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A Thief in the House of Memory

Review

A Thief in the House of Memory

Sixteen-year-old Declan Steeple hasn't seen his free-spirited mother Lindy in six years. His father Bernard has moved on with his life, creating a new family with his girlfriend Birdie and Dec's little sister Sunny. Bernard is content with his life in the present while pursuing his hobby building miniature models of famous battles in history. Dec would rather just face the future when he could leave his family's home and perhaps pursue a career in architecture.

Then one day, Dec and Sunny come across the body of a mysterious intruder in Steeple Hall, his father's family home where Dec had spent his early childhood years before Lindy left. Dec briefly met the intruder when he hitched a ride from him a few weeks before and thinks that because he accidentally mentioned a secret road leading to the old house, this prompted the man to take a chance at burglary. When Sunny mentions that a bust of Plato was placed on a side table instead of by the fallen bookshelf where it once sat, Dec begins to think that something far more sinister has taken place.

The mysterious death causes Dec to begin having visions of his mother as he remembered her when he was a young child: Lindy being dressed as Wonder Woman, Lindy and Dec playing hide-and-seek with a frustrated Bernard, and Lindy telling a young Dec to rescue her from the manor. The visions are hazy and surreal, making Dec wonder if they are really memories or just dreams. He decides to ask Bernard and Birdie questions about Lindy, but they're unwilling to reveal many details especially as to why Lindy left. Frustrated, Dec seeks refuge in Steeple Hall and confides in his best friend Ezra, a quirky science geek who helps him make sense of the bizarre visions.

As time goes by, Dec slowly pieces together the confusing puzzle of visions. What the puzzle reveals to Dec changes everything he thought he knew once again. There are revelations about his family, Lindy's disappearance, and the mysterious dead intruder. THE THIEF IN THE HOUSE OF MEMORY is a mystery that portrays the complexities of friendships and family, while set against the backdrop of a house harboring mysteries of its own. It's a book that is sure to be pleasantly thought-provoking for readers.

Reviewed by Sarah Sawtelle on March 24, 2005

A Thief in the House of Memory
by Tim Wynne-Jones

  • Publication Date: April 15, 2005
  • Genres: Mystery
  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
  • ISBN-10: 0374374783
  • ISBN-13: 9780374374785