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9780060534219

Mr. Timothy

Bayard, Louis

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Welcome to the world of a grown-up Timothy Cratchit, as created by the astonishing imagination of author Louis Bayard. Mr. Timothy Cratchit has just buried his father. He's also struggling to bury his past as a cripple and shed his financial ties to his benevolent "Uncle" Ebenezer by losing himself in the thick of London's underbelly. He boards at a brothel in exchange for teaching the mistress how to read and spends his nights dredging the Thames for dead bodies and the treasures in their pockets. Timothy's life takes a sharp turn when he discovers the bodies of two dead girls, each seared with the same cruel brand on the upper arm. The sight of their horror-struck faces compels Timothy to become the protector of another young girl, the enigmatic Philomela. Spurred on by the unwavering enthusiasm of a street-smart, fast-talking homeless boy who calls himself Colin the Melodious, Timothy soon finds that he's on the trail of something far worse -- and far more dangerous -- than an ordinary killer. This breathless flight through the teeming markets, shadowy passageways, and rolling brown fog of 1860s London is wrought with remarkable depth and intelligence, complete with surprising twists and extraordinary heart.

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Review:

Tiny Tim is back! No, not the squeaky-voiced troubadour who tip-toed through tulips in the 1960s, but the original--Timothy Cratchit, the crutch-wielding tyke from Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol. Only now he's a "mostly able-bodied" 23 years old, resides in a London whorehouse in exchange for tutoring the madam, struggles to wean himself from financial dependence on his ancient "Uncle" Ebenezer Scrooge, and, as we learn in Louis Bayard's darkly enchanting historical thriller, Mr. Timothy, is haunted by the spirit of his late father--a man whose optimism and strength the son feels himself incapable of imitating.

When we first encounter Timothy, during the Christmas season of 1860, he's vexed by the discovery of two dead 10-year-old girls, each branded with the letter "G"--one found in an alley, the other fished from the Thames River by Cratchit and a voluble old salt who makes his money by finding (and then robbing, of course) errant corpses. Timothy's concern leads him to protect a third possessively marked waif, the frightened and suspicious Philomela--who, he soon realizes, is being sought by a knife-loving former Scotland Yard inspector and a moneyed, malevolent voluptuary. When, despite precautions, Philomela is kidnapped by her pursuers, Cratchit--assisted by a shrewd warbling urchin known as Colin the Melodious--resolves to fulfill his "great calling" in life by mounting a rescue. However, this mission will force the habitually uncourageous Timothy to not only defend himself against sexual molestation charges, storm a well-guarded mansion, and solve the puzzle of a coffin-filled basement, but also engage in a nightmarish final chase along London's docklands.

Authors employing real-life characters as detectives are often hampered by their adherence to historical fact. Bayard suffers no such limitations in imagining what fates awaited Dickens's now-famous fictional figures. Under his pen, Scrooge--whose rooms are decorated for Christmas year-round--becomes an eccentric collector of fungi and host to an interminable stream of charity solicitors, while Timothy Cratchit strikes out beyond his lonely young man status to become the head of an unconventional clan. Bayard's appreciation for the lurid exoticness of Victorian London rivals that of John MacLachlan Gray (The Fiend in Human), while his lyrical prose subtly suggests 19th-century influences. Mr. Timothy is at once a compelling Christmas crime yarn and an audacious literary endeavor. No humbug there. --J. Kingston Pierce

About the Author:

Louis Bayard is a novelist and reviewer whose work has appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, Nerve.com, and Salon.com. He lives in Washington, D.C.

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Bayard, Louis Author
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Book Description Harper, 2003. Book Condition: New. Brand New, Unread Copy in Perfect Condition. A+ Customer Service! Summary: In this absorbing mystery set in 1860 London, a grown-up Timothy Cratchit discovers the dead body of ten-year-old girl. Bookseller Inventory # ABE_book_new_0060534214

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Book Description Harper Collins, New York, 2003. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Dust Jacket Condition: New. 1st Edition. First edition first printing of this author's first mystery novel. SIGNED by the author on the title page at the 2008 Bouchercon Festival in Baltimore. In fine / fine unread condition. Language: eng. Signed by Author(s). Bookseller Inventory # 6031

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