J. P. Martin

Uncle and the Battle for Badgertown
  • Uncle and the Battle for Badgertown

  • The sixth book about Uncle, the millionaire elephant who has a B.A. degree, begins with the Badgertown police seizing the belongings of Beaver Hateman, Uncle’s enemy, because he has refused to pay his rates. And it ends with a tremendous fight, using egg bombs and duck bombs, between the Hateman gang and Uncle’s supporters for possession of the Town Hall, and for the Great Mace, chief treasure of Badgertown.

    With the help of a new follower, the dog Brass – who has a bark that makes the ears tingle – Uncle continues the exploration of the great castle of Homeward. He opens the baffling Closed Gallery, discovers the fabulous Jewel Room and visits Mrs Witch, who is threatening the trade of Wizard Blenkinsop.

    The most hilarious adventures come at Christmas ( the time of year that the author, the late J.P. Martin, loved best) when Uncle goes shopping and attends Dr Lyre’s end-of-term party at the Academy. There is a sing-song round a Christmas tree so big that the guests can climb up into it to get their presents. Of course there is a mysterious gate-crasher hiding in the topmost branches. Who?

J.P.Martin was born in Scarborough in 1879. He became a Methodist minister in 1902 and served as a missionary in South Africa and as an army chaplain in Palestine in 1918 at the time when Allenby and T.E. Lawrence overwhelmed the Turks. J.P.Martin and his wife Nancy moved circuits every three years and worked among miners and slum dwellers, as well as among the comfortably off. He started telling the Uncle stories before the First World War and in 1934 the writers Stella Martin and R.N Currey urged him to write them down; it took thirty years before they got them accepted by Jonathan Cape in the satire rich sixties. Reviewers welcomed each of the six books as they were published between 1964 and 1973 with comparisons to Edward Lear and Alice. The Observer described him as 'a master in the great English nonsense tradition.' J.P.Martin was 84 when Uncle was published and he charmed everyone on radio and television. He was able to enjoy his late success before he died two years later in 1966.