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The London Eye Mystery    by Siobhan Dowd Amazon.com order for
London Eye Mystery
by Siobhan Dowd
Order:  USA  Can
David Fickling Books, 2008 (2008)
Hardcover, Audio, CD, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Lyn Seippel

Twelve-year-old Ted Sparks and his older sister Kat are often at odds, but they are both sure they saw their cousin Salim get on the London Eye at 11:32 a.m.. They track his capsule as it makes its thirty minute orbit, but when it lands Salim is not among those who disembark.

The London Eye, the largest observation wheel ever built, is the one activity Salim requests when he and his mother visit London on their way from Manchester to their new life in New York City. When a free ticket becomes available while they are waiting in an hour long queue, Salim gratefully accepts it.

Salim's disappearance leaves his family and the police stunned. Only Ted has theories and only his sister Kat will listen. She knows her brother is a genius even though his strangeness sometimes annoys and embarrasses her.

Ted's mind is short circuited when it comes to engaging outsiders. He counts his parents, his teacher and sometimes Kat as his only friends. He finds it hard to read emotions or understand facial cues and small talk, and has trouble comprehending when the speaker is not completely literal.

Dowd doesn't identify Ted's syndrome which is likely borderline autism. Ted's skills lie in understanding the complexity of things, seeing details, and analyzing data. He approaches Salim's disappearance as a puzzle that must have a solution.

Ted is a brilliant and sympathetic narrator, and mystery lovers will enjoy following the clues as he rules out one theory after another before coming to his final conclusion.

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