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Summary

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....

Perfect for fans of Richard Osman, Alex Pavesi and S.J. Bennett, The Twyford Code will keep you up puzzling late into the night.

©2022 Janice Hallett (P)2022 Profile Books Ltd

What listeners say about The Twyford Code

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Very clever but unsuitable for audio

This is undoubtedly fiendishly clever: convoluted layers of cryptic clues, acrostics, pastiche ()of Enid Blyton) voices, memories, stories, theories, codes, multiple meanings and interpretations and the unreliability of memory. It is also, apart from all the code-breaking and stories, a moving account of the terrible effects of childhood trauma, the pain of losing touch with a grown-up child, and the possibilities of healing. It's all highly original and adventurous.

BUT my low marks are because I don't think this is a suitable book for audio - ironically since so much is made up ostensibly of audio files. The problem is that there are around 150 or more of these audio files each one prefaced by many headings such as Audio File Number ... Voice 1 Voice 2, Date... Background noise detected Audio quality.. .period of silence... and beeps for the many swearwords. If I were reading this on the page the eye would skim over all this information but here I'm forced to listen to every single one and it become increasingly (this is a long book at 11 hours) irritating, intrusive and tedious. This information would be accepted by the reading brain as peripheral, the listening brain hasn't got the choice but to be given it in the same tone as the text of these files. The narrator has no choice but the whole is not helped either by his slightly automaton-like reading.
The Twyford Code would make a great film, though!

15 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Brilliant

It’s really hard to to praise some of the best aspects of this story without giving away a ton of spoilers but let’s just say my emotions were all over the place; I spotted clues but had no idea what might matter and what was a red herring, at one point Steve’s story was really heartbreaking and at some points I laughed out loud at the author’s audacity. This is also a book where the narrator carries a very heavy burden in terms of characterisation. He does it so well that once, something really important to the plot flickered through my mind but I actually decided I was being unfair and forgot about it.

8 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Read the book, don't get the audiobook

This story is written as a series of audio notes found on an iPhone, the narrator is supposed to be reading from a transcript of those notes. As an audio book this is both distracting and irritating. Every audio note (and there are a lot of them) starts with him saying 'audio note 165, date 27 06 19, 14.55, audio quality average' etc. Before each person speaks he says 'voice one' or 'voice two', he constantly lets us know that 'background noise detected' or 'silence 5 minutes'. Reading those phrases wouldn't be a problem as your brain would just skip over them, but hearing them repeated becomes very tedious. It feels like a quarter of the book is taken up with this.

It is not helped by his monotone robot like voice. The original voice notes were mainly spoken by someone with a strong accent and in his dialect, this is all supposed to have been transcribed incorrectly. For example he uses 'me' instead of 'my'. If it was read in the accent in which it was originally supposed to have been spoken it would be fine, but in the narrators voice it doesn't work. He also reads every character in exactly the same boring monotone, and because they are only identified by voice number rather than name it can be hard to keep track of who is supposed to be talking.

Despite my complaints I'm really glad I stuck with it, it is a gripping tale and I loved the ending!

6 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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A brilliant puzzle.

A brilliant puzzle! I thoroughly enjoyed Janice Hallett’s first book, The Appeal, and this was another intricately crafted puzzle, which required my complete attention. No wandering off thinking about something else, whilst listening to this one. In some ways, it would have been easier to check back on clues in a printed book, but I like to listen when I am doing things. I will definitely be listening to it again. It is so refreshing to discover such a challenging as well as enjoyable listen.

5 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Wrong narrator!

I couldn’t finish this. The narrator has a pleasant voice and is clearly good at his job but he just can’t play the character. He’s too well spoken to pull off the old boy Londoner, ex con protagonist. Such a shame as I think it could be a good book.

4 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Janice Hallet has done it again

Original, a great listen. A tale well told and plotted. Accurate observation of human nature.
Her first book was good but I think this is even better.

4 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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If you only listen to one book, this should be it.

For me, this was the perfect story- brilliant narration with a storyline that kept me guessing and guessing- didn’t want it to end.
Cannot recommend this highly enough

3 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Fantastic story, poor choice of narrator.

This is such an interesting, engaging and unusual story. I loved the main character and was swept away by the mystery. Can’t wait to see what else this author has in store for us in the future. The one drawback to the audiobook is the narrator. Although more than competent, I thought he was entirely the wrong choice of actor. The actual story called for someone who can embody several characters, it’s a shame this wasn’t picked up by the producers and run with. It’s a fantastic opportunity for an actor to showcase their talents. Instead we get a slightly monotone performance of an incredibly characterful book.

2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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brilliant book

I was absolutely hooked from the start. A very different read to my usual but really fascinating.

2 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Unusual but well conceived story celebrating friendship, families & redemption.

The format & structure of this book is very different. It takes some getting used to but its worth preserving with. The story touches on many elements of modern day living cleverly woven with the real and unreal events of the past. Bitter sweet in places but a heart warming story of friendship, family, redemption and the restorative, creative & communicative power of reading & story telling.
Best to listen to without too many listening gaps and without distractions.
Performance is very good considering the demands of the stories many facets and characters.

2 people found this helpful