Review: The Trustee in the Toolroom


The Trustee in the Toolroom by Nevil Shute

I give this book a 4 (and a half, if I did halves).


I really enjoyed this story when it wasn’t making me angry (more on this later), but then I just have anger issues to begin with. This is a really simple and sweet clever story about a man who’s willing to go to great lengths to keep his word- and what’s not to like about that.

The story of Keith Stewart describes the rare instance of a man finding true peace and contentment in his life, career, and relationships. For Keith, the whole world revolves around his workshop and the work he does there writing for a magazine, but he’s no hermit. The one thing he finds that’s more important to him than his work is his word and his love for his family. When Keith finds himself the new guardian of his young niece and the trustee to her would be inheritance, he makes it his life’s purpose to secure a fine future for his new charge, despite not having the means to do so (here’s where I get angry).

As wonderful and miraculous as this story is, Keith’s adventure never would have taken place if someone living comfortably above his station had simply acknowledge and compensated him for what he was truly worth…that’s all I’ll say about that.

The story is told with almost manual precision, but the author’s style and flare with words keeps you pulled into the story. It’s not a fast pace action packed chronicle of a great adventure, but it is indeed a great adventure. Keith literally goes on a journey around the world trying to retrieve a modern-day treasure. He ends up traveling by bus, train, plane, boat, ship, and even helicopter while encountering a great number of interesting characters along the way. To help Keith along on his journey is his forever honest and cheery disposition, his masterful mind, and his unexpected fame.  This is a different kind of underdog story where there is no real favorite, just one man with a purpose fighting against a plethora of obstacles. The reader has no choice but to root for Keith all the way home.

This was a wonderful book to listen to, perfect for my drive home. There is a lot of technical engineer talk that may or may not be interesting to readers (or listeners), but I don’t feel it took away from the overall story. Though I can’t imagine a child or teenager having the temperament for this kind of book, I’d recommend it to anyone else.

This review has been posted to GoodReads. If you’d like to obtain a copy of this book, try this link.

Thank you for taking the time to read this post. If you like it let me know and share it with others. See you next time, Toi Thomas. #thetoiboxofwords