The Twyford Code
By Janice Hallett
What it’s about?
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…
What I think:
I read The Appeal in the summer and really enjoyed it, so jumped at the chance to read The Twyford Code . And it is so good!
The book is based around a series of transcripts of audio files recorded by Steven, a man who has recently been released from prison. As a child he has an inspirational teacher, Miss Isles, who disappeared, a moment that, when he reflects on his childhood, changed his life.
Determined to find out what happened to her on a class trip to Bournemouth he revisits his childhood friends and begins to investigate what happened all those years ago.
Central to her disappearance is a mysterious code, believed to be hidden in the children’s books of Enid Blyton style writer, Edith Twyford. Steven sets out to find out if the code exists and where it leads. He enlists his former friends and local librarian, Lucy, to help him crack the code that he hope will lead to Miss Isles.
As he records the details of his investigation he recounts details of his neglected and difficult childhood, his relationship with his parents and the crimes that led to his imprisonment.
This book is so enthralling I literally could not put it down. Steven’s story is heartbreaking and fascinating and the mystery surrounding Miss Isles is completely compelling.
The story is multi-layered and builds to one of the most satisfying and brilliant conclusions I have read all year.
The secret codes are interesting and clever. There’s clues throughout to keep the reader guessing and plenty of red herrings and twists along the way. This is a compelling and original mystery and I absolutely loved reading it.
Thank you to Viper Books and Netgalley for my gifted advanced copy of The Twyford Code.