On my blog today, I’m sharing my thoughts on the new novel by Janice Hallett, The Twyford Code. With thanks to Anne Cater from Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part.
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…
Janice Hallett has become the new queen of the murder mystery novel. I can see why her books are perfect for fans of Agatha Christie. I loved her debut novel The Appeal, so I was so excited to start reading The Twyford Code. The way how she has written both of her books is so original. Her ideas are very cleverly put together, and I love the way how she tells her stories, which make them very unique. The way how she tells them, really does make you think about what is happening in the novel, and it makes for such an entertaining read, especially as I was trying to work out what was going on.
The Twyford Code is told through a series of recordings, produced by ex-prisoner, Steven, who is determined to solve the mystery of what happened to his teacher, Miss Isles, who vanished on a school trip. He believes the answer to her disappearance lies in the pages of a series of novels for children, written by Edith Twyford, a prolific writer who was working for the British in the Second World War. This is where the plot for the novel really becomes intriguing. I wanted to know what it was that Edith Twyford was potentially hiding in the pages of her books. People, who believe that there is a code, believe that she kept an extraordinary secret, and if you followed the clues in her book correctly, you would discover the truth. And there are various different theories of what the secrets in her books may contain.
Janice Hallett does write this book in a different way to how she wrote her debut novel. I really liked the way how she wrote her second book. She manages to heighten the tension as Steven tracks down his former classmates in his attempt to try and discover the truth about what happened to their teacher. I got the feeling that there were people out there who were determined to stop him from getting to the truth. It made me even more intrigued to find out what happened to Miss Isles, and if it was, at all, connected to the hidden code in Edith Twyford’s books.
The Twyford Code is a cleverly constructed novel that kept me utterly gripped. I loved the concept and I thought it was really well done. If you loved Janice Hallett’s first book, you are going to love her second.
Publisher: Viper Books
Publication date: 13th January 2022
Print length: 384 pages
The Twyford Code is available to buy:
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