An Aspie crime

I was contacted a while ago by Sue Birch, who has written a short children’s crime story called Dead Puzzling. It has an Asperger theme, so I was interested, and as I’m always keen to promote anything suitably Aspie, I said Sue could send me her book. It’s doubly worthy in that she donates half of the profits to the National Autistic Society.

Sue was wondering if the book would be right for children with Asperger Syndrome, which is actually harder to say than you’d think. I don’t know. Two years ago when I wrote about Aspie books I only thought of spreading the word to the neurotypicals in this world, but then I found that Aspies are, understandably, looking for fiction featuring people like themselves.

But short of testing any book on a large scale, I can’t say. It is good that there are books about Aspies. I think that older Aspies need books, but younger ones may well not. Sue reckons her story is suitable for ages eight to thirteen. I’d say more like seven to ten or eleven. It’s a young theme, albeit using slightly old language. It’s obviously set today, but has a flavour of the Blyton era.

Dead Puzzling has been self published, I think, and it could do with more editing, but the Aspie aspect (sorry!) may not always appeal to regular publishers. The story is partly about illegal immigrants, and this bit of it feels a little too politically incorrect for today’s readers.

There is a dead body in the cemetery, and three young children try to solve the murder. One of them has Asperger Syndrome, but seems not to know it (although he is miraculously diagnosed in the course of the book). He sees what his normal peers do not, so helps solve the mystery with his special ‘powers’. The Dad is also very Aspie, but that fact goes almost unmentioned. It’s fun to see though.

5 responses to “An Aspie crime

  1. How can we buy the book, Bookwitch?

  2. A very fine review! Especially the point that the father is also ´very Aspie´ perhaps without people really noticing. A family like that sounds very realistic, I´d say 😉

    To our family it has been good to read articles and books about Asperger´s. I may also enjoy coming across an Asperger in fiction, but I don´t think my son has read about many that he could really identify with. He functions very well; lives alone in Aarhus and studies math. I think he is a bit tired of being compared to The Rainman as most people don´t notice his handicap the first time they are together with him.

  3. Oh, answering my own question, silly me it is on Amazon. I thought maybe it wouldn’t be because you thought it had been self-published.

  4. Sorry, Keren. I was out all day. And I would have mentioned if it was only obtainable by some funny means.

    Dorte, it was pure chance I found that Aspies want books about themselves. I blogged about Aspie books two years ago, and got lots of hits from (of all things) a Swedish Asperger forum. Someone was actively searching for fiction to recognise themselves in.

  5. Thank you so much Bookwitch for taking the time & trouble to review “Dead Puzzling”.

    I really appreciate it & hope that your support will help promote not just the book but, more importantly, the National Autistic Society which does so much to help people affected by autism.

    You’re right, of course, about the Dad being Aspie. But that was deliberate. And is really the point of the story.

    It took sixteen years of mis diagnosis and mis information before our son was diagnosed with Asperger’s. Other family members have never asked for or been offered a diagnosis so they continue to cope with this unseen and devastating condition on their own.

    Which was why I wanted to write a “ripping good yarn” for kids which would hopefully raise awareness of autism without labouring the negatives.

    For those families struggling to deal with the impact of autism I hope they manage to find help & support & the correct diagnosis early enough so they can enjoy the great adventure story life should really be.

    So, once again, thanks for a great website, thanks for the review but mostly, thanks for keeping people informed about Asperger’s.

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