooloo place is. Now, if you want to go and talk to Frederick, either go indoors or go for a walk.’

  They went indoors. They still felt very puzzled. Buster danced round, barking in delight. He was overjoyed because the whole company of Find-Outers was together again.

  ‘Who delivered this telegram?’ asked Fatty.

  ‘The telegraph-boy,’ said Pip. ‘A red-haired chap with freckles and a cheeky kind of voice. He let his bike-handle catch old Clear-Orf on the shin! You should have seen him dance round!’

  ‘Hm,’ said Fatty. ‘There’s something queer about that telegraph-boy, I think! Delivering a telegram I didn’t send! Let’s go out and look for him and ask him a few questions!’

  They went out, and walked down the lane together, Buster at their heels. ‘You go that way, Larry and Daisy, and you go the opposite way, Pip and Bets,’ said Fatty. ‘I’ll take this third way. We’ll scour the village properly for that boy, and meet at the corner by the church in half an hour’s time.’

  ‘I want to go with you, Fatty,’ said Bets.

  ‘No, you go with Pip,’ said Fatty, unexpectedly hard-hearted. He usually let Bets have her own way in everything. Bets said nothing but walked off with Pip, feeling rather hurt.

  Larry and Daisy saw no telegraph-boy at all, and were waiting by the church corner in twenty-five minutes’ time. Then Pip and Bets came up. They hadn’t seen him either. They looked up and down for Fatty and Buster.

  Round the corner came a bicycle, and on it was - the red-headed telegraph-boy, whistling loudly. Larry gave a yell.

  ‘Oy! Come over here a minute!’

  The telegraph-boy wobbled over, and balanced himself by the kerb. His red hair fell in a big lock over his forehead, and his uniform cap was well on one side.

  ‘What’s up, mate?’ he said.

  ‘It’s about that telegram,’ said Larry. ‘It’s all nonsense! Our friend Frederick Trotteville hasn’t gone to China - he’s here!’

  ‘Where?’ said the boy, looking all round.

  ‘I mean he’s in the village somewhere,’ said Larry. ‘He’ll be along in a minute.’

  ‘Coo!’ said the boy. ‘I wouldn’t half like to see him! He’s a wonder, he is! I wonder the police don’t take him on, and get him to help them with their problems.’

  ‘Well, we all helped to solve the mys
teries you know,’ said Pip, beginning to feel that it was time he and the others got a bit of praise too.

  ‘No, did you really?’ said the boy. ‘I thought it was Mr. Trotteville that was the brains of the party. Coo, I’d like to meet him! Do you think he’d give me his autograph?’

  The children stared at him, thinking that Fatty must indeed be famous if telegraph-boys wanted his autograph.

  ‘That was a dud telegram you brought,’ said Larry. ‘A fake, a joke. Did you fake it?’

  ‘Me fake it! Coo, I’d lose my job!’ said the telegraph-boy. ‘Look here, when’s this famous friend of yours coming? I want to meet him, but I can’t wait here all day. I’ve got to get back to the P.O.’

  ‘Well, the post-office can wait a minute or two, I should think, said Pip, who felt that none of them had got very much information out of the telegraph- boy, and was hoping that perhaps Fatty might.

  A small dog rounded the corner, and Bets gave a yell. ‘Buster! Come on, Buster! Where’s Fatty? Tell him to hurry.’

  Everyone thought that Fatty would come round the corner too, but he didn’t. Buster trotted on towards them alone. He didn’t growl at the telegraph-boy. He gave him a lick and then sat down beside him on the kerb, turning adoring eyes up to him.

  Bets was most astonished. She had never seen Buster adoring any one but Fatty in that way. She stared at the little black dog, surprised. What should make him like the telegraph-boy so much?

  Then she gave a loud squeal and pounced on the telegraph-boy so suddenly that he jumped.

  ‘Fatty!’ she said. ‘Oh, Fatty! What idiots we are! FATTY!’

  Pip’s mouth fell open. Daisy stared as if she couldn’t believe her eyes. Larry exploded and banged the telegraph-boy on the back.

  ‘You wretch! You absolute wretch! You took us all in properly - and you took old Clear-Orf in too. Fatty, you’re a marvel. How do you do it?’

  Fatty grinned at them all. He removed his red eyebrows with a pull. He rubbed off his freckles with a wetted hanky. He shifted his red wig a little so that the others could see his sleek black hair beneath.