This was the Christmas story for 2014 and the very first time I introduced a boy to the mix in resolving things. Of course others boys appear in the stories [such as Anouk and Nu in the 2013 Christmas story set in Singapore] but Aidan is a real person and a friend of the girls in Dubai. He and Emily save the day here and I had to explain to Katie that she can’t be expected to be so passive in the next story! Aidan is a charming young man – and his interest in snakes is very real. And Bear’s Lair at Lamington National Park is real enough. So too, unfortunately, is the grim business of reptile smuggling.
Dudley Dursley reappears here: he never learns, that boy. I rather like his tattooed Japanese friend and his Scottish mate from the Gorbals in Glasgow.