Nevil Shute is unrivaled in his ability to reveal the extraordinary qualities of very ordinary people. In Trustee from the Toolroom, Shute is in peak form.
Keith Stewart makes workable model machines in his basement workshop and writes about them in Miniature Mechanic for a devoted, worldwide audience. Between their two jobs, he and his wife make ends meet.
When Keith’s sister and brother-in-law’s ship goes down in a hurricane near Tahiti, Keith finds himself trustee for his 10-year-old niece. The diamonds that were to have been Janice’s legacy were in the ship.
Although he’s never been outside England, Keith sets out to recover the diamonds. He carries a working, hand-made generator in his pocket and a news clip about the accident in his wallet.
Keith gets to Honolulu by plane. From there, he works his passage to Tahiti on a vessel built and piloted by an illiterate sailor whose lack of modern safety equipment horrifies naval officers.
On every leg of the journey, Keith meets miniature modelers who join forces to get him to the wreck site and home again safely.
Over the years, I’ve read this novel a couple times, each time with pleasure. Trustee from the Toolroom will warm your heart without upsetting your stomach with cloying sweetness.Trustee from the Toolroom by Nevil Shute [Norway] William Morrow, 1960 311 pages 1960 bestseller #9 My grade B+