World Wide Web 1960

Early this morning I watched a recording of last night’s rugby World Cup match between Ireland and Scotland, and later that between Japan and Argentina live.

In her comments on

my blogging friend Lakshmi Bhat stated that the post reminded her of Nevil Shute’s “Trustee from the Toolroom”.

I had thought this not a book of which I knew. Later I remembered that a number of books by this author had been included in my Auntie Ivy Lynch’s library which she had bequeathed my decades ago.

Here is the jacket of the copy that bears Ivy’s signature.

Despite some of his works having been filmed I had not realised that the author was such an accomplished storyteller. This, his last novel, is skilfully crafted from start to finish.

It tells of the tragic death of a couple whose daughter was being cared for by the main protagonist and his wife, and consequent adoption of the child by the unexpected trustee. A hidden fortune and its discovery are the reason for a trip round the world for an ordinary, humble, man who had never before left his small London suburb, and who, after the extraordinary circumstances of his adventure remains with his personal values unshaken.

Had I not been one of Lakshmi’s blogging network, she would neither have read my “Burley Park Steam Fair” nor recommended the book. Nevil Shute could not have known about this community, yet the similarities of the development of friendships around the world based on respect for the magazine articles of Keith Stewart and his faithful correspondence with his readers is remarkably striking. Many of those who combine to help him on his journey have never met in person, nor ever will, yet he holds their respect through his regular responses to their queries, and to his acknowledged expertise.

As befits the aeronautical engineer that Shute was, he pays incredible attention to detail, which, when dealing with technical matters, cause my eyes to glaze over. This also affects the flow of his prose, tending to divert my attention. However, I did not wish to miss anything and was carried away on the waves. Everything is in its proper place and fixes the elements together.

Characterisation is developed through action rather than insights; we can discern who is and is not to be trusted, and experience the helpful tenderness exhibited by many.

Regular readers will appreciated my interest in what is left inside books. I wonder what my aunt was doing with this pressed curl of ribbon.

With our grandfamily dining out for their wedding anniversary, I enjoyed leftovers from last night with Hacienda Uvanis Garnacha Old Vines 2020, while the Culinary Queen chose cheese on toast, each slice topped with a fried egg, accompanied by Hoegaarden


  1. I love the connections through time and space, and how one sparks another.
    Perhaps someone will know the meaning of that ribbon.

    I think I’ve only read one Nevil Shute book, A Town like Alice, and that was only after I’d seen the mini-series. No, just looked him up, I read On the Beach, too. Both of them a long time ago. 🙂

  2. An interesting post. That was probably your aunt’s bookmark. The first sentence on that open book page must have been talking about her riding a scooter, pushing herself along with one foot!

  3. When you mentioned Nevil Shute, I immediately thought of his 1957 novel “On the Beach” that make a great impression on me at the time. >Your aunt’s red ribbon is intriguing: an excellent prompt for a short story mystery 🙂

    1. Thank you for your comment, Rosaliene. I assumed I had never read a book from Nevil Shute, until you reminded me of On the Beach. I read it the 7th grade and yes, it left a lasting impression of dread that I’ll never forget.

  4. The jacket of “Trustee from the Toolroom” (just) managed to remind me of an authoor in our local library…..Ngaio Marsh. I couldn’t pronounce her name then and I still don’t have a clue, although she sounds perhaps like the tealady for the Knights who say “Ngii”.

  5. I have enjoyed reading most of Neville Shute’s novels and was intrigued a few months ago to learn that one of my son’s has developed an interest in them too. The mention of Ngaio Marsh brings back many happy reading memories too.

  6. Happy Wedding Anniversary to Flo and Dillon! ❤️❤️
    A wonderful book review by you. I enjoy reading your book reviews, Derrick.
    I love finding treasures in books, too. Especially books passed down from family members.
    How lovely of your Auntie Ivy to bequeath you her library! I can’t think of a nicer, more personal, more enjoyable gift.
    (((HUGS))) ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

  7. I love those old book covers and yes, the relationships formed sight unseen – we don`t realise they had them, then, too. Lovely, Derrick.

  8. Nevile Shute! We had a few of his books. They were among some of the books we donated to a community library before we moved up here with a less room to have a large library. My favourite was ‘A town Like Alice’.

  9. Memories – that little curled thread or ribbon must have evoked!!!

    Once I chanced upon my father’s diary. I did not know he was such a romantic at heart!! And his handwriting was like inky pearls on the yellowed page. His mastery over language was astounding. Why he never continued writing I don’t know. But I remember feeling like invading into the private domain of a man who lived and loved his secrets. I did not again read his diary. It was too personal and for a little kid her father was just her father

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