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Mr. Timothy: A Novel by Louis Bayard
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Mr. Timothy: A Novel (edition 2004)

by Louis Bayard

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6873013,880 (3.71)100
Member:lkernagh
Title:Mr. Timothy: A Novel
Authors:Louis Bayard
Info:William Morrow Paperbacks (2004), Edition: Reprint, Paperback, 416 pages
Collections:Read but unowned
Rating:****
Tags:Historical Fiction, Mystery, London, Victorian Era, Suspense, Murder, Read in 2012, 12 in 12 Challenge

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Mr. Timothy by Louis Bayard

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Mr Timothy is Tiny Tim of Dickens's A Christmas Carol. At twenty-three, he's a bit lost--both parents are dead, he has regular contact with only one of his siblings, and he is haunted by the memory of his father. He is ambivalent about continuing to take the still happily offered money from his "Uncle N" but can't seem to find enough direction to be able to support himself fully without it. When he happens upon the body of a dead girl with a brand on her arm and then encounters another girl who seems of a kind to the dead one, he sets out to discover what is going on. What follows is part character study, part murder mystery/thriller, part continuation of A Christmas Carol.

I loved this book (and in a reversal of the usual, the other members of my book club were at best lukewarm about it). I was on board with Tim's story from the beginning and was wrapped up in the language and neo-Victorian-ness of it. Bayard does a particularly good job with setting (London felt very real in his descriptions), and there are all kinds of little references to other Dickens works, which are fun to spot. The mystery itself is entertaining (if gruesome), though I was most interested in the exploration of the character of Tim, Bayard's endeavor to imagine the Cratchitts (some of the least well realized of Dickens's characters, I think) more fully, and the illustration of the ways in which the socio-economic conditions of the time made it impossible for one rich man to lift even one family fully out of the poverty they started in. Good stuff. Recommended. ( )
1 vote lycomayflower | Aug 6, 2015 |
One can definitely see the Charles Dickens influence on Mr. Baynard. And yes Mr Timothy is most assuredly NOT Tiny Tim. The whole Cratchit family grown up wasn't that big a thrill for me (good not great) but LOVED the mystery. ( )
  feenie1010 | Feb 22, 2015 |
I expected this to be like Dickens' Christmas Carol -- it's not. But it is very good. Tiny Tim is now grown up and living in a precarious sort of way in the seamier part of London's society. It's a journey of self discovery wrapped in a Victorisn-era thriller. Nicely drawn characters and well-plotted. I coud see this as a very succesful BBC mini-series. Feels a bit like Anne Perry's Inspector Monk series, but the characters are more fully-realized. ( )
  borbet | Oct 21, 2014 |
Finished in 2013 ( )
  ACrain | Jul 15, 2014 |
Mr. Timothy is Tiny Tim, all grown up and not doing very well. Due to Uncle N's interest in the Cratchits all those years ago, Timothy's leg is mostly healed, but the recent death of his father haunts Tim as he wanders the squalid streets of London. In exchange for giving the madame reading lessons, he takes a room in a brothel and tries to find something to do with himself. With so much time to walk he seems to be the only one to notice that little girls are turning up dead in the street, and they've been branded.

A good story using loved characters from Dicken's A Christmas Carol in a very different way. Normally I would scrunch my nose at something like that, but the writing is very good and the story is equally interesting, though the crimes committed are horrible. There were a few scenes that read like an action script, specifically towards the end, but that's not bad. ( )
1 vote mstrust | Dec 13, 2013 |
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I am not so Tiny any more, that's a fact. Nearly five-eight, last I was measured, and closing in on eleven stone.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0060534222, Paperback)

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

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:05:46 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

Seeking to gain independence from his benefactor, Ebenezer Scrooge, Timothy Cratchit loses himself in the underworld of 1860s London, where the discovery of two murdered girls prompts him to protect a third would-be victim.

(summary from another edition)

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