Books: Third Form at St. Claire’s
by Gavin Bantock, writing as Enid Bantock
A WACKY ENID BLYTON SPOOF
A Girls’ Boarding School With a Big, Big Difference.
By Far the Funniest Book of the Series.
When, between 1941 and 1945, Enid Blyton wrote the six books of her St. Clare’s girl school series following the careers of the O’Sullivan twins from their first year at the school through to the fifth form, she did not include their adventures in the third form.
This highly entertaining and somewhat irreverent story by Enid Bantock fills the gap.
The personalities of the original Blyton girls and mistresses are all enhanced by comical exaggeration, and reinforced by a panoply of quirky new characters. This is a full-blown warts-and-all account of daily life in a girls’ private boarding school. More than warts in some cases. Why, for example, does the headmistress’s secretary Miss Jurby make frequent entries in her little black record book whenever the two are alone together? Why do the girls make bad faces when Barbara Pugh comes into the room? Who is seen burying a dead horse after midnight? Why does Miss Robertson need special hair treatments at a beauty salon? And why are Millicent Mead and Margot Wearing expelled? These are just a few of the many absorbing questions which are raised and answered as the story unfolds.
During the early 1950s, the three joint authors (aka Enid Bantock) – Cuillin and Gavin Bantock and their late sister Lucy – used to read the Enid Blyton girls’ school books together, making hilarious and wildly provocative changes to the text. Before long they started on their own Third Form at St. Claire’s. Laid aside for over 50 years, in 2010 the old typescript of their book was resurrected and completely revised by Cuillin and Gavin, who kept untouched many of the parts written by Lucy.
“Anyone who knows Enid Blyton’s girls school series will be falling about with laughter at this brilliant parody.”
“Page by page a masterly, rollicking pastiche of Blyton’s best writing. The vivid and highly apt illustrations hilariously reflect its chortling, tongue-in-cheek mockery.”
“Golly! It catches the exact Blyton tone – fun to browse, fun to look at the drawings, fun to read right through.”
“The Enid Blyton flip side – spot on.”
“A Spoof with an Oomph; it will change your life.”
295 pages, with 74 original pen & ink drawings by Cuillin Bantock
£7:50 free p&p
by Gavin Bantock • Gavin Bantock’s biography