Mr. Toppit by Charles Elton
I picked up Mr. Toppit by Charles Elton at a used bookstore near our house and although I’d never heard of the novel or Charles Elton, I thought the description looked intriguing. I’m so glad I stumbled upon this book because I absolutely loved it.
Mr. Toppit is the sinister character in a series of British children’s books written by Arthur Hayman. When Arthur dies in a fluke traffic accident, it’s an American tourist named Laurie Clow who stays with him at the scene and later at the hospital. Arthur’s family arrives at the hospital and learn of his death and they somehow end up bringing Laurie with them to their home, which was the inspiration for Arthur’s books, The Hayseed Chronicles.
The main character in Arthur’s books is named Luke, after Arthur’s own son. We see how Luke and his sister Rachel react to their father’s death and we learn how a bit of notoriety combined with absent and peculiar parents shaped them.
Laurie’s interest in The Hayseed Chronicles grows until she’s not much like the insecure and bumbling tourist we first met; I began to think that Laurie had a bit more in common with the sinister Mr. Toppit then she did with the Hayman children.
Mr. Toppit is a terrifically interesting and unique book – I definitely recommend it.