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.