Otis takes babies and money off desperate mothers, promising to deliver them to the Coram Foundling Hospital in London. Instead, he murders them and buries them by the roadside, to the helpless horror of his mentally ill son, Mish. When Melissa, beloved of Alexander Ashbrook and daughter of his governess becomes pregnant by him, her mother arranges for the Otis to take the child, telling Melissa it was stillborn. Alexander, not knowing Melissa's condition, has fled his home for a career in music. But Mish manages to save Melissa's baby, Aaron, and he grows up with Toby, the son of an African slave, inseparable friends. Toby is a plaything at the house of rich Mr Gaddarn, who is, in fact, Otis. When Mish sees Aaron and Alexander together, and realises the family link, he takes Aaron and Toby to Otis, who rejects them. A way must be found to rescue them, but a great friend must die before the family can be reunited.
Jamila Gavin was born in India to teacher parents and by the age of eleven she had lived in an Indian palace in the Punjab, a flat in a bombed out street in Shepherd's Bush, a bungalow in Poona, near Mumbai and a terraced house in Ealing. Coram Boy won the 2000 Whitbread Children's Book of the Year, was shortlisted for the Carnegie Medal and has been adapted into a highly acclaimed stage play. Her other novels include The Surya Trilogy, Danger By Moonlight and The Robber Baron's Daughter.