Cairo Jim and the Astragals of Angkor, by Geoffrey McSkimming

The whole train of events was set into motion because of seven marshmallows.
Seven raspberry-flavoured marshmallows, to be exact. Seven raspberry-flavoured marshmallows that were shaped like miniature walruses, to be even more exact. Seven raspberry-flavoured marshmallows shaped like miniature walruses that had been made by the Poshoglian Sweets, Confectionery and Custard Company, Incorporated, if you want to know the minute details.

The Old Relics Society in Cairo has a large underground vault. In it are many treasures, some secret, some almost forgotten by those who put them there. It is here that Cairo Jim discovers six of the seven legendary Astragals of Angkor. Surprised that they truly exist, Cairo Jim is astounded and dismayed that they are in the vaults rather than in the Cambodian temple where they belong. Why is there a trail of plaster dust leading away from the carvings? Further investigations reveal that there is more mystery surrounding the carvings. They also discover they are not the only ones keen to discover the whereabouts of the seventh carving. Cairo Jim is ably assisted in his adventure by Doris, a talking Macaw and Brenda the wonder camel as they race to prevent the unthinkable happening.

Cairo Jim and the Astragals of Angkor: A Tale of Extraordinary Entanglement is the eighteenth adventure for Cairo Jim, as discovered and chronicled by Geoffrey McSkimming. Jim’s passion is archaeology, but his life is filled with mystery and adventure. ‘Cairo Jim and the Astragals of Angkor’ also features Cairo Jim’s other passion – poetry – although some of the other characters seem to wish it didn’t. The point of view is omniscient and allows the reader rich insight into the thoughts of all characters. McSkimming draws the reader into a world full of adventure and excitement. There is a traditional baddy, Neptune Flannelbottom Bone intent on achieving his newest nefarious aims, no matter the consequences. Bone is assisted by his own animal companion, a flea-ridden, unlikeable raven, Desdemona. Cairo Jim’s connections are wide-ranging and his adventures take him all around the world, as he races to stop Bone. A rich, funny adventure, it is sure to appeal to mid-primary to early secondary aged readers.

Cairo Jim and the Astragals of Angkor: A Tale of Extraordinary Entanglement, Geoffrey McSkimming
Hachette Children’s Books 2007
ISBN: 9780733616617