Janice Hallett: The Twyford Code

My review is written with thanks to Pigeonhole for the opportunity to read and review The Twyford Code.


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.


The Twyford Code is most unlike anything I have ever read before. It’s written, for the most part, as a series of transcripts and it did take me some time to get used to this and work out what some of the symbols meant, but overall I felt it was a unique and interesting format that worked well. 

Our protagonist is Steve Smith. He’s just been released from prison after a long sentence. This doesn’t make him immediately likeable and obviously raises questions about his reliability, but as I got further into the novel, I wanted to know more about him and how he had come to be in his current situation. Eventually, I did grow to like him and enjoyed his sense of humour. 

The plotting in The Twyford Code is absolutely immense. I loved the nods to Enid Blyton and was fascinated by the messages in Edith Twyford’s books of a similar nature. The story kept me guessing and I was always interested to find out what would come next. There are lots of clues planted throughout the novel and I was fascinated by how all these came together, even though I must admit to missing a significant number of them. 

The Twyford Code is available from Amazon.

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