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The London Eye Mystery


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About the Author

Siobhan Dowd was named one of the "top 100 Irish-Americans" for her global anti-censorship work with the writers'organization PEN America. Siobhan Dowd's novels include A Swift Pure Cry, for which she was named a Publishers Weekly Flying Start author, and Bog Child. She died in August 2007 from breast cancer.


Ted's cousin Salim comes to visit from Manchester before moving to New York with his mother, and Salim's only wish is to ride the London Eye, the massive wheel erected to mark the new millennium. Ted (whose brain is "wired differently") and his older sister Kat watch Salim board the Eye and are stunned when he doesn't get off. What follows is an intricate, intriguing, and thrilling race against time as Ted uses his keen observation skills to find his cousin. Checquer's measured pacing accurately portrays Ted's personality and reinforces the family conflicts, and his variety of British accents provides context for American listeners. Common Core Standard: CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.7.3 Analyze how particular elements of a story or drama interact. Instructional Extension: After listening to this mystery, students may be interested to learn more about "Interesting Things You Never Knew about The London Eye" by visiting The LondonNet site ( not only includes facts, but also provides links to other London attractions such as the Tower of London. This is a good place to start a class project investigating London's most important historical places. (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

A 12-year-old Londoner with something like Asperger's syndrome narrates this page-turner, which grabs readers from the beginning and doesn't let go. As Ted and his older sister Katrina watch, their visiting cousin Salim boards a "pod" for a ride on the London Eye, a towering tourist attraction with a 360-degree view of the city-but unlike his fellow passengers, Salim never comes down. He has vanished. At the outset Ted explains that he has cracked the case: "Having a funny brain that runs on a different operating system from other people's helped me to figure out what happened." The tension lies in the implicit challenge to solve the mystery ahead of Ted, who turns his intense observational powers on the known facts, transforming his unnamed disability into an investigative tool while the adults' emotions engulf them. Dowd ratchets up the stakes repeatedly: is a boy in the morgue Salim? Has he drowned? Been kidnapped? Katrina and Ted work together to solve the puzzle, developing new respect for each other. The author wryly locates the humor as Ted wrangles with his symptoms (learning to lie represents progress) but also allows Ted an ample measure of grace. Comparisons to The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time are inevitable-this release was delayed when Mark Haddon's book (from the same publisher) became a bestseller-but Dowd makes clearer overtures to younger readers. Just as impressive as Dowd's recent debut, A Swift Pure Cry, and fresh cause to mourn her premature death this year. Ages 8-12. (Feb.) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.

Starred review, Publishers Weekly, December 3, 2007:
"Grabs readers from the beginning and doesn't let go."

Starred review, Booklist, January 1, 2008:
"Everything rings true here, the family relationships, the quirky connections of
Ted's mental circuitry, and, perhaps most surprisingly, the mystery."

Starred review, Kirkus Reviews, December 15, 2007:
"This is a well-constructed puzzle, and mystery lovers will delight in connecting the clues."

Starred review, School Library Journal, February 2008:
"A dense mystery tied together with fully fleshed out characters and a unique narrator."

Starred review, The Horn Book, May/June 2008:
"The best mysteries have at their centers gifted but very human sleuths-their abilities balanced by equally significant flaws or idiosyncrasies. This one is no exception."

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