Whatever. Anyone here ever heard of a guy called Panama Oxridge? Or a dame by the same name? (Wow, triple rhyme!) No, I haven’t either. But here she/he is, being reviewed for his/her book Justin Thyme. That’s also very witty. It’s a book featuring a time machine, among many more improbable things.
This book was brought to my attention when I carelessly mentioned I was going to have a go with some Scottish reading. The cover is covered in tartan, so is definitely the genuine article. But I have to say that despite the tartan and dear Panama and the cheesy title it is actually a very funny story.
Justin is a millionnaire. On his 13th birthday he receives a parcel that ticks, and as he is a bright boy, he knows it’s either a bomb or another blo*dy watch. It’s fair to say he doesn’t want either of them. He lives in a Scottish castle with his parents Sir Willoughby and Lady Henny, his older sister Robyn, who is a pain, and their little brother Albion. A tame gorilla called Eliza. There is a nanny, a tutor, a gardener, a housekeeper and eventually a butler and a cook. Naturally.
They have tea. It sounds heavenly.
And at some point Lady Henny is kidnapped and they need to sort out who did it. Also find her before it’s too late, obviously. The castle isn’t exactly short on suspects, and outside the castle walls there are a few more weird people. Justin is very intelligent. But he still starts to build a time machine to rescue his mother, as boys do.
Plenty of humour. I like the cook (‘ Having Off-Day. Plenty foods in my Panties.’) Adventure, lovely teas, romance, lost grandfathers and old spies. It’s both old-fashioned and quite up to date. The cast is interestingly similar to the Strega family in Pure Dead Magic, but who cares?
Slight quibble towards the end. There isn’t one. Possibly a time machine effect.