Tuesday 1 February 2022

πŸ“– Featured Book of the Month ~ The Twyford Code by Janice Hallett


13 January 2022

My thanks to the publisher for my copy of this book

It's time to solve the murder of the century...

Forty years ago, Steven Smith found a copy of a famous children's book, its margins full of strange markings and annotations. He took it to his remedial English teacher, Miss Isles, who became convinced it was the key to solving a puzzle. That a message in secret code ran through all Edith Twyford's novels. Then Miss Isles disappeared on a class field trip, and Steven's memory won't allow him to remember what happened. Now, out of prison after a long stretch, Steven decides to investigate the mystery that has haunted him for decades. Was Miss Isles murdered? Was she deluded? Or was she right about the code? And is it still in use today? Desperate to recover his memories and find out what really happened to Miss Isles, Steven revisits the people and places of his childhood. But it soon becomes clear that Edith Twyford wasn't just a writer of forgotten children's stories. The Twyford Code has great power, and he isn't the only one trying to solve it.

πŸ“–My review ...

This time last year I was blown away by the strength of this author's debut novel, The Appeal, which went on to win praise all around the book world. It was with some trepidation that I started The Twyford Code, I so didn't want to be disappointed by a second book which didn't quite match the delight of the first. I needn't have worried, for as soon as I began this clever murder/mystery, I realised that this author could, quite literally, hold my attention from the opening sentence. The clever way the book is constructed is what makes this story so special.

The plot centres around the mysterious disappearance, some forty years ago, of a much loved school teacher who went missing on a school trip with a group of her students. That this disappearance is bound up with a mysterious code, which, may, or may not be, connected with the novels of a very famous children's author, is what makes the story all the more fascinating. Steven Smith, now an adult, is determined to visit the places of his childhood, and in doing so the pieces of this complicated puzzle starts to pull together.

This is such a sophisticated novel, not one to read quickly, but more to savour slowly in order to appreciate the skill in which the author manipulates the challenges of the plot, the clever dialogue and the strength of the mystery which continues right until the end. I didn't see anything coming and that's why I am delighted to have this fascinating novel as my Featured Book of the Month in February. 

Best read with...a pint of beer and one eye on the door.

About the Author

Janice Hallett studied English at UCL, and spent several years as a magazine editor, winning two awards for journalism. After gaining an MA in Screenwriting at Royal Holloway, she co-wrote the feature film Retreat. The Appeal is inspired by her lifelong interest in amateur dramatics. Her second novel, The Twyford Code, is published by Viper in 2022. When not indulging her passion for global adventure travel, she is based in West London.

Twitter @JaniceHallett @TheTwyfordCode


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