Book Review: The Twyford Code by Janice Hallett

Reviewed: April 7th, 2023
Released: January 24th, 2022
Genre: Crime Thriller

It’s time to solve the murder of the century….

Forty years ago, Steven Smith found a copy of a famous children’s book by disgraced author Edith Twyford, its margins full of strange markings and annotations. Wanting to know more, he took it to his English teacher Miss Iles, not realising the chain of events that he was setting in motion. Miss Iles became convinced that the book was the key to solving a puzzle and that a message in secret code ran through all Twyford’s novels. Then Miss Iles disappeared on a class field trip, and Steven has no memory of what happened to her.

Now, out of prison after a long stretch, Steven decides to investigate the mystery that has haunted him for decades. Was Miss Iles murdered? Was she deluded? Or was she right about the code? And is it still in use today?

Desperate to recover his memories and find out what really happened to Miss Iles, Steven revisits the people and places of his childhood. But it soon becomes clear that Edith Twyford wasn’t just a writer of forgotten children’s stories. The Twyford Code has great power, and he isn’t the only one trying to solve it….

Helen’s thoughts: 5/5

This is the first book I’ve read by Janice Hallett and I found it riveting. I stayed up to the wee hours to finish because I was so invested in Steven Smith’s story.

Steven is an ex-convict, just released from prison. He is recording voice memos in a phone his son gave him, because he wants to connect, to start a relationship with the son he has never known, but his son is not ready and has pushed him away.

Part of Steven’s rehabilitation is to acknowledge and talk about his actions, his decisions. To take responsibility for them, though he begins to record his story, instead of speaking to his son as he’d hoped. He is using voice recording because he is dyslexic and learnt to read and write late and still finds writing difficult.

Steven is the key to this story. The blend of his reminisces as a kid, the start of his search for Miss Iles, his old school teacher and the hunt for clues in the old book he found as a kid leads him to WW2 spies and more. Interwined with this clue hunt is his life story and how he ended up part of Harrison’s gang. It will keep you hooked. The acrostics, the story, Steven’s commentary, all add up to a rich and complex story.

I loved the formatting of the book as a series of transcripts with no speech punctuation, it was different and added to the mystery as Steven tries to solve the Twyford Code. Steven’s speech and his turn of phrase or observations had me laughing at times. He is a wonderful character.

Thoroughly enjoyed it, complex and riveting, and I never saw the ending coming. Excellent.

Purchase the Twyford Code via Amazon

Link to book on Amazon US: Hard cover | Paperback | Audiobook

Link to book on Amazon UK: Paperback | Hardcover | Audiobook

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If you enjoy fantasy books then you will love my epic fantasy Sentinal series or the Romantic Fantasy SoulMist series. As a new threat against Remargaren is discovered, only one man can wake the ancient guards who can protect them, only he doesn’t know how. Start the adventure and stay for the journey. Sign up to my newsletter and download a free novella called Sentinals Stirring and get notified when my next books are published.

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