Dick is something of an unsung hero: note how often it is his ingenuity or courageousness that saves the day. He twigs the significance of the note George signs as ‘Georgina’ in Five on a Treasure Island, works out how to read the enigmatic map in Five on a Hike Together, and guesses the secret of Clopper the pantomime horse in Five Go Down to Sea, to give but a few examples. His name often leads to the beginnings of an adventure for the cousins – he responds to the nocturnal whisper of his name when hiding out in the barn in Five on a Hike Together, thereby receiving the message intended for ‘Dirty Dick’ and sending the Five off to Gloomy Water. In Five Get Into Trouble, kidnappers confuse him with spoilt rich boy Richard Kent thereby initiating the trouble of the novel’s title.
Dick is good company. He is perhaps something of a Prince Harry to Julian’s William. Dick is more humorous than his older brother and isn’t afraid to point out Julian’s frequent tendency towards bossiness. He also teases George mercilessly at times, although she still tries to copy the way he walks. Dick is a good conjuror, cherry-stone spitter and is a fledgling gourmet. As Jane Brocket points out in Cherry Cake and Ginger Beer, her collection of recipes inspired by children’s literature, Dick has the ‘mostly finely tuned gastronomic tendencies’ of the Five. Although he professes to want to be a doctor, it seems highly likely that Dick’s interest in food could take him along this career path. In Five Get Into a Fix a delicious feast provided at Magga Glen Farm in Wales prompts Dick to resolve “me for the farm life when I grow up”. I predict that as an adult he becomes a proto Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall. His French speaking skills, as demonstrated in Five Fall Into Adventure, will no doubt serve him well if he goes on quests to discover cheese and wine on the continent as his culinary tastes develop further (at the beginning of Five on a Secret Trail he and Julian report to the girls that they didn’t respond well to French food)
Quotes: “I say, aren’t these [ginger biscuits] good? You know, I do think good cooks deserve some kind of decoration, just as much as good soldiers or scientists, or writers. I should give Joanna [the cook] the OBCBE [The Order of the Best Cooks of the British Empire].” Dick – Five on Kirrin Island Again.
Interesting fact? Dick seems to get punctures more often than his brother, sister and cousin.
Likes: Food, conjuring, mystery stories, charming older women (as in ‘to charm’), especially if they can cook