A Thief in the House of Memory
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A Thief in the House of Memory

3.51 of 5 stars 3.51  ·  rating details  ·  209 ratings  ·  52 reviews
Family secrets, forgotten memories, and the transforming power of truth

It's been six years since sixteen-year-old Dec's free-spirited mother, Lindy, disappeared. Dec feels so trapped in the present, he's avoided examining his past. But when an intruder dies in the museum-like family home, the man's death sends forth tremors that reawaken forgotten memories. Suddenly Dec is...more
Paperback, 224 pages
Published April 1st 2008 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR) (first published August 25th 2004)
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Christine
4Q, 3P, J
Dev Assets 1, 2, 10, 14, 20, 29
Best Books, mystery. After he and his little sister find a body in their family’s abandoned home (which sits near their vanilla split-level house), Dec decides that it is time to explore the secrets that his dad and his mother’s best friend have been protecting since Dec’s mother left years ago. This book serves as an exploration of a boy’s past and helps him sort out the people and circumstances of his life. He has to rule out his panic that wrongdoing ha...more
Margo
Genre: Mystery Fiction/Supernatural/Family Secrets

Dec's mother's mysterious diappearance leaves Dec wondering about his past. He begins to have visions of that are echoes of memories he once had. His childhood home is perserved in the exactness it was when he lived there and it is the backdrop of these visions. When Dec finds a theif dead under a bookshelf in the house, his head starts turning and he begins to uncover the family secrets. Dec's visions coupled with his mystery hunting skills lead...more
Kristen
Nov 24, 2009 Kristen rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Younger readers
Genre/Category: Mystery

It took me nearly sixty pages to get into A Thief in the House of Memory, but once I finally learned to distinguish between reality and Dec’s imagination I was hooked. Wynne-Jones did an incredible job in this mystery novel of providing just enough—or just too few—clues to keep me interested, yet completely in the dark as to how all of the pieces fit together. The story is about a sixteen-year-old boy, Declan, who finds a dead body in a house that his family used to live i...more
Samuel
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Connor Denning
In the book,It discussed key themes of a mystery and had substantial support to, as the book goes on you learn a lot about the characters and you can really connect to them and they are relatable. It starts off a little bit slow but as it goes on you get to the action and you start to understand the book.

I personally couldn't say i honestly loved the book, i constantly found myself making me read it or wanting to put it down because it was too boring,i was always wondering to myself why and how...more
Hollowspine
This was an interesting book about a family mystery. Declan Steeple lives in a small house at the bottom of a hill, but above him on the hill is his old house, where he used to live before his mother ran away. It's a big house filled to the brim with relics of his old life. A random visit with his little sister turns into a mystery when Declan discovers a man buried beneath a large bookcase, dead. He starts visiting the house more often, seeing visions of his mother there. Is she trying to tell...more
Ryan Palmer
TIM WYNNE-JONES
Declan Steeple is 15 year old son of Bernard, who is the sole heir to the Steeple estate. The Steeple's have a long tradition of ambition, wealth and posterity. Declan seems to think that chain has stopped with his father. Dec thinks his father is stuck in the past as the history buff spends the majority of his time doodling with models of some of the world's most historic wars. Declan's mom disappeared when he was 10, and he hasn't seen her since. However, a mystery at the old St...more
Megan
TIM WYNNE-JONES CATEGORY
This book had a lot of potential. I was hooked in the very beginning with the mystery accompanying the death of a thief in the House of Memory, the large museum-like family estate just up the road from where Declan lives with his father, sister, and mother's best friend. Now the mother, Lindy, is another story. Almost literally. She took off six years earlier which precipitated the family's move from the large estate to the small house down the road. Dec's memories of Lin...more
Tiri
Half the time, I didn't really know what was going on. The beginning was so slow and bland, and nothing about the characters really interested me.

It redeemed itself somewhere in the middle though. Things started to pick up and the potential murder!mystery levels escalated. At that point, I couldn't stop reading. (I especially liked the interaction between Dec and his father; I could really feel that tension between them--the suspicion, the anger, the mistrust. I think that was conveyed nicely.)

B...more
Jonathan
This was actually an unbelievably well written book about a 16 year old boy named Declan Steeple, who is dealing with a murky past that is haunting him; and a few chilling questions about his present; a smartass best friend who also happens to be a bit insightful, and a few other quirky character help to flesh the book out as Declan also contends with growing up. Most chapters are brief, but tend to pack a lot of punch in a few pages. Overall: a very enjoyable read.
Rachel
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Katie
Tim Wynne-Jones' masterful storytelling comes to the forefront in this novel of mystery and suspense. Dec is a mostly normal high schooler--he's smart, has good friends, loves his family. His family might be considered a little strange, though, given that they live in a new-ish house on the same property as an old house, the house Dec grew up in, the house of memories. This weirdness of this situation increases when Dec discovers a corpse in his family’s as-is-creepy, spare house. Adding to this...more
Charlotte
mystery

Dec is just a teenager trying to find out what happened to his mother, who supposedly left his family several years previous. Living just down the hill from his childhood home, Dec, his father, sister, and soon-to-be stepmother try to move on from their past. But when a man is found dead in the old house, Dec makes several trips back to the House of Memory trying to remember what really happened when his mother disappeared from his life.

This book explores the understandable and common nee...more
Angie
Dec 08, 2009 Angie rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Teens
Shelves: ya, for-college, mysteries
Mystery

This book is about Dec's search for his mother and his past. When someone is killed in the "house of memory," the house that Dec lived in until his mother left, Dec is flooded with all sorts of memories about his mother. Not really knowing what to belive, Dec sees lies and suspicions in everything, including his father and his father's girlfriend. Through his probing and searching, he learns more about himself as well as his father as he searches for his mother. This book kept me turning...more
Brittani Murray
TIM WYNNE-JONES

This book is about a boy named Declan who comes from a wealthy family. When he was very young his mother disappeared and he is trying to find out what happened to her. After meeting a mysterious stranger, who mysteriously ends up dead in Declan's house. After digging around and asking questions he finally figures out what happened to his mother.

This book had a great storyline and a lot of potential. I gave it 3 stars because I was really disappointed by the ending. It was really a...more
Josh
TIM WYNNE-JONES CATEGORY

Declan Steeple has never come to terms with the disappearance of his mother Lindy, who hasn't been seen in six years. A series of unfortunate and unusual events bring his feelings to the surface and cause him and his family to confront the truth they must all live with. While I didn't find the book to be very fast-paced, it was still well told and I really felt for Declan. I had a very difficult time telling when he was dreaming and when he wasn't, or where the overlap wa...more
Jennifer Peterson
Really great book. About a smart boy whose mother left him and his father as a child. He is now living in a house with his sister, father, and his father's girlfriend. The house he used to live in is near by and they still use it. They call it the house of memory. Whenever they have something they want to store they put it in the house of memory. It was a big house that had run in their family. Then everything is disturbed when a thief is killed in the house. Dec starts to have memories come bac...more
Kim
A decent sounding mystery, but I felt like I was waiting for something, an explosion or something that never came. The characters, while somewhat interesting, never really caught my interest enough to make me care about what happened to them.

Declan's search for his mother was interesting, but his reaction when he finally figured it out just didn't seem enough to me. Yes, he was upset, but it felt restrained, muted. There just didn't seem enough of an emotional connection to it all, which didn't...more
Lila
Genre: YA, Mystery
Thief in the House of Memory is the story of a boy whose mother left when he was young and through threw the death of a robber in the house he used to live in, the past becomes real to him and he starts to sort through what happened, why his mother left, and where she is now. He wades through the deception of his father, his own doubts and his emotions as he discovers the truth. This book seemed wedged between the categories of Mystery and Magical realism. I enjoy fantasy and w...more
Gary Tydryszewski
Mystery/Psychological

Thief in the House of Memory is a thriller that follows a young rich boy as he tries to discover the truth about his mother and the thief found in his former house. With the help of his friends he embarks on a mystery quest to discovery the truth missing from his life. The book is face-paced and a pleasure to read that can appeal to a variety of readers. Some themes may be not suitable for a middle-grade audience, but a teen audience will enjoy the psychological thriller as...more
Tortla
I think I need to officially call it quits on this one. Maybe it's just me being unfair to Mr. Wynne-Jones for not living up to the late great Diana Wynne Jones he's shelved next to, but I really can't get into his book. He lacks the easy eloquence, the subtle humor, the straightforward (yet ultimately surprising) plotline and pacing that I was craving when I picked up his book. I got like 10% through, so I'm entitled to an opinion on the entire book, right? I doubt that the writing style change...more
Charla Aranda
Dec's mother disappears and he is left alone and scared. His repressed feelings and fears are awakened when a man dies in the house. His good friend helps him to distinguish between his nightmares and reality...but then Ezra too leaves.

People leaving Dec seems to be a common occurrence in his life. The novel has a great psychological ring to it as the reader is taken into Dec's thoughts and examines his nightmares. it's worth a read. Tim Wynne Jones is a skilled writer. Junior high and up for r...more
Bryan
I thought that the book was really suspenseful, like when Dec was being haunted by unanswered questions that he is desperately trying to answer in his mind. Like what happened to his mom 6 years ago? Why his dad never mentioned her before? And who was really the culprit of stealing in the house of memory? What shall Dec do on his journey through the house of memory? What will become of him in the house? And will he ever realize of what happened to his mom and why his dad never spoke of her befor...more
Toni
Easy, quick read mustery - a little shallow. Dec's mom leaves and doesn't hear from her in years. He wants to know the circumstances and works thru the mystery. He always want to know but his reasons for wanting to know aren't that he is wondering why she never tried to contact him - EVER. When he finds out that she died a few years after leaving he doesn't really get upset. life goes on? This was a good premise for a decent mystery but the author really missed the boat on this one.
Robin Kirk
In contrast to Boy, this prologue is mostly evocative, setting a specific tone of eerie mystery. It also strongly sets out a theme: the passage of time and how things can change in the blink of an eye, change everything. I love his his writing is so effortlessly specific -- we know the characters within a few lines and appreciate them as interesting, surprising individuals. The voice of the characters is also exactly right for their ages, no mean feat.
Christine
Although the book was full of wonderful writing (the reason I'm giving it 3 stars instead of 2), it had that studied feel of a book written by someone with an MFA (which it was). The characters felt flat to me, as if the author was holding back...I just didn't end up caring about them - I wanted to, but I couldn't. The ending also felt a bit safe and predictable. Too bad, it was a spooky, unusual setting - I had higher hopes for this one.
Jill
The action keeps moving with enough surprises to keep things interesting. Although the resolution isn't as neat and tidy as that in a fairy tale, it is satisfying. And who can resist an abandoned mansion? Although the cover art and story description may represent the plot as fantastical with a dose of horror, in reality the story is more realistic and focuses on a teenage boy looking for answers about his family.
Monica
REQUIRED AUTHOR: TIM WYNNE-JONES
Dec works his way through memories of his free-spirited mother, Lindy, and tries to reconcile his present with his past.
I liked this book pretty well. I actually really like the somewhat anticlimactic nature of the ending. Life is like that, and I think it's good for us to read/see fictional endings that are more true-to-life than most of our stories tend to have.
Angie
a family full of secrets, a young man greiving his mother's absence, and a good sprinkling of mystery. not to mention a house that could fit in The Fall of the House of Usher or Psycho.

this was a book that seemed to short for the plot. it could have been filled out a lot more. But i think it may be intended for high elementary level readers, and i was expecting a teen book.
Sharon
It's an interesting story, light on prose but still the characters are painted well enough. I didn't feel any deep compelling understanding of them because there is always this distance--at least for me. But it was a good read and an entertaining read. I wouldn't read it again, I don't think, but that doesn't mean it isn't worth reading at least once.
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44889
Tim Wynne-Jones (born 12 August 1948) is an English–Canadian author of children's literature, including picture books and novels for children and young adults, novels for adults, radio dramas, songs for the CBC/Jim Henson production Fraggle Rock, as well as a children's musical and an opera libretto.

Awards:
Arthur Ellis Award
◊ Best Juvenile (2001): The Boy in the Burning House
Edgar Award
◊ Best You...more
More about Tim Wynne-Jones...
Blink and Caution The Uninvited The Boy in the Burning House The Maestro Rex Zero and the End of the World

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