19 Nov 2009


MR TIMOTHY by Louis Bayard.

"Not so tiny any more, that's a fact."

So begins Louis Bayard's enthralling tale of mischief and murder. The Tiny Tim of Dickens's A Christmas Carol has now grown up, has cast his crutches aside, and has just buried his father. Determined to shed his ties to his benevolent 'Uncle' Ebenezer, he lives by day in a house of ill repute and spends his nights dredging the Thames for dead bodies and the treasures in their pockets.

Suddenly Tim finds himself embroiled in a disturbing mystery. For he comes across the bodies of two dead girls, each seared with a cruel brand. Then he discovers another girl with a similar brand - but she is still alive. Tim immediately realises he must protect her, whatever the cost. With the support of a wonderful cast of characters from Colin the Melodious to Captain Gully, he embarks on a dangerous journey.

Tim's dark adventures take him from the murkiest parts of London's Victorian underworld to the upper echelons of aristocratic society. Through teeming markets, shadowy passages and thick brown fog.

..... From the front, inner cover.

FIRST SENTENCE (Chapter 1): Not so tiny anymore and that's a fact. Nearly five-eight, last I was measured, and closing in on eleven stone.

MEMORABLE MOMENT: Fifteen minutes after I set my head down, a boy with no shirt tried to pick my pocket; fifteen minutes later, he went for my hat; half an hour after that, I found him very calmly unlacing my shoes.

An interesting idea and one I couldn't resist - Tiny Tim, now aged 21, no longer tiny and minus his crutches. Hmm, where will the author take us with this one?

Very Dickens's in tone, this novel also takes place during Advent, the climax occurring on Christmas Eve. We even get to meet, albeit very briefly, 'Uncle' Ebenezer, now lovingly known as Uncle N.

I'm really not sure what I made of this book. Yes, I really enjoyed it but more so because of the nostalgic theme and the characters than the story itself which was interesting but slightly bizarre.

Bizarre? In places, very much so. I mean how else could I describe the scene in which Colin (the Melodious) decides it's a good idea, on being approached by a rather amorous peacock, to react in the following manner "Jumping backwards, he claws open his trousers and, with wildly scrabbling hands, drags out the nearest available evidence of his sex. Holds it there in his hand like a pickled eel, freshly wrapped." Aah but does it work? You'll have to read the book to find out.

No, the nostalgia and characters are definitely what makes this story what it is. We find out what became of Ebenezer Scrooge, whether or not he remained his jovial, Christmas loving self or reverted back to his old ways. Then there's Captain Gully, a truly wonderful character, who on loosing his hand in an accident, has it replaced by a rather different tool to the usual hook. AND Mrs Sharpe (I love the idea of Tiny Tim living in a house of ill repute) who hires Tim in the pretence of him "doing her books" when, in fact, he is there for a very different (totally innocent, I hasten to add) reason.

What is also nice about MR TIMOTHY is the letters that Tim sends to his dead father. They leave the reader with such a warm glow and, at times, a lump in the throat for as Tim explains the writing of these letters "Now I don't believe you can actually speak to them or touch them," (Them being the dead) "but if you can .... if you can convey to them that you're happy and everything's fine .... well then, they needn't worry about you, and they can .... they can rest, can't they? Finish their journey."

MY RATING: 3 out of a possible 5.


Tina said...

Lovely review. I loved this book!

Vivienne said...

this book sounds fabulous. I do like the idea of going back to Dickensian times to see what happened to his characters. I suppose everyone always presumed that eventually Tiny Tim would die, even though his legs would be fixed.

brizmus said...

This sounds so cute and intriguing. Lovely review!

Heather said...

I've read one of his earlier books, the Black Tower and was captivated by it. I suspect this one will be the same. Thanks for the heads up on it.

Anonymous said...

This sounds interesting. I am going to have to check this out..after I read the 4 books that are waiting on my desk to read. LOL!

Martha said...

Hmm, manhandling privates in the presence of peacocks, sounds like an interesting read. The premise is fascinating. Thank you, P.W.

Cara Powers said...

You have me intrigued. Alas, I'm not ready to put it in my TBR pile.

Kelly said...

It does sound quite interesting.

I can't imagine what he was thinking with the peacock episode, though! Sounds like he was putting himself into a pretty dangerous situation!!

Might read it eventually, but probably not any time soon.

TheLittleFlower said...

Great review! I still have 3 more books that's waiting for me,++I haven't even tore up the plastic cover! ^^

TheLittleFlower said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Hazra said...

I like the idea of finding out what happened to my favorite characters in Christmas Carol. I wonder if there's a book on Fred; I was always intrigued by him.