Reviews for London Eye Mystery


Booklist Reviews 2008 January #1
*Starred Review* The facts seem simple enough. While their mothers have coffee, Ted and his older sister, Kat, and their cousin, Salim, wait in a queue to ride the London Eye, an observation wheel that allows those locked in the glass-and-steel capsules to see 25 miles in every direction. A stranger from the front of the line offers one free ticket, and since Salim is the visitor, stopping in London before moving with his mum to New York, he takes it. Ted and Kat see him enter the capsule and follow his ride, but to their shock, he doesn't exit with his fellow riders. This book, very different from Dowd's searing A Swift Pure Cry (2007), is much more than a taut mystery. In Ted, Dowd offers a complex young hero, whose "funny brain . . . runs on a different operating system" (seemingly Asperger's Syndrome) and who is obsessed with shipping forecasts and with his inability to connect well with others. After several long days have passed with no sign of Salim, Ted must use the skills he has and overcome some of his personal challenges to find his cousin. Everything rings true here, the family relationships, the quirky connections of Ted's mental circuitry, and, perhaps most surprisingly, the mystery. So often the mechanics of mystery don't bear close scrutiny, but that's not so here. A page turner with heft. Copyright 2008 Booklist Reviews.

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BookPage Reviews 2008 July
Gone in the blink of an Eye

One of the top mysteries of the year in the middle-grade category is The London Eye Mystery, which takes readers on a page-turning spin. Twelve-year-old Londoner Ted and his older sister, Kat, are thrilled that their Aunt Gloria and cousin Salim will be visiting them before relocating to New York City. It's not Big Ben or Buckingham Palace but the Eye, "a giant bicycle wheel in the sky," which their cousin wants to tour. While the aunts chat over coffee and Ted and Kat wait below, Salim accepts a ticket from a stranger, rides in one of the capsules, but never exits with his fellow passengers.

Although Ted has a "syndrome," presumably Asperger, which causes him to count his Shreddies in the morning, meticulously track the weather and have difficulties reading body language, he joins forces with his more typical boy-crazy, status-conscious teenaged sister to solve Salim's disappearance. They track down witnesses, re-evaluate clues and work through Ted's nine theories of the case (although, a few, such as spontaneous combustion, can be easily eliminated).

While this novel is primarily a baffling mystery, Ted's first-person narration and literal thought processes also provide insight into his brain's unique circuitry. His clever yet often naïve voice and his longing to belong and be accepted into a world so different from his own will endear him to readers. They will even cheer when his mission to find Salim forces him to tell not one but two lies, a step toward "normalcy."

Two heads—or rather neurological systems—prove better than one, as Kat's persistence and Ted's logic combine to solve Salim's disappearance and save him from a horrific fate. Siobhan Dowd's posthumous mystery (the author died in 2007) is a nail-biting ride of suspense that proves that differences can be gifts. Copyright 2008 BookPage Reviews.

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Horn Book Guide Reviews 2008 Fall
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. Twelve-year-old Ted, who has Asperger's syndrome, is obsessed with weather patterns, the number of Shreddies in his cereal bowl, and the puzzle that is other people's emotions and actions. When his visiting cousin Salim disappears, seemingly into thin air -- Salim goes up inside a sealed capsule of the London Eye, a giant Ferris wheel-like ride, and doesn't come down -- Ted and his older sister (and nemesis) Kat join forces to solve the conundrum. Ted's uniqueness serves multiple purposes. As a detective, his literal, logical brain lets him step back from the fraught situation to see the solution. As a narrator, his need to observe people closely at all times lets us get to know the characters, especially Ted's family, unusually intimately. Not to mention himself: his hard-wired honesty, his never-ending struggle to make sense of the world around him, and his occasional unknowing naivetŽ (as when he lays awake thinking about "convection currents, isobars and isotherms [and] imagining the shipping forecast" and speculates, "Perhaps Salim had been doing the same") make him an especially sympathetic character. And the mystery itself? Worthy of its protagonist, with well-embedded clues and signposts young readers can easily follow -- at least in hindsight. Copyright 2008 Horn Book Magazine Reviews.

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Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2008 #3
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. Twelve-year-old Ted, who has Asperger's syndrome, is obsessed with weather patterns, the number of Shreddies in his cereal bowl, and the puzzle that is other people's emotions and actions. When his visiting cousin Salim disappears, seemingly into thin air -- Salim goes up inside a sealed capsule of the London Eye, a giant Ferris wheel-like ride, and doesn't come down -- Ted and his older sister (and nemesis) Kat join forces to solve the conundrum. Ted's uniqueness serves multiple purposes. As a detective, his literal, logical brain lets him step back from the fraught situation to see the solution. As a narrator, his need to observe people closely at all times lets us get to know the characters, especially Ted's family, unusually intimately. Not to mention himself: his hard-wired honesty, his never-ending struggle to make sense of the world around him, and his occasional unknowing naivetŽ (as when he lays awake thinking about "convection currents, isobars and isotherms [and] imagining the shipping forecast" and speculates, "Perhaps Salim had been doing the same") make him an especially sympathetic character. And the mystery itself? Worthy of its protagonist, with well-embedded clues and signposts young readers can easily follow -- at least in hindsight. Copyright 2008 Horn Book Magazine Reviews.

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Kirkus Reviews 2007 December #2
When Ted's cousin Salim visits London, he insists on riding "The London Eye," an immense observation wheel. A stranger gives Salim a free ticket; Salim enters a passenger capsule; 30 minutes later, when the capsule returns from its rotation, Salim has vanished. What follows is an intricate mystery, related from the unique point of view of 12-year-old Ted, who has Asperger's Syndrome. Ted is a brilliant but literal thinker who sees things in things in terms of mathematical probabilities. His brain, though differently wired, is as efficient as a computer. It is precisely the logical mind needed to solve the mystery, and it saves Salim's life. This is a well-constructed puzzle, and mystery lovers will delight in connecting the clues, but what makes this a riveting read is Ted's voice. He is bright, honest, brave and very funny about his "syndrome" (his teacher has given him a cartoon code for recognizing the five basic emotions). The message, grippingly delivered, is that kids, even differently abled ones, are worth paying attention to. (Fiction. 9-14) Copyright Kirkus 2007 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

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Library Media Connection Reviews 2008 March
Right from the outset, the reader is introduced to the mystery of Salim's disappearance. After going up on the London Eye Ferris wheel by himself, Salim does not come back down. The story follows his cousins Ted and Kat as they try to solve the mystery. When a stranger offers the kids a ticket while their mothers are having coffee, Salim takes the ticket, gets in the Eye, and is nowhere to be found when the pod comes down. As it turns out, Salim had run away, but he ends up being trapped in a building that is to be demolished. Ted appears to be autistic, as the book alludes to his brain working in a different way, his flapping arms, and his dislike of physical contact. It is his special way of looking at things that eventually allows him to solve the mystery. The story is engaging and fast paced. Readers will enjoy the fact that Ted and Kat are less worried about Salim and are quicker to solve the mystery than the police or the adults. There are a number of British spellings and vocabulary, but nothing that would be an obstacle while reading. Recommended. Allison L. Bernstein, Educational Materials Reviewer, Sharon, Massachusetts © 2008 Linworth Publishing, Inc.

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Publishers Weekly Reviews 2007 December #1

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.)

[Page 70]. Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.

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School Library Journal Reviews 2008 February

Gr 5-8-- Ted and Kat lose their cousin Salim at the London Eye sightseeing attraction, "the largest observation wheel ever built." Given a free ticket by a stranger, Salim enters the ride, but he never emerges. Guilty about their part in the bungled outing, the siblings trace scraps of information that illuminate the boy's disappearance. Ted, who is something of an enigma himself, narrates the story. He has a neurological cross wiring that results in an encyclopedic brain and a literal view of the world. He finds it hard to read motivations and emotions, but excels at clue tracing and deduction. Kat, his older sister, deplores his odd behaviors but relies on his analytic brain while she does the legwork. The result is a dense mystery tied together with fully fleshed out characters and a unique narrator. Good mysteries for kids are rare, and this offering does the genre proud. London Eye is the best sort, throwing out scads of clues for discerning readers to solve the mystery themselves. Add to that Ted's literal translation of our world, his distanced view of an alien landscape of human interactions, and the ways he gains a better understanding of that world through the course of the novel, and the story is even more noteworthy. Suggest this as a read-alike to fans of Blue Balliett's Chasing Vermeer (Scholastic, 2004) or Lauren Tarshis's Emma-Jean Lazarus Fell Out of a Tree (Dial, 2007).--Caitlin Augusta, The Darien Library, CT

[Page 113]. Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

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