More adventures of Barnaby Grimes, a ‘tick-tock lad’ making fast deliveries by hand all over Victorian London (‘tick-tock – time is money’) and one of a special band who take direct routes over the roofs – ‘highstacking’. The opening is high melodrama, ‘Cut out his beating heart!’, with the rest of the novel working back to this point and its resolution. A ghostly galleon, a Chinese girl who defeats ruffians through the art of ‘Yinchido’ and Victorian schools are some of the ingredients as Barnaby battles to defeat the evil skull of the title. There’s much to enjoy, some amusing little jokes (the achievements following a name including MRSA) with the beginnings of inventive storytelling but this feels like good ideas thrown together in response to the perceived interests of its chosen market. A bit of Dickens here, a bit of gothic horror there, add some oriental grace and magic and school anarchy and you have a book. Much more profitable I’m sure but I miss the craft of Paul Stewart’s early novels.
http://booksforkeeps.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/bfklogo.png 0 0 Angie Hill http://booksforkeeps.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/bfklogo.png Angie Hill2008-03-12 16:02:362023-01-12 16:06:14Barnaby Grimes: Return of the Emerald Skull