The Remove are finally sick of Bunter's itchy fingers

Billy Bunter the Bold - Charles Hamilton

This is the third Billy Bunter book that I have read and unlike the other two that I had read this book seems to capture the essence of the character and the world that he inhabits. The book is set entirely in and around Greyfriars school and has no extraordinary characters and deals really only with events inside the school. Basically Billy Bunter sneaks into a room where a feast has been laid out and eats all of the food (which, surprise, surprise, does not belong to him). Angered at the fact that no food is safe (even behind a locked door) the Remove decide to hold a trial (to give Bunter a chance to defend himself, despite the fact that everybody knows that he is guilty) and when he is found guilty, is banished to 'Coventry' which is where nobody talks to him.

To get out of 'Coventry' Bunter tries to perform a lot of, well, devious acts, namely by appearinf to be a hero, or really sick. Of course he always gets found out, and despite the short time of having people either sympathise with him, or hold himself up as a hero, he is banished back into Coventry. However, when the opportunity comes where he actually saves sombody's life, nobody believes him and thus we have a version of 'The Boy Who Cried Wolf' set in Greyfriars school (and with a character like Billy Bunter, this was always going to be a story plot).

The thing that I liked most about this book was the numerous classical allusions that the author makes. For instance he describes one student, who demanded something, as being like Achilles ordering his Myrmidons. There are also numerous references to the Aeneid as well as to Horace's Odes (though the reason that the Aeneid is coming up a lot is because the students are studying that particular work, in Latin of course).

Thus we see Bunter on an endless quest for food, and trying many ways to get his hands on the said food. There seems to always be this promise of a postal order coming (from one of his titled relatives) though I suspect that these postal orders never actually arrive, though it has been suggested that when one does arrive, it does not contain huge amounts of money. One also wonders if Bunter actually has any 'titled' relatives, though we do meet his brother and hear that he has a sister going to the nearby girls school (which the Famous Five travel to occasionally).

I must admit that I do love the character of Ramjet Singh (his name is much longer but I cannot remember it off the top of my head) and the rather 'Indian' way that his speech comes out. Obviously it is not really the way that Indians speak (and I have known quite a few) but the way Richards writes it gives me the illusion of an Indian accent (though he is no doubt from a rather wealthy family, especially if he is attending a private school in England). The other thing that makes me think that Bunter's parents must have some money (and are probably wise enough not to send any everytime he asks) because I suspect that Greyfriars is not the cheapest school to be sending a child.