Forty years ago, Steven Smith found a book written by the famous author, Edith Twyford. Noticing that the book contained lots of annotations, he took it to his English teacher who was convinced that the book was full of hidden messages. Then one day, while on a school trip, the teacher, Miss Isles, disappeared. Now, after an eventful life which has seen him spending time in prison, Steven has decided to try to find out just what happened to Miss Isles, revisiting the places of his youth and reconnecting with the people he knew back then. He soon realises that maybe Miss Isles was on to something and that the Twyford Code is something real and that he is not the only one trying to find the truth.
Janice Hallett’s previous book, The Appeal, was one of my favourite books of last year and I couldn’t wait to see if The Twyford Code lived up to my expectations. The selling point of The Appeal for me was the fact that it was told via a series of emails and messages, providing the reader with the means to solve the case themselves. In The Twyford Code, the author has, again, shunned the traditional way of writing, as this time the story is told in the form of voice recordings that Steven has made on his phone. This led to some funny moments at times due to the spelling mistakes made by the voice recognition system!
The plot is a clever one and one that took me back to my childhood reading of the mystery stories of Enid Blyton due to the search for clues and the group of people investigating. There are some aspects of the plot that I predicted but, on the whole, the numerous twists and red herrings kept me on my toes as I tried to solve the Twyford Code along with Steven. One of the places that features prominently in the plot is a location I know well and this really captured my imagination and gave the book an element of realism for me.
I read the ebook version but I do feel that this would be better to read as a physical book as, throughout reading, I constantly wanted to go back and reread sections to look for things that I might have missed. I think this will be a book that I will revisit at a later date to look for all the things I missed first time around. Janice Hallett is definitely becoming a force to be reckoned with and I can’t wait to see what she brings us next!
With thanks to Viper Books and Net Galley for my copy.