The Twyford Code by Janice Hallett
Publication Date: 13th January 2022
It’s time to solve the murder of the century…
Steven Smith has just been released from prison, and he is finally free to investigate a mystery that has haunted him since childhood. Forty years ago, he found a copy of a famous children’s book, full of strange markings and annotations. He took it to his remedial English teacher, Miss Isles, who became convinced that 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, and Steven’s memory won’t allow him to remember what happened. Did she sense her own imminent death? 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…
I feel very conflicted about The Twyford Code. On the one hand, I loved the format and the concept of this book. The story is told in transcripts of audio files from a guy called Steven Smith who is recording messages for his son as he tries to crack a code written by an author during WW2.
Having read The Appeal by this author before, I was KEEN for this one to say the least. I think the transcript format mostly worked well (although not as well as the emails and messages in The Appeal) and it was very ambitious. It was a very unique way of telling a story and I enjoyed reading along and trying to solve the mystery.
I did, unfortunately, start to get a little bored about halfway through the book. While I was hooked in the beginning, by the halfway point it was starting to drag and to feel a little bit silly. My interest picked up again towards the end when the reveals started coming through, but since I had lost interest towards already it all fell a little flat.
I think the reveals at the end were a mixture of clever and ridiculous – but that was the case for The Appeal as well, so I think that’s just the author’s style as she writes these mysteries.
I’m definitely looking forward to seeing what the author comes out with next. At least I know the format is going to be unique and entertaining!