I then read, Solace of the Road, about another troubled teenager, albeit in a different era. And more recently, I reviewed The Ransom of Dond, with stunning illustrations by Pam Smy.
I love the work of Siobhan Dowd, and Robert Dunbar's recent "Top 50 Irish Children's Novels" in Inis magazine prompted me to hunt down Dowd's remaining titles.
The London Eye Mystery particularly interested me because it is the only Dowd title pitched at Middle Grade readers. The premise is immediately captivating. MC, Ted, visits the London Eye with his cousin Salim. Salim gets into a pod and Ted watches it make its half hour orbit through the sky. But when the doors of the pod open again, Salim has vanished! Ted, with his big sister Kat, become intrepid detectives, and set out to solve the mystery, as their parents, aunt and uncle crumple under the stress of the situation.
The London Eye Mystery is a good old-fashioned detective story, and the short chapters and pacey plot will be enough to hold the interest of any child of 10+. But more notable than the plot, is the character of Ted. A child, clearly on the autistic spectrum, makes for an unusual MC. The boy, whose brain "runs on its own unique operating system", has trouble dealing with the simple things in life, but is perfectly equipped to see what the adults (including the police!) can't. His logic and obsession with meteorology make for amusing scenarios and interesting perspectives.
Dowd's observation skills and writing are impeccable throughout and I find it hard to flaw anything about The London Eye Mystery. 4 stars.