Sunday, July 27, 2008

The London Eye Mystery by Siobhan Dowd

If you have ever been to London, you will have seen that the London Eye dominates the skyline along the Thames River across from Parliament. When one flies the Eye, you experience breathtaking views of the city and on a clear day, the countryside for roughly 20 miles. Siobhan Dowd sets her mystery around this landmark. Ted and Kat are on half-term break and are really not looking forward to a visit from Aunt Gloria and their cousin, Salim who are on their way to relocating in the United States. From the onset of the novel we know that Ted is a very special kid. He is consumed with meteorology and numbers and thinks outside the box. As the book progresses we see that he most likely as Asperger's syndrome. Salim has always wanted to fly the Eye and so Aunt Gloria, Ted, Kat and Ted and Kat's mom, Faith, set out the day after their arrival to do so. While Gloria and Faith have coffee, the 3 young people stand in queue for tickets and boarding. But, what luck! A stranger approaches them and offers a free ticket. He bought it and realizes that being claustrophobic, he could never get into one of the pods.

Since Kat and Ted have flown the Eye, Salim takes it and boards for his flight. The flight takes exactly 30 minutes and Kat and Ted wait for him. The people in his pod disembark, but Salim is not among them. Maybe it was the wrong pod. Could they have missed him? Where is he?

The mysterious disappearance has everyone puzzled and the story that ensues takes the reader on a very wild ride. Ted is certain that he can figure it out. He and Kat develop some nine theories as they try to find Salim. The police become involved. But time is ticking away and throughout the next 3 days the family becomes more frantic. To test a few theories Kat and Ted venture out on a trip through London and the Tube. As they develop and test the hypotheses, we get an incredible and fascinating insight into how Ted's mind really works.

This is a great mystery, full of Britishisms, some laughter and some very tense moments. I tried to pick up on some clues through the course of the story, but must admit, I missed one that would have helped me solve it. It is a page-turner and would be a fun book for both boys and girls. Siobhan Dowd was a wonderful author and it saddens me that she will write for us no more.

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