Monday 24 October 2011


Book review: Justin Thyme (The Tartan of Thyme #1) by Panama Oxridge

My edition: Paperback, published in 2011 by Inside Pocket Publishing Ltd, 368 pages.

Description: Justin Thyme is a self-made billionaire living in a castle overlooking Loch Ness. The day he turns thirteen, he receives an anonymous gift: a fabulous watch with a puzzling message hidden on it. When he tells his father of his plans to build a time machine, the Laird of Thyme reveals tantalising fragments of past espionage and warns his son of a ruthless enemy keeping him under constant surveillance.

At first, Justin fails to take Sir Willoughby seriously, but when a stranger arrives claiming to be his long-lost grandfather, Justin is wary - especially after his beloved Nanny insists the old man is an impostor. Justin's TV celebrity mother departs on a Congo expedition with her eccentric film crew and Eliza, a computer-literate gorilla. Whilst returning, Lady Henny is abducted, and clues prove that the kidnapper has inside information; someone in Thyme Castle must be a spy - or possibly Sir Willoughby's old enemy in disguise.

Everyone is under suspicion: Justin's nervy tutor; their snooping housekeeper; the theatrical gardener; an ex-royal butler; and Mrs Kof, their freakishly strong cook. Suddenly, the race against time is on. Can Justin convert his vintage motorbike into a time machine, rescue his mum and discover the identity of their resident spy in less than a week... or will the dreaded Thyme Curse claim another life?


The first book in the Justin Thyme (see what author Panama Oxridge did there?) series sets up the story of boy genius Justin - a moral version of Artemis Fowl - and his eccentric family, which includes a talking, computer-savvy and sometimes-nanny ape, named Eliza.

The book is heavily focused on time, and traveling through time to be precise.

Though for all of Justin's diary entries on the subject it only becomes present in the main storyline in the final chapter (neatly setting the story up for the next installment, of course). Instead the main storyline revolves around the Justin's inventions, family dynamics, a kidnapping and the mysterious Agent X.

With all its quirky characters, language games and mysteries, the book is not just an adventurous read for older children but can also be a lot of fun for adults.

And remember: Everything is connected to everything else.

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