Siobhan Dowd was an award winning author whose life and writing talents were cut short by cancer in August 2007. Whilst her writing career may have only been short, her books received many accolades and awards both during her life and posthumously. The London Eye Mystery was her second published book and was released in June 2007 just a short time before her death.
I love a good mystery and Dowd delivers in a fast-paced thriller around the streets of London. It is a completely realistic read and the events that occur are relatable and relevant to any parent or child. I was gripped by the first chapter and the action comes thick and fast right until the end.
Losing a child is every parents worst nightmare, so when the unthinkable happens on a family day out in London, everyone launches into panic mode. But how can somebody go missing from a sealed pod on the London Eye? Kids don’t just disappear do they? Everyone has a theory about what has happened to Salim…has he run away? Has he been kidnapped? Has he spontaneously combusted? With the adults losing their cool and tempers and pulses racing, it is left to the cousin’s of Salim, Ted and Kat, to think with clear heads and to try and piece together the strange goings-on. With a handful of clues and using their own imaginations, all action Kat and Ted with his brain that operates differently begin a mission to find their cousin Salim. Ted seems to have more answers than anyone…the only problem is no-one wants to listen to him.
I loved Ted who is the main character in The London Eye Mystery. He suffers from Asperger Syndrome and Dowd has beautifully woven the complications of Aspergers into the narrative. Ted knows he is not normal and has a brain that runs on a different operating system. As the story is told through his eyes the reader is given a fascinating insight into how a boy with Aspergers sees and hears the world. Ted is full of facts, figures and interesting knowledge (particularly about weather phenomenon and shipping forecasts). Much of the humour in the book comes through Ted’s observations and his misunderstandings in a world where people never actually say what they mean.
Ted’s disability though is not the focus of the story, it is all about solving the mystery and it is in fact Ted’s uniqueness that is needed to help unravel the mystery and to see things that the police and his family members miss. The read is full of positive message about kindness, compassion and empathy and raises awareness of disabilities and differences.
The London Eye Mystery is a thrilling read that had me on tenterhooks all the way through. It is a very difficult book to put down - in fact, I didn’t. The plot continues at pace and the short chapters that end on cliffhangers mean there is just never a good place to stop. Readers will love trying to unravel the mystery alongside Kat and Ted. Perfect reading for children in grades 5 & 6.
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