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The Mystery of the Spiteful Letters is to me probably the third-weakest story in the series (behind

Banshee Towers at a firm number one, followed by Tally-Ho Cottage, which I found quite
boring). I found the book a little less enthralling than the others and had no trouble at all putting
it down during my first reading.

Given that, the book still has some interesting points. The concept of anonymous letters has not
been recycled from or copied in any other Blyton book as far as I am aware, which makes the
mystery a little unique. However the discovery of the final clue (Goon thrusting the real clue on
Fatty) was also repeated in The Mystery of the Strange Bundle. I also found it just a little too
convenient that Goon just happened to stumble upon the clue without any forethought. As was
the Inspector's sudden appearance at Pip's house just as Fatty was about to reveal all to Pip's
mother. This would have broken the Find-Outer series rule that they have to rub it in the face of
Goon by always having Inspector Jenks present when the mystery is revealed.

Fatty's gallavanting about as various red-headed boys is the most endearing part of the story. His
constant polite insolence always appeals to me, and I loved his "Please don't report me, sir, I'm
that sorry" after while disguised he almost knocked Goon over on purpose. He again used his
newspaper trick to escape from the room he was locked in, which prompts me to mention Mr
Goon's "long routine telephone call which he made every day about this time", allowing Fatty
ample time to escape. I thought that was more than a little thin and badly orchestrated.

I did find it a little strange that there was no mention at all of Luke from Disappearing Cat when
the children went to interview Miss Tremble. They saw Miss Harmer, and I was expecting Luke
at least to pop his head around the corner of the house and grin at the children. I think it would
have been nice for such a wonderful character to make another appearance, if only for a

I thought Fatty showed amazing ingenuity when he thought of dressing up as a delivery boy in
order to obtain handwriting samples, however the mystery was otherwise just a little too lucky.
From Bets overhearing conversations and Gladys slipping the letters to Fatty to Fatty answering
Pip's telephone, the sudden appearance of the clues and Inspector Jenks' presence at Pip's house
—it is all just a little too contrived for my liking.