August is Mystery Month at my Book Boot Camp

The London Eye MysteryThe London Eye Mystery by Siobhan Dowd
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The genre of Mystery was my first love as a reader. They are my earliest recollections of favorites. I started with an attic full of antique books from my Great Grandfather Wood. My Dad and I shared The Bobbsy Twins, Nancy Drew, and Cherry Ames (who by the way was the Most influential person on my choice of Nursing as a career). As I moved into adolescence I enjoyed the gothic mystery/romance of The Bronte sisters, Phyllis Whitney and Georgette Heyer. The classics of Raymond Chandler, Rex Stout, and Sir Conan Doyle captured me also. In adulthood I continued to share a love of mysteries with my Dad. We exchanged novels by Dick Francis, Elizabeth George, Sue Grafton, Patricia Cornwell, Diane Mott Davidson, Laurie R. King. Oh my I certainly digress! But what fun I am having.
Anyway,all that to say that once I started reading current popular children’s literature I have been somewhat disappointed with the offerings. I admit my tastes had grown a lot grittier over the years and children’s mysteries cannot really encompass that. But too many of them were skewed toward fantasy or over simplified.
In this lovely story geared for middle grade readers, I find satisfaction. This is a matter of fact mix of mystery and frank look at autism. Throw in the bonus of London (one of my favorite cities) as a setting and I was hooked. There is a real mystery, the disappearance of a cousin,that the protagonist Ted feels responsible for. Ted has high level performing autism, but is acutely aware of how different his brain is from others. Ted and his sister Kat struggle through the chronic stress in their sibling relationship and collaborate on a solution that even the police could not suss out.
I loved that there was a real urgency and despair around solving this mystery. I loved the internal dialogue of Ted. I loved his rather detached descriptions of how the adults around him were reacting. He also was obsessed with weather and the scientific details that the author threw in on this topic were wonderful.

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