Tag Archives: Panama Oxridge

Thyme Running Out

Far too many years after I read Justin Thyme, the first book about the Thyme family, I returned to these rich and slightly odd people in Thyme Running Out. It is just as much fun. And I might know who Panama Oxridge is.

Panama Oxridge, Thyme Running Out

There is time travel. Whether this is the cause or the cure of what happens remains a mystery. My brain has serious trouble getting itself round quite so many twists and turns. It almost gives me a haddock, as the cook, Mrs Kof, would say.

There are dodos. Obvious, when you can go far back in time. And you can never be certain if any grandfathers are their own nephews, or whatever. I don’t think I’m giving anything away. I didn’t entirely grasp who the bad guy really was. My mind boggled. A. Lot.

It’s the kind of time travelling whodunnit where you suspect everyone, including dead people and ones not yet born. At least I think so.

Billionnaire Justin is still only 13 and is still having to be the man of the castle. His older sister Robyn helps a bit, but dad Willoughby continues to be feeble, even if he means well. There is an evil new nanny. Every story should have one. And Eliza, the gorilla, is behaving oddly.

Who is Agent X? Well, there is no shortage of suspects. And you could feel that with time travel, maybe they are all X. Drumnadrochit is not as quiet a place as you might think. Also, I’m a firm believer in Nessie.

There is only one thing… This was meant to be a trilogy, and that being the case, the second book ends in such a way that you want more. Need more. Panama..!


Is it ever OK to kill off your Granny?

By this I mean when you ask for time off work to go to Granny’s funeral. I’ve heard of people who have rather a lot of grannies. It’s obviously easier than ‘killing off’ certain other family members. You are allowed to start with two, and some might well have more, with steps and so on.

But is it that the skiver forgets they killed Granny last time, or do they reckon no one remembers? Maybe they don’t like their Granny very much, so puts less emotion into her death, while forgetting that those around them might feel very strongly about both their own, as well as the dead grannies of others. Or does the faker feel it is so natural, they assume we all do it?

If you ask me, I will quite possibly tell you I feel fine. I might even go so far as to say my Christmas was lovely, thank you. Or my holiday. Those can be lies. It’s hard – and I understand socially unacceptable – to burden your small talk counterpart with the dreadfulness of your life.

So those are lies I will fairly willingly tell. (And you look divine in lime green, btw.) But I assume you might half expect me to smooth over the holiday that was a disaster from beginning to end, and you could hear me coughing, so would be able to tell I’m not entirely well.

But what other lies are acceptable, once we become adults? OK, income. In Britain you don’t tell people how much money you make. And if you mention a sum that sounds either too low or too high, I might guess you were pulling the wool over my eyes, for some reason.

Omission is another way of ‘lying.’ Or waffling about something else, all of a sudden.

Daydreaming is one way of escaping reality for a while. As a child I found it used to send me to sleep, so for years I’ve used it to send me to sleep. But whereas I can then be as pretty, thin, rich, or whatever, as I like, I can’t go round telling you stuff like that.

Andy McNab

I could if I was an author writing a book. I’d be expected to daydream up some plausible and entertaining lies. The closer to the truth they are, the better it will be. Fantasy or fairy tale, they still need lots of realism one way or another.

The power that goes with creating whole worlds could be addictive. But I’m guessing authors know when they’ve switched off their computers and are part of normal life again. Although, some cover their tracks by adopting pseudonyms, and with people like Andy McNab there is a certain camera shyness. Panama Oxridge goes one step further, and we don’t know who (s)he is. I’m looking forward to the Sefton Super Reads 2012, where (s)he has been shortlisted. Will (s)he turn up? Send someone else? Be ill?

I suppose it would almost be OK to make up a slightly more glamourous/ adventurous/or some other -ous persona in order to attract readers. But surely there must be a boundary somewhere?

Personally I would prefer for someone I know to kill off their fourth Granny in order to get a day off work, than for their Granny to have died for real. I’m not sure what that says about me. When I had ‘headaches’ as a child I made sure I stayed in bed and really suffered. What I would have been trying to avoid was always far worse than faking it all day.

Trying to remember. Did I invent siblings? Rich relatives? I suspect the worst. But it was definitely done at an early age.

Enigma? Paradox?

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.