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Mr. Timothy (P.S.)

by

Mr. Timothy (P.S.) Cover

 

 

Excerpt

Chapter One

Not so tiny any more, that's a fact. Nearly five-eight, last I was measured, and closing in on eleven stone. To this day, people find it hard to reckon with. My sister Martha, by way of example, wouldn't even meet my eye last time I saw her, had to fuss at my shirt buttons and stare at my chest, as though there were two dew-lashed orbs blinking out of my breastbone. Didn't matter I've half a foot on her now, she still wanted to be mothering me, and her with a full brood of her own — six, last I counted — and a well-oiled husband gone two nights for every night he's home, why would she want more bodies to tend? But she does, and old habits, and let the woman have what she wants, so on this last occasion, I dropped to my knees and looked straight at the sky with that look I used to have, it comes back in an instant, and I sang "Annie Laurie." And Martha laughed and boxed my ear and said Out with you, but I think it pleased her, remembering me smaller, everything else smaller, too.

The iron brace was bought by a salvager long ago, and the crutch went for kindling shortly after — quite the ceremonial moment — and all that's left, really, is the limp, which to hear others tell it is not a limp but a lilt, a slight hesitation my right leg makes before greeting the pavement, a metrical shyness. Uncle N told me once to call it a caesura, but this produced looks of such profound unknowing I quickly gave it up. I now refer to it as my stride. My hitch-stride. A lovely forward connotation that I quite fancy, although I can't honestly say I've been moving forwards, not in the last sixmonth. But always better to leave that impression.

I never think of the leg, truthfully, until the weather begins to change. I'll know it's spring, for instance, by the small ring of fire just under the right buttock. Fall is the dull, prodding ache in the hip joint, and winter is a bit of a kick in the knee. The whole kneecap sings for three or four days solid, and no amount of straightening or bending or ignoring will stop the music.

It's winter now.

The twelfth of December, to be specific, a date I am commemorating by staying in bed. I can't say bed rest does the knee any better, but if I lie still long enough, the knee merges with the rest of me and dissipates. Or perhaps I should say everything else dissipates; I forget even how to move my arm.

Many years ago, a doctor with violet nostrils and kippery breath informed my mother that the paralysis in my leg would, left untreated, rise through me like sap, up the thigh and the hip, through the lower vertebrae, the breastbone, the lungs, to settle finally in the heart itself, little orphan bundle, swallowed and stilled forever. Being just six, and possessing an accelerated sense of time, I assumed this would happen very quickly — in three or four hours, let us say — so I made a special point of saying good-bye to Martha and Belinda because they were rather nicer than Jemmy and Sam, and I told Peter if he wanted my stool, he could well have it, and that night, I lay on my pallet, waiting to go, pinching myself every few seconds to see if the feeling had vanished yet. And I suppose after all that pinching, it did. only a matter of time, then, before the heart went. I lay there listening in my innermost ear for the final winding-down, wondering what that last, that very last beat would sound like.

Well, you can imagine how alarmed I was to awake the next morning and find the ticker still jigging. Felt a bit cheated, if you must know. And perhaps by way of compensation, I've been dreaming ever since that the longawaited ending has at last come. I dream I'm back in Camden Town, except now I'm too big for everything: the stool, the bed, the crutch. Even the ceiling crowds a little, I have to stoop or lean against the wall. My feet are rooted to the ground. The sap is rising. I've already lost the feeling in my hands, the last draughts of air are being squeezed from my lungs, and my heart is thumping loud enough to wake the dead-and I realise then that the heart doesn't shut down at all, it keeps beating long after everything else has stopped, it's a separate organism altogether, and in a fury of betrayal, I grab for it, raking my fingers along the rib cage, and my lung squeezes out one last accordion blast of air, and that's when I cry out. I'm never sure whether I've actually cried out or whether it's part of the dream, but it always leaves me feeling exposed in some deep and irreversible fashion, so I must spend the next five minutes inventing plausible excuses for the neighbours who will come pounding on my door any minute, demanding an explanation.

The neighbours never come, of course. I have the great fortune of sleeping in an establishment where loud cries are part of the ambience. indeed, in Mrs. Sharpe's lodging house, one might scream "Murder!" several times in quick succession and elicit nothing more than indulgent smiles from the adjoining rooms. Murder here being simply another fantasy, and fantasy being the prevailing trade.

The only person within earshot of me most nights is Squidgy, the droopshouldered, hairy-eared gentleman with a tonsure of white hair who comes three times a week to be punished for the infractions he committed in public school half a century ago...

Product Details

ISBN:
9780060534226
Subtitle:
A Novel
Author:
Bayard, Louis
Author:
by Louis Bayard
Author:
Levine, Daniel
Publisher:
William Morrow Paperbacks
Subject:
General
Subject:
Historical - General
Subject:
Mystery & Detective - Traditional British
Subject:
General Fiction
Subject:
Poor
Subject:
Girls
Subject:
Historical fiction
Subject:
Mystery fiction
Subject:
Mystery-A to Z
Subject:
Literary
Copyright:
Edition Number:
Reprint ed.
Edition Description:
Trade PB
Series:
P.S.
Publication Date:
November 2004
Binding:
Paperback
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
416
Dimensions:
8 x 5.31 in 1 lb

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Related Subjects

Featured Titles » Literature
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Mystery » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Mystery » Historical

Mr. Timothy (P.S.) Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$6.95 In Stock
Product details 416 pages Perennial - English 9780060534226 Reviews:
"Review A Day" by , "[Mr. Timothy is] a fantastic Victorian thriller starring Tiny Tim, who's 'not so tiny any more.'...The ending is as much Edgar Allan Poe as Mission Impossible, a plot with enough trap doors and false bottoms to show just how much fun a ripping thriller with eggnog can be. But what's particularly satisfying is that beneath these waves of adventure rests a truly moving meditation on grief and reconciliation." (read the entire Christian Science Monitor review)
"Review" by , "There isn't one throwaway sentence in [this] fabulous Victorian mystery....Author Louis Bayard weaves together a subtle character examination and a page-turning plot, producing one truly engaging book. (Grade: A)"
"Review" by , "[A]n audacious and triumphant entertainment....With surprising but plausible twists, and a visceral, bawdy evocation of Victorian London, Bayard has crafted a page-turner of a thriller that is elevated beyond its genre..."
"Review" by , "[I]n true Dickensian fashion, [Bayard] makes us care passionately about the fates of his characters, even to the point of overlooking an improbable turn or three. A first-rate entertainment."
"Review" by , "Vigorous, well imagined and thoroughly entertaining. Louis Bayard can write up a storm."
"Review" by , "A spirited adventure...this mix of thriller and literature is as rich as a Christmas cake soaked in brandy."
"Review" by , "Bayard is daring to elaborate on a work that has become deeply embedded in our culture....Mr. Timothy, while in no way approaching the greatness of its source, is nevertheless an inventive and amusing turn on it."
"Review" by , "[A]n intriguing reexamination of Dickens's beloved waif, saddled with a not altogether successful thriller, à la The Alienist....[A] clever premise and smartly detailed prose manage to offset the disappointment of this tale's forced excitement."
"Review" by , "If you have not had your fill of ghost-ridden heroes, needy orphans, and foggy nights in cobblestone streets, this sequel — with its breakneck plot, colorful characters, and the reappearance of Scrooge and the Cratchits — will fill the bill."
"Review" by , "Bayard creates several clever ligatures to Dickens's original text, but...its intent is not to show how characters turned out but rather...to meditate on the question of identity and loss....When it evokes the original, it's with a sly twist."
"Review" by , "Bayard doesn't just want to introduce us to a rollicking cast or tell us a rip-roaring story, though he does both. He wants us to ponder, as Timothy comes to ponder...what makes a family?...[A] terrific book."
"Review" by , "[A] divinely crafted novel, in which each detail is carefully considered and selected for its contribution to the overall effect....[A] writer of skill who pulls off this novel full of subtle but intricate tricks with apparent ease."
"Review" by , "Lush prose moves the story along without calling undue attention to itself. Plot twists abound....But as should be the case with any work that steps into such mammoth Dickensian shoes, it is the characters who carry this novel."
"Review" by , "A compelling, well-plotted story that never falters....Despite its dark undertones, Mr. Timothy is filled with optimism and the strength of the human heart, much as the original to which it pays homage."
"Review" by , "[S]uperbly crafted....An ingeniously constructed page-turner brimming with surprises....[L]ike A Christmas Carol, Mr. Timothy is not only uncommonly entertaining, but deeply satisfying as well."
"Review" by , "[A] dazzling blend of literary fiction and white-knuckle thriller."
"Review" by , "The voice and intelligence behind the book are a real marvel."
"Review" by , "[A]ll of the moral passion of a Dickens novel but none of the quaint sentimentality."
"Review" by , "Mr. Timothy is a spirited and absorbing thriller and Louis Bayard is a very talented writer."
"Review" by , "[A] satisfying, gruesome thriller and a moving meditation on fathers, sons, and the making of a family."
"Synopsis" by , A reimagining of The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde from the monsters perspective, Hyde makes a hero of a villain.
"Synopsis" by ,
A New York Times Editors’ Choice and one of the Washington Post’s 5 Best Thrillers of the Year

 

“[A] knockout debut novel . . . As dark and twisted and alluring as the night-cloaked streets of nineteenth-century London, and this book is as much a fascinating psychological query as it is a gripping narrative.” —Benjamin Percy, author of Red Moon

Summoned to life by strange potions, Hyde knows not when or how long he will have control of “the body.” When dormant, he watches Dr. Jekyll from a remove, conscious of this other, high-class life but without influence. As the experiment continues, their mutual existence is threatened, not only by the uncertainties of untested science, but also by a mysterious stalker. Hyde is being taunted—possibly framed. Girls have gone missing; someone has been killed. Who stands watching in the shadows? In the blur of this shared consciousness, can Hyde ever be confident these crimes were not committed by his hand?

 

“A pleasure . . . Rich in gloomy, moody atmosphere (Levine’s London has a brutal steampunk quality), and its narrator’s plight is genuinely poignant.” —New York Times Book Review

"Synopsis" by ,
New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice

“[An] ingenious revision . . . [and] a pleasure . . . Rich in gloomy, moody atmosphere . . . Levine's London has a brutal steampunk quality.” — New York Times Book Review

“Riveting Hyde renders evil in shades of gray . . . [with] rich, often intoxicating prose.” — Washington Post

What happens when a villain becomes a hero?

Mr. Hyde is trapped, locked in Dr. Jekyll’s surgical cabinet, counting the hours until his inevitable capture. As four days pass, he has the chance, finally, to tell his story—the story of his brief, marvelous life.

Summoned to life by strange potions, Hyde knows not when or how long he will have control of “the body.” When dormant, he watches Dr. Jekyll from a remove, conscious of this other, high-class life but without influence. As the experiment continues, their mutual existence is threatened, not only by the uncertainties of untested science, but also by a mysterious stalker. Hyde is being taunted—possibly framed. Girls have gone missing; someone has been killed. Who stands watching in the shadows? In the blur of this shared consciousness, can Hyde ever be confident these crimes were not committed by his hand?

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