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A Thief in the House of Memory

3.47  ·  Rating Details ·  254 Ratings  ·  61 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
Paperback, 224 pages
Published April 1st 2008 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR) (first published August 25th 2004)
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(showing 1-30 of 515)
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Maire Slater
Apr 16, 2016 Maire Slater rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016-04
"What happened?" he asked solemnly.
"Nothing happened, honey."
"Really?" He so wanted to believe the noises he'd heard coming from the master bedroom had been nothing. "Nothing" usually wasn't so loud.
"Believe me," she said.
"You were yelling at Daddy."
She nodded, slowly, her eyelids half closed. "I had my reasons," she said.
He wanted to go to her but he could still hear her shouting in his mind, and it frightened him. She seemed to guess his thoughts.
"You need to understand something," she said. "
Misbah U
Jan 04, 2016 Misbah U marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Look on page 80,116,154-155

"Your mom was a woman, who would never appreciated for any positive that I have given her from the first day of our marriage till now" pg116 said Bernard to Dec. in this book, there are many lessons to admit to our lives. For instance main character who is the son, he goes through many doubtful days since he lost his mom. Now his dad the only one living with him but he never found that way of their lives supposed to be. I got board while I was reading from beginning ti
Heidi Grether
Dec 09, 2015 Heidi Grether rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: engl-420

This novel is about Declan, a teenage boy living in Canada. Despite the fact that Declan's mother left when he was only ten and his father pays more attention to model soldiers than his family, Declan keeps everything under control. Until the day a crime takes place and Declan begins having flashback memories and starts searching for answers about his mother's disappearance. As he works through these questions of identity and belonging, he finally comes to peace about whe
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
Nov 02, 2009 Margo rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: english-420
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
Nov 24, 2009 Kristen rated it really liked it
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
Oct 25, 2009 Samuel rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
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
Apr 26, 2016 Megan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: english-420
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 Lindy start to surface afte ...more
Feb 15, 2012 Tiri rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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.)

Feb 10, 2014 Jonathan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Sep 16, 2009 Rachel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
A decent book, well-written and with plausible characters and plot. That said, I found the mystery at the centre of the novel somewhat less mysterious than I'd hoped. The entire book seemed a bit underplayed somehow, lacking tension and "bite." I suspect it would have been more effective as either a shorter, tighter novella, or a longer work that spent more time exploring the characters and environment.
Nov 16, 2009 Katie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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

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
Apr 18, 2016 Nisha rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: april-16
Ezra cleared his throat. "Has anyone told you yet today that you look like refried dog food?" (p. 103)

"I'll never be an architect," he said.
"That's true," said Ezra with his mouth full.
Dec's head snapped back. "You missed your cue," he said. "This is where a best friend says 'Sure you will, old buddy, old pal.'" (p. 106)
Dec 08, 2009 Angie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Teens

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
Jan 19, 2016 Tory rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014
Weird, choppy narration. Left a lot to be desired. I didn't realize until most of the way through that he couldn't remember his mom leaving. Weird group of über-nerdy friends who are just set dressing. Weird relationship between dad and stepmom. Just bluh.
Golden Secondary School
Feb 16, 2015 Golden Secondary School rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Part ghost-story, part coming of age story, part murder-mystery. This easy read will grip you with its suspenseful story line and move you with its character development.

Recommended for those who do not love to read and juniors.
Brittani Murray

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
Apr 10, 2012 Josh rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: engl-420

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
Jennifer Peterson
Dec 09, 2009 Jennifer Peterson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: english-420
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
Apr 27, 2009 Kim rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: teens, mystery
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
Nov 23, 2009 Lila rated it it was ok
Shelves: 420-required
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
Gary Tydryszewski

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
Dec 09, 2015 Carlisa rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: english-420

This book is the story of Declan, whose mother left six years ago. An intruder dies in his family's other decrepit house and old memories are brought out with the dust. He starts have visions of his mother and starts to lose grip of what's dream and what's reality.

I didn't like this book. I was not connected with Declan at all. The setting was obviously very important and described over and over again, but I didn't feel as if any of the characters were very well-rounde
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 10, 2009 Charla Aranda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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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.

Arthur Ellis Award
Best Juvenile (2001): The Boy in the Burning House
Edgar Award
Best Young
More about Tim Wynne-Jones...

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