2009 Mystery Richard and Judy Book Club

Mr Toppit – Charles Elton

The synopsis for Mr Toppit sounds really interesting. The idea is that the author of The Hayseed Chronicles, a series of children’s books has died, and after his death his family discover secrets buried within the books. Unfortunately the book didn’t live up to my expectations.

It started off reasonably well, and had a few interesting sections, but there were many points where I became bored. The characters failed to engage me, and it lacked the atmosphere required for a book supposedly full of dark secrets – the setting was too modern and normal, so any attempts to portray mystery and fear just came across as a bit silly. I nearly gave up at one point, but then the plot picked up again so I made it to the end. In many ways I wish that I hadn’t, as the ending was disappointing. The ‘dark secret’ was very normal and I felt a bit let down.

The few brief appearances of Mr Toppit were really good, and I wish that the book had concentrated on the Hayseed Chronicles instead of the family. If you are looking for a dark mystery, then I recommend The Thirteenth Tale, The Little Stranger or The Seance  instead. 

Charles Elton is clearly a talented author, and I would read other books written by him in the future, but this one just didn’t capture my imagination. I hope he write the Hayseed Chronicles one day, as I’d read them!



Have you read any of the other Richard and Judy Summer reads this year?

7 replies on “Mr Toppit – Charles Elton”

This book does look interesting and so does the cover. Sorry, it didn’t live up to it so much. I have The thirteenth Tale in my TBR pile but it looks huge, I might tackle it sometime.

I have read just one book from their book club, which was Empress Orchid. I loved it, but that was last year.

Violet – The Thirteeth Tale is quite a quick read, so don’t be put off my the size of it. I haven’t read Empress Orchid yet, but I do have a copy here. I’ll get round to it one day!

Thanks for the review. The premise is so promising! Sorry it doesn’t pan out. I’ll be passing this one by.

For anyone who hasn’t read The Thirteenth Tale: read it — you’ll love it.

I would have skipped right over this one, but I always read your reviews, so then I found myself intrigued by the premise! It sounded so cool and fun… but based on your lackluster review, I doubt I’ll ever read it. Sorry it was a disappointment!

Sorry this one was a disappointment, Jackie, it appeared to have lots of potential, judging by the synopsis.
I have just oredered The Piano Teacher having read a fellow bloggers review of it. Of course, it is right up my street being about a couple who fall in love in Hong Kong and then the war comes along and causes all sorts of nasty inconveniences for them! I’m excited! Have you read it?

I remember feeling very 50/50 about this book! I too would have loved to have read The Hayseed Chronicles much more! I loved the idea of Mr Toppit, very creepy! I think publishers need to rethink blurbs a bit!

Beth – The Thirteenth Tale wasn’t perfect, but it was a great read which I recommend. I’m pleased that you enjoyed it too.

Steph – It is nice to hear that you read all my reviews. I don’t think you’re missing anything by skipping this one!

Kim – No I’ve never read The Piano Teacher. I look forward to reading your review.

Simon – I agree. The reviews on Amazon all confirm that people thought this was a creepy gothic tale, and so were disappointed when they found out it wasn’t. They would do much better marketing it as ‘chick lit’ and then having people enjoy it.

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