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  • Writer's pictureThe Bossy Bookworm

Review of The Twyford Code by Janice Hallett

The transcripts of 200 audio files make up much of the novel, and I had difficulty feeling invested in this structure, which felt more tedious to me than intriguing.

Janice Hallett's The Twyford Code explores a mysterious potential connection between a teacher's disappearance decades earlier and a potential code hidden in an old-fashioned, banned children's book.

Steven Smith ("Smithy") was a mischievous orphan raised by his inept older brother. He hadn't yet become the convicted criminal of his adulthood.

Now Smithy's out of prison and he mainly resists sinking back into illegal habits. But he's got a hunch that the mystery of the code in deceased author Edith Twyford's largely condemned, prejudiced stories may be linked to the vanishing of his teacher so many years earlier--that is, linked by a hidden fortune.

The unreliable narrator gathers friends from primary school to compare accounts of that pivotal day of their beloved teacher's disappearance that occurred decades earlier so he can grab the fortune for himself if he can.

I imagine that I would have preferred to read the print version of this title. The book is almost exclusively 200 transcripts of audio files, which is extremely tedious to listen to ("Voice one...voice quality...silence for X seconds..." entries). The pacing is slow, and the book is largely made up of various characters talking about conflicting memories of decades-old events and poring over simplistic book text for potential patterns and clues.

At about three-fourths of the way through the story, events began to occur that spiked my interest, and it became clear that things were not as they seemed. But by then I had been feeling impatient for the bulk of the book and was feeling grumpy about the whole situation.

I had predicted some of the twists that are eventually revealed, and I was too irritated to feel invested in the final outcome. I also didn't feel at all convinced that the person trying to sort out the convoluted situation at the end would bother to do so.

Do you have any Bossy thoughts about this book?

You can find reviews of mysteries I've read and enjoyed here.


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