First Term at Malory Towers

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First edition (publ. Methuen)

First Term at Malory Towers is the first Malory Towers book by Enid Blyton. The book introduces the main characters including Darrell Rivers, Sally Hope, Mary-Lou, Alicia Johns, Betty Hill, Jean and teachers such as Miss Potts and Miss Grayling.

The first book of 12 fictional tales of the adventures of school-girls at a boarding school called Malory Towers was written by Enid Blyton and later continued by Pamela Cox.


Darrell's off to her new school. But what has she packed?

1. Tennis Racket (Tick)

2. Pocket-Money? (Tick)

3. A lid for her temper? (Cross)

Oh dear! Malory Towers has a whole trunkload of trouble to come! There's mischief at Malory Towers!


The story starts with Darrell Rivers, a girl who is about to start her first term at a boarding school known as Malory Towers.When she arrives, she is sent to the head, Miss Grayling, with some other new girls, who tells them that Malory Towers considers its "successes" girls who become dependable, loving and prove to be women useful to society.Darrell soon learns the names of the girls in her dormy. Jean MacDonald is a sensible Scots girl. Irene is a scatter brain but loves music and maths. She is also very clumsy. Mary-Lou is a quiet and timid little girl, scared of 'almost' everything. Alicia Johns is a cunning, smart and funny girl, known for entertaining the first-formers with her pranks and sharp comments. Gwendoline Mary Lacey is a selfish,mean girl, boastful of her ways as she has been spoilt by her mother and mistress. Sally Hope is a closed up girl and keeps herself to herself, with no interests. Katherine is the head girl and is good at it. Emily Lake is a quiet girl whose only real interest is elaborate embroidery and sewing. Violet is another girl in the form and doesn't feature in the books much.Darrell herself was the tenth girl in the dormitory. Darrell wants to be a success, but is distracted by Alicia Johns, falling lower in her place in class and playing tricks on the staff. However, things are still going all right for Darrell, which is not the same story for the other new girls, Gwendoline Mary Lacey and Sally Hope. Gwen is spoilt and not liked, while Sally is withdrawn and unfriendly. Darrell tells Sally that their mothers know each other, and isn't Sally's new baby sister lovely? But strangely Sally angrily states she has no baby sister, and she wouldn't want one either. Gwen envies Darrell's improving steps as Darrell is considered as a proper first-former whereas Gwen is teased because of her ways.

A few chapters in we see Darrel's temper rise against Gwen.Gwen is not good at lessons or sports. Mary-Lou, a girl scared of everything, is held down in the water cruelly by Gwen, because Gwen, angry of being teased all the time, sees a moment of superiority in teasing her . Darrell seemingly 'rescues' Mary-Lou and gives Gwen a horrible shaking for teasing her.She even flares up at Katherine for not punishing people like Gwendoline and making sure that they learned their lesson.

Darrell regrets her lose of temper and makes amends so the girls like her again, but Gwen is reluctant to apologise to Mary-Lou. Gwen is becoming more unpopular, and is jealous of Darrell. Mary-Lou suddenly springs up a complete adoration of Darrell, as she truly believed that she had been drowning. She follows her around everywhere and desperately tries to befriend her. Unfortunately however, this only ends up in annoying Darrell.

Darrell wanted to take Mary-Lou out for half-term but she was going with Gwendoline and was too scared to tell Gwen that she wanted to go with Darrell. Next Darrell asks Sally if she would like to go out but she refuses. At half-term Darrell takes out the quiet Emily. Darrell sees Sally later that night. She says that Sally does have a baby sister, as her mother has just told her. Sally again denies it, the girls argue,Sally attempts to leave by giving Darrell a slight push but an angry Darrell pushes Sally,which results in her falling over the stool she was sitting on. When she lands in the corner of the room, she clutches her stomach saying "You wicked girl Darrell! You wicked girl!" The next morning Sally is in the San, seriously ill. Darrell is very worried as she thinks her push caused her illness. She prays for Sally and tries to keep updated on her health with constant questioning the teachers and matron. Late at night, a sleepless Darrell takes a walk, only to fall asleep behind some heavy curtains while hiding. She wakes up to her father's voice talking to Mrs. Grayling. She jumps out and hugs her astonished father.

Things are sorted out when Darrell's father explains that he came to operate on Sally and says it was not Darrell's push that made Sally ill. She had, in fact, appendicitis and had to get her appendix removed. Sally admits to Darrell she does have a sister but only pretended because she was jealous of sharing her mother with the baby. Darrell talks to her about her own sister and Sally experiences a change of idea. Sally's mother comes to visit Sally and Sally is no longer jealous and back to her own self. Darrell and Sally become friends.

Darrell visits Sally almost every day and decides, to boost Mary-Lou's confidence, they would be nice to her and think up a plot to help her.Darrell discusses it with Alicia only to discover that Alicia isn't interested in boosting Mary-Lou's ego and claims that Darrell's idea wouldn't work and tries to point out flaws in the plan. Darrell thought they were good points but Sally ignores them-much to Alicia's annoyance. Darrell swims in a quiet part of the pool so that only Mary-Lou would be there to save her. Darrell was supposed to pretend to have difficulties in the water so Mary-Lou would throw in the float, the problem was, the float was off to be mended. So Mary-Lou, an awful swimmer who was generally scared of everything jumped in to save her fully clothed!

A jealous spiteful Gwen forms a wicked plan to tease Mary-Lou and frame Darrell and Alicia.Gwen pretends to become best friends with Mary-Lou and at the same time does horrid things to her, she places a spider in her desk, takes her pens and prayer book, cuts her racket strings and even tears off buttons from her shirts. Gwen does this all behind Mary-Lou's back and plants false evidence against Alicia and Darrell.However,nobody believes it to be their work. Finally Gwen takes Mary-Lou's favorite pen and smashes it by stamping on it. She quickly gets rid of her inky shoes in an old sports cupboard and smears Darrell's shoes with ink. When the first-formers see the smashed pen they conclude that the culprit will have ink on their shoes. They find Darrell's shoes and accuse her of smashing Mary-Lou's pen. Darrell tries to make everybody believe she didn't do it but the first-formers conclude that she did it in a fit of horrible rage and refuse to believe her. Even Alicia refuses to believe Darrell which breaks Darrell's courage as she wanted Alicia to be her friend. Only Sally and Mary-Lou, herself, stand by Darrell. Determined to help Darrell, Mary-Lou sneaks out of their dorm at night, conquering her fear of the dark, and finds Gwen's inky shoes and the bottle of ink she used to smear Darrell's shoes. Satisfied, Mary-Lou takes the evidence and goes to bed.In the morning she reveals the truth to the first-formers who decide that Gwen must buy Mary-Lou a new pen and forgive her. The term ends with Darrell turning down Alicia's friendship and claiming to become Sally's' and Mary-Lou's friend. She leaves by train with Sally whilst Mary-Lou goes by car, promising she'll be back next term.

Information on this book[edit]

This book was first published in 1946. Many different versions have been re-printed. It had been written in about three days. In the version of Mary Ryan's bookstore, Darrell shakes Gwen for ducking Mary-Lou instead of slapping her This book was succeeded by Second Form at Malory Towers.

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