I can still hear Ted's voice. Finished with The London Eye Mystery by Siobhan Dowd for over a week now and the protagonist's unique viewpoint stays with me. Ted is a child with Aspergers who attempts to piece through the mystery of his missing cousin Salim as the adults around him fall apart a bit. His brain is a different type of processor than most, and his ability to see past the emotional content of life that often leaves him baffled puts him in the unique position of seeing the material facts of the mystery stripped bare. It is easy to lose track of the fact that Ted is a child as his thoughts are occasionally profound.
That's when I realized that there are two kinds of knowledge: shallow and deep. You can know something in theory but not know it in practice. You can know part of something but not all of it. Knowledge can be like the skin on the surface of the water in a pond, or it can go all the way down into the mud. It can be the tiny tip of the iceberg or the whole hundred percent.
This mystery may not be satisfying for all ages. All is tidily wrapped up at the end but the reader would have been hard pressed to solve this puzzle based upon the evidence presented. It is the process of looking at the evidence that is interesting here, the thought processes behind the conclusions. Interesting that the minds of children sometimes possess greater clarity than those of adults.
For all of you that enjoyed Mark Haddon's The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, you will most certainly enjoy this as well. Haddon's protagonist was a gifted mathematician whereas Ted's interest lies in meteorology, but there are more similarities between the two novels than not. Rumor has it that the books were originally scheduled for release at approximately the same time, but then it was decided that The London Eye Mystery's release would be postponed given the stark likenesses.
Fast and interesting read for everyone, adult or child, that explores both the life of a particular mind and some telling and insightfully presented family interactions as well.