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The Twyford Code: A Novel by Janice Hallett

The Twyford Code: A Novel (edition 2023)

by Janice Hallett (Author)

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21016114,579 (3.85)7
The dazzling new novel from the bestselling author of The Appeal.
Title:The Twyford Code: A Novel
Authors:Janice Hallett (Author)
Info:Atria Books (2023), 336 pages
Collections:Your library

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The Twyford Code by Janice Hallett


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I thought Janice Hallett's book, The Appeal, was a fantastic listen. But, I think The Twyford Code is even better!

Steve Smith is in his fifties when he's discharged from prison. Having had lots of time to ponder on things, he is determined to solve a mystery from his childhood. As a child, Steve found an illustrated children's book left on a bus, took it to school and showed it to his teacher Miss Iles. As the five students in the remedial class cannot read well, she reads the book to them. And as a treat, she takes the children on a field trip to one of the places the book describes. And....she disappears.

Determined to find out what happened to Miss Iles all those years ago, Smithy starts investigating. Armed with an old iPhone, he records his thoughts, memories, interactions and more. What a novel way of telling a story. I love epistolary books and The Twyford Code is the audio version of that style. Brilliant!

I was completely caught up in the complex puzzles that arise as the search begins - and the direction they take. Hallett is a clever, clever writer. Listen closely to those iPhone entries - the answers are there. But they're difficult to see and hear. A story within a story is waiting for keen listeners. I was (happily) caught completely off guard at the final 'ah hah' moment.

I've often said I feel more immersed in a tale when I listen to it. And that is absolutely the case with The Twyford Code. The narrator was Thomas Judd. His voice is pleasant to listen to and he enunciates well. The pace of his reading is just right. Judd interprets Hallett's book perfectly, capturing the emotions and actions of the plot. His voice is changed to work with different characters. An excellent presentation of a wonderful book! ( )
  Twink | Jan 24, 2023 |
Hard to know what to think. It's a confection of puzzles that you don't get a real chance to solve, and gimmicks that turn out to have a point in the puzzle but are all the same a little wearing throughout. Lurking behind is a nice bit of characterisation and story telling, with a lot going on under the surface, and the force of that wouldn't have come out without the gimmicks. Possibly. Can't really comment on the writing as such given the form. Cover text (blurb etc) is misleadingly twee.

EDITED TO ADD...and now having thought about it, the resolution of the main puzzle completely undermines the gimmick/structure of the book. Hard to say how without spoiling the ending, but if you think about it, it falls apart completely. ( )
  hypostasise | Jan 23, 2023 |
Puzzle lovers will have a field day with The Twyford Code, although I can see some readers being put off by the format. Steven "Smithy" Smith records each step of his investigation into the long-ago disappearance of his teacher in a series of recordings on an old iPhone, and at the beginning, readers are told that the software used to transcribe the recordings can sometimes make mistakes. As a result, "Miss Iles" becomes "missiles". "Gonna" becomes "gun a" and so on. It can take a bit of getting used to, but this format actually made Smithy's voice more distinctive in my mind as I read.

Aided by Lucy the librarian, Smithy finds himself on a trek down Memory Lane as he tries to find out just what the Twyford Code leads to and what happened to his teacher, Miss Iles. But the further into his investigation we get, red flags begin to go up. Why are old classmates being so evasive? What kind of treasure could the Twyford Code possibly lead to? And just how forthcoming is Smithy being in telling us about his investigation? Could something else be going on?

I really enjoyed the unfolding of all the puzzles and Smithy's character in particular. My deductive skills really got a workout, but by book's end, the resolutions were coming so thick and fast, it was almost overload-- like eating a favorite flavor of ice cream much too fast and then getting brain freeze.

If you love pitting your detective skills against a skilled puzzle master then you must read Janice Hallett's The Twyford Code. No doubt about it, I'll be looking for the other books she's written.

(Review copy courtesy of the publisher and Net Galley) ( )
  cathyskye | Jan 21, 2023 |
verbal-humor, amateur-sleuth, murder, suspense, literacy, dyslexia, dysfunctional-families, friendship, frustration, decryption *****

While I found the audio files format quite distracting, I really got into the story and loved it.
In the basics, after learning to read near the end of his prison sentence, Steve is obsessed with searching for his old teacher and solving the mystery of a field trip they were on (in which she disappeared) and the memories of Steve and his old mates have some curious gaps. The trip involved a book written by a Ms. Twyford and was peppered throughout with an unknown code. Sleuthing is unusual and fascinating for those of us who are word nerds and pundits. Excellent fun!
I requested and received an eGalley from Atria Books via NetGalley. Thank you! ( )
  jetangen4571 | Jan 14, 2023 |
Embedded codes and clues are spread throughout Janice Hallett’s latest puzzler, The Twyford Code. The novel is comprised of a series of voice recordings (often erroneously transcribed) by a man seeking to relate his story to his parole officer. After attempting unsuccessfully to reunite with his estranged son after his eleven years of imprisonment, Steven Smith is compelled to explore his past and solve a personal mystery. He recalls a field trip from his youth that resulted in the mysterious disappearance of his teacher. Steven hunts down his fellow classmates to obtain a more complete picture of that day and enlists their help in locating the missing woman. Steven suspects that the chain of events may be linked to an old children’s book containing cryptic notes about a lost treasure. Accounting his constantly evolving theories and discoveries about his lost teacher’s fate, Smith diverges into confessions of his past crimes and reveals how he became convicted. The Twyford Code rewards the perseverant and those willing to re-examine earlier chapters to fully appreciate the novel’s intent. The casual reader may become easily overwhelmed, and at times the clues are so clever as to appear random. Hallett uses the unusual narrative form to misdirect the reader in a meticulously calculated way. Grammatical mistakes in the transcripts and the narrator’s abrupt switches between two intersecting timelines create an interrupted flow that slows the pace. This results in a virtual mandate for deeper scrutiny of the plot and acceptance of uncertainty about some unexplained quirks. Fans of The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle (Stuart Turton) and The Cartographers (Peng Shepherd) would be most likely to successfully untangle and enjoy Hallett’s new knotty mystery.

Thanks to the author, Viper and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an unbiased review. ( )
  jnmegan | Dec 27, 2022 |
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Friend, on reflection
May you be rain
On torrid heaths,
Even rocky byways.
Remote, intangible,
And now...
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Dear Professor Mansfield,
I am investigating a mysterious case and suspect you may be able to help.
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The dazzling new novel from the bestselling author of The Appeal.

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