Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The London Eye Mystery

The London Eye Mystery by Siobhan Dowd, Narrated by Paul Chequer, BBC Audiobooks Ltd, p2008. Audiobook downloaded from the public library

This is a splendid YA mystery that I picked because it was on the Texas Library Association, 2009 Texas Lonestar Reading list. This list continues, year after year, to present the most entertaining page-turners out there.

Ted and his older sister, Kat, wait in line with their cousin, Salim to ride the London Eye. A stranger approaches them and offers them a free ticket for the ride. As Salim is the visitor, they urge him to take it and go ahead without them. They watch the glass capsule make the 30 minute circuit, carefully following its progress. As the sealed car empties at the end of the ride, Kat and Ted realize that Salim is not among the passengers. He went up the Eye, locked in a transparent, glass pod but did not return.

What happened to Salim?

This is a very interesting and multi-layered mystery. The most fascinating aspect to the story is the character of Ted who, apparently, has Asperger’s Syndrome. He is fascinated with weather. He has encyclopedic knowledge of clouds and all weather phenomena. Listening to Ted's point of view, I was struck by how he uses something, as seemingly, unpredictable, as weather to help him relate in his own way to his family and the world around him.

In this story, Ted can handle and accept that there are variables to weather. An understanding of the many variables which impact the weather is soothing to him. If he can interpret the variables he can predict the weather. He cannot as easily interpret the swirling emotions of his family and the trauma and horror of a missing child. Of course it is his detached, out of the box thinking, that will solve the mystery of Salim's disappearance.

This is a terrific story and underscores to me AGAIN, how fiction--the genre--can shed light and insight and provide a new perspective.

It brought The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon to mind.

Alas, Dowd died in 2007, what a tragedy. Must check out her other novels.

The Siobhan Dowd Trust


Gail Gauthier said...

I liked this, too.

Ms. Yingling said...

Another good one on a character with Autism was Anything But Typical, although The London Eye Mystery will appeal to a wider audience.