Monday, December 29, 2014

‘The London Eye Mystery’ by Siobhan Dowd

Books show up in unexpected places in an actively-used library, as patrons remove items from shelves and then set them down.

Locating and reshelving out-of-place books leads to serendipitous discoveries.

On a list of books about characters with autism I’d seen The London Eye Mystery, and mentally filed it under want-to-read. So when I saw it perched atop a magazine rack while straightening in Bellview library, I seized my opportunity.

Later, a member of a library listserv also mentioned the book, saying she would love to hear my thoughts.

So to my library listserv compatriot, this review is for you.

Can the theories of weather phenomena apply to human behavior? Ted Spark brings his unique perspective to a “sealed-room” mystery: his cousin Salim went up in a pod on the “London Eye” Ferris wheel, but didn’t emerge afterward.

Ted has eight theories about what could have happened to explain Salim’s disappearance. His sister Kat supplies her understanding of human subtleties to help eliminate possibilities.

I found much to appreciate in The London Eye Mystery, written by Siobhan Dowd (David Fickling Books, 2007). Not least of which, an autistic mindset is portrayed as a valuable asset.

The protagonist, Ted Spark, has an intense interest in understanding weather systems. He envisions one-day saving lives by successfully predicting the weather.

Ted explains to Salim before Salim’s disappearance that a weather system is “hard to understand because there are so many variables.” In this well-crafted story, told first-person by Ted, Ted and Kat confront the variables of a human mystery.

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