Uncle Harvey is not the kind of man you want your young son to spend too much time with. He’s a crook or a conman, quite charming, but totally untrustworthy. Since Tom has already travelled to the other side of the world with his uncle once, in an un-planned kind of way, it is really not advisable to let him stay with Harvey in the cottage belonging to his dead grandfather.
Alone. And Grandpa might have been murdered. So what were Tom’s parents thinking? They should have known Tom was likely to end up in India with Harvey. The Trelawneys have always been a bit dodgy, although it skips a generation every now and then, which is why Tom’s parents are boringly against Harvey. Whereas dead Grandpa was quite a guy.
Harvey goes off to India, with Tom in tow, with the idea of finding the Sultan’s eighth tiger and becoming filthy rich in the process. Never mind the fact that Grandpa’s murderer is most likely following them everywhere.
This story didn’t go quite where I expected it. India, yes. But differently. If I’d stopped and thought, I’d have realised the obvious story was never possible, if young readers aren’t to be led off the straight and narrow. A bit like Tom, who isn’t all that far behind Uncle Harvey in law-abidingness. Lack of.
This book by Josh Lacey is fun and slightly shocking in its naughtiness. Harvey is no role model for anyone, although I suppose he has a good heart, deep down. Nice picture of modern India (and old India, too, for that matter) and how people live.
Maybe Tom will learn from this. Or maybe not.