Adventure Island

Adventure Island is a series of exciting mysteries for 7-12 year old readers. Set on the fictional island of Castle Key, off the coast of Cornwall, the books follow brothers, Scott and Jack Carter, their friend Emily Wild and her super-smart dog, Drift as they investigate a series of baffling mysteries.

With stunning covers by artist, Roy Knipe, and illustrated with beautiful line drawings by Leo Hartas (including this fabulous map of the island) the books are just right for anyone who loves mystery and adventure.
The series is published by Orion Children’s Books and is available as en e-book on Kindle and Kobo as well as in paperback. There's also a fun-packed interactive website to accompany the series at

Here are the titles of all fourteen books in the correct order. You don't need to read them in order because each one contains a separate stand-alone mystery, but there are some developments that emerge over time, so it makes sense to start at the beginning with The Mystery of the Whistling Caves if you can.

1. The Mystery of the Whistling Caves
2. The Mystery of the Midnight Ghost
3. The Mystery of the Hidden Gold
4. The Mystery of the Missing Masterpiece
5. The Mystery of the Cursed Ruby
6. The Mystery of the Vanishing Skeleton
7. The Mystery of the Dinosaur Discovery
8. The Mystery of the Drowning Man
9. The Mystery of the Smugglers' Wreck
10. The Mystery of the Invisible Spy
11. The Mystery of the King's Ransom
12. The Mystery of the Black Salamander
13. The Mystery of the Secret Room
14. The Mystery of the Phantom Lights

Reviews for the Adventure Island series . . .

Cracking adventures on the island of Castle Key are at the heart of this exciting series. (JULIA ECCLESHARE, LOVE READING FOR KIDS) 
Readable, punchy stories with cliffhanger chapter endings will help to build up reading stamina, (BOOKS FOR KEEPS)

Helen Moss is one of those writers who have realised children are not stupid.The books are not dumbed down, but they are not difficult to read either.I have noticed it has got children that are reluctant to read interested and it is a very gender neutral title, both in presentation and the characters. (JOSH CLARK, OXFORD MAIL)

They’re adventure books for about 6+ and are so exciting. You just can’t put them down! (Aimée Schilder, aged 9, AQUILA MAGAZINE)

Inspired by tales of the Famous Five series, Helen Moss brings a modern twist to solving exciting mysteries which kids of today can relate to. (WHATMYKIDSAREINTO)

The books are real page turners and perfect for anyone between eight and twelve. I cannot recommend them highly enough as they are the best mystery series in my generation. (AMY SMITH, DAILY RECORD)

The great thing about adventure stories, as opposed to fantasies, tales of superheroes and even the more dramatic end of the teen-spy spectrum is that young readers can easily imagine themselves joining in the action. (THE BOOKBAG)

My sons, 8 and 10, and me, are LOVING these books. They read aloud well and are good own reads. They are very like Enid Blyton, which we all love, but modern and my children can easily relate to the characters and setting and enjoy the style. As a teacher, I enjoy the level of language and writing style. I would highly recommend these.(CUSTOMER REVIEW, THE BOOK PEOPLE)

A wonderful sense of place, (conveying the shivers that accompany a true adventure) . . . perfect for boys and girls, reluctant readers and book lovers alike! (KIDSBOOKS)

Written in a pacy and child-friendly tone by the talented Helen Moss, the books are never less than captivating and are sure to evoke memories of Enid Blyton's Famous Five and Secret Seven, while also offering a more contemporary approach to adventure novels. (THE BOOK PEOPLE) 

They have all the things that I loved about the adventure books I read when I was little (yes like Enid Blyton).

Castle Key is a fantastic setting, I adore the characters, and as a lover of MG mysteries I’m yet to stumble upon a series with such consistently complex mysteries. Each of the 14 are of such a high standard, and I very much recommend them.


When Scott and Jack Carter have to stay with their great aunt for the summer they steel themselves for the most boring holiday ever. But then they meet Emily Wild and her loveable dog, Drift. Emily shows them the lighthouse, the castle - and the amazing whistling caves. Legend has it that when the caves stop whistling the castle will be attacked - and that's exactly what happens!
Priceless treasures are stolen and Emily and the boys are determined to investigate. But how was the treasure smuggled out of the castle? Why did the caves stop whistling? And can the friends solve the mystery in time to catch the thief?

The Mystery of the Whistling Caves was awarded a Holyer an Gof award in 2012 and was shortlisted for the Lancashire Fabulous Books Awards in 2013.

Reviews for The Mystery of the Whistling Caves

"A page-turning adventure in the grand tradition of Enid Blyton’s Famous Five." (WORLD BOOK DAY)
"The Famous Five meets Artemis Fowl in The Mystery of the Whistling Caves, an up to the minute adventure with postmodern Blytonian references. The children, with mandatory dog, use their cunning to find the culprit in a series of museum thefts. A retro look gives it appeal to children and adults alike." (Jake Hope THE BOOKSELLER ) 
"The Mystery of the Whistling Caves by Helen Moss is being launched as a new, contemporary Blyton-esque adventure series and certainly contains all the elements: caves, secret passages and a good old-fashioned crime to solve. With references to hoodies, rock bands and computer games, this is a fun reworking of a winning formula and a great recommendation for any reader in search of adventure." (Vanessa Lewis THE BOOKSELLER )
“As soon as I started to read this book, I was instantly transported back to my younger reading days. These were happy days, where I could be found with my nose buried in the adventures of the Famous Five or the Secret Seven, and loving every minute of them. I had this very same feeling wash over me as I was reading this book." (MR RIPLEY’S ENCHANTED BOOKS)
The Carrickstowe Hoard from
The Mystery of the Whistling Caves
by Agent Snowy_Owl
"Whilst reading this book, I found myself instantly transported back to my childhood, reading my beloved Enid Blyton books. Helen Moss has captured that Blytonesque essence, bottled it, added a dash of real life and and a slice of modern times to create a whole new series for today's generation." (SERENDIPITY REVIEWS )
"I loved this book from the start to the finish because it is extremely exciting and I couldn't put it down. It moves at a fast pace, and the plot keeps on twisting so that it is full of suspense. The children's characters were very believable because the author was able to write as if she was a child. It is also very funny particularly when the author describes Jack's thoughts. I would recommend this book to people who love adventure stories and it is one of the best books I have ever read!" (Lily Newman, Age 10 WEST END BOOKS BLOG)  
"a great romp of a story, definitely a page turner, and would make fabulous holiday reading." (THE BOOKBAG ) 
"Moss has taken the time-honoured Enid Blyton 'Famous Five' formula and given it an extremely successful contemporary twist. Rather than just a re-hash, Moss has made this her own and given us a brilliant, straight-forward mystery series for a whole new generation of readers!" (FALLEN STAR STORIES) 
"If you were brought up on Enid Blyton, as I was, then this cover alone should win you over. I've been dying to read this one since I heard about it and it was as much fun as I'd hoped." (TEENAGE FICTION FOR ALL AGES) 
"This is good old fashioned story telling with a modern setting – I loved it." (FIVE MINUTES PEACE)
"Helen Moss's Adventure Island books are often likened to the Famous Five series, and with good reason. Although there are only four main characters, one is still a dog and they solve mysteries on an idyllic island off the Cornish shore. They're completely contemporary though, so they have the internet and mobile phones to help them in their quests, and there's none of that 'jolly old ginger beer' stuff that modern kids sadly now struggle to relate to. My 8 yr old loves them, and I really enjoy reading them with her."  (THOUGHTS FROM THE HEARTHFIRE)
" . . .being a paid up member of the Famous Five Club in my time I got myself a copy, and I wasn’t disappointed. I found the first adventure staring Scott, Jack, Emily and the dog, Drift, to be fast paced, very well-written and the young characters realistic and fun to be with." (BOOKS AND MUSINGS FROM DOWNUNDER) 

I recommend these books to ages 9+ or as a good old family read! There are perilous escapes, cunning deciphering of codes and mostly , there is a warm hearted vibe you get as you read. It just makes you want to snuggle down with the next books! (THE BOOK REVIEW SOCIETY)

Audio version of The Mystery of the Whistling Caves from Oakhill Publishing

The Mystery of the Whistling Caves is also available in Japanese, Portuguese, Dutch, French and Bulgarian.

2. The Mystery of the Midnight Ghost

When Scott , Jack and Emily hear that a film is being made at the nearby manor house they can't resist going to watch. But when the glamorous star of the film vanishes the friends realize they have a new mystery to solve!
Has the star been kidnapped by a crazed fan? Could she have run off with her boyfriend? Or did she venture into the manor's attic at midnight and fall foul of the legendary ghost that haunts the old house?

Reviews for The Mystery of the Midnight Ghost
 "This book is an up-to-date adventure story with no lashings of ginger beer and chocolate but with contemporary references including David Beckham, Lady Gaga, Johnny Depp and BMX bikes, which are all familiar to 21st century readers. An exciting adventure movie is being filmed at Pendragon Manor in the village of Castle Key, Cornwall, and the young friends can't resist going to watch. [. .  .]The characters are well developed and the main characters are warm, likable children. The 'celebrity' life of the modern day film star is also realistically portrayed. This exciting story moves along at a fast pace with the reader's attention being held captive to the very end." (READING ZONE)
'A very enjoyable book with plenty of dramatic action with good story lines and always a satisfactory ending.Highly Recommended."  (BFK BOOKS)
"The Mystery of the Midnight Ghost is another charming adventure story with a beautiful setting which allows the children to ride around on their bikes and camp overnight on the beach without parental supervision. They also do some proper detective work – checking handwriting samples, tracking down a witness and following tyre tracks.
I chuckled quite a few times as well as Jack comes out with some great lines. The previously unshakeable Emily goes a bit weak at the knees at the thought of a ghost but she works to overcome her fear and Scott is starting to take a few more risks. I look forward to seeing how the friends' characters change. The illustrations by Leo Hartas that preface each chapter are, like the cover by Roy Knipe, very attractive." (TEENAGE FICTION FOR ALL AGES)
Wall display at Meldreth Primary School

The Mystery of the Midnight Ghost is also available in Japanese, Portuguese, Dutch and French, and Bulgarian.

A game of hide and seek in the old Castle Key lighthouse during a violent thunder storm leads to an amazing discovery - a tattered old treasure map! Scott, Jack and Emily can't wait to search for the hidden gold but first they must solve the clues to uncover its secret hiding place. And someone else is after the gold too - someone who doesn't plan to let anyone get in their way! Can our heroes figure out the map, outwit their enemy and find the hidden treasure?

Reviews for The Mystery of the Hidden Gold

"These books are basically a modern Famous Five book where the main characters use mobiles and ginger beer has been replaced with coke! There is plenty of action and the books kept both my son's interest (aged 5 and 10), so much so that we have bought the first two books in the series and they can't wait until the last two books are out in September. "   (THE SCHOOL RUN)
"It was a great book. Helen Moss must have had a brainwave when she created the Adventure Island series. When I start a Helen Moss book I have to finish it." (ALEX, AMAZON CUSTOMER REVIEW)

Character from The Mystery of the Hidden Gold
by Niamh Atkins

The Mystery of the Hidden Gold is also available in Japanese, Dutch and French and Bulgarian.

When thieves raid the house of a neighbour, Emily, Jack and Scott are ready to investigate. But, strangely, the neighbour doesn't seem to want the thieves to be caught! The burglars didn't escape with much this time but could the raid be connected to a much older crime involving millions of pounds? The friends begin to uncover the truth, but are they leading themselves into serious danger? 

The Mystery of the Missing Masterpiece is also available in French, Dutch and Bulgarian.


Reviews for The Mystery of the Missing Masterpiece

"If you like detective books then I would recommend you to get this book. The first few chapters are just for fun but then it gets more serious. The book has a surprising ending. I would give it a ten out of ten. I can't say anything bad about it.My favourite bit is when they meet at the tree-house to discuss the robbery and that is where the mystery starts. Then it get's mind-boggling and you don't know what is going to happen next." (GUARDIAN CHILDREN'S BOOKS, CHILD'S REVIEW)
"The Adventure Island series certainly lives up to its name, with Enid Blyton-esque mysteries set firmly in the present day – complete with mobile phones.
In this adventure, Emily and her friends, brothers Scott and Jack, are made suspicious by a burglary and a mysterious visitor to Castle Quay. And is neighbour Mrs Roberts the harmless middle aged woman she seems to be? As they unravel the mystery, things begin to get dangerous. Boys and girls will enjoy plenty of heroics along the way from the children and of course from Emily’s scruffy little dog Drift." (JENNY SMITH, SCHOLASTIC)
Full of surprising events and funny misunderstandings, it’s a great story that I’m sure you’ll enjoy. (MYKINDOFBOOKS) 

The circus comes to town, full of conjurors, clowns, tightrope walkers and trapeze artists. But dark secrets lurk beneath the sawdust and spangles - secrets that are part of a dangerous mystery that might prove impossible to solve!
That's if Scott, Jack, Emily and Drift weren't on the case, of course!

Reviews for The Mystery of the Cursed Ruby

"This book along with the other books in this series have the familiar storyline I loved in Blyton's books,a group of fearless kids with one very intelligent dog who find themselves knee deep in mystery and adventure" [SARAH, AMAZON CUSTOMER REVIEW]

When the circus is in Castle Key, a trapeze artist is injured in a fall, Scott, Jack and Emily find themselves drawn into a maze of secrets and lies. Why are there suddenly so many accidents? Is a cursed jewel really to blame? And will Drift the dog ever be reunited with his new love, Mimi the circus poodle? I love this book, and I recommend it to anybody that is reading this. [MANGO BUBBLES BOOK BLOG] 

The Mystery of the Cursed Ruby is also available in French, Dutch and Bulgarian.


Characters from The Mystery of the Cursed Ruby
by Abi Stubbings

A string of unusual crimes hits Castle Key and the chief suspect seems to be a skeleton! Scott, Jack, Emily and Drift the dog immediately start investigating, but nothing about the mystery makes sense. Will the friends finally be defeated by this baffling mix of crimes and the mysterious culprit, or can they uncover the sinister secret that connects them all?

Reviews for The Mystery of the Vanishing Skeleton
By Josie Eaton
 “Helen Moss is one of those writers who have realised children are not stupid. The books are not dumbed down, but they are not difficult to read either. I have noticed it has got children that are reluctant to read interested and it is a very gender neutral title, both in presentation and the characters.”" [JOSH CLARK, OXFORD MAIL]
"This is a ripping yarn, full of gentle, child-friendly twists and turns, with larger-than-life yet believable characters and a tense and exciting climax.
I particularly enjoyed how Moss brings a Blyton-esque adventure story into a modern setting. It's easy to be cynical and believe the days of childhood adventure are long gone. This book debunks that myth. I'm not sure I'll ever see holidays through the same eyes again, and I mean that in a good way." [AMAZON CUSTOMER REVIEW]

The Mystery of the Vanishing Skeleton is also available in French and Bulgarian.

When Scott, Jack and Emily stumble upon some bones in the quarry above Castle Key, they're convinced they've discovered the gruesome remains of a murder victim! But the bones turn out to be much, much older than that - could they be dinosaur bones? Or are they the last earthly remains of a real dragon?
Rival scientists fight to prove each other wrong, while the friends are determined to uncover the truth - with a little help from Drift the dog, of course!

Reviews for The Mystery of the Dinosaur Discovery
"This is the first book I have reviewed in this series, and comparisons with Enid Blyton are almost inevitable. These are, however, up to the minute adventures full of contemporary references and gronded in today's world. I can see them appealing to both boys and girls who long for adventure. Scott, Jack and Emily stumble upon some bones in the quarry above Castle Key.  Are they the remains of a murder victim? Are they dinosaur bones? Or are they the remains of a real dragon? The friends are determined to uncover the truth. The characters are very credible and the dialogue flows smoothly as the children interact. Lovely traditional style stories, well-written and pacy enough to appeal to today's readers." (PARENTS IN TOUCH)
"I have just finished this book and it was one of the best adventure books I have ever read - I couldn't put it down when I was reading it and my parents kept telling me off for not going to sleep when I was told!I have read all of the rest of Mrs Moss's books and this one is up there with the best of them, the dinosaurs made it even better as I love them, and the way they change their idea of what is going on all the way through keeps you on the edge of your seat waiting to find out if they'll be right at the end - but I won't say any more in case I spoil it for you." (George, Amazon Review)
Dinosaur drawings inspired by
the Mystery of the Dinosaur Discovery
from Cambridge Wordfest and Oxford Bookfeast

"My 8-year old son is an avid reader of adventure stories with Enid Blyton his very favourite author. He really enjoyed this book and says it as great as those by Blyton - high praise indeed . . . he is delighted to have discovered this series  and is now asking for the first six books." [JUNO MAGAZINE]
"Is it genuine or fake? It's very exciting. Who is that security guard? Is someone swapping the samples?
I like the part when Emily says 'Poor old Raspberry, wait until he sees what is for lunch' because lunch is sprout soup! I would recommend this book for ages seven to nine. 4.5/5"[GUARDIAN CHILDREN'S BOOKS, CHILD'S REVIEW]
"Nothing is what it seems as the young mystery solvers try to untangle a web of lies, misdirection and hidden agendas on the small Cornish Island. The Adventure Island series is a reassuring balance of innocence and adventure. Helen Moss captures the spirit of Enid Blyton but roots the story very firmly in the twenty-first century and for a modern audience. [BENJAMIN SCOTT, CAROUSEL]
"A fantastic book, which as soon as you read the first page, makes you want to read on." [MYKINDOFBOOK]
The Mystery of the Dinosaur Discovery is also available in Bulgarian.

When Scott, Jack, Emily and Drift rescue a drowning man from the waves they are keen to hear his story, but their new friend can't remember his own name, let alone how he came to be stranded at sea! Who is the mystery man? Why did he come to Castle Key? And was his drowning an accident - or attempted murder?
The friends are on the case - with enthusiastic assistance from Drift the dog - determined to find the truth and solve the mystery of the drowning man.

Reviews for the Mystery of the Drowning Man

"I loved these books as they are well written and full of excitement and drama. My favourite book in the series is The Mystery of the Drowning Man. I would recommend the series to boys and girls who enjoy suspense and action." (RED HOUSE BOOKS READER'S REVIEW BY TARA VELLANI)

"Another story in this excellent series for adventure loving children who enjoy good old-fashioned story-telling.[...] I loved Enid Blyton and can vividly recall reading her books whilst on holiday - this series makes equally good holiday reading."(PARENTS IN TOUCH)
"Cracking adventures on the island of Castle Key are at the heart of this exciting series. Jack and his brother Scott are sure their holiday in this remote location in Cornwall will be dull. But, how wrong can they be? Jack and Scott team up with Emily and her bouncy dog Drift whose home is in a converted light house and soon find the Island is full of surprises and excitement. First there’s the mystery of why the caves have lost their whistle (in The Mystery of the Whistling Caves), then there’s the shock of a film star going missing (in The Mystery of the Midnight Ghost) and finally there a man who almost drowns on the beach (in The Mystery of the Drowning Man). Can the friends pull him from the water in time and can they find out who he is? With its crumbling cliffs, pounding seas and interesting cast of inhabitants, Castle Key turns out to be a wonderful place for a holiday." (JULIA ECCLESHARE, LOVE READING FOR KIDS) 
"Parents will enjoy reading these books with their children. Despite all the trappings of modernity the adventures still retain a flavour of Blyton, Ransome and others: an idyllic world where crime and danger abound but where the heroes eventually solve the mystery, catch the bad guys and get home in time for an enormous tea. One particular facet of the ending of this book was a trifle improbable, but otherwise it is a thoroughly good read and well worth buying to pack in your suitcase this summer." (THE BOOKBAG)
"I want to highly recommend this book to you. My favorite characters are Emily Wild and Drift. Jack is very funny, Scott is laid back and thinks he is WAY cooler than his brother. Emily can be very funny with her 'Mystery Man' and she thinks that every one is running a smuggling ring or is a secret agent. [...]You ought to buy it!!!!" (ABIGAIL (9) AMAZON CUSTOMER REVIEW).
The Mystery of the Drowning Man is also available in Bulgarian.

Scott, Jack, Emily and Drift the dog become embroiled in a new mystery when they start to explore an old shipwreck. Can they solve the puzzle surrounding the smugglers' hidden treasure?

Reviews for The Mystery of the Smugglers' Wreck

"Loved this book.I think it's the best book so far in this series. They seem to be getting more humorous each time." [AMAZON CUSTOMER REVIEW]

A scene from The Mystery of the Smuggler's Wreck
by Agent Snowy_Owl

"Amazing mystery with cliffhangers after chapters. When I started reading, I couldn't put it down!" [READER REVIEW, SUMMER READING CHALLENGE] 

You can find more Summer Reading Challenge Reviews here.

Jack, Scott, Emily and Drift the dog investigate the mysterious case of a spy in hiding in the tenth Adventure Island mystery.

Reviews for The Mystery of the Invisible Spy
"This is a fun read – it has a fast-paced plot with a good twist, likeable characters and a dramatic ending. It reminds me of Enid Blyton’s Famous Five and Secret Seven stories I used to read as a child – so the Adventure Island series gets the thumbs up from me!"  (BOOK A POET)
"The Mystery of the Invisible Spy is an exciting mystery/adventure story where the children get to outsmart some villainous adults and do their bit for national security. There’s plenty of excitement, more than a hint of danger, and some tricky puzzles that need to be unravelled in order to solve the mystery of Castle Key’s surfeit of spies." (BOOKBITZ)
"Book 10 of a series that harks back to Enid Blyton. The likeable characters are reanimated for the 21st century, and everything is brought up to date, including bullet proof glass and MI5." (THE TELEGRAPH SUMMER READS) 
"This was a gripping adventure, a very easy yet inspiring read and a book I recommend. The author really dived in and pulled out all the stops for a good mystery." (GUARDIAN CHILDREN'S BOOK CLUB, READER REVIEW)
"This is a really exciting story, my favourite out of the Adventure Island series, so far – because you discover Aunt Kate’s history and there is a great twist!" [MYKINDOFBOOK]

When a young prince is kidnapped while on a school camping trip in Castle Key, Scott, Jack, Emily and Drift are eager to take on the case. Drift's clever nose is sure to sniff out some clues to the kidnappers - but can the friends rescue the hostage in time?

Reviews for The Mystery of the King's Ransom

"I highly recommend it and all the other books in this series, especially for holiday reading."[KATE CHESTERTON, BROADHURST BOOKS, SOUTHPORT]
"This 11th book in Helen Moss’s Adventure Island series delivers all the goods avid readers of her books hope for. Like a modern day Famous Five, the Adventure Island books make great holiday reads for those looking for something light and a bit corny, but with a twist of mystery to keep you on the edge or your seat. There is never a dull moment for the Castle Key crew of characters."

Scott, Jack and Emily are excited when they are invited to go and watch the testing of a top secret, super-advanced, prototype car. It's just like something out of a James Bond movie - and a secret agent is exactly what's required when the car mysteriously vanishes! Luckily, the friends are on hand to find the car, catch the culprits and save the day - with a little help from Drift the dog, of course!

Crazy cars inspired by The Mystery of the Black Salamander,
Oxford Bookfeast

When Boomerang the cat discovers a hidden room, Scott, Jack, Emily and Drift the dog are on hand to investigate.
An enormous treasure chest inside the room holds clues to an ancient secret and a lost relic! The friends are determined to solve the puzzle, but someone else wants the artefact - someone who'll stop at nothing to get it . . .
Join Scott, Jack, Emily and Drift in the race to discover a mystical treasure!

Reviews for The Mystery of the Secret Room
"Moss has created a world populated with Scott, Jack, Emily, and Drift the dog. These kids show gumption and no mattter what the obsticles they try their best to overcome them.
The map in the first page of the book adds to mystery and invites us into the story. Illustrations, by Leo Hartas, and the Moss's story combine to result in a great read. A great summer read for kids." (MICHELLE MOLONEY KING)
I like the Adventure Island books because they are funny and exciting . . . My favourite is The Mystery of the Secret Room because it's not really to do with a crime, but all the rest are good too and I have read them lots of times. (SUPERBEN, CHILD'S REVIEW, THE GUARDIAN CHILDREN'S BOOKS WEBSITE) 

The Keepers of the Key Pledge by pupils at Oakham Primary School

Something strange is afoot on the moors above Castle Key - sinister noises, lights in the sky and mysterious figures moving in the dark. Are aliens invading, as Jack suspects? Could it be smugglers, as Emily thinks? Or is there another explanation? Scott, Jack, Emily and Drift the dog are on the case!

Reviews for The Mystery of the Phantom Lights

"This book is intriguing and makes you want to carry on reading. For example when Jack sees those lights in their camping trip, it makes the hairs on your neck prickle.I hope Helen Moss carries on writing these mystery books."(Thomas, age 9, AMAZON CUSTOMER REVIEW)