Well, there goes my goal of reading all of the Secret Seven books in order. I realised that I haven't read one for a while so I decided to grab this one, in case I finished my other book while I was on holidays (I didn't), and when I finished my last book I clicked on the 'reading now' tab on Goodreads and suddenly realised that this was the last one – I still have another three to read before I get to this one. So, I sat at the table in the coffee shop bemused for a little while (and trying to actually work out if I had made a mistake – I had) and then decided to stuff it and read it anyway – it's not as if you have to read them in strict order.
Fortunately I'm getting to the end of my Enid Blyton collection (and will probably not try to get my hands on any more of them because once I finish off the rest of the Famous Five and Secret Sevens there aren't really any more books of hers that I really want to read) so I guess that this one being a disappointment isn't really a big thing. Anyway, the Secret Seven books are really short, and I'm getting to the point where I basically expect the book to be 90% of them having fun and 10% of them actually solving a mystery.
Except there wasn't any mystery in this book. Okay, there were some horse thieves, but all that happened was that Janet heard a noise, ran to her parents, and then sat back with Peter and watched the ensuring melee. Actually, with the exception of Peter and Janet (and Scamper, but he actually isn't a member of the Secret Seven) the rest of the gang only made token appearances, and Susie only gets a mention. I guess I shouldn't be surprised because having written so many children's books Blyton was probably getting ready to call it a day.
There is a story here though – basically a nice old man named Tolley is working on a farm with this horse named Brownie. However the owner of the farm is a pretty nasty character and works both Tolley and Brownie to the ground. One day, while pulling a cart, Brownie is injured and the farmer decides to put him down, much to Tolley's horror. Despite going into a ridiculous amount of debt to save the horse (by calling in a vet) the farmer still wants to kill the horse. However the Secret Seven come along, convince Peter's father to buy the horse, and also employ Tolley. After talking to the vet they manage to get the fees waived (with the catch that the Vet has an equitable ownership in the horse, but considering the amount the vet charged, and the price that Peter's father paid for the horse, the vet pretty much has full ownership).
In the end, this is one of those happy, happy, feel good type of books, and while there is one chapter containing horse thieves, all that happens is that the Secret Seven manage to save a horse and clear poor Tolley's debt. So many nice things happen that by the end Blyton suggests that the events of this week have worked to make Peter a really nice person and when he grows up he goes off and does nice things for other people. It's probably a good book for children, but I preferred the ones where they played detective and busted some rather nefarious characters.