My rating: 4.5 of 5
When Ted and Kat’s cousin Salim comes to visit them in London before moving to the U.S., they do what any group of kids would do–go ride the London Eye. Only, the lines are hugely long, so when a stranger offers them one free ticket, they agree to skip the ticket line and just let Salim ride by himself while they wait below. Kat and Ted find the impossible happening before their eyes, however, when Salim seems to disappear into thin air while riding the enormous wheel. Family members and police are baffled and frantic, with next to no leads. But Kat’s indomitable persistence and Ted’s uniquely wired brain might just be able to do what the police cannot–figure out what really happened to Salim.
I picked up The London Eye Mystery after seeing Patrick Ness’s reference to Siobhan Dowd’s work in A Monster Calls. I wasn’t really sure what to expect, but I have to say, I was impressed. The story is told in first-person, past-tense from Ted’s perspective. Which is very interesting, because Ted’s a fantastic character. He’s maybe eleven or twelve (it probably says, but I don’t remember), and he has Asperger’s syndrome. I love though that the book never actually labels him as such–the author does a wonderful job of expressing what it’s like to think that way through day-to-day details in the writing rather than showing it from an outside viewpoint. Honestly, I think Ted’s character is the very best thing about this book, that and his interactions with his sister Kat. But in addition, this story is also just an interesting and mentally intriguing mystery. Although I found it in the YA section, I think I would actually consider it a children’s book–say upper middle-grade, consistent with Ted’s own age. But I think The London Eye Mystery has the potential to be an enjoyable read for older readers as well; I would definitely recommend trying it at least.