Published: January 13th 2022
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Crime Fiction
Format: Hardcover, Kindle, Audiobook
Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for this intriguing mystery. Thank you to Anne at Random Things Tours for the invitation to take part in the tour and Viper for the gifted ARC.
It’s time to solve the murder of the century…
Forty years ago, Steven Smith found a copy of a famous children’s book by disgraced author Edith Twyford, its margins full of strange markings and annotations. Wanting to know more, he took it to his English teacher Miss Iles, not realising the chain of events that he was setting in motion. Miss Iles became convinced that the book was the key to solving a puzzle, and that a message in secret code ran through all Twyford’s novels. Then Miss Iles disappeared on a class field trip, and Steven has no memory of what happened to her.
Now, out of prison after a long stretch, Steven decides to investigate the mystery that has haunted him for decades. Was Miss Iles 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 Iles, 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…
Perfect for fans of Richard Osman, Alex Pavesi and S.J. Bennett, The Twyford Code will keep you up puzzling late into the night.
Disgraced children’s author Edith Twyford has long been rumoured to have hidden secret codes in her many books. When 14-year-old Steve Smith finds a copy of one of her famous books full of annotations he is intrigued and takes it to his English teacher, Miss Iles, who is convinced it is the key to solving the secret puzzle that runs through Twyford’s books. But when Miss Isles disappears during a class field trip she leaves Steve and his classmates with a second mystery to solve. One that has haunted him for forty years and he now believes is tied to the Twyford Code.
Intriguing, mysterious and surprising, The Twyford Code is like nothing I’ve read before. The author tells the story in a unique way, using transcriptions of audio files instead of traditional narration. They were recorded on an old iPhone 4 by Steve Smith, and are imperfect because of faults in the transcribing technology and how Steve talks. This makes them tricky to read at first and meant it took me a while to get into the flow of the book. I liked the original way of formatting the book and how the author uses it as a plot point but it did make it difficult to read at times and may put some people off. I think I would have enjoyed the story more if the audio files had been combined with more traditional narration so that I could have a break from decoding what Steve was actually saying.
One positive aspect of the audio files is that we truly get to know Steve through his distinct voice. In Steve, the author created a character who feels both familiar and mysterious at the same time. Fresh out of prison, there is no denying the very troubled past of this character, but he has a charm that means you just can’t help but like him. In the recordings he not only shares his investigation into the Twyford Code and disappearance of Miss Iles, but also discusses his troubled past, his time in prison, his determination to make a better life for himself and the love and pride he feels for his son, who he has only just connected with. I couldn’t help but root for him and want him to succeed in solving the mysteries.
I love puzzles so I was really excited about the puzzle-solving aspect of the story. But unfortunately these were the kind of puzzles that I’m not very good at so I decided to just enjoy the story instead of trying to figure things out. The whole story was cleverly plotted and I was genuinely surprised by some of the twists the author had in store and the truth that was waiting to be revealed.
While there were a lot of things I enjoyed about this book, I have to admit that it was a bit of a mixed bag for me and I was left feeling unsure how I felt about it at the end. But I encourage people to read this book for themselves as overall The Twyford Code is an original, intelligent and surprising mystery that stands out from the crowd.
MEET THE AUTHOR:
Janice Hallett is a former magazine editor, award-winning journalist and government communications writer. She wrote articles and speeches for, among others, the Cabinet Office, Home Office and Department for International Development. Her enthusiasm for travel has taken her around the world several times, from Madagascar to the Galapagos, Guatemala to Zimbabwe, Japan, Russia and South Korea. A playwright and screenwriter, she penned the feminist Shakespearean stage comedy NetherBard and co-wrote the feature film Retreat, a psychological thriller starring Cillian Murphy, Thandiwe Newton and Jamie Bell. The Appeal is her first novel.
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Please check out the reviews from the other bloggers taking part in the tour.
Thanks for reading Bibliophiles ☺️Emma xxx