The Deeping Secrets
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This issue's cover illustration by Tony Ross is from Francesca Simon's Horrid Henry and the Zombie Vampire. Thanks to Orion Children's Books for their help with this September cover.
By clicking here you can view, print or download the fully artworked Digital Edition of BfK 190 September 2011.
The second title in the ‘Paradise Barn’ series, this novel has elements of Enid Blyton stories – children seem to be rid of adults quite easily and look for treasure. This makes for a fast paced story with much mention of food. At the end of term in 1941, Molly and her friend Abigail look forward to the long summer holiday. Meanwhile Joe rescues Edward from local bullies and the four children become friends. It turns out that Edward’s family owns land in the village and there is a rumour of treasure buried there so the children decide to start searching for it. But this search is not helped by the fact that Robertson Creake, who works on the railway, lives on the land and is not friendly. In fact he is rather odd and writes letters to Hitler which he does not post. Hence the scene is set for the two plots to intertwine which they do rather alarmingly with an attack on a freight train carrying explosives which the children stop from being a real tragedy (rather implausibly) with Edward driving the train with its two carriages on fire away from the village, where they blow up and kill Mr Creake. This incident turns up the missing treasure. There is also a subplot about an evacuee, Adam, who has been to Wales and discovers where the art treasures from London are being stored but then returns to Great Deeping and hides in the barn, where many meals are taken.
There are too many plots in this story and it works best with plenty of excitement and pace when telling of ordinary life and the relationships between the children. Joe takes them out on his tractor and gets told off for using fuel, the children miss their fathers, serving away from home, and Edward’s grandmother loosens her hold on him, all painting a convincing picture of wartime life in a small East Anglian village.