Mr. Toppit by Charles Elton

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When Arthur Hayman, an unsuccessful screenwriter turned children’s book author, is accidentally hit by a cement truck in London, his dying moments are spent with a passing American tourist, Laurie Clow, who is fated to bring posthumous fame to his obscure series,  The Hayseed Chronicles, and the enigmatic and sinister Mr. Toppit who is at the center of the books. While Arthur doesn’t live to reap the benefits of his books’ success, his legacy falls to his widow, Martha, and their children—the fragile Rachel, and Luke, reluctantly immortalized as the fictional Luke Hayseed, hero of his father’s books. But others want their share of the Hayseed phenomenon, particularly Laurie, who has a mysterious agenda of her own that changes all of their lives as Martha, Rachel, and Luke begin to crumble under the heavy burden of their inheritance.
   Spanning several decades, from the heyday of the postwar British film industry to today’s cutthroat world of show business in Los Angeles, Mr. Toppit is a riveting debut novel that captures an extraordinary family and their tragic brush with fame to wonderfully funny and painful effect.

About Charles Elton

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Charles Elton worked as a designer and editor in publishing before becoming a director of the Curtis Brown literary agency.  Since 1991 he has worked in television and for the past ten years has been the executive producer in drama at ITV. Among his productions are the Oscar-nominated short Syrup, The Railway Children, Andrew Davies’s adaptation of Northanger Abbey, and the recent series Time of Your Life.
Published November 9, 2010 by Other Press. 401 pages
Genres: Humor & Entertainment, Children's Books, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Mr. Toppit

Kirkus Reviews

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In this debut novel by British TV producer Elton, a peculiar American turns a series of English children's books into international bestsellers, with bad results for the author's family.

Aug 24 2010 | Read Full Review of Mr. Toppit

Publishers Weekly

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In this excellent debut, Elton tells the story of a complicated family stretched to its limits by sudden fame and unexpected acquaintances. When we first meet Luke Hayman and his troubled sister, Rach

Aug 09 2010 | Read Full Review of Mr. Toppit

The New York Times

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The protagonist of this novel struggles in a world that knows him as the hero of his father’s children’s books.

Nov 19 2010 | Read Full Review of Mr. Toppit

Star Tribune

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Elton's handling of this story of family dysfunction and literary hype is darkly comic and sophisticated.

Nov 06 2010 | Read Full Review of Mr. Toppit


His minor characters – from Laurie’s semi-senile mother Alma to her repulsive manager Rick – whose Christmas greetings letter is absolutely hilarious – are deftly drawn, while his main characters – all the victims of circumstances beyond their control and all, ultimately, portrayed with great wit...

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The Bookbag

Jumping around from the British film industry in the fifties, Los Alamos and the creation of the atomic bomb, to the publishing industry, and the cutthroat show business of Los Angeles, Mr Toppit charts the ups and downs of the surviving Haymans, and the prominent characters in their lives, such ...

Oct 24 2009 | Read Full Review of Mr. Toppit

MostlyFiction Book Reviews

Charles Elton, during an interview, stated that one of the reasons he wrote this book is that he wondered what happens to the characters that books are based upon in mega-sellers such as Winnie the Pooh.

Dec 24 2010 | Read Full Review of Mr. Toppit

David G. Schwartz

Through a series of events, the character based on his childhood becomes the hero of a beloved series of books.

Dec 17 2010 | Read Full Review of Mr. Toppit

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