The Twyford Code by Janice Hallett
Hello lovelies, I hope you all had a wonderful Bank Holiday weekend. (Was it Memorial Day weekend for my US readers?). For me I had a weekend that was truly good for the soul. You know the ones, the sun is shining and all is well and you feel relaxed and refreshed. I was lucky to have 3 of my oldest friends to visit for a weekend in our new home. We shopped in York, enjoyed cocktails, a delicious meal and had lots of chats. Sunday was more relaxed, a pootle round our local town, a Sunday roast and a walk. It was heaven and I felt very thankful for my friends.
One of my 2021 Books of the Year was The Appeal by Janice Hallett. A brilliant crime mystery where all the evidence is presented in the form of emails, letters, flyers and text messages all in chronological order. I've had a copy of the next novel by Janice Hallett on my shelves for quite a while, but if I'm honest have swerved from reading it because I loved The Appeal so much. Does anyone else do this, or am I just slightly mad? How does The Twyford Code compare? Let's find out shall we?
40 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....
If I were to give one tip to you in the reading of this book, it would be NOT to try and solve the code as you go along. That way lies madness! Instead just focus on an enjoyable crime novel about codes and enjoy Steven's investigation into the death of the beloved Miss Iles and the code that Edith Twyford wants us to find.
Once again Janice Hallett has provided us with a different form of storytelling through a collection of audio files, auto-transcribed from a selection of interviews, encounters and reminisces. Spliced within the files are Steven's memories of his past, how he fell in with the 'wrong code', became part of a gang working his way through the ranks and the importance of his new 'family'.
Edith Twyford is giving off Enid Blyton vibes here, if Enid Blyton had embedded a code within her novels that is. Like Blyton, Edith Twyford's novels had fallen out of fashion.
All in all, this is a decent read with more twists and turns than a rollercoaster. If I'm honest, I did enjoy The Appeal a lot more because it was soooo good. But this is a good successor. I'm very much becoming a big fan of Janice Hallett and cannot wait to read her next novel.....which is sat waiting patiently on my bookshelves.