All that the Resident IT Consultant could say about Eva Ibbotson’s The Secret of Platform 13, was that Virgin doesn’t have anything to do with King’s Cross. That’s train nerds for you. Actually, he did say he liked it a lot, too. The Virgin connection is because the book we just rescued from Daughter’s shelves, was a freebie from Sir Richard, back when they wanted to impress families travelling by train.
At long last I’ve read the book that surely JKR must also have read. If she didn’t, it would be a real piece of proof that extremely similar ideas come floating through space at a particular time. No point listing all the similarities, because the stories aren’t the same. They are both a lot of fun, each in their own way.
I’ll begin by guessing that Eva is no fan of the country’s first female prime minister, judging by some of the more memorable characters in this book. Handbags and hairdos.
Platform 13 hides a door to an island that sounds like paradise. Like with so many trains, you can only get there very infrequently. In this case every nine years. A baby prince is kidnapped on one occasion, and needs to be found and brought back nine years later. It’s a Harry and Dudley kind of set-up, and there are many, many funny goings-on in London before things go as they should. This is a good, old-fashioned story, so you can tell from the beginning what will happen, but you don’t know how.
Good is good, and bad is bad. And I’m sure there is a reason why bad people are so often very fat. But I do have to say one thing in defence of the bad mother in this story. If you specifically ask for soup with no bits in, then a few leaves of parsley do not make it prettier or better. Think about it.