Plot: When their cousin Salim came to visit London, Ted and Kat took him to the London Eye. Salim got in the pod by himself and he never got off. Days latter he is still missing; the police are stumped and their family is falling apart. Ted and Kat are determined to solve the mystery of Salim’s disappearance before its too late.
The London Eye Mystery is an engaging, well-constructed mystery. The clues and theories make sense (well, maybe not the spontaneous combustion) and it is possible to follow them to the same conclusion that Ted reaches. If you have brushed up on your Holmesian deductive skills that is. It is written for middle grade readers but there’s something for everyone to enjoy.
Ted, though it is never explicitly stated, has asperger’s syndrome. He describes it as having a brain that works on a different operating system. But though he is not good at reading body language (he has his sister Kat to help him with that), it makes him a very good, detail-oriented investigator. If the book had a message I would say that it is: “Things change depending how you look at them.” This can refer to the hemisphere you’re in or the bank of the Thames from which you look at the Eye but also to Ted’s unique way of seeing the world. And what do we read for if not to see the world from a new perspective?
I really liked Ted, he is intelligent and kind with a passion for weather (he likes complicated systems) and weather-themed metaphors (his reflections on these metaphors were often both clever and fun). His sister Kat can be a bit less likable and their relationship, which their mother describes as love-hate, is not always good. She is helpful at times and others she is a selfish Kat-astrophe but they make a good team. The rest of their family is fleshed out and interesting, with their faults and quirks; their reactions in a crisis are both realistic and revealing.
A wonderful read for any mystery lover.
Siobhan Dowd sadly passed in 2007 but she wrote several more children’s novels that I will definitely check out: A Swift Pure Cry, Bog Child and Solace of the Road.
If you enjoyed this mystery from the PoV of a boy with a different way of seeing the world, try The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon.