The mysterious connection between a teacher’s disappearance and an unsolved code in a children’s book is explored in this new novel from the “modern Agatha Christie” (TheSunday Times, London) and author of The Appeal.
Forty years ago, Steven “Smithy” Smith found a copy of a famous children’s book by disgraced author Edith Twyford, its margins full of strange markings and annotations. When he showed it to his remedial English teacher Miss Iles, she believed that it was part of a secret code that ran through all of Twyford’s novels. And when she later disappeared on a class field trip, Smithy becomes convinced that she had been right.
Now, out of prison after a long stretch, Smithy decides to investigate the mystery that has haunted him for decades. In a series of voice recordings on an old iPhone, Smithy alternates between visiting the people of his childhood and looking back on the events that later landed him in prison. But it soon becomes clear that Edith Twyford wasn’t just a writer of forgotten children’s stories. The Twyford Code holds a great secret, and Smithy may just have the key.
“Filled with numerous clues, acrostics, and red herrings, this thrilling scavenger hunt for the truth is delightfully deceptive and thoroughly immersive” (Publishers Weekly, starred review).
Janice Hallett is a former magazine editor, award-winning journalist, and government communications writer. She wrote articles and speeches for, among others, the Cabinet Office, Home Office, and Department for International Development. Her enthusiasm for travel has taken her around the world several times, from Madagascar to the Galapagos, Guatemala to Zimbabwe, Japan, Russia, and South Korea. A playwright and screenwriter, she penned the feminist Shakespearean stage comedy NetherBard and cowrote the feature film Retreat. She lives in London and is the author of The Mysterious Case of the Alperton Angels, The Appeal, The Christmas Appeal, and The Twyford Code.
“The Twyford Code is one of the most original and clever books I’ve ever read, with a story that had me racing to grab a notepad in its final pages. Because it’s not just a brilliant mystery, told in the inventive format of voice memo transcriptions. There are really two stories unwinding in almost parallel fashion here, and when they finally intersect, the result is a moving portrait of love in its many forms. No one else is writing like Janice Hallett, and the execution of this book proves why: no one else could pull it off.”
—Kaitlin O., Editor, on The Twyford Code
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio (January 24, 2023)
"Thomas Judd narrates the story of Smithy, a former English gang member newly released from prison who is obsessed with the need to track down his beloved former reading teacher...With a neutral tone, Judd describes Smithy’s search for information about his teacher, who disappeared on a class field trip while visiting the cottage of Edith Twyford. Is it possible that Twyford’s old-fashioned books for young children carry encoded secrets?"